“They were truly born to be on stage”, one of MCND’s fans exclaimed after the gig. [twitter handle: HUIJUNLVR]. And she was right! 

It is very rare for me, a person who is quite particular about the K-pop music they enjoy, to be absorbed by a new up-and-coming boy-group’s performance. But let’s start from the beginning…

Image © Narine Chalabi for View of the Arts

MCND debuted in the worst possible period [February, 2020], during the height of the COVID pandemic. But this didn’t stop them from working hard and reaching for their dreams. Consisting of five young men, Castle J, BIC, Minjae, Huijun and Win, MCND had garnered fans not only domestically [South Korea], but also overseas, including the UK. Since their debut, the group released 4 EPs and six singles. With much love and support floating from GEMs [official name of MCND’s fanbase], there was no surprise that the tickets to their London show sold relatively fast.

Image © Narine Chalabi for View of the Arts

On April 10th, O2 Academy Islington opened its doors to over 500 thrilled fans. MCND, after a few minutes of delay, appeared on the stage just after 7 pm and immediately started on a high note. The concert setlist was opened by Reason, a song from their 2021 EP, The Earth: Secret Mission Chapter 1. Dressed in red and black outfits, the boys quickly demonstrated what they are capable of. After performing the song, the group enthusiastically greeted the audience and smoothly moved to Bumpin followed by Beautiful; both from 2020’s Earth Age EP. The stage energy of MCND was enormous, and the exaltation of the fans was downright mind-blowing. 

Image © Narine Chalabi for View of the Arts

Castle J, BIC, Minjae, Huijun and Win’s charisma, teamwork, and great stage relationship complemented each other fantastically. The group, although working extremely hard while performing, had a lot of fun on the stage, and their good mood definitely resonated with the audience. Even though the staging was very simple, MCND used every inch of it. The big screen at the back of the performance area projected some interesting digital patterns, art and intro videos for each member, as well as fun clips of the group’s activities. 

Image © Narine Chalabi for View of the Arts

Of course, the concert could not miss out on covers as well. After the extensive dancing [choreography was really impressive, mostly well synchronised], and the performance of Cat Waltz and Louder, it was time for the boys to do some covers: Alan Walker x Benjamin Ingrosso’s Man on the Moon and Ed Sheeran’s Shivers. After an hour or so, they took a short break to catch a breath and change into new clothes. And, while waiting for the group to reappear, I thought to myself “the stage is MCND’s home”. They genuinely know how to entertain the crowd. Castle J, BIC, Minjae, Huijun and Win have the full package: looks and talent, but above all, charms and vigour. 

Image © Narine Chalabi for View of the Arts

For over two hours, those young men really delivered. MCND also performed Spring, Stereotypes, Breathe, Nanana and Galaxy. During the second part of the show, they made sure to interact with their fans. It was lovely to see how encouraging the crowd was when they were asked to do aegyo [애교] – a cute display of affection – on the stage. I haven’t giggled so hard in years, and the whole demonstration of their cuteness was surely precious to GEMs. 

After the third and final change of outfits, MCND, although visibly tired [I have no idea how they even managed to dance so much during those two hours, quite impressive], gave even more to their fans. They danced their hearts out while performing Ice Age, Crush, and their new and unreleased song, Juice

Image © Narine Chalabi for View of the Arts

To the loud chants of their fans, MCND sang 24 songs [if I am counting correctly] with Hey You ending the show. However, just before leaving the stage, the group had a lovely surprise for GEMs: signed white coasters, which they threw into the audience. 

There is no denial that this emerging K-pop group is going to impress many professionals in the industry, including the media. As long as they are well-taken care of by their management, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MCND in a much bigger venue in the future. 

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Written by Maggie Gogler

Images © Narine Chalabi

* Thank you to CASTLEJEM [Twitter handle} for helping us to get the correct setlist.

Image © Narine Chalabi for View of the Arts

View of the Arts is a British online publication that chiefly deals with films, music, arts, and fashion, with an emphasis on the Asian entertainment industry. We are hoping our audience will grow with us as we begin to explore new platforms such as K-pop, and continue to dive into the talented and ever-growing scene of film, arts and fashion, worldwide.

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General, K-pop, Music

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