Epik High’s got a bone to pick- and if you listen to their music long enough, they’ll tell you with who and why. With over 20 years in the game, the trio of Tablo, Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz are still on the road with a show that has the energy of a group just getting started. Their All Time High Tour hit Tucson this week and a packed Rialto Theatre was there for all the action.
The historic downtown theater slowly filled with fans from Tucson and beyond as the lights dimmed and a prerecorded video of Tablo and the group’s manager Eddie Nam meandered through an interview-style plug for the show. Their new album, Strawberry, was recently released and the intro track of the same name filled the venue as the three rappers took the stage.
Jumping right into “On My Way”, the crowd was already bouncing and singing along. There were handmade signs and even a few lightsticks waving in the background as fans attempted to get the attention of their favorites. “Fly” and “Map the Soul” are some of Epik High’s earlier work and both tracks clearly still resonate with listeners today.
All three performers gave us everything they had- and with it being only the second night of the North American tour, the set was fresh and spirits were high on the beginning of a new adventure. It was their first visit to Tucson and they cracked jokes about the Hyundai car model of the same name and, after the response they got to the show, promised to make the southern Arizona city a regular tour stop.
Tablo, for his part, is featured on many of his Korean counterparts’ songs and dropped his iconic “All Day” (a Namjoon of BTS collaboration) verse in the middle of the set. The mood was softer during “Rosario” and “Rain Song” but the group didn’t let that stop them from drenching the first several rows with water and bringing the intensity back up on “Burj Khalifa”.
The set went by so fast that it was a shock when they announced the final songs of the night- and we got to let out some pop punk energy on “Born Hater” and “Don’t Hate Me”. Of course, all three returned to show off their killer dance moves during an encore that included “Catch” and “New Beautiful”. Tablo, Mithra and DJ Tukutz spoke to their rapt audience in both English and Korean, expressing gratitude that they’re still touring to such amazing crowds all these years later.
We weren’t the only attendees that traveled from other cities and, after such a powerful gig, we won’t be missing any chances to see Epik High when they storm through our state once again.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel