Music is a force powerful enough to calm a baby, soothe a wild beast, or compel the two to dance with each other. Be overcome by this GrouponLive deal to KCON 2012 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Irvine on Saturday, October 13. For $30, you get one G-Pass for convention access starting at 10 a.m. and terrace seating in sections 9–14 at the concert at 7:30 p.m. (up to a $52.50 value, including all fees). Because the ticket is a G-Pass, Groupon customers can use it to enter the venue directly; they will not need to redeem their Groupon at will call.
The first of what aspires to be an annual event, KCON 2012 gives K-pop fans stateside a chance to meet some of the shiniest stars from South Korea. Though the genre has always enjoyed a passionate fan base internationally, this year saw an unprecedented mainstream breakthrough in the United States with sharply dressed rapper Psy’s juggernaut hit “Gangnam Style” (whose video features Kim Hyun-a from convention performers 4minute). All day at the convention’s booths, fans new and old can dive into activities that include fashion and dance workshops, discussions on K-pop versus J-pop, and “YouTube Idols: Meet the Stars,” in which Internet celebrities offer tips on achieving digital fame such as making sure you’re not just talking into the microwave. Special guests such as music-video star and Taeyang choreographer Aimee Lee Lucas, JustKiddingFilms founders Bart Kwan and Joe Jo, Jen, also known as From Head to Toe, choreographer Rino Nakasone, standup comedians David So and P.K. Kim, and the convention’s official DJ, Peter Rocks, who has worked with Far East Movement, provide their own perspective on the cross-cultural collisions that give K-pop its own flashy-goofy spirit.
At 7:30 p.m., the lights dim for the main event, a star-studded concert with performances by immaculately choreographed boy bands, girl groups, and solo artists. Exo-M, a subgroup of Exo, features six skilled boybanders bringing their mix of singing, rapping, dancing, and martial arts to the stage. 4Minute pumps up the energy with five-part female vocals spiced with chipmunk-pitched raps from superstar Kim Hyun-a, whereas B.A.P. transforms the glitzy genre with a confrontational hip-hop aesthetic. G. Na’s chipper voice has kindled hits such as “Top Girl” and “What I Want to Do When I Have a Lover.” Strikingly coiffed boy band Nu’est overlays old-school techno with sung-spoken lyrics and choreography that can turn on a dime from boyish exuberance to robotic control. Opening acts include Dumbfoundead and AJ.