Phrases / Jennalynn Fung

Pictures / Lindsey Blane, Esther Kim, Dillon Matthew, Jennalynn Fung

What greatest describes the group expertise in 88rising’s Head In The Clouds in New York in 2024? As Warren Hue mentioned throughout his set final summer time in Los Angeles, “unhappy and lit.” These phrases rang true this weekend, too.

Joji, Picture: Jennalynn Fung

Though seemingly contradictory, no two adjectives higher encapsulate the weekend-long music competition that celebrates Asian artists in Queens’ Forest Hills Stadium. Given the truth that two of the largest acts on Sunday had been BIBI and Joji, who each boast a discography characterised by moody beats, considerably violent or distraught visuals, and lyrics stuffed with need, heartache, or revenge, it initially appeared counterintuitive that they introduced a lot vitality into their efficiency on stage. But the stadium was crammed to the brim with vitality from opening to shut – from the existential units of Juliet Ivy, to the candy sorrow of the band wave to earth, to the broken-hearted love songs of Lyn Lapid, the group’s pleasure for each musician all through the weekend was palpable. 

Picture: Lindsey Blane

That is the second time 88rising’s Head within the Clouds has been held in New York Metropolis, and for a lot of of those musicians, that is their first time performing within the Huge Apple. The stadium is comparatively straightforward to entry – a couple of 7 minute stroll from the Forest Hills MTA station, and is nestled in the midst of an exquisite Tudor Revival, English-cottage-esque village. The Forest Hills Stadium itself was inbuilt 1923 for the U.S. Open tennis event, then hosted concert events all through the 60s and 70s for artists like Frank Sintra, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. For the final two years, HITC has referred to as the storied stadium house.  

The lineup on Saturday boasted internationally acknowledged artists just like the model new Ok-pop group YOUNG POSSE, and the genre-defying various group Balming Tiger. One of the common acts was the back-to-back acts of DJs Illenium and Dabin, in addition to the esteemed Ok-pop lady group, (G)-IDLE, who closed the competition on Saturday night time with gorgeous choreography and highly effective dwell vocals. 

G-IDLE, Picture: Esther Kim

Lyn Lapid, Picture: Lindsey Blane

Sunday morning was stuffed with clouds, however by the point Spence Lee took the stage (with particular visitor Jxmmi), the solar was starting to interrupt by means of. Warren Hue’s set was stuffed with songs from his final album, BOY OF THE YEAR, to his latest single: “SPLIT,” with most of his music composed and DJed dwell by producer Chasu. Awich introduced the warmth along with her old skool, Okinawan-influenced rap. Lyn Lapi, who had skilled numerous technical difficulties at her debut with HITC final summer time, sang fantastically and flawlessly this time round. ATARASHII GAKKO!’s set was met with almost-inhumane enthusiasm. A number of folks within the crowd got here wearing costumes akin to those the Japanese lady group wears, and at one level, SUZUKA stood balanced precariously on a railing, supported by the viewers. 

ATARASHII GAKKO! Picture: Lindsey Blane

BIBI’s efficiency was one of the crucial extremely anticipated, as this efficiency was her debut in NYC. She noticeably struggled with jet lag, nevertheless, as Korea is 13 hours forward, and lots of instances was unable to talk in English whereas performing. At one level, she revealed her track “MotoSpeed 24” was not about balls, however lips, as if a reference to one in every of her first SoundCloud songs: “lesbihonest”. Her followers didn’t care in regards to the language obstacles, although, happy just by her simple stage presence and spectacular dance routine. 


Nonetheless, Sunday’s finale was canceled, resulting in disappointment and disbelief amongst lots of the attendees. The explanations for the cancellation remained undisclosed, however some speculated that there simply wasn’t sufficient enthusiasm for a remaining act – or that the climate wasn’t heat sufficient. Maybe the performers on the occasion weren’t so essential and instrumental within the creation of 88Rising – apart from Joji – resulting in the shortage of a finale. Although a tragic conclusion to the competition, Joji’s set was nonetheless as “lit” because it may very well be, full with battle cries of “NEW YORK!”, a sky lit up by cellphone flashlights, and pool floats and noodles thrown right into a crowd that gleefully counted down how lengthy it will take for Joji to take a piss earlier than returning to stage. Joji’s exceptional band was composed of the pianist Gator, his guitarist Josh, and his hype man SavageRealm, who stored the group alive whereas Joji went up and down the stage stairs at numerous factors in his efficiency. 

Awich, Picture: Lindsey Blane

For these considering of attending subsequent 12 months, right here’s what to know: schedules ran accordingly, with most units ending on time and even sooner than designated— a professional or con relying on who you ask. The crew, workers, and musicians maintained a secure and clear atmosphere, and the competition offered many assets like water stations and areas to take a seat. 

88Rising’s 2024 Head within the Clouds in New York was a worthwhile expertise that showcased the most effective in music by Asian artists in all places. There was simply sufficient selection in style, many various distributors, and loads of stunning moments throughout performances to maintain everybody entertained and on their toes within the stadium. 

BIBI, Picture: Esther Kim

BIBI, Picture: Jennalynn Fung