On July, 21st, Stray Kids performed at Lollapalooza Paris as the headliners of the day.
A long-awaited performance
From the day they were announced as headliners for Lollapalooza Paris, Stray Kids became one of the most awaited acts of the festival’s 2023 edition.
The Korean group, who hasn’t toured Europe after their 2019 Unveil Tour “I AM…”, had since then only visited Europe for a short Music Bank in Paris performance. Considering their growth during that time, the group, whose charts and datas are getting closer and closer to those of the front-runners of the industry, led to fans converging towards Paris. On SNS, Stays (the group’s fans) jokingly called Paris “Stayville”. It was easy to spot SKZOOs (the group’s representative plus toys) and photocards holders keychains at the corner of every street.
On July, 21st, fans reached the Lollapalooza venue (Hippodrome Paris Longchamps) early. At noon, thousands of fans were waiting for the doors to open 3 hours later. Security staff was left suprized by how early such a wide crowd ad gathered. When doors opened, the crowd quickly separated between thos who wanted to enjoy the various stages of the festival, and stays who waited for Stray Kids to perform at 10PM.
When the group’s anthem stating “Stray Kids everywhere all around the world”, the whole crowd repeated the mantra, relieved that “around the world” finally meant Europe.
Despite their performance being a festival gig, the group pressive an impressively long set-list. During 1 hour and a half, they alternated between some fans’ favorites (Miroh, Haven, God’s Menu, Lonely St.) and their newest tracks (S-Class, Topline, Superbowl). Regardless of the song, fans sing along and prove that the majority of the crowd came specifically for Stray Kids. But the choice of songs is also a smart way to introduce their music to “non-Stays”, displaying a variety of genres.
The group, whose music is sometimes discribed as “noise music” (a music that includes non-musical sounds), came with their band. Having a K-Pop group performing with a band usually happens in stadium performances but is still pretty rare. Yet it’s perfect for a group like Stray Kids, whose power and energy shine even more when performing with a band.
Humbleness despite a major achievement
Of course, the members perform for their fans. But they don’t forget that a part of the audience (a smaller part than what they most likely expected) don’t know them. They tried to explain their music, Felix saying it possesses “strange but special qualities.” Most importantly, they made sure that everyone knows that Stray Kids makes their own music. They contradict the prejudice against K-Pop artists that all groups lack artistic freedom is still strong. Jisung introduced the trio of composer, 3RACHA (Bangchan, Changbin and Jisung) before their performed Heyday. It was the only unit performance of the evening, proving that the purpose was really to emphasize their role as producers.
Despite performing in front of 60 000 people, the group remained disarmingly humble. They repeated what an honor it was to perform at an international summer festival. They became the first K-Pop group to headling any Lollaplooza event after J-Hope did so as a solo act in 2022, in Chicago. The members, despite the nervousness they claimed to feel on their social platform Bubble, seemed at ease. They managed to interact with each others, with the band and with the audience all at once. And when two members (Lee Know and Bangchan) ripped their pants mid-performance, they just laughed it off and left the stage to change their outfit.
It almost looked like they weren’t fully aware of the achievement they were making. Especially in Europe, a continent that many groups have yet to officially tour. As the most popular Korean artists and groups – which includes Stray Kids – tend to prioritize North America and Asia, it also means that general public in Europe hasn’t fully realized the potential of K-Pop.
Unfortunately, long hours spent waiting under the sun have left some fans unwell. Several of them had to be evacuated during the performance. Each time the members noticed Stays about to pass out, they asked for the staff to bring water to them, and for the rest of the audience to help with the evacuation. Fans’ safety was a major concern for the group, and each members seemed to genuinely worry whenever something like that happened.
A festival gig is never quite the same as a concert. While concert often have VCRs and longer ments for the members to catch a breath festivals call for a faster rythm. Considering Stray Kids’ choreography, it must have been difficult for the members to perform as many songs as they did. But their energy never died, always matching those of the fans. Their performance is successful, and left fans hoping for Europe to be including in their next tour. But are they really still “Stray” Kids considering the crowd of fans ready to turn any place into a home for the members, just like they did in Paris that day?
We thank Lollapalooza Paris and Live Nation France for having us.
Article : Céline
Photos : Elodie