Jay Park, Simon D. (Simon Dominic), Gray and Loco delivered electrifying stages during the New York City leg of their AOMG “Follow The Movement” 2016 Tour. The ensemble, who previously performed at Stage 48 in 2014, made excellent use of the Playstation Theater and the amped-up energy of the crowd. Die-hard fans of the hip-hop artists arrived as early as 5 a.m. and braved brisk temperatures of 35 degrees Fahrenheit for the opportunity to be in the front line of the show. Their dedication was rewarded through the phenomenal sets that were smoothly executed, throughout the evening.
The concert started promptly at 7:01 p.m. EST, with Simon D. leading the star-studded roster, accompanied by DJ Pumkin, who continuously spun and remixed the hottest AOMG tracks. Simon D. performed a nine-song set which was kicked off by his interpretation of the 1999 Pharaohe Monch track, “Simon Says,” which never fails to get the crowd amped up. He followed with his self-titled hit, “Simon Dominic,” before launching into “Won and Only.” While this was not his first time performing with AOMG in New York City, the co-founder of the label and legendary rapper exuded charisma and confidence which made onlookers forget about his time with Supreme Team. It was as if he has always been a part of AOMG.
He drove the audience into a frenzy with his fourth song, “Money Don’t Lie,” which he originally released as a surprise solo singer in 2014. “Money Don’t Lie” incorporates the rhythmic, rapid-fire flow that Simon D is best known for and is best experienced live. Next, he led the hyped up crowd into the slower tempo of “Stay Cool,” followed by “Where U At” and “Lonely Night.” Before he started to end his set, he addressed the crowd to inquire about the ages of the audience members. While it was a 16 and older show, the bulk of female-dominated throng were 21 and over, the legal drinking age in New York. His question served as the perfect segue to “Cheerz,” a rowdy ode to alcohol. He capped off his solo stage with “Dang Dang Dang,” a rhythm-infused rap that was punctuated by reggae horns.
Gray and Loco followed Simon D. with a set consisting of 10 songs. In 2014, they were considered to be rookies at the newly formed AOMG and their stage presence reflected their desire to gain more experience in front of live audiences. Their progress over the years was reflected by their powerful start on “High No More.” While Gray previously worked behind-the-scenes, he is now a main attraction during the AOMG tour. They continued to ignite the Playstation Theater with “If” and “Dream Chaser,” followed by “Dangerous.” Both rappers were extremely engaging when speaking with concertgoers, while expressing their surprise at a large number of Korean-speaking attendees who were foreigners or neither Korean or Asian.
Loco and Gray continued to maintain a hip-hop vibe throughout the set, with “Respect,” “In My Head,” and “Summer Night.” “You Don’t Know” was paired with “Awesome,” serving as one of the best combinations of the entire evening. While the bulk of their songs were party bangers, they turned up the heat by closing their set with the steamy R&B tracks, “Just Do It” and “Hold Me Tight.”
Jay Park never leaves audiences wanting for more and his performance during AOMG in New York City provided no exceptions. He pulled out all of the stops from the minute he hit the stage with his December 2015 release, “2nd Thot.” He continued to serve up new material for his captivated fans (Jaywalkers), as he crooned on his recent single, “All I Wanna Do.” Even though the track dropped a few weeks ago, the Playstation Theater was filled with the voices of concertgoers who were able to sing-along with all of the lyrics, demonstrating his popularity as one of the leading R&B vocalists in Korean music.
He followed with “Solo” and his soulful hit, “Joah,” before launching into a compelling rendition of the Gray produced track, “On It.” While he is praised for his vocals, there are detractors who criticize his rap flow. With “On It,” he slowly builds momentum on, before spitting bars that demonstrate his ability to seamlessly segue from R&B to real hip-hop. The same can be said for his rap and vocal prowess on “My,” a track which has morphed into one of his most solid live tracks. On “WW” or “Worldwide,” rocking the mic over the grimy beat.
The rest of the AOMG crew joined him on the stage for two versions of “You Know,” followed by “Mommae.” Jay Park is known for his killer physique, in addition to his vocals, and he did not disappoint the audience when he finally removed his shirt for “Mommae.” AOMG continued the hip-hop vibe as they delivered an ensemble stage and their experience as label mates helped them escape from the trap of rap shows, where it seems like the performers are randomly coming in on a song.
However, the amped up audience became a bit too rowdy during “Success Crazed” and a small fight broke out. It came to an abrupt halt when Park asked them to stop and did not begin to perform again until the situation was resolved. This was a welcome scene for many New York fans who have been in the midst of disruptive audiences, in the past. This incident did not put a damper on the concert, with proceeded with the thrilling song, “BO$$$$,” followed by “Thinking About You.” The night began to come to a close with “No Manners.” Concertgoers were treated to a surprise appearance by Park in the second-tier of the audience during “I Like 2 Party,” which served as the invigorating conclusion to AOMG in New York City. The concert proved that there AOMG continues to morph into a leading hip-hop and R&B agency, with a bright future for all of its artists.
Photos by Natalie Johnson