Monthly Archives: June 2008

Some Other Gig Guides

While I think the Gig Guide has gotten off to a slightly better than expected start, obviously this is not the only game in town for learning about events and things that are going on. So I thought I would mention a few other options that I know about.

- DJCJ: More for clubs and dance music, but the DJCJ forum  offers a pretty good selection of dance club parties that are going on around Seoul (and sometimes Busan).

- Seoul Sounds: Another site for clubs and dance events. Also has a forum.

- Party Luv: another club-focused website, but in Korean.

- Sadly, Seoul Steves does not seem to be updating much anymore. And Groove magazine lists very few events happening in Korea.

- Seoul Selection’s website features more upscale and high-brow events, but it too has an events listing.

- Weiv was perhaps the best online music ‘zine in Korea for several years, but these days it is not updated very often and seems to be running on life support. Plus no concert listings.

I am sure that I have missed some other sites. I certainly hope I missed some. Feel free to write in and berate me for not mentioning your favorite(s). But that is all I can think of for now.

If You See Just One Show This Weekend… (June 28, 29)

Plenty of shows going on again this weekend. Next Floor, going on at the Han River, near Sangam in western Seoul, is obviously the biggest gig — 30,000 won for a whole bunch of live acts and DJs (poster here, schedule here).

There is also an interesting looking show at Yardbirds in Shinchon in the evening, at 8pm. It is organized by the very funky Sato Yukie and will include the up-and-coming band Plastic Day, Japanese band Kawaguchi Masami New Rock Syndicate and Sato Yukie himself. Expect pleny of feedback.

Sato Yukie and Kawaguchi also play on Sunday, at Yogiga Gallery in Hongdae.

But the single best looking show to me (imho) is the midnight show going on at Club Ta in Hongdae — Oriental Lucy, Plastic Day, Galaxy Express and Stretching Journey. Actually, I do not know Stretching Journey, but I really like the other bands. Seems like a really solid show.

June Club Day and Han River Festival

In addition to the usual end-of-month Club Day, this month there is a huge, two-day festival going on at the Han River this weekend. Called Next Floor 08 (and the Hangang Club Festival), there will be oodles of international DJs and great bands playing all night long, just west of Hongdae in Sangam (technically in Hangang Park, Nanji).

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The full schedule is here (in a mix of Korean and English).

Day 1 (Friday, June 27) goes from 6pm to 5am and features Rock Tigers, Belle Mafia, Oh! Brothers, No Brain and more. Around 9-ish, live rock gives way to dance music and DJs.

Day 2 (Saturday) goes from 2pm to 5am, and features Kingston Rudieska (4pm), Windy City (5pm), Nell (6pm), Cocore (9pm) and more.  Around 9 or 10, again live music changes to dance.

Friday costs 20,000 won, Saturday 30,000 won, and a two-day ticket is apparently available for 40,000 won (limited quantities, though). There is a shuttle running between Hongdae and the party location… but a taxi should only cost you around 5,000 won.

In addition to the Han River party, there will be a full Club Day going on in Hongdae (although, to be frank, the list of live bands does not look to be the strongest ever). You can see the list of who is playing on the following chart (in Korean only, at least for now, sorry).

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(Note: I see the Club Day and Next Floor posters both have a “No Entry Under 19′s and GI” sign. I did not know that was still an issue. Shows how little I pay attention).

Who Is This ‘Dave’ Guy, Anyway?

Hello everyone from Dave’s ESL Cafe (from here). I appreciate the spike in traffic. And if some of you feel inspired to try out Korea’s live music scene, so much the better.

One little quibble, though — contrary to what was written in post No. 2, the concert listing did indeed include the DMC show at the Hard Rock Cafe (you can see it in the calendar history).

If you want to see more shows here, whether in the calendar or in the blog or whatever, feel free to send me an email — koreapopwars at gmail dot com.

Nanbanjin in Seoul: June 20 & 21

Guest Post by Eric David (from Animal Dads)

It’s common knowledge that the Internet has opened new doors for smaller bands. Vampire Weekend, Tapes’nTapes and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have gone from blog favorites to talk-show guests within a calendar year. A textbook example of this shift in the music industry, Oita, Japan’s Nanbanjin are taking full advantage of our global society. Not only did they book their upcoming Seoul performances entirely through myspace.com, they also joined the growing number of bands that give their music away for free online.

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That’s not to say Nanbanjin (Japanese; a derogatory term for foreigners that literally means southern savages) couldn’t make money from their recordings if they chose to. Their new ep, “Hi-Fi Ro-Fi,” smartly marries prog-rock arrangements with punk spirit. They say the limitations of their three-piece lineup discourages them from falling into the conventional song structures and allows each person more freedom to explore their parts.

Guitarist/vocalist Dai Evans and bassist Eoin Jordan have a knack for writing angular yet catchy melodies that intertwine seamlessly with drummer Manabu Mouri’s jazz-inflected rhythms. Together, they create a spacious but highly rhythmic sound that falls somewhere between the Mars Volta and Field Music.

The decision to allow their songs to be downloaded for free (via tadamusic.org) came when they realized why they were recording in the first place. They didn’t care about making a living from their music, but rather making their songs accessible to as many people as possible. In fact, they regard their MP3s as a primer to their dynamic live show.

It’s a sentiment that has earned them a large following in Japan, as well as an invitation from a beer company for a sponsored tour of Uzbekistan, a nation largely a mystery to the world of indie rock.

In a second online chat, Jordan reveals what he bought his father for his birthday: a cookbook. It seems old-fashioned coming from someone so tech-savvy, but these guys know when to drop the gadgets in favor of something tried and true, like catchy guitar pop.

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Nanjanbin visits Seoul June 20 and 21.
June 20 @ Freebird with We Need Surgery, Ryan Warner

June 21 @ Club TA with Animal Dads, Blakk Zeppelin (members of SSSighborgggg and Master Musik)

June 21 @ FF w/ Plastic Day

Visit them on the web: www.myspace.com/nanbanjin
www.nanbanjin.net/

Download their music for free: www.tadamusic.org

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(Mark here: Many thanks to Eric for the guest post. This website needs all the help it can get. And I am always happy to support more interaction between the Korean and Japanese music scenes).

Another Summer Music Festival Blows Into Town

The Summer Breeze music festival is picking up steam, with a couple more acts just added to the bill — The Prodigy, Rize and Stacie Orrico. They join Panic at the Disco, Simple Plan, James Scott, New Found Glory, One Republic and Lost Prophets. Organizers say that more is to come.

Running Aug. 7-8 at the Jamsil Main Stadium, Summer Breeze will cost you 88,000 won for one day, or 154,000 won for both days.

Still no information on Seo Taiji’s ETP Festival, except that it will be held on Aug. 15 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium.

If You See Just One Show This Weekend… (June 13-15)

Actually, I have no idea about this weekend. There is no one, overwhelmingly cool show. But there are several very good looking shows, any of which should be worth checking out.

Tonight (Friday) we have Windy City, along with Kingston Rudieska and friends, playing at Sangsang Madang. Definitely a solid and funky show.

Tomorrow is a typically busy Saturday. In the afternoon, there is a flea market and concert at Dalring Studio… located about 100 meters south of Sangsu Station (line 6), exit 4. Anakin Project, among others, will be playing there. I have not seen an exact schedule, though. The flea market runs from 1:00 to 7:00.

There are a couple of really big multi-band shows, with a whole lotta punk over at Skunk Hell and Minor League (Minor League starts at 7:30, then the show continues at Skunk Hell at 11:30). A big line-up of modern rock over at FF.

And there are a couple of album-release concerts. YNot? is having a single-release party over at Club Ta, beginning at 7:30. Cha Hyo Sun’s light electronica band Trampauline has a concert at Bowie at 9pm to support its just-released first album. Show features Eshe the bellydancer, too. (Note: You can read a short interview with Cha here).

But personally, the show that most interests me is the Badabie gig, which features my personal favorite, Juck Juck Haeseo Grunge, along with Plastic Day, Cosmic Hippie, and some group called “Penis Witch.”

Random Concert Notes

Here are some random bits of concert news I have come across recently:

  • Nanbanjin, a band from Japan (Myspace page is here), is going to be playing three gigs in Hongdae on June 20 and 21. They play on June 20 at 11pm at Freebird, along with We Need Surgery (for free). Then on June 21, they play at 8 pm at Club FF (10,000 won, maybe other bands to be announced). And at midnight they play at Club Ta, along with Animal Dads (10,000 won).
  • Is John Cameron Mitchell playing in Seoul? According to the Korea Times, he is playing on 14th at Olympic Hall, together with Oh Man-seok (who played Hedwig in the Korea edition of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH musical), but I cannot find anything about the show at Korea’s various online ticket sites. And then there is this acoustic gig on 16th at Sangsang Madang, featuring Vodka Rain.
  • Pentaport update. Added is Tricky, Inoran (from the Japanese band Luna Sea), Vidulgi Ooyoo (!), Lolo’s, Devils, and DJ Shai.
  • I just ran across Matthew Campagna’s run-down of much of Korea’s indie scene over at his TURNING GATE blog. A very good resource.
  • Music Notes

    Thanks a lot to Shawn for adding so many gigs to the concert calendar. No way I could keep on the scene on my own.

    I have been picking up a lot of CDs lately, as well as listening to albums that I bought a while ago but never got around to listening to before now. Such as the 5TH PASTEL MUSIC ANNIVERSARY album. This collection features 15 songs by a variety of Pastel’s artists, most of which sound like something you might hear in an Apgujeong coffee shop or chillout lounge (as is the Pastel Music style). Some of the songs are a little slow, but overall the collection is quite good, especially the Humming Urban Stereo, Sweetpea and Bulssazo songs. Jileun’s song is pretty good, too.

    As usual, I have been checking out all the older Korean music I can find. Recently I ran across a Kim Choo-ja retrospective called Kim Choo-ja Best 20 (Yejeon Media). It originally came out in 1987 and features 20 songs (no surprise there). Although the sound quality is not always the best, the songs are a pretty interesting range (like Kim’s versions of “Geojitmaliya” and “Aniya,” which I had not heard before). It also includes a complete lyrics sheet (good for practicing my Korean). Best of all, the album was less than $10. Totally worth it.

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    When it comes to older music Riverman Music is one of the most active label at rereleasing this type of music (with Dreambeat distributing). A couple of weeks ago I picked up albums by April & May and The Locusts, both of which are worthwhile. April & May is the group that Lee Soo-man (founder of SM Entertainment) belonged to when he was attending Seoul National University in the 1970s. Hard to believe that the man who gave us H.O.T and Super Junior used to be in a big folk-rock band.

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    But I like the Locusts more. First song is kind of cheesy, but most of the album has a nice ’70s psychedelic sound. Not as good as Shin Joong-hyun’s best, but not bad.