<<F.T. Island Brings Classics and New Sound to California>>
By Mandy Day
Photos by Hien Le
Eight years after their debut, Korean rock band F.T. Island finally brought their tour to the U.S. The band has played stateside before, but 2015 marked the first year American fans could see one of South Korea’s most popular bands headline their own tour. Playing two stops in the U.S. to close out the FTHX Europe and Latin American Tour, several thousand fans rocked Los Angeles’ Club Nokia with the five band members and special guest, Jamil, an American born Japanese singer.
The band’s hits, like “Love Love Love” and “I Wish” anchored the concert while the group promoted their newest album, due out in March or April. Over the years, the band has gained more autonomy over the direction that their music takes. The days of bubbly pop rock are waning and the band is choosing to take their sound in a new, edgier direction. Fans of F.T. Island have stuck with the band throughout the years and their base has grown to include music lovers with a hard rock bias. One fan in attendance took a bus from San Jose, California to see the group. Journalists representing Spanish language media were also in attendance to cover the event for Mexican and Latin American based K-Pop listeners.
Lee Hongki, the lead singer and noticeable favorite among attendees, played the near two-hour show without missing a note, despite being afflicted by an illness. The venue was on the smaller side compared to recent Korean concerts, and lacked the fancy choreography of recent L.A. performers, 2PM and Jay Park. Opportunities to see Korean bands perform with live music as opposed to pre-recorded instrumental are few and far between. F.T. Island’s intimate show on a slow night at Downtown L.A. Live didn’t disappoint.
Mandy Day is a lifelong San Diego resident and made her way back home after finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy at Mills College in Oakland, California. She has traveled extensively in Australia and lived in Cairns for a year while studying Journalism. Along with travels in Europe, Mandy is passionate about adventuring to far flung lands and hopes to make a move to South Korea in the near future to teach. An avid fan of K-Pop and Korean dramas since 2010, Mandy has studied East Asian History since high school and currently organizes the San Diego Korean Language Exchange.