Review: An Evening with Hyukoh at Lincoln Hall

  For fans of international artists, the hope of seeing your favorite acts perform live often seems like a far-fetched dream. But, for fans of the South Korean indie band, Hyukoh, it was a dream come true when the band announced their first ever headlining world tour, How to Find True Love and Happiness. The group’s tour included 17 US tour dates, during which they were accompanied by the California-based band Inner Wave. Despite it being their first headlining show in Chicago, the band played to a sold out crowd at Lincoln Hall, showing that their fame and fans extended past the confines of culture, language, and borders. Though the group is fairly new (they formed in 2014), Hyukoh has gained an unprecedented rise to fame during their short time as a band. Part of their notoriety is attributed to their early media exposure from major Korean network shows like Infinite Challenge, but their lasting popularity and continually growing fanbase is all on them. Hyukoh is famous for being a band of introverts. That combined with their quirky personalities and relatable songs that tackle themes of loneliness, uncertainty, and vulnerability, make them easily relatable and appealing to their listeners and fans at large. Hyukoh’s Lincoln Hall show was a reflection of their identity as a band, a little bit shy, a little bit awkward, but charismatic, and brimming with passion. The band started their set with “SkyWorld,” one of their softer tracks, but the calm didn’t last as they followed up with their massive hit “Wiing Wiing.” The band’s setlist alternated between their softer tracks like “Gang Gang Schiele” and “Hooka” and their heavier, rock-influenced songs like “Graduation,” “2002WorldCup,” “Wanli,” and “Masitnonsoul.” The group had very little to say throughout the duration of their concert, Oh Hyuk being the only band member to really interact with audience. Even then, his words were limited to a brief song introduction here and there. Although more reserved than most performers, communication ended up not being that big of an issue for the band as their music did most of the talking. As for the language barrier, that wasn’t really a problem either. Oh Hyuk’s uniquely gritty and raw vocals conveyed the feeling of each song and the audience was able to appreciate it all the same. As the night slowly winded down, the band concluded their Chicago show with “Luv Ya!” and “TOMBOY,” spreading a wave of calm and pensive ambiance. They ultimately wrapped up their set with “Gondry.” The members of Hyukoh took a group photo with the crowd in place of an encore and then took their leave. Everyone was left wishing for a little more time together with the band. The concert ended up being about an hour long, but the audience probably wouldn’t have minded it going a while longer. Here’s to hoping that Hyukoh comes back to Chicago very soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Hyukoh’s music. If you want to discover some more Korean indie artists, you can also check out our TCR Mixtape No. 37: K-Sounds.
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Pearl Shin