On April 28, 2019, Epik High fans lined up around the block to enter the iconic Vaudeville Theatre venue, The Warfield, in the heart of San Francisco, CA to experience the first performance from the trio in North America in four years. Epik High, fresh off the release of their newest album, 'sleepless in __________,' is 3 dates away from the end of their 18-date North American tour. They stopped in San Francisco to pay homage to the bay area and bid devout fans with a hearty 'hello again'! The trio, supported by the alternative indie act, Yoshi Flower, provided a genre-spanning performance that fulfilled the wishes of all attending fans. Feeling serious concert FOMO? Here's allkpop's recap of the 'Epik High 2019 North American Tour' at The Warfield in San Francisco to fill you in on what you missed:
Fans waited since the morning to get a good spot to see the iconic trio. Lines wrapped from the venue box office, down the street and eventually wrapped around the block. Fans of all ages, races, and genders were eagerly awaiting 7 PM doors to roll around in order to enter the venue to get situated. As soon as fans entered the historic space, they were greeted with two booths of merchandise. Hoodies, t-shirts, and caps sold quickly as others rushed past the lines to claim their spot in GA.
The evening of music began with a primer from the alternative indie artist, Yoshi Flower. Yoshi, also known as, Los Angeles musician, Josh Smith, combines his affinity for hip hop, indie rock, and electronic tunes to make an extremely unique soundscape. Surprisingly enough, he had little affiliation and relation to K-Pop, yet still made the effort to hype up fans for Epik High's performance by yelling 'Saranghae!' and throwing finger hearts. His set began with a mellow lo-fi mood but became more uptempo as the songs progressed. Yoshi Flower's most memorable moments were his off-the-speaker rock star jumps and intricate guitar solos.
After Yoshi Flower, the lights went back on for a brief intermission while fans hydrated and got ready to enjoy a set from the one and only Epik High. The break was short-lived as the venue lights dimmed and stage lights lit up to DJ Tukutz gracing the audience with his presence. As the opening notes of "In Seoul" began to filter through the theatre, rappers, Mithra Jin and Tablo swaggered on stage for a rare and long-awaited reappearance and performance. "In Seoul" served as a delightful appetizer for the set list of the night by highlighting the newest album, "sleepless in __________".
The group immediately went into "No Thanxxx," evoking a classic old-school hip-hop sound and feel. Epik High was able to remind K-Hip Hop fans that they paved the way through just the first few minutes of their live performance.
Tablo took to giving the loyal San Francisco crowd warm welcomes and gave group introductions through his ability to make joke after joke. When introducing "the band" he made DJ Tukutz imitate a wide variety of instruments like the cello, accordion, grand piano, drums, trap drums, and more. This was the beginning of a hearty night of laughs from the group.
Epik High then transitioned into "Burj Khalifa" and even did some fan service during "Eternal Sunshine" by taking a fan's cell phone and recording some self-cam footage mid-song. Fans of the old school Epik High were then blessed with two older tracks, "Bleed" and "Love Love Love," whose upbeat melodies and the slightly electronic sound caused fans to shout passionately along with the lyrics.
As the group takes a breather, Tablo begun to do his segue into "Home is Far Away" when a fan shouted the name of the track before he was finished setting himself and the group up to transition into the song. In true Tablo fashion, he took that fan's prediction and turned it into a series of hilarious corny jokes about how they weren't going to perform the track because the fan had spoiled the surprise. Putting the jokes aside, Tablo then asked all the fans to take their cell phones and illuminate the venue with their cell phone's camera flash. With the amount of sheer light coming from these passionate fans, the trio was blessed with a bright constellation of diehard Epik High followers.
Epik High then proved to fans that they're here to stay for longer than we'd ever fathomed by proving that it's possible for these old dogs to learn new tricks without sacrificing the aspects of the trio that have made them so special for the last decade. The trio took on a special rendition of their 2012 song, "Kill This Love," that involved a heavily electronic-influenced dubstep drop that brought the energy levels through the roof of The Warfield. They kept the upbeat electronic and hip hop crossover alive by playing "High Technology" which DJ Tukutz utilized to have a dance break and "New Beautiful" with its electronic breaks and thumping Roland 808 drums. The cohort provided some more fan service, but eventually, good things must come to an end. Tablo and Mithra Jin acted as though the group would not accept or do an encore, so the crowd went absolutely wild to hear "Fan" and finish off the night. After "Fan," the group left the stage and bid the diehard fans a good night.
Immediately loud, powerful chants and screams saying "ENCORE! ENCORE! ENCORE!" shook the entire theater with its crisp volume. It seemed as though the chanting worked out when DJ Tukutz came back to his turntables with a UC Berkeley hoodie on! Tablo, clad in a red Stanford hoodie, then began to rap his bars in "Born Hater". By the time Mithra Jin got back on stage, the trio surprised one lucky fan with a signed "sleepless in __________" t-shirt. Tablo asked fans to scream "WOW" and Mithra Jin was able to fold up the shirt to get enough trajectory and acceleration to hurtle the signed tee up into the balcony.
The night ended with one more song from the group and the energy that Epik High put forth was returned tenfold when they performed their final encore track, "Don't Hate Me". The group showered fans in water and guaranteed folks who attended would have a good time with the b-boying and fan service they provided for this Epik High classic. They finished off their San Francisco stop by jumping into the pit in front of the stage. Fans stayed respectful but were buzzing from the excitement of being so close to these K-Hip Hop legends.
Epik High left concert-goers in extremely high spirits after a night of singing, dancing, and most importantly, laughing. The trio proves once again that despite aging quickly in an ever-evolving music landscape, they are able to keep the focus on their musical creations and share that experience with folks from every walk of life all across the world. Epik High 2019 North American Tour attendees all have one thing in common by the end of each stop of the tour: an unadulterated smile.