Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lightsticks and Sones won't break my bones: the truth about k-pop black oceans.

This blog post was inspired by one of those rare intelligent ask.fm moments:

blogidea4

As someone who has actually performed on live stages of varying sizes hundreds of times, I'm uniquely qualified to address this issue, and along the way we're going to crush one of the greatest myths that is (cleverly) perpetrated by the entire k-pop industry.  Gosh.

Firstly, let's take a look at some footage from the live concert that the poster is referring to - the notorious 2008 Dream Concert, where fans of certain other k-pop groups controversially (don't laugh) decided to "black ocean" or shut off their lightsticks while SNSD performed, for some bullshit reason nobody is even completely sure of and that even the notoriously egocentric-in-public-statements Super Junior didn't think was all that important.


The crowd did still cheer... somewhat.  They didn't throw anything or hurl abuse, which made them a lot more polite than certain other audiences.  However, all except a tiny corner of SNSD fans (seen in the video at 2:09) turned their lightsticks off.  How could SNSD even perform to that at all without crying or getting pissed off at the crowd?  Are SNSD super-strong angels?  Are they robots?  Or do they just not give a fuck?

Well, to get the true answer to this question, in typical Kpopalypse style, we're going to go on a massive tangent and talk about something completely different... yet in a way, very similar.

dime

Meet Darrell Abbott AKA "Dimebag Darrell", former lead guitarist of the American heavy metal group Pantera.  Dimebag had a long run with Pantera, forming the band with his brother in 1981, but the group didn't see commercial success or become influential in the global heavy metal scene until they ditched their ludicrously shithouse early glam rock style in favour of a much more refined and skilfully executed thrash/groove metal approach.

After hitting a creative peak in the early 90s and releasing a string of successful albums, Pantera broke up in 2003 when their lead singer Phil Anselmo decided for whatever reason that he wasn't going to return to the group after a hiatus (obviously a bully victim because that's the only reason why groups ever lose members isn't that right k-netz).  Having already achieved great respect in heavy metal and guitar aficionado circles, Dimebag then went and started again from scratch, forming a new group with his brother called Damageplan.

Then at one of their first ever shows, a crazy fan walked onstage with a gun and shot him dead.  And you thought EXOtics were insane.


I remember when I first heard about the shooting, it was only a few minutes before I was about to go on a stage myself - not a good feeling.  Dimebag's fate was actually a really scary moment for almost everybody I knew working in the live music scene at the time, because it highlighted something that we all preferred not to think about - how vulnerable performers are on a live stage.  We all knew that Dimebag was a sitting duck - anybody could easily do what happened to him or something like it to any one of us, at any time, and there is nothing any of us could do to stop it.

So why are performers so vulnerable on live stages, and what's this got to do with black oceans and SNSD?  The answer lies in this screencap of the Black Ocean concert:

snsd

What do you see in this picture, besides SNSD?  That's right - three big-ass spotlights pointed right at the faces of the girls.  That's so you can see the girls doing their thing on the stage even if you're 10 or 50 or 100 or 200 metres away, and those spotlights are on almost the whole goddamn time.  Oh and look, there's two more spotlights off to the side.  You can bet it's a symmetrical layout and there's even more spotlights on the other side too, so that makes seven spotlights covering the girls from multiple angles, and that's assuming that we're not missing some other extra spotlights that are out of frame.

Now guess what - when someone shines a big torch in your face, and you look right at it, you're blinded.  You can't see a fucking thing in that direction.  Now imagine that the torch isn't just a torch but an uber-powerful spotlight like the ones that they use at concerts, that are several times more powerful than car headlights.  Now multiply that brightness depending on the size of the venue and the amount of lights used.  Then add the extra effect of any other lights in the lighting rig such as dimmer "floodlights" which are often used by the dozens at big events.  At a daylight concert it's different, but any big gig during the nighttime and the performers can't see past the first few rows thanks to all that shit shining in their face.  I can't remember a single smaller concert I ever played at night with proper lighting where I could see more than three rows into the audience from the stage, and on very large stages where the very front row of fans isn't even anywhere near the fucking stage... well, you can't see ANYONE.  Look at the photo again, and how fucking far back from the stage the first row of fans is.  You could park a small aircraft in that fucking gap.  Think they can even see that far from that position, think again.

Those bright lights are a big part of the reason why that gunman was easily able to walk right up to Dimebag and shoot him, no problem at all.  Poor old Dime wouldn't have even seen the guy approaching the stage, he would have been blind as a bat looking out into the audience (and yes he did come from the side but he still would have had to approach from the front to get there).  Performers can't see a goddamn out there, even if the crowd are all holding one of these bad boys.

gg

Now, if some dude can just stroll up onto a stage with a drawn pistol and shoot someone without anyone really registering what's happening until it's too late because they're all blinded like a deer in headlights, do you actually think that someone's going to notice a bunch of people a hundred metres away waving (or not waving) lightsticks?  They'd be just as likely to hear your mobile phone ringing in your pocket over the sound of the PA system.  Of course, they might notice your lightstick if it's a gig where there's gangways and they get to walk out into the audience a bit, or if they suddenly bring the house lights up, but not if it's a standard stage setup with you doing your two songs in a home gym sized stage area that's completely floodlit and spotlit and them fucking off.  Between being completely blinded as soon as they look forward, plus having to sing and remember all the dance routines in such a compressed timeframe... SNSD probably didn't even know that they were being "black oceaned" at all, and likely found out what happened after they got offstage and their backstage handlers told them.

On a related note, yes this means that the notorious "waving and smiling at a random audience member" is kinda bullshit too.  If you've ever had that happen to you at a k-pop concert, and it was at night or indoors, and you weren't in the first three rows, guess what?  The performer didn't even fucking see you, she just waved in a random direction and gave a friendly smile, because that's what she's trained to do and she knows there's probably some fans in that direction who all thought "OMG SHE SAW ME!!!!!1!1!".  These girls and guys in k-pop groups are probably even told to try and evenly distribute their fanservicey gazing across the whole venue, so that it doesn't matter where you're standing, your favourite guy or girl is going to look kinda in your direction eventually, and confirmation bias will do the rest.

And that's why SNSD were cool as a cucumber about their black ocean (until later when they presumably cried a bit or however these groups are paid to react).  It's also probably why Crayon Pop's Choa only very narrowly escaped getting her tits groped in public by a crazy fan at a club event recently.


Bright lights in your face affect things like distance judgement, as well as molester judgement.  Good thing about those helmets.  Stay safe like Crayon Pop, kids.

34 comments:

  1. "Bright lights in your face affect things like distance judgement, as well as molester judgement"
    Felt so wrong laughing so hard to that. Also, I read in NB saying that the dude probably high and/or a troll trying to achieve some insta-internet-fame or something. Probably found dead the next morning got gang-bang by dem Popjhussi.
    Anyways, brilliant post as always

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    Replies
    1. Crayon pop members are most probably hard as fuck, being ex-gangsters and all (or whatever the fucking rumours were). I bet those twin bitches got their pogo sticks and hopped on him harder than Mr. Hyde did on that lady

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    2. They should have just busted out that kick move from "dancing queen".

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  2. When I started reading, I knew you were going to point out the thing with the lights. hah
    And I was also going to write about that asshole grabbing ChoA.

    Thus, I have nothing really to add. ;_;

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    Replies
    1. I'll take this as a compliment. Cheers!

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  3. Haha, you can bet on Kpopalypse oppar to swoop in and make all the poor fangurls and fanbois look retarded as hell on subjects such as these :3 I kinda/sorta felt bad for the SNSD-bots when I first heard about this, but now I just wanna laugh when people get their panties tangled about this; I've had my own experience being blinded by a bunch of lights up in ya face, so yeah... They probably didn't give a fuck. Who knows what kind of torture SM put them through to be able to cope with SuJu and TXVQ fandumbs pissing on them for being in the same company as their precious oppars >_>

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    Replies
    1. Don't forgot those pressed wonderfuls that hated snsd.

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    2. I wonder how many Wonderfuls from back then haven't suicided yet.

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  4. Kind of makes sense, if the Black Oceans antis truly wanted to make a statement they should have prepared a cum bottle barrage consisting of their hate wank distilled into the bottle and tossed it at them.

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    Replies
    1. I reckon that's what's happening here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL1dvdGoOvk

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  5. "Dimebag's fate was actually a really scary moment for almost everybody I knew working in the live music scene at the time, because it highlighted something that we all preferred not to think about - how vulnerable performers are on a live stage."

    Oh Man, I read the news the very next morning and remained speechless for a couple of hours and didn't realized what was going on, I was shocked. The fact he was one of the most influential riff maker in the story of trash metal (on the same level of importance of Jeff Waters from Annihilator or Kerry King of Slayer, I believe) made the whole story even more unacceptable. It's like you suddenly realize the person you're idolizing is a mere human being: he dies. It's destined. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAr4qBh1AY4 :-]). The exact same thing happened with Biggie, who died in maybe even more incredible circumstances. Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with the article, but that's really sad and I'm in a crappy mood tonight, so... :(

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    1. A friend of mine ran into Dimebag in a tattoo parlour and got chatting about music, said he was a nice dude. I never was much of a Pantera fan but it was still saddening.

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  6. Some stupid Sones talk about SNSD's "black ocean" like they're remembering the fucking holocaust or something.

    Whether or not the performers can see the lightsticks on stage or not is kinda irrelevant. The spotlights could keep them from realizing it as it's happening but they're going to find out later (and feel sorry for themselves, if we're to believe the SNSD story).

    But it's NOT a big deal. Even if SNSD did cry about it afterwards, I'm sure they never felt as bad about it as some of these idiot Sones did. And if they did feel that bad about it, then they shouldn't be in this business at all.

    Having a bunch of fandoms turning off their lightsticks still wouldn't be as bad as having people loudly boo-ing you (which has happened to every performer EVER). On top of that, it's certainly not a personal attack. It's simply a bunch of fandom drones carrying out their orders from their pack leaders.

    I remember seeing a video of IU's debut stage where girls in the crowd were shouting names at her and making pig noises to poke fun at her weight. THAT'S a personal attack. Way worse than a bunch of mindless idiots turning off their lightsticks because they were ordered to.

    It's an insignificant event, all things considered. The appropriate response is to simply blow it off and recognize that you're going to have a shitty crowd from time to time. Making it into a bigger deal than it is only empowers the anti-fans.

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    Replies
    1. Do you have a link to that IU video?

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    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EttyNPDMNT0

      You can hear some at the beginning, but especially at the end.

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    3. Wow, that's fucked up. Where's a spree killer when you really need one.

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  7. I may have missed something, but what's the motive behind that guy killing dimebag on stage?

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  8. That's a good point and all, and I never saw the sense in getting worked up over one bad turn out at a concert, you don't become successful by giving up the first time that happens.

    But part of me wonders if some crazy will read this one day and use the info to their advantage to hurt some idol.

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    Replies
    1. I'm hoping that my blog encourages people to be LESS crazy about these things, but who can tell.

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  9. since I have only been following kpop for the last two years, this is my first time hearing about SNSD's black ocean. And since it happened in 2008, I don't care.

    I do have to say that I really like this version of the song, and I wish they could go back at releasing music like this.

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    Replies
    1. Imagine hating SNSD back in 2008 when they were consistently good. Those people who turned off their lightsticks were probably all kicking themselves when IGAB got released: "Why didn't we wait til THIS moment?"

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  10. "And that's why SNSD were cool as a cucumber about their black ocean"

    So Jessica was... Dead cool?
    eh?
    EH?

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  11. Oh my god, I love Pantera. I had no idea their frontman died... ;A;

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    Replies
    1. Dimebag was their guitar player, not their frontman.

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  12. Everything is bad news lately about Australia in my country, but it's about politics (which I don't give a fuck about) and you are one awesome Australian. Oppar jjang, saranghae ;)

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    Replies
    1. Australian politics will be a disaster for a while yet, sadly.

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    2. Oh and just know I didn't vote for that cunt.

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    3. That's okay oppar. Because we're here to talk about our godlike K-Pop oppars not politics, right?

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    ReplyDelete
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