BTOB performed an extensive fanmeet at Toronto Kpop Con (TKC) this year. The group performed a ton of singles, as well as participating in onstage games. BTOB, short for ‘Born To Beat’, are comprised of seven members: ‘Eunkwang’, ‘Minhyuk’, ‘Changsub’, ‘Hyunsik’, ‘Peniel’, ‘Ilhoon’ and ‘Sungjae’. They are currently promoting their tenth mini- album Feel’eM, released earlier this year. I was in good company, as the theatre was crammed with BTOB fans known as ‘Melodies’.
‘TKC’ is in its third year, and has built a reputation for bringing much-buzzed about performers to Toronto for the yearly event. 2017 was no different, as BTOB joined the likes of K.A.R.D on the John Bassett Theatre stage. Unfortunately, EXID, who was also to perform, was rescheduled for later in the summer. The Con also featured local artists (singers and dancers) on their ‘Canada Dream Stage’. The goal was to give everyone a voice and a platform for their passions: whether they’re an internationally recognized star or a talent on-the-rise.
While the boys performed singles from their latest release, their older material was also extremely popular with fans in the theatre who have been with them since their inception. I hadn’t really heard a BTOB song before, but coming away from the show I definitely had some favourites. “I’ll Be Your Man” and “Remember That” showed a wistful, sensitive side of the band. In between high energy dance numbers like “Movie”, the guys took a seat to unroll some sweet ballads.
This isn’t the first concert I’ve been to that featured a ‘fanmeet’ series of interviews in the middle of the show. I’ve seen artists make conversation in between songs, but this format of a chat with a host is particularly challenging. The artist must catch their breath, regain composure and be funny and entertaining onstage. It’s pretty cool to see their hidden interests they’ve cultivated over the years that aren’t always apparent in their MVs and songs. This was their first Canadian performance, albeit first North American tour as well. It’s always interesting to see their take on the Great White North, being artists that are used to touring in Asia.
The crew have been around since 2012, signed with CUBE Entertainment. These days the mark of a good group is not just the synchronicity of their dancing, but their ability to riff off of each other. This sets them apart in an industry oversaturated right now with male groups. By the end of the fanmeet I started to get a sense of each member’s personality.
Peniel Shin, born in Illinois, acted as a liaison between the audience and the rest of the group. Sungjae revealed that his favourite song is Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” aria, from Turandot. He demonstrated impressive pipes, much to the awe of his bandmates. They also took turns playing a drawing game that challenged their artistic chops. TKC is a unique place to experience Korean artists (I usually catch them at concert venues around the city rather than at a convention). To see so many fans of Korean entertainment and culture in one place was really cool.
Just the facts: social media edition
For the latest info on Toronto Kpop Con 2018 (as well as past conventions), check out their official site and social media.
You can also check out BTOB on their social media. Look out for more releases this summer, titled Piece of BTOB, as each member will release their own individual single each month. Lee Changsub and Jung Ilhoon have already dropped their respective tracks.
“At The End”- Lee Changsub
“Fancy Shoes”- Jung Ilhoon