Monthly Archives: February 2008


So, I got a kind link for the high and mighty Marmot, and what happens? The ISP’s database goes down, and with it, my website. Argh….

Anyhow, thanks to the Marmot for the link.

A question for anyhow who has the interest. At the moment, I list my email address in my “About” section, spelling it out in order to avoid spam (koreapopwars at gmail dat com). Is this just too inconvenient for most people? Should I add a direct link on the main page?

There was similar logic behind my lack of comments’ sections. Wanted to avoid Spam and flamewars (and people asking me to add Super Junior concerts to my list). But would people like a comments section? (As a test run, I have opened this thread to comments).

If people have any other requests or suggestions, please let me know. The Gig Guide is still young and in its formative stages. Would be happy to modify if something different would be useful/interesting for people.

Echoes of Sanullim

I can remember the first time I ever heard a Sanullim song. It was around 3 in the morning, and I had probably had too much to drink, when I stumbled into this random pojang macha in Hongdae. It was a special bar, with the walls covered in old album covers and a reel-to-reel player cranking out some great old music.

After a couple of drinks a new song came on. The heavy, steady bass line immediately caught my attention. After several minutes of listening to that set up, a wonderfully distorted guitar screeched on top of that groove. Finally, after three and a half minutes, a voice cut in, singing that great tune:

Nae maeum-e chudaneul kkalgo… Geudae gilmoke seoseo

Yeppeun chotbullo… Geudaereul majeuri…

Yes, it was one of Sanullim’s most famous songs, NAE MAEUME CHUDANEUL KKALGO, the first song from their second album. I bought it soon after and it quickly became one of my favorite CDs.

So when I read on Club Badabie’s homepage that they were going to have a Sanullim tribute night last Sunday, I was pretty happy. Granted, the circumstances behind the tribute were sad (Kim Chang-ik, the youngest of the three brothers who comprised Sanullim, died in late January, in a traffic accident in British Columbia). But it was a pretty interesting show nonetheless.

Most of the acts chose to interpret the songs in a more folky way. Jia, the Natalie Merchant of Hongdae, did her usual vocal magic. Shin Je-jin did a solid acoustic guitar, folk set.

Juck Juck Haeseo Grunge were the only act to present a more rocking set, but they were excellent. Their version of KAJIMAO was great. NA EOTTEOK HAE was solid, too.

The final group, HI MR. MEMORY, was the most amusing. They all dressed up in odd clothes, wore fake mustaches and acted pleasantly goofy, while performing some first-rate covers.

I wish I could give more details, but I forgot to bring a pen and paper with me, and was busy enough yesterday that I did not have time to write anything down. Now I have forgotten a lot of the details. But I will try to upload a few photos from the show in the next day or show.

Oh, I should mention that after the show, I was inspired to buy the Sanullim box set that has been available for a couple of years. I had resisted because I hoped to track down the reissues of the original albums. I have their second album, but always intended to get Nos. 1, 3 and 4, too. Sadly, though, they all seem to be out of stock. Only Sanullim’s later (and decidedly inferior) albums are available on CD.

The omnibus collection was not bad. Strangely, it lacks Nae Maeume Chudaneul Kkalgo and a few other major songs, but it present a good overview of the band. And it is just 12,500 won for three CDs, so not a bad deal at all.

Last Minute Concerts…

Here are a couple of shows happening today (Sunday), in case anyone is looking for something to do.

– Bulgasari. 4pm at Yogiga. Bulgasari is, of course, the local experimental noise collective.

– Sanullim tribue show. 7:00 pm at Badabie. Will include such bands as Juck Juck Haeseo Grunge,  Jai, Siwa, Shinjejin, 10, Love Is No Tomorrow, and  Bullabang Star Sausage Club (what a name).

I really need to find a way to change my concert calendar so that dates do not appear until after the day in question is over…

Concert and Posters

Ian from ANIMAL DADS asked me to add the posters to a couple of gigs going on in the near future — including one tonight at the Rocky Mountain Tavern. Proceeds go to the Daejeon Animal Shelter, so it helps a pretty good cause.


Here is the poster to the DM show in March. It has a map of DM’s location on it.


More Shows, More Bands

  • Thanks to Blair, a member of the band ANIMAL DADS, for being the first to write in and let me know about some gigs to add to the schedule. Much appreciated. Apparently he and his bandmates put together that Saturday night show at Freebird, trying to present bands that are “relatively new and sound a bit different.” If you want more information about those bands, check out:
    Animal Dads
    Mechanical Seals
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  • Thanks to Indieful ROK for pointing out that Baik Hyun-jhin is about to release his first solo album in March. Baik is the main guy behind UH UH BOO PROJECT BAND, one of the more interesting Korean indie bands of the late 1990s. Their mini-album SONIKBUNKIJEOM (Break Even Point?) is generally considered a classic, with its miserable ajeossi/Tom Waits vibe (although Baik dislikes being compared to Waits, I think there are obvious reasons people do so). But for my money, the best UH UH BOO song was “Eohang Sok-ui Dabang – Gaejugeum,” from their second album, DOG, LUCKY STAR.
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  • Bjork was a lot of fun, btw. Thank you.
  • Begin Again…

    Okay, so I finally got that database problem sorted out (many thanks to Carter for doing that for me). The Concert Calendar now looks semi-presentable. Good enough for now, at any rate.

    It is not Korean at all, but I am excited about the Bjork show this Saturday.
    She strikes me as the kind of performer who would be more interesting live than on CD.

    Plus it is good to be supporting Yellow 9 Entertainment, the only promoter I know of that is bringing more interesting acts to Korea.

    Blogrolling, rolling, rolling…

    Sorry this blog is taking a while to get going. I am having some trouble getting making the concert calendar work properly.

    In the meantime,  I am impressed at the interest in Korea’s (real) music scene out there in the blog world. Reminds me of the interest in the movie scene around 8-10 years ago. As you can see in my blogroll, I have added a couple of sites that talk about Korean indie music.

    While at, I found a very interesting link to this page, which is basically a big list of  old Asian rock and pop album covers from the 1960s. Mostly Singapore stuff, with some other tidbits throw in. You have got to love the funky stylings of that era. I am so jealous of that guy’s collection.

    Chicks With Picks – Juck Juck Haeseo Grunge

    I just checked out a show by the all-female band Juck Juck Haeseo Grunge (???? ???). And while they probably are not the band I enjoy the most these days, I would call them the best band in Korea.

    Juck Juck Grunge
    How to describe them? A little Sonic Youth, a little PJ Harvey, a little Patti Smith, a little Led Zepplin… and a whole lotta’ rock. Lots of distortion and tempo changes, but a heavier, slightly more metal sound than Sonic Youth. They told me that they have been around since April-ish, so I guess they are still a fairly young group. No idea if their sound is still evolving or what.

    Even rarer for the Hongdae scene, Juck Juck has stage presence. Between songs, they don’t just tune their instruments or blather on endlessly, they keep things hopping. And the just FEEL like rock stars, dammit.

    They mostly play at the small club Badabie, but on Feb. 10 they will be playing at Club FF, which I think will be a much better setting for a band like this.

    Juck Juck Grunge 3

    Gig Guide Greetings

    Hi there, and welcome to the Korea Gig Guide. I have started up this site because, in my humble opinion, the live music scene in Korea is having a bit of a revival. It was pretty fun in the late 1990s, then it really bottomed out for a while. But in the last year or two, it seems like there are more and more bands worth watching.

    Nevertheless, there are a lot of clubs in Seoul, and a lot of bands. Trying to keep track of everything yourself can be a big pain in the butt. Also, I have gotten tired of trying to catch a certain band, only to be told by a friend: “Oh, they just played a couple of nights ago.” So frustrating when that happens.

    I am hoping that by making a convenient site where you can keep up to date on all the shows happening in town, that it will make it easier for more people to attend better gigs. And if we can get more people going to the concerts and supporting the bands, maybe we can get more and better bands. That is the hope, anyhow.

    First up, I am planning on starting a calendar page, basically just listing what is going on. After that, I hope to get some maps and location guides going. And if I get really enthusiastic, maybe I will even start some kind of band guide or wiki or something. No promises, but that is the plan.

    Of course, the idea for this site was blatantly ripped off from the Tokyo Gig Guide. Seoul does not have the kind of live music scene that Tokyo does… But one can always hope.