For lovers of house music all around Philadelphia, April 4 was a night to remember at the Dolphin Tavern. Korean-American electronic musician Yaeji, who is notoriously known for combining elements of hip-hop and house music in her sets with vocals both in English and in Korean, performed a phenomenal set for fans across the East Coast.
I bought my tickets for this just four minutes after they had gone on sale, and I waited eagerly for months to see one of my favorite house artists perform. I couldn’t believe that Yaeji, the house artist from Queens, was finally coming to Philadelphia. As I waited in the ride over there, my stomach kept turning and my mind running all over the place asking what songs she would play and what the possibility of actually getting to meet her would be.
As we approached, we could see a line wrapped all the way around the corner of people waiting anxiously in the cold for her set. Two of my friends were in that line and claimed to have been there an hour before doors opened which meant that all of those people had been there for about two hours waiting to get at-the-door tickets. Since we had tickets, we hugged our friends and told them to meet us inside, then jumped the line and went straight in to a mob of people dancing and mingling.
The walls were illuminated with colored square panels as the opening disc jockey act disqued his set at the corner booth. My friends and I put our jackets in a safe place and eagerly jumped in. DJ Kieran Loftus really set the environment for the room in a way that set up a perfect vibe. People all around us were breaking out their best dance moves; there was spinning, swaying and I even saw some voguing here and there. As I looked around, a feeling of exhilaration flowed in to see such a diverse crowd not only in race, but in style and mood. As we danced some more with the sea of strangers all around us, we started to realize that the opener had been playing for a while and wondered what was taking Yaeji so long to get on her set.
After a few minutes of this realization, we looked over to see DJ Kieran Loftus slowing down his beat and announcing that Yaeji would be on next. As soon as this was happening, my two friends from outside joined in and everything felt as though nothing in this world could get better than that moment.
Wearing a neon green shirt with a Chinese-printed pattern tank top over the shirt, we saw the small Yaeji step up to the booth as she got ready for her shift. Her glasses caught the reflection of the panels and her small hands gracefully moved across the equipment as she set her settings and familiarized the board. The entire crowd rushed the corner where the booth was which was a big surprise since usually at Dolphin Tavern people just keep to their spots and face their friends.
Luckily, my friends and I were already near the DJ booth and had the opportunity to be up close. Since Yaeji’s releases have been a total of ten single songs, we were not surprised to hear her first song to be “raingurl.” This is the most well-known song of her starting career and it made every single person in that moment erupt in complete shock and excitement.
As she played her set, the crowd was intensely showing their gratitude of every song that she had ever released being played by shouting the words and dancing along. My friends and I lost it with every song and danced our hearts away to her beats. The highlight of the night was when I eagerly shouted “we love you Yaeji” and she smiled as everyone shouted it as well.
After a couple more songs of dancing and fun, Yaeji’s set came to an end which made the crowd quickly disperse. For those who do not know Yaeji, enlighten yourself and open a world of dancing house by checking out all of her EPs on Spotify.