Monthly Archives: December 2008

New Year’s Eve Gigs

A lot of clubs were slow to post their New Year’s Eve plans this year (I guess they were putting their energy into Christmas Eve, which was really hopping), but at last, it looks like we are going to have some decent shows. FF, Badabie, DGBD and Ta are all having pretty big shows on Wednesday night.

Even the Hard Rock Cafe in Itaewon is having a decent show, with Pastel Music staples Yozoh and Casker playing from 8pm until 2am.

I don’t think I am going to endorse any one show, but there is a few things to choose from that are definitely worthwhile.

Happy New Year.

If You See Just One Show This Weekend — Christmas Eve Edition

Okay, it is not the weekend. But tonight there are so many shows going on, I thought I should mention some of them to you. Hence the “If You See…” column.

In case you are new to Korea or for whatever reason do not know, Christmas Eve in Korea is not like in most of the rest of the world. It is not a quiet time with the family. A CHRISTMAS CAROL does not blanket the TV dial. And bars and restaurants do not close early.

No, Christmas Eve is a major party night here. And even if the current economic problems are slowing things down this year, there is still plenty going on. The live music scene, too, is pretty happening tonight, so if you are looking to have a good time, there is plenty to choose from.

For example, Lee Sang-eun is holding a show down in Apgujeong tonight. Hard to believe she has been singing for 20 years. There is a decent picture of her along with a pretty good (if short) article on her in today’s Chosun Ilbo.

There are two big punk shows going on in Skunk Hell and Spot. In fact, if I understand the Broke in Korea board correctly, this will be one of the last Skunk Hell shows ever. Soon, it too will be a Coffee Bean. Or an Izakayi or Dunkin Donuts. Something lame.

But my No. 1 pick for tonight is definitely the Club Bbang show. Mineri, Oriental Lucy, Juck Juck Haeseo Grunge — it’s like a Hongdae All-Star line-up.  Plus a whole bunch of other bands that I do not know well but would like to know. So if you see just one show tonight, check it out.


So I am trying to put together a better map for this site — add some new clubs, delete some closed ones, make it easier to read. The thing is, I am not a big fan of Google Maps. Especially those big, inconvenient push-pins that you have to use to identify places.

Does anyone out there know any alternatives? Different software, better ways of using Google Maps, or whatever. I am not picky.

Also, if anyone has a map of other cities and their club scenes, I would like to add them, too. Daejeon, Daegu, Busan, Gwangju, or anywhere really. No reason this website needs to be so Seoul-focused.

If You See Just One Show This Weekend… (Dec. 19-21) — Can’t Do Nothing for You Man

Wow, there is a lot going on this weekend. So much so that I think I cannot recommend any one show this weekend. Sorry, you’ll have to fend for yourself.

But if you have not seen I&I Djangdan yet, they will be playing at 500 (which I need to add to my map some time… very good bar).

FF and Club Catch have the biggest shows, with way more bands than you can shake a stick at (sorry, but at 3am on Friday night, you get cliches).

Kingston Rudieska is always fun. Orgentanz, too.

And the scary thing is next week will be even busier. As I have said before, year-end is a mammothly busy time in Korea. Everyone has their year-end office party. And all the clubs and bands similarly are celebrating the end of the year. So many gigs happening for the next couple of months.

Sorry I do not have more concrete things to say at this time. Except to point out to any Korea newbies who might be at this website that Christmas Eve in Korea is not like anything you would expect. It is not a quiet family night. It is a fun, party night. And if it snows, doubly so.

The economic problems that have reared up over the past few months might put a slight crimp in things. But chances are Christmas Eve will be a great night for going nutty and staying up late. I will try to write more about it after the weekend, as the night gets closer.

Of course, if you have your own ideas about Christmas Eve, feel free to add a comment here or at the forum. We always appreciate different opinions at the Gig Guide.

Best of 2008’s CDs

Hey, Philip finally posted my thoughts about the year 2008 in music over at his London Korean Links. I think 2008 was the best year in music in Korea in ages and really enjoyed writing something so positive.

You can also read Anna Lindgren’s choices for 2008 here. I have said it before, but Anna just amazes me with her ability to discover and write so much about Korean indie music from the other side of the world. Check out her music blog if you don’t believe me.

Someone names Saharial also wrote on LKL about her 2008 choices. Much more conventional Korean pop, but still well written and interesting.

(Cross-posted at Korea Pop Wars).

Musical Meet Market

If you have wanted to learn more about Korean indie music, I just found out a great new way. Provided you live in Seoul. Over in Hongdae on the third floor of the Sangsang Madang building, there is an exhibition going on called Label Market.

There you can find about 50 music labels and over 500 bands’ CDs. A lot of those CDs have listening copies available and there are plenty of CD player, so you can just sit around listening to new and different music all day.

My favorite find of the day was a Foundation Records group called Koonta and Nuoliunce. Kind of reggae-hiphop and I was pretty shocked I liked it. Where did Foundation come from and why are they making so much good music these days?

In addition, the Market is featuring a whole bunch of mini-concerts and events… But, sadly, I cannot find a listing online, so you will need to go in person to see who is coming and when.

The Label Market runs until Feb. 1, so you still have six or seven weeks to check it out. But if you have a moment, I recommend it highly.

(Sorry but the Sangsang Madang website does not have any English).

If You See Just One Show This Weekend… (Dec. 12-14)

Okay, I have already talked about some of the shows going on this weekend. There certainly is a lot to choose from.

You have two big charity shows happening (see my previous post), a big FF show on Friday night. In addition, Huckleberry Finn is back together for an all-too-rare gig at Soundholic on Saturday night.

But if there was just one show I would recommend, I would have to say the SHK SHKT debut show at Bowie on Saturday night. SHK SHKT is being organized by some of the same people involved in the Mixed Tape parties and will feature such bands as Sighborg and Vidulgi Ooyoo. Show begins at 9pm.

More about the show here.


(Note: If you do go to SHK SHKT instead of the charity shows, it does not mean you cannot make a donation. Swing by the clubs or give the organizers a call and help out… and make yourself feel better).

The Year Ends, but the Fun Does Not

Each year in Korea, as the year winds down and temperatures drop, the concert scene heats up. And this year is no exception. It seems like just about every performer in the land is having a big Christmas concert or New York concert or something. Lee Hyolee is having her first big solo show. Park Jin-young is on tour. And the indie bands are taking things up a notch, to send off the year in style.

Here at the Gig Guide, however, we are on more of an even keel, appreciative of the additional shows, but not mesmerized. We will just keep on pointing out all the interesting stuff we can.

A few days, I noted that the English teachers up in the Paju English Village are putting together a night of performances on Saturday (Dec. 13) for a good cause (raising money for UNICEF and North Korean children).

They are not the only thoughtful ones — Saturday night at Freebird, there will be a show to raise funds for a South Korean orphanage. Animal Dads, Pink Elephant, The Breathing and Seokwon will all be performing. Show is 15,000 won a ticket, or 10,000 won if you bring a toy to donate.

And of Friday night, Dec. 12, FF has a pretty good lineup (even if it is not for charity) — Pillow Fighter, Apollo 18, Black Skirt, The Replicants, Wrist, Easy Boy and more will be playing.


I will try to highlight one show in my regular weekend column tomorrow or so.

Oh, and somebody seems to have written a book

If You See Just One Show This … Aw, Crap!

Is it Saturday already? Drat. I was intending on writing my semi-regular “If You See Just One Show This Weekend” post, and suggest people go to the Windy City show. (And make a nice mention of the Oriental Funk Stew show). Sadly though, the Windy City show was Friday night, so now it is too late for most of you to catch it.

Oh well… At least Saturday and Sunday night look pretty decent. A solid show at FF of some Hongdae’s major acts — Galaxy Express (fresh off their Battle of the Bands win), We Need Surgery, Pony and Pink Elephant. Vidulgi Ooyoo plays on Sunday night at Club Bbang.

But I think if I am going to choose just one show, I choose two — that is, the huge Badabie concerts on Saturday and Sunday nights. None of the bands are what you might call “A list,” but there is a heck of a lot of them. Saturday the show goes from 6 o’clock to midnight, and on Sunday from 4 to midnight. So show up, watch a couple of acts, leave, get something to eat, come back, whatever. Should be a fun, easy-going day.