As the winter gloom slowly ebbs its way off the continent, multiple K-pop acts are picking up speed and making their way toward North America. With at least four festivals and cons dedicated to Korean pop culture in the U.S. and Canada this year, 2016 is set to be the busiest year for North American K-pop fans ever.
An abundance of appearances have already been announced, but nothing is gaining as much buzz as these boy bands bringing their tours to the United States and Canada.
April is one of the busiest months of the year for K-pop acts in North America and Teen Top begins the spectacle this Saturday (April 2). The six member dance-pop act has been to the United States on several occasions and is now bringing their 2016 Teen Top U.S. Live Tour to fans in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas. This is the idol group's first American tour since their 2014 High Kick concert series, so we'll see the group perform newer songs like "Ah-Ah" and "Warning Sign" for the first time. Main vocalist Niel will also likely take the stage with his 2015 award-winning mid-tempo dance track "Lovekiller."
While its not technically a boy band nor technically K-pop, Korean hip-hop label AOMG is bringing its crew to eight different U.S cities this year, beginning in Chicago next Tuesday (April 5). Co-CEO's Jay Park and Simon Dominic will be joined by Gray, Loco, and DJ Pumpkin during the tour, which ends in Park's hometown of Seattle on April 17. Although they'll be in the U.S. for less than two weeks, AOMG will introduce American audiences to some of Korea's most popular R&B and hip-hop tracks, such as Jay Park's "Mommae" and Simon Dominic's chart-topping self-titled song. On stage collaborations are guaranteed as the crew pumps up the crowd.
Even though they're new, Day6 is joining the big leagues this August with a trip to North America that consists of two stops in California and a third in Florida. Previously planned for April, the trip's postponement likely reflects changes to the band's style necessitated by member Junhyeok departing from the group. Although the tour is short and sweet with only three stops, it's suitable for a band under a year old. Fans will also get a chance to meet the band at Toronto KPOP Con, headlining alongside GOT7, VIXX and trending girl group GFRIEND. Day6's latest EP, Daydream, came out on Wednesday and is only their second since the group debuted last September.
One of the most prolific international touring acts in K-pop, B.A.P visited North America already during Live On Earth tours in 2013 and 2014. The future of the hip-hop inspired boy band looked fraught after the sextet filed a lawsuit against their agency at the tail end of 2014, but after reaching a settlement last summer, B.A.P began releasing new music at lightning speed. The Live On Earth 2016 World Tour will have the men performing songs from two new EPs, Matrix and Carnival, as they head to stops in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
As April moves into May, the most senior group of the bunch will arrive but just for a weekend. Things will begin in Toronto at the Hallyu North Expo on May 6, then SHINee will join numerous other Korean artists the next day at the 14th annual Korea Times Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. (Also attending the festival are top artists like Yoon Mi Rae and hubby Tiger JK, FTISLAND, Red Velvet, AOA, Wheesung, The Barberettes, and more.) The three-day whirlwind will end with SHINee's first-ever American fan meet in Chicago on May 8.
Multicultural retro-inspired dance group GOT7 are also joining in the fun. GOT7's 2016 Fly in USA tour begins in earnest in July in Texas, but they'll also have their aforementioned performance at Toronto KPOP Con 2016. GOT7's tour is named after their recently released Flight Log: Departure EP. The group, one of the more popular K-pop groups internationally, is performing in New York, Texas, California, Georgia, and Illinois throughout the first two weeks of July.
FTISLAND & VIXX
A honourable mention goes to FTISLAND and VIXX, both of which are K-pop acts known for their unique styles but are only visiting and not doing full tours.
FTISLAND has been big in Japan for years and toured the U.S. last year but this time they're just passing through. The band will be playing at the Korea Times Festival on May 7.
VIXX, who have garnered a large fanbase thanks to their consistent reconceptualization and pushing the limits of K-pop musical styles, have also been in North America before and are joining Day6 and GOT7 at Toronto KPOP Con 2016. They'll be performing on May 20.