To begin with the soothing sound of the ebb and flow of crashing waves was a fitting opening for the The Colde Wave. Yet, for the first song of Korean singer Colde’s show to be an English cover of Chet Bakers’, I’ve Never Been In Love Before, was an interesting choice.
The first of two shows (curated by Epik High’s Tablo) held at the Hyundai Understage in Seoul’s centre, come after the release of Colde’s EP Wavy. The EP is the first solo release from the Korean singer, namely know as one half of rnb duo offonoff and member of crew Club Eskimo with the likes of singers Dean and Crush.
Coincidental or not, having two shows foreshadowed the main element of The Colde Wave, duality. The show was divided into two parts, each with stage and outfit changes. The opening half had the stage set with about a dozen white neon tubes that changed formation throughout the set. They were later replaced with five large panes of violet and azure tinted glass, that were reflective enough to mirror Colde. Likewise, Colde’s outfit went from a 1970’s style shirt, pants and sun hat, to a simple modern streetwear look, compete with a wavy scarf.
Naturally following the Chet Baker intro, the first half took a more sentimental tone with songs like Lovestruck, Sunflower, a mellowed out cover of BTS’s DNA and offonoff’s Dance. This part had a more nostalgic feel to it, empathetic to classic themes like love, clearly influenced by his appreciation for jazz.
The second half was the more energetic. Its songs were trendier, with hip hop and rnb influences especially with Yayaya with guest appearance of rapper Omega Sapien, Freedom and offonoff’s Gold.
Physically though, there were times when the crowd were unconnected to the performance. For high energy songs, they just weren’t interested in dancing. Colde even seemed frustrated with the lack of movement from the crowd, even restarting the opening of Freedom.
Yet the crowd’s energy came in the form of fixation and dedication. Although songs like Your Dog Loves You, and offonoff’s Photograph were more tender, they were crowd favourites. They brought out the crowd’s true energy, where their singing almost shrouded out the voice of Colde himself.
Throughout the show Colde had great command of the crowd, getting them to sing when he wanted. At the same time, giving explanations between each song, he was charming and sweet. Musically, he moved effortless from singing to rap throughout the show. But it was his rich singing voice that was his greatest strength, and had him hitting high notes on Your Dog Loves You and Dance perfectly.
Yet while the show began with an American jazz great, the show closed with a Korean ballad circa the 70s or 80s. After his last song, Please Love Me, his only fully Korean song, Colde left the stage, leaving the old ballad playing on a gramophone, its golden horn glistening in a single spotlight. And despite his all outside influences, this was a nod to his heritage.
What The Colde Wave did was to fuse together cultures and styles; the old and the new, the sentimental and the exciting. Doing so, it emphasised Colde’s influences and elements of his EP Wavy that weren’t necessarily prominent. And even though there were many facets to his performance, they all came together in perfect harmony. Just as water comes together to form a wave.