Monsta X in London review: A thrilling spectacle of K-Pop perfection
Monsta X perform at Pyeongchang-gun (Picture: Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)

To someone not familiar with Korean pop music the scene at the Hammersmith Apollo on Sunday night looked like the intense sort of fan dedication not seen since One Direction were a thing.

A lot of Kpop fans are probably used to hearing things like, why do you like it? Theyre not singing in English!

But its like asking Eurovision fans why theyre into it. Its simply good, affirming pop music that unites K-Pop lovers, and in this instance Monbebe, the name for Monsta Xs fans.

Music, like food and film, is universal.

If youre already knee deep in the world of K-Pop however, you know all about Monsta X and their seven members: Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon and I.M. They debuted in 2015 after they were put together on a talent show called No Mercy and embarked on their first world tour just eight months ago.



They made a comeback this year with their album The Connect: Dejavu and are taking it on the road.

Monsta X in London review: A thrilling spectacle of K-Pop perfection
Monsta X kicked off their The Connect world tour in London (Picture: Hannah Deen)

The smaller stage at Hammersmith meant none of the backing dancers seen at their shows in Seoul, but it wasnt any less of a spectacle.

The group emerged, in shimmering white suits, from below the stage to dramatic music and glitter canons.

There were sparks and confetti, slick dance routines, light shows and even a beautifully shot short film involving time travel.

Monsta X in London review: A thrilling spectacle of K-Pop perfection
Monsta X member Hyungwon (Picture: Hannah Deen)

An interpreter was on hand, but they made every effort to speak to their fans in English which some found easier but others.

They didnt have to, but the fact they gave it a go was enough and showed that the dedication was a two-way street.

Monsta X in London review: A thrilling spectacle of K-Pop perfection
The band made a solid attempt to speak English (Picture: Hannah Deen)

A standout moment was a new unit stage from Hyungwon and rapper I.M., a cover of Drakes Fake Love which I.M. wrote his own rap for, followed by a saucy bit of choreography to How Long by Charlie Puth.

I.M. stans might not survive it.

Jooheon, the other half of the bands rap line, showed a sensuous side too, teaming up with Shownu, the groups leader, for a cover of Versace On The Floor; Wonhos efforts as a producer were displayed in his catchy and sweet tracks From Zero and 널 하다 (Neol Hada).

Some K-Pop groups can come off as unconvincing or forced when trying out different concepts, but Monsta X are chameleons and own every one.



They pull off seductive with ease (and they know it) in the likes of Jealousy and the sultry Because Of U, to cocky in Rush and their brassy debut single Trespass, and full on fist-pumping fun in club anthem Fallin, which was sadly cut short when the show threatened to run over the venues curfew.

Everything is done with charm and a wink. Theyre performers, training for years to do exactly this.

Its no more evident than in Lost In The Dream when the dancing stops and they really sing, Kihyuns powerhouse voice soaring to the rafters.

You couldnt help but think of what you hear about the K-Pop industry, the crazy schedules and so on, and wonder – are they okay? Are they getting enough rest? Are they happy?

Well Monsta X definitely looked it, often staring out in awe as the foreign crowd made heart shapes with their arms and belted out the chorus to dreamy crowd-pleaser Rollercoaster.

More: Music

Understandably the temptation to compare them to BTS is there.

BTS are household names after recently breaking America and becoming the first Korean artist to score a number 1 album on the Billboard Top 200 chart but other than the fact there are seven of them and they are also from Korea, thats where the similarities end.


Monsta X is its own glorious beast.

MORE: K-pop boyband VICTON admit BTSs success makes them work harder

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