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BTS may still be able to perform during military enlistment, says South Korean defence minister

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BTS may still be able to perform even while carrying out their compulsory military service, South Korean defence minister Lee Jeong-seop has said.

At a National Defence Committee held by the South Korean National Assembly on Monday (August 1), Lee spoke about the defence ministry’s position on BTS’ military service terms.

“I believe BTS could enlist in the military, and still be given time to practice and perform overseas,” said Lee, as reported by News1.

“The Ministry of National Defence has reviewed [the issue of BTS’ enlistment] in consideration of maintaining fairness, equity, and military service resources, and they could be able to continue performing for national interests,” he said.

According to Reuters, the minister added: “As many people highly value [artists serving] in the military, that may help boost their popularity even more.”

Director Lee Ki-shik of the Military Manpower Association also reportedly stated that implementing additional exemptions for pop culture figures on top of the military’s existing provisions could “break the overall framework of military service exemption”.

His comment suggests it is unlikely the boyband will receive a full exemption from service, though provisions may be made for them to continue their promotional activities concurrently.

However, South Korean parliament is currently debating a bill that may allow for major pop culture figures like BTS to serve an “alternative” form of service as arts and cultural personnel.

In May, Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee called for the boyband’s exemption from South Korea’s mandatory military service, saying “It’s time to create a system for incorporating popular culture-art figures as art personnel.”

Under South Korea’s current Military Service act, all able-bodied Korean men are required to enlist for approximately two years of military service before the age of 28. A 2020 amendment allowed pop musicians who have received cultural merits from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to apply to defer their enlistment until the age of 30.

The BTS member in the spotlight amid the discussion around their military enlistment is Jin, who will be turning 30 in December 2022. Jin and their agency HYBE have yet to announce their plans regarding his military service.

BTS member J-Hope headlines Lollapalooza 2022. Credit: Barry Brecheisen/WireImage

Yesterday, BTS rapper J-Hope made history as the first South Korean artist to headline Lollapalooza. The idol closed out the final night of the Chicago music festival this year, performing a total of 18 songs across a 70-minute set, including eight of the 10 tracks from his recently-released debut solo album, ‘Jack In The Box’.

In a five-star review of the record, NME‘s Rhian Daly described it as “thought-provoking and full of fresh new flavour”, adding: “‘Jack In The Box’ takes the J-Hope the world has come to know and love over the last nine years and sets that figure alight. From the ashes, though, comes a star more thrilling and formidable than ever and seemingly unstoppable.”

BTS are currently taking a temporary break from group activities, with its members planning to “take time to explore some solo projects” in the meantime. During a recent livestream, leader RM hinted that he may be the next member to release a solo record, revealing that his upcoming project is “90 per cent” complete.

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Fan in wheelchair goes viral for epic stage dive at hardcore festival

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A music fan in a wheelchair has gone viral after stage diving at a hardcore festival in Louisville, Kentucky – check out the video below.

The moment occurred during Kublai Khan TX’s set at this year’s edition of LDB Fest (Life And Death Brigade Fest), which took place last weekend (March 18, 19).

A 20-second clip posted on Twitter by hate5six sees the disabled festivalgoer crowd-surfing to the stage before being assisted by vocalist Matt Honeycutt. Once they were up, the fan headed back towards the edge and into the audience.

“Hardest shit I’ve ever seen,” wrote videographer Sunny Singh, who captured the footage. The video has so far been watched over 272,600 times, and has registered 13.7k ‘likes’ and more than 4,000 retweets.

In the replies, one viewer said: “This is some of the raddest shit I’ve ever seen at a show.” Another person added: “I LOVE THIS!! It’s crazy how communally minded mosh pits are, even in the midst of the chaos! Everyone should be able to experience the joy of crowd surfing at least once.”

You can see the post below.

According to Lambgoat, the fan in the wheelchair “was lifted onto the stage by the crowd, and to everyone’s amazement, she performed a stage dive by propelling herself with speed off the stage and into the hands of the crowd”.

LDB Fest 2023 also saw performances from heavy acts such as Knocked Loose, Drug Church, Terror, Dying Wish, No Pressure and Foreign Hands.

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tripleS unveil new Taiwanese-Vietnamese member Nien

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Girls Planet 999 competitor Nien (also known as Hsu Nien Tzu) has been revealed as the 13th member of upcoming K-pop girl group tripleS.

On March 21, Modhaus shared a video unveiling TripleS’ 13th member Nien, a former contestant on Mnet’s 2021 reality competition series Girls Planet 999. The Taiwanese-Vietnamese singer joins the group’s existing 12 members.

The new clip introduces Nien as “S13” before showing several faceless shots of the idol. Her face is shown in shots towards the end of the video, and she introduces herself in a Mandarin voiceover: “I am tripleS’ S13, Nien. Please take good care of me in the future.”

Nien had been part of Girls Planet 999’s Chinese group of trainees, and was eliminated in the show’s second elimination round. Her highest rank throughout her stint on the show was fifth place in the C-group during its third episode.

tripleS – whose final line-up will include 24 members – launched their first sub-unit Acid Angel from Asia last October, introducing members Kim Yoo-yeon, Jeong Hye-rin, Kim Na-kyoung and Gong Yu-bin.

Their second sub-unit comprising 10 members debuted last month with the mini-album ‘Assemble’ and its lead single ‘Rising’. The group are also set to debut another sub-unit called (KR)ystal Eyes sometime this year.

Currently, tripleS consists of members (in order of joining) Yoon Seo-yeon, Jeong Hye-rin, Lee Ji-woo, Kim Chae-yeon, Kim Yoo-yeon, Kim Soo-min, Kim Na-kyoung, Gong Yu-bin, Kaede, Seo Da-hyun, Kotone, Kwak Yeon-ji and Nien.

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Watch Underworld debut new songs at first show of 2023

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Underworld debuted four new songs during their first show of the year last Sunday (March 19) – check out fan-shot footage and the setlist below.

The electronic duo – comprising Karl Hyde and Rick Smith – performed a 15-track set at the 1,600-capacity venue The Marble Factory in Bristol.

Per Setlist.FM, the group opened with an as-yet-unreleased number called ‘Gene Pool’ before playing three more unheard songs throughout the gig: ‘Strawberry Hotel’, ‘Denver Luna’ and ‘And The Colour Red’.

Underworld also performed the same four cuts as part of their concert for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night (March 20).

See the available footage from the Bristol date here:

Underworld played:

‘Gene Pool’ (live debut)
‘Juanita 2022’
‘Two Months Off’
‘Border Country’
‘Strawberry Hotel’ (live debut)
‘Mmm… Skyscraper, I Love You’
‘Denver Luna’ (live debut)
‘Cups’
‘Jumbo’
‘Dark Train’
‘Shudder’
‘King Of Snake’
‘Rez / Cowgirl’
‘And The Colour Red’ (live debut)
‘Born Slippy .NUXX’

Underworld are due to play the two-day London event Junction 2 on July 21. Additionally, they’ll make festival appearances at Coachella, Secret Garden Party and Lowlands. See their full live itinerary here.

The duo released their 10th and most recent studio album, ‘Drift Series 1’, back in 2019.

Meanwhile, the 2023 Teenage Cancer Trust gig series will continue with an evening of comedy tonight (March 21) ahead of performances from Wet Leg (22), Jake Bugg (23), Courteeners (24), Kasabian (25) and Roger Daltrey (26).

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