Although I had heard of Yerin Baek through being one half of the iconic music duo 15&, I never had the chance to dive into her solo music. So, during her Melbourne visit, I made it my mission to check out this talented soloist.
The turnout was massive as fans filled every inch of 170 Russell, eagerly waiting for Yerin to appear on stage. When Yerin appeared, the cheers echoed throughout the venue, with Yerin taking to the stage in a cute full denim outfit, performing songs such as ‘It Was Me’ and ‘Love Game’.
Both excited and nervous, Yerin greeted Melbourne fans, happily sharing that it is her first time in Australia. Having already visited Brisbane a few days ago and booked to perform in Sydney next, this did egg on the Melbourne crowd, confusing Yerin, unaware of the Melbourne and Sydney rivalry.
Yerin mentioned that Australia was a lot colder than she imagined and admittedly she panicked when she arrived at the airport. Thankfully, she was able to buy some warm vintage jackets the day before while she ventured around. In her mind, Australia is filled with sunshine and warmth; so, she was surprised when she realised during her visit it was so cold. This comment gained giggles from the crowd who screamed back “But it’s Winter!” which Yerin shyly acknowledged that she now knows.
I really enjoyed Yerin’s song, ‘Hate You’ with the lighting in the venue matching to the beat. The red and white flashes matched both the bass drum as well as the lyrics, which Yerin jokingly apologized for the language, as the song contained some profanity. Fans energetically chanted along throughout the song and got even louder during the choruses.
‘Maybe It’s Not Our Fault’ ignited a massive singalong from the crowd while everyone swayed side to side. Changing up the pace, Yerin moved to pop-rock song, ‘Dance On You’ where her voice instantly energised the audience as they bobbed along and jumped up and down. ‘Antifreeze’ was another crowd favourite inspiring another big singalong.
Yerin mentioned that two of her songs ‘Amy’ and ‘True Lover’ were dedicated to Amy Winehouse whom Yerin holds very close to her heart. However, one of the sweetest moments of the night was when Yerin performed ‘Our Love Is Great’ inspiring fans to sing along and dance with the lighting fan focused, the spotlight highlighted different people in the crowd to every beat of the song which was fantastic to witness. Yerin also split the crowd into two sections, letting the audience battle it out for which section was louder before allowing them to unite as one.
The night was not complete without a photo with the Melbourne audience. Fans were eager to get themselves into the shot with their hands high up in the air. With how quickly time flew by, Yerin broke the news that the show had reached the last song with the Korean artist performing ‘Pisces’ and thanking her fans for an amazing night. She commented on her love of singing to the Melbourne crowd, the magic of the night, and after many mentions of “thank-you” and “I love you”, Yerin exited the stage.
Of course, the fans wouldn’t let her leave that easily, passionately chanting for an “encore” and “one more song” until Yerin returned with ‘I Kno I Kno’, ‘0310’, and ‘Square’. The last song was clearly the peak of the night inspiring the loudest of cheers while Yerin joyfully sung. Everyone in the venue happily joined along while Yerin passed her mic to the crowd and fans gladly sung back. After sending lots of flying kisses to the crowd and bowing to every corner of the 170 Russell venue, Yerin took a final bow, inspiring the loudest and final cheers.
I must commend a big shout out to Yerin’s band who played an amazing part in making the night shine. Yerin’s smooth and clear voice contrasted against the powerful band, enhancing every emotion. It was a simple stage with only Yerin and her band, but her performance and messages were able to come across perfectly through the warm lightning for her slower songs and cooler tones for her upbeat music. This maximized the experience while taking advantage of the intimate Melbourne venue.
My only criticism is the lack of stage travel from Yerin herself. With how intimate the venue was and due to a few obstructions, I wanted Yerin to utalise the rest of the stage. Instead, she spent most of her time in the centre which made it hard to see her.
Like the artist, I found that Yerin’s fans were all very calm and collected but still able to deliver deafening cheers when required. It was interesting to see the renown Melbourne venue packed to the brim, yet everyone was still composed. The audience were silent and respectful during Yerin’s songs, yearning to absorb every moment of her charm and captivating vocals.
I really enjoyed witnessing Yerin Baek perform live and found her voice was even better live than on her records. Through back-to-back songs, it was a true musical escape into her sweet safe haven. I now understand why her show was sold out and I’m grateful to have learnt first-hand how beautiful and distinct her vocals are.
Yerin Baek performed in Melbourne on Tuesday the 13th of June at 170 Russell as part of her Asia-Pacific Tour. Unfortunately, tonight is her last of her Australian leg, with a sold out show in Sydney.
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Photography by Michael Nguyen.