The Biggest Bang You’ve Never Heard

You might not know it, but the other day the Korean boy band BIGBANG confirmed a tour date that thousands of fans had been anticipating since the summer. Nothing unusual there you may think; except the fans are British and the one off date, which is almost certain to sell out in a matter of minutes, is in Wembley Arena on 15th December.

nless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, chances are you’ve heard that Korean pop is taking the world by storm thanks to the mega-popular  hit from artist PSY, “Gangnam Style.”The video for this song as received well over 530 million views on YouTube,  and has spawned more spin off videos than even the most conscientious fan could bear to watch. But don’t let PSY fool you into thinking he kicked the Korean wave off-  bands like SHINee, BIGBANG,SNSD and 2NE1 have been leading the creeping stardom of hallyu (idol) bands across Europe and American for some years.

In 2011 an exceptionally well organised flash mob in Paris managed to attract the attention of one of the big record label players in K-pop, SM Entertainment. They promptly announced a one off tour date featuring a medley of their most famous artists including SHINee, Super Junior and SNSD (Girls’ Generation), which attracted fans from all over Europe. After the first date sold out they announced a second show in Paris, which sold out in 10 minutes.

bands like SHINee, BIGBANG, SNSD and 2NE1 have been leading the creeping stardom of hallyu (idol) bands across Europe and American for some years

So anyone that’s been following the hallyu wave won’t have been at all surprised when BIGBANG announced that there would be European and American dates in the tour for their 5th EP Alive. BIGBANG has had an incredible year, with 5 music videos receiving more than 10 million views on YouTube, including ‘Monster,’ ‘Blue,’ ‘Fantastic Baby’ and ‘Bad Boy.’ They stayed at the top of the album charts in Korea for the first half of the year, with their comeback album Alive, together with the special edition album Still Alive, which garnered combined sales of more than 400,000 copies.

Formed in 2006 under one of the other big labels in the business, YG Entertainment, Big Bang has grown to become one of the most successful Asian acts in the world. The group consists of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri. They’re known for their unique urban-orientated music and increasingly bright and outrageous fashion style. Couple this with catchy pop tunes and impressive dance routines and it’s not difficult to see where the appeal lies for so many fans. The members’ involvement in composing and producing their own music, most notably G-Dragon’s, has earned the group respect and praise from music industry experts.

To date, BIGBANG have sold out every show in every country they have visited

K-pop arguably demonstrates celebrity consumption at its finest. All the members of Big Bang have their own spin-off music projects,  Daesung and Seungri have appeared in Korean Dramas and variety shows, and TOP has even been in a movie or two. Not to mention that almost anywhere  in East  Asia you can buy just about anything with the face of your favourite member on it.

The Alive Galaxy Tour kicked-off in Korea in March, where they played to more than 30,000 fans in sell-out venues. They then stormed Japan playing 13 sold out shows to more than 210,000 fans, then made history in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing with 3 shows and more than 32,000 tickets sold. To date, BIGBANG have sold out every show in every country they have visited. It’s a spectacular show given the production team is led by Laurieann Gibson, the director for Lady Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour. With ticket prices starting at £60 and rising to £90 for prime viewing there’s no doubt that the UK date will have to deliver the same electrifying performances that so many in Asia have had the chance to see already.

by Hannah Ross

 

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