“This is my first time having my own US tour. Usually, I open for someone else, like Jay Park or the AOMG members. This is truly special,” said South Korean rapper pH-1 after his first set of songs.
The concert truly was special, as pH-1’s US tour, aptly named “About Damn Time,” gave way to pH-1 finally getting his shot to be the star of his own show. Debuting in 2016 and signing with Jay Park and Cha Cha Malone’s label a year later in 2017, H1gher Music, pH-1 waited seven years to get his opportunity for his own concert headline. Now, he performed not only in his first US tour, but his first concert as the main star, taking place in San Francisco on January 23rd, 2023.
But before pH-1 would grace us fans with his presence, his opening artist was Ted Park. Hailing from Wisconsin, Park signed with H1gher Music and first performed in California in 2018.
“I’m hella nervous and I may have drank a bit too much,” Park said in front of a cheering San Francisco audience. “I actually didn’t have a DJ days before this event, but I’m glad Cha Cha Malone came for me,” he said moments later.
Park performed several songs, hyping the audience and setting the mood before giving way for the show’s main star: pH-1.
As soon as pH-1 came out, he was bombarded with loud cheers and several signs from girls confessed their love. He sang many songs that brought good vibes to the concert venue, including “Nerdy Love,” “Penthouse,” and “Donut.” Many of pH-1’s songs are more upbeat and about life, avoiding more sensitive topics such as drugs, money, and sex.
After his opening set, pH-1 tells the audience that this is his first tour. Then he said, “my first tour… about damn time! When I say this phrase, you say ‘about damn time!'” As on cue, when that phrase came about, the audience screamed “about damn time,” echoing the tour’s headline.
During his 2nd set, he noticed signs saying “Harry’s Girl” and “can I get a selfie” confessing their love to Harry, referring to his English name. After signing some fan signs and albums, he went into his newest album, But for Now Leave Me Alone. Unlike his earlier songs, which are more upbeat and positive, songs on this album went into failed relationships, battling inner demons, and how stardom can be a double-edged sword.
As the nearly filled crowd of the Warfield theater enjoyed mellow rapping, water being splashed on them, and screaming “about damn time,” the concert soon came to its final song. After wrapping up the final song, the chorus of “encore, encore, encore!” came from the crowd. After that, pH-1 came out for a last round of songs, celebrating his first headlined concert with the SF Bay Area.
pH-1 came a long way from his 2017 debut as a new rapper, opening for other concerts. He’s craved his own path, attracting a slew of fans, and bringing his own style of positive Korean hip-hop to Western audiences.
Here’s hoping pH-1 comes back to the US in the near future.
Special thanks goes to Kohai, who graciously invited us as media to cover the pH-1 concert. They’re a great concert organizer to work with and host several Korean music events in the US each year. Check out their site to see which K-pop and Korean hip-hop acts are coming to the US!