featuring NK Badtz Maru
November 3, 2018 at Paradise Rock Club
Yaeji’s music has been described as house music for introverts. Her tracks blare with loud bass, but her soft voice adds an introspective flair. Though she is shy about her voice, her shyness was nowhere to be found as she commanded a sold-out crowd at the Paradise Rock Club on November 3.
After a forgettable DJ set from NK Badtz Maru, Yaeji took the stage with ‘Feel it Out.’ Her performance was the only one that felt like a real performance that night. As the track played, she sang and danced at the front of the stage instead of hiding behind her turntables like the DJs before her. The crowd sang every word right back to Yaeji as they danced and cheered her on. The music consumed the room and the combination of sound and lights made the venue feel like a night club. But the night club vibe didn’t take away from the fact that this was a real performance, rather than a DJ set. Her set reached a climax with ‘raingurl,’ which has an astounding 13 million plays on Spotify. The lights flashed and everyone jumped as they chanted, “Make it rain girl, make it rain.” Everyone became a single unit at that moment and Yaeji could not hide her excitement. The audience was obsessed with her, chanting her name in every moment of silence and grasping for her hand every time she came close to the barricade.
As she performed ‘drink i’m sippin on,’ fans belted gibberish in unison as they attempted to sing along to Yaeji’s Korean lyrics. It was kind of hilarious to hear everyone’s interpretation of a language they had no understanding of. Yaeji only sold one style of merchandise that night – a face mask inspired by her Korean heritage. It’s something hardly worn in American culture but immensely popular in Asia, and her choice to sell nothing but a face mask was bold. Her refusal to let go of her culture to appease a wider audience was admirable. Intentional or not, it was a statement that western music doesn’t need to be pigeonholed and all cultures have a place in pop culture.
Yaeji ended her set with her remix of ‘Focus’ by Charli XCX. It was the first song of the night that wasn’t an original one as she’d exhausted her entire discography by the time the set was over. The reception from the crowd was incredible – Yaeji even said that she wished Charli XCX could see this performance because she was so stunned by the energy. She couldn’t hold back a smile as she finished her final song and took time to extend a heartfelt thank you to the crowd. Yaeji blushed as she told the crowd that she never expected to have people care so much about her performance and give her the love they did. Her genuine sentiment was a great display of her character and peeled back the layer of coolness that so many DJs hide behind.
The way her personality shone through the night set Yaeji apart from other DJs. She was clearly incredibly proud of her own work and wasn’t afraid to unapologetically be herself on stage. Her performance was captivating and she proved that her originality is something that deserves recognition.
Photos by Ingrid Angulo