Balming Tiger’s UK and Europe The Tiny Tour II solidified their status as rockstars and innovative leaders of Korean alternative music. Ever since its formation in 2018, the collective has been turning heads worldwide, challenging the status quo and aiming for a cross-cultural impact.
I had the chance to catch their performance in Leeds and spend time among dedicated fans who travelled from all around the UK to see the notorious group. Two hours of ever-changing genres, powerhouse performances, and touching moments left the fans energised and longing for more.
Nothing beats the excitement of meeting fellow fans of Korean indie music outside of Korea. As I arrived at Headrow House in Leeds, the queue was buzzing with conversations about new K-indie releases, exchanges of playlists, and heated discussions of the latest season of Show Me The Money.
Throughout the night, this sense of community expanded beyond the audience and onto the artists, who made the evening an unforgettable, emotional night. The coherent, well-planned two-hour concert filled with unique voices and wacky choreography captured the hearts of the fans. It is clear that Balming Tiger achieved their mission of creating diverse, international music without boundaries.
The concert started on more of a mellow note, with the producer and vocalist wnjn entering the unassuming stage right as the crowd formed. Just a few notes of his intense electronic music were enough to immediately capture the focus of the entire room.
His fierce performance was full of heart-wrenching vocalising and peculiar beats, bringing out the edgy, emo side in all of us. This interesting, slow but profound start showed what Balming Tiger does best – surprising the audience with the unexpected. From the beginning, the collective was not afraid to pull at our heartstrings, showing that this will not be a conventional hip-hop concert.
This was followed by Sogumm’s performance on a similar note. The two worked together perfectly, as to be expected since wnjn produced all the songs on Sogumm’s excellent debut album Sobrightttttttt. Her striking vocals and peculiar energy arrested the crowd’s attention completely. Barefoot and with a plush bunny toy in her hand, Sogumm delivered a thrilling and intense performance. There is something so sublime and captivating about her presence, many people were brought to tears by her music full of longing and sounds of nature.
Just as the crowd got used to the wistful atmosphere, the energy took a sharp turn the second Omega Sapien’s iconic green hair peeked out from the stage entrance. Accompanied by DJ San Yawn, he delivered his signature high-energy, wacky performance featuring multilingual rapping and uncontrollable dance moves.
Before anyone could even begin to comprehend what just happened, everyone was jumping and going crazy to certified classics like “Jenny” and “Plum.” As a bonus, between every song he provided the audience with interactions that I can only describe as affectionate bullying, which, of course, everyone loved.
The last of the solo performance was by Mudd the Student, best known for his affinity for punk rock and as a contestant in the latest season of Show Me The Money. The young rapper took the stage by storm with his shaggy haircut and youthful enthusiasm. The contrast between his fresh and somewhat innocent demeanour and his intense lyrics and solid punk sound left a strong impression on the audience and allowed us to live out our rebellious, punk fantasy.
He performed his Show Me The Money hit “Dissonance” and various tracks from his debut EP Field Trip. One of the standout elements of the night was the adorable snippets Mudd read out from his notebook, in which he affectionately expressed his gratitude towards the fans.
After this booming performance, the audience was given a moment to catch our breath, before all the members returned to the stage for their final group performance. Balming Tiger’s unparalleled dynamic as a group did not disappoint.
With the addition of Seoul the Soloist, the collective clicked together perfectly. The fun and engaging choreography which accompanied each of their songs (my personal favourite being the endearing jumping in “Let’s drink”) only highlighted the sense of genuine enjoyment radiating from the group.
From Omega Sapien’s silly interactions with the public to Sogumm’s adorable plush bunny, the intimate, authentic connection between Balming Tiger and their fans was present all throughout the night. The concert felt like a loving embrace, an ode to living your truth, following your dreams, and what is more important – simply having fun.
It’s so refreshing to see young artists with a strong vision succeed and do so with style. Balming Tiger’s The Tiny Tour II’ was an emotional rollercoaster filled with outstanding, fantastic music and a must-see for every K-music fan.