Monday 29th January 2018 is a drizzly day, filled with grey clouds and a sharp wind. But for the small crowd sitting outside of Camden Assembly in London, queuing for the AlphaBat show, the British rain is failing to dampen their spirits. Once the doors open, fans eagerly chat as they walk up the stairs to the small room above a pub. It is in this room where the quartet are set to perform. But right now, fans and staff alike are too busy mingling and enjoying the various K-Pop anthems which are quietly playing in the background. After the tour promoter speaks a few words onstage, asking fans to enjoy the day, it’s time for the group to perform a rehearsal to the audience.
AlphaBat cut through the crowd, get up on stage and offer a very energetic rendition of “AB City” which leaves the artists somewhat breathless. Although this impacts their shortened rendition of “Always”, it is clear that the group are working hard for the fans who are present. With their red, white and blue attire and with one member sporting a Union Jack tie, there is further indication that they appreciate the first stop of their EU tour and the fans within it, who have been waiting for five years for the group to show up. For fans, it’s been a worthwhile wait as they gush lovingly to the members in the short but not rushed meet and greet.
The show itself starts as scheduled, at 18.00h sharp, but not before a short promotional videos for Teen Top and Be.A’s upcoming European Tours are shown. Although this takes the focus away from AlphaBat, the group still kick off their set bubbling with energy. The lighting matches the colours of the Get Your Luv album from which their opening song of the same title comes from. It’s an intimate performance, with all members singing and dancing through the track and with members Gamma as well as Kappa waving to the audience. The microphone stands for the choreography seem somewhat gimmicky, as the group use headsets, and although this reviewer believes that large glowing lamps would be more beneficial, there’s nothing to suggest that the fans didn’t appreciate the props. The next few songs are all covers, and they’re well-chosen tracks because all of the fans know them. Their rendition of Winner’s “Really Really” in particular offer nuggets of greatness, despite periodical timing issues when dancing. But these are overlooked – the audience is having far too much fun dancing along!
The set has cleverly been split into two, divided by an entertaining Q&A session featuring several Harry Potter references as well as a small game. With the show’s initimate nature, this feels like the perfect opportunity to get to know the group; the game features the members revealing their likes and dislikes and th entire crowd is engaged and attentive. However, plugs for tours by other groups as well as for a new app really take away from the group’s time to shine. This is pulled back just before becoming inappropriate.
The second half of their set is introduced by their own music video before the group perform several of their own tracks. AlphaBat seem far more confident performing these and deliver a relatively strong performance. They storm through “Oh My Gosh!” in which Kappa and Beta really shine through and follow it up with a rendition of their debut song “AB City”. It’s an interesting fusion of pop-punk and acoustic and really works in the group’s favour, and is a stronger rendition than that on the record. It’s just such a shame that the reverb from the bass somewhat drowned out AlphaBat’s key strength; their harmonies. But despite this, the group’s rendition of the track they rehearsed earlier today is now stronger, indicating how much they feed from the audience’s energy, and is an impressive feat considering that their event has now been running for over four hours. Their penultimate track “Always” has a similar atmosphere to BTS’s “Butterfly”, with a choreography which echoes it too. But, there’s a sense that this style lends itself much more to AlphaBat’s image, highlighting the versatility of the group and showing off their talent as writers as well as performers. The group’s decision to bring all of their staff up on stage is also a touching and again offers a sense of personality and appreciation. The day is coming to an end, but AlphaBat aren’t going to say goodbye without offering not one, but two, encores, repeating some of the songs they’ve already performed. The group seem incredibly genuine, and the second encore is incredibly spontaneous as half of the members have already removed their microphone headsets. They’ve clearly enjoyed themselves, and the audience have too. It’s a strong first performance in the UK, and as they improved during the show, there’s a suggestion that the now four-piece will keep growing as perfomers. Unlike their lyrics in “AB City”, AlphaBat’s time is not up, and the game isn’t over. In fact, the new quartet is only just getting started. They’ve worked hard to show the audience what they’re all about, and it’s been spelt out well.
Check out their latest single, “Get Your Luv” below! What did you think of the show?
Photographs by Safia Musa