First off, huge thanks to Luv, who, aside from making me fantastic headers for this site, is responsible for the photos above and the first clip below — which is remarkable for its fairly clear audio given how loud it was in the club. Thanks also to happyroach at soompi.com for her awesome close-up photos of the event.
American-crossover hopeful Se7en held his album preview party last night at the Hollywood club Highlands, where he performed three songs from his upcoming debut album.
In a nutshell? If you’re a Se7en fan, the event was probably a success because you got to see him performing up close and personal in a relatively small club atmosphere. No way you’d get this close in a performance in Korea, or Asia. Promotion-wise, the party was packed and people were screaming with excitement when Se7en took the stage, so another plus there.
If you’re me, though, neither a Se7en fan nor hater, merely curious to see the atmosphere and wishing him well despite being rather dubious to his crossover appeal, the event was a mixed bag.
Clip: Se7en performing the second song of the night, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love”:
Highlands is probably the perfect venue for an event like this; it’s a well-known and popular nightclub — though I wouldn’t exactly call it “world-famous” — and although there’s a decent Asian population amongst its clubgoers, it’s definitely not an “Asian-targeted” club (although you wouldn’t have been able to tell from the turnout last night). It also boasts equal parts swank (read: overpriced, watered-down drinks) and Hollywood pretentiousness (trendy, dolled-up patrons) to make it a high-profile event.
The attendees were, as expected, largely of Asian descent, and while a fair chunk of those were Koreans, I’d guess that a sizable percentage were not. Most attendees were from the LA and OC area, although there were some die-hards who flew in across the country to make the night. If the party was indeed sold out — and it seemed so, what with the crowding and the super-strict guest list control — there were approximately 2,000 in attendance, going off the club’s listed capacity.
Thanks to my awesome host, I had a great vantage point of the show from an elevated table with an unobstructed view of the stage.
The biggest detractor was that entire night was super short. For an event that was promoted as certain to sell out and running from 10pm – 3am, all the action was crammed into less than one hour in the middle. Far East Movement took the stage at 11:50 and performed for about ten to fifteen minutes; Three 6 Mafia took over for a mere ten minutes. Se7en performed at 12:15; granted, it was a preview showcase, but for all the hype, it seemed pretty anticlimactic when everything was over by 12:30.
First, Se7en performed his first song of the night, “You Got Me Now,” with Three 6 Mafia (clip below).
Second was the song posted above, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” written by Teddy of onetime popular kpop group 1TYM. Se7en’s vocals came across the most in this song, as you can hear for yourself; it’s also the most melodically strong track (and the one I liked best).
Last was the song “Girls,” produced by “Darkchild” Rodney Jerkins, which was probably the weakest performance of the night. Sure, it’s to his credit that Se7en danced and sang live, but the backing vocal track was so predominant in “Girls” that it was more like he was performing karaoke over the recorded track. Most of his contribution to the song was a few breathy “Girls, girls” sung over the chorus while he gyrated with some dancers. When he sang, he sounded pretty decent; unfortunately, the last song — his intended first single — was performed more with an emphasis on his sexed-up pimpin’ image than on the song itself.
As everyone will undoubtedly point out, the man is damn good-looking in person. Pictures don’t really do him justice. It’s true I don’t really dig his music — it’s listenable and energetic, but kind of generic club fare; not quite fresh or hook-y enough (in my opinion) to capture the attentions of the disinterested masses who are not already predisposed to like him. He needs a breakout hit, something that offers a hint of something new, unique, intriguing, that makes someone perk up their ears and wonder who this new guy is. Based on the performance, I don’t think he has it yet. His songs just sound so familiar. But he’s got good presence, and has always come across as a decent guy who works extremely hard.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with the performance, but I think he did a good job for what it was. He’s got the skills, but a lot of the uphill climb he’s facing now is not contingent on skills. Some things are out of his hands, which no amount of hard work or language lessons or rehearsing can control.
Good luck, Se7en. Really, I do hope you succeed. I also hope you’re not crushed if you don’t. Plenty of people will love you regardless.
Hear his song “Girls,” the last song performed at the party, here: http://www.myspace.com/OFFICIALSE7EN.
Below is “You Got Me Now,” performed with Three 6 Mafia: