Planetarium Records is a Korean music label made up of six solo artists: June, Moti, Jung Jinwoo, Villain, Gaho and Kei. G. PLT, for short, is a group project featuring collaborations between each artist. Their musical styles include hip-hop, R&B, trap and pop. Since the beginning of 2018, they have released two albums, Planetarium Case #1 and Planetarium Case #2, as well as solo work.
Over the past year, they have amassed a considerable international following. It is through the fan-orientated music site, My Music Taste, that they were able to undertake their European “WE GO HOLIC” tour this February. At ULU Live in London, they performed their final night.
ULU Live, a partnership with the University of London Union, is a fitting venue to showcase the international act, amongst the hub of multiculturalism from its surrounding universities. Fans, mostly women in their late teens and 20s, arrive early to secure a spot near the front row. The two-hour show comprises of an assortment of solo stages, collaborations and a finale with PLT all together.
Opening the night was June, whose honeyed voice effortlessly sang over his melodious tunes as he perched coolly on a stool. The 80s inspired synth of feel-good “Gas Station” and rich guitar twangs of “Autumn Leaves” and “Serenade” welcomed the concert with a vibrant atmosphere.
Next up was Gaho, with a more stripped-back sound carried mostly by his powerhouse vocals. With both the livelier “Going On” and ballads “Stay Here” and “Shine On You” featuring Villain, he flaunted his soulful voice with such skill and control it seemed unjust within such a modest venue size. The audience listened in hushed awe and gave a few supportive howls.
Then Jung Jinwoo takes the stage showcasing an impressive versatility in style. His warm, bright voice matched well with the brooding slow-jam “Problems”. After the crowd sway expressively to the melancholic pop track “She’s Got Everything”. He smoothly transitions into the edgier “Dock” featuring June, a punchy trap song.
Moti follows with “WORK N REST”, showing off his skilful rapping and assertive stage presence. His emphatic rap complements the polished beat of “Blue” as he moves around the stage, feeling the music. He is joined by June to perform “GO”, and continues to deliver impressive flow and charisma, as the audience dance energetically to its staccato rhythm.
Last to perform their solo set is rapper and singer Villain. He begins with the hypnotic “Fairy – Remix” and “Rescue Squad”. Being fluent in English, he recounts a moving story about the racism he faced living abroad, and follows it with the empowering “Manitto”, which includes the quip, “Boohoo, haters”. Villain is clearly a natural performer, expertly rousing the energy of the crowd and leaping into the audience during “Luhvin It”. He emulates the international swagger of Jay Park whilst remaining a distinctive force of his own.
Next, they alternate returning to stage for a selection of collaborations. This includes “Days” with Moti, June and Villain, a sultry, laid-back song, as well as the sentimental “Then” with Gaho and Villain. The crowd’s excitement reached its peak with the performances of “IGOHOLIC”, “Blah” and “Hocus Pocus”, of which they all feature. For the finale they played “IGOHOLIC” again, the epic, hard-hitting beats a perfect closing act for the electric crowd.
They make sure to commemorate the last night of their European tour with a heartfelt thanks to the audience, and welcomed their management team on stage to share the moment. Throughout the show, the crowd screamed words of adoration to each performer. They returned sentiments through a translator, and despite the obvious language barrier, there was an unspoken recognition of the power of music to transcend language as the performers and audience exchanged appreciation.
Having gained such an impassioned international fan base in only a year is a testament to their artistry and appeal, but also the increasing global reach of Korean music. Planetarium Records orchestrated an impressively compact yet satisfying show, conveying each artist’s individuality whilst demonstrating their artistic chemistry as a group. I feel fortunate to have witnessed such talented musicians all in one night, in an intimate venue, before their inevitable vast success.
Words, Emilia Fielker – @mila.vio
Images, Kpopmap (Planterium Records)