Monthly Archives: May 2009

Urban Explorers Unite

By Jon Dunbar

(Self-promotion alert) If you’ve seen my site, you probably know I have this thing I do where I go to abandoned places. Apartments, amusement parks, red-light districts, 747s, you name it. Now I’m putting on a photo exhibition in Incheon of prints of some of the best photos.

Since Incheon is a little out of the way for most people, four bands will play at the opening on Saturday, June 6. Starting the show will be Pornotarium, Korea’s most multicultural band, as well as new Korean punk band Mateo, hardcore band with a death wish Chadburger, and finishing the show by trashing everything will be noise band Master Musik. The show starts at 3pm so come early and get back to wherever you need to go that evening. For the trainride back, you can pick up a manual to urban exploration in Korea.

The whole thing is happening in Space Beam, a former soy factory in Baedari, Dongincheon. Now it’s an art collective that puts the rest of the country to shame. It’s next to the tracks and you can see it to the train, on the right side seconds before you pull into Dongincheon Station. Click here for the exact location.

RSVP on Facebook.

May Ends With a Bang

By Mark

UPDATE: Club Day has apparently been canceled. Due to the funeral of Roh Moo-hyun. Not sure what is happening with the individual gigs. I think they are still on… Will let you know when I know.

ORIGINAL POST: A pretty busy weekend coming up, with something for pretty much everyone. We have big shows (the Time to Rock fest down in Jamsil on Saturday, just 20,000 won for a big, long show). We have jazz (Malo singing at Watercock). Of course, Friday night is Club Night, so 20,000 won will get you into a whole bunch of clubs to see a whole bunch of bands.

A lot of bands are even having multiple shows this weekend – Plastic Day, Juck Juck Haeseo Grunge, and W&Whale are all performing more than once. 3-Hosun Butterfly is making a rare appearance (Club Ta on Saturday). I&I Djangdan brings their usual reggae dub sound to Obec on Saturday. And the experimental noise outfit Bulgasari brings its feedback to Yogiga on Sunday.

So, lots to see and do. The weather is just about perfect. I hope to see you at some of the events this weekend.

Something To See & Hear

By Shawn Despres

Seoul’s Look & Listen will play this Saturday night (May 23) at Club Bbang in Hongdae. The influences cited on their MySpace page include Japanese three-pieces Shonen Knife and The’s (who are best known for their appearance in Kill Bill). Fans of the two acts and of poppy, garage-ish indie rock in general will probably enjoy the catchy tunes being crafted by Look & Listen.

Formed by vocalist and guitarist Lee Jung Min and bassist Kim Mi Sook, the trio made their live debut in May 2008. The ladies first met in university and began playing together in the ska punk group Egg Scramble. When Egg Scramble disbanded Lee and Kim started Look & Listen. Egg Scramble’s drummer gigged with the two early on, but was replaced by You Yun Min last summer.

The act hope to record their full-length debut in September. They recently signed on with Seoul’s Beatball Records and with any luck the imprint will have the disc out by year’s end. There are four demo tracks up on their MySpace site and a whole whack of live videos here.

Kim is also a member of Summer Here Kids. The band’s guitarist is traveling to the United States in June, so they won’t be performing until later in the summer.

Saturday’s show at Bbang starts at 7:30 p.m. Cover is 15,000 won with one free drink.


Friday Is A Good Day For The Plastic Day

By Shawn Despres

While Jon’s “Japanese riot grrls in Hongdae” post covers things for Saturday night if you are looking for something to do on Friday (May 15), I highly recommend hitting Club FF in Hongdae for The Plastic Day’s CD release party.


The Seoul trio will celebrate the unveiling of their excellent debut full-length, “30 Seconds Between The Dreamer and The Realist” with a 90-minute set (their longest to date) featuring nearly all of their recorded material. If that wasn’t enticing enough, three highly entertaining acts (Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, and Cocore) have been recruited to open what will no doubt be a great night.

Friends since high school, the band began performing together as The Plastic Day in late 2006. The next year saw them winning a spot on the bill for the Ssamzie Sound Festival and putting out an eight-track EP, “Lady.”

They took a nearly six-month hiatus at the beginning of 2008 before regrouping to play the way-too-cool Love Camp festival in May (event photos here and here). The Plastic Day have been a steady fixture on the local live scene ever since. Nearly 12 months of incessant gigging has tightened their show up immensely turning them from a good rock band into one of Seoul’s top young talents.

The self-produced “30 Seconds Between The Dreamer and The Realist” adds a distinct psych-tinged shoegaze edge to the group’s early post-punk and post-grunge roots creating an infectious, hard hitting sound. The full album is now being streamed on the band’s MySpace site (

Friday’s festivities will run from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. Cover is 15,000 won with a drink. Along with “30 Seconds Between The Dreamer and The Realist” and “Lady” The Plastic Day will also be selling their new guys and gals T-shirts, which were created by Korean fashion designers Juun.J and Jain Song.

The Plastic Day’s upcoming summer tour dates include an appearance at Jeju Island’s Stepping Stone Festival in early July. We’ll post more details about the concert on KGG once they surface.


Japanese riot grrls in Hongdae

By Jon Dunbar

This weekend looks like a busy one, with lots to choose from. If you’re having trouble deciding which show to see, let me make it easier for you. Support international acts because it costs promoters a lot to bring them here, they could use some help feeling welcome here, and it’ll be considerably harder to see them again in Hongdae than anyone else playing.

P-Heavy is a Japanese riot grrl band from Matsumoto who are reminiscent of Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, and Bratmobile. Opening for them are Stretching Journey, a great new proto-punk/garage rock band that’s the freshest act out of Korea in a long time, as well as noise band Master Musik, who have a good record for being banned from venues due to their habit of smashing equipment.

More info here.

Last of the Skinheads

By Jon Dunbar

While all the other Korean skinhead bands have either broken up (Jiraltan99, Dirty Small Town) or gone metal (Samchung, Captain Bootbois), we still have Attacking Forces.

AF has lived through numerous lineup changes, two-year gaps when first their guitarist and later their singer went through the military, and the changes in the Korean music scene. Over the years their sound has changed very little, other than a general tightening up and improving, and today their sound is still simple fun oi music intended for hollering along with and drinking to. They’re yet another example of a great band out of Cheongju, the small university town with the oldest and best punk scene in Korea outside of Seoul, and they’ll be playing shows there on the 16th and June 6 as well.

This Saturday they team up with fellow Korean punk veterans Spiky Brats for the latest Midnight Boot Party at Club Spot, as well as guests Skasucks and Revenge Blossom.

Summer Festivals Growing

By Mark

For three years now, Pentaport has been the biggest summer music festival in Korea. Sure, there was the ETP Fest (since 2004) and Summer Breeze (canceled before it began), but Pentaport was the big dog in the yard.

Now, though, there is some real competition shaping up, with the debut of Jisan Valley Rock Festival, featuring Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Patti Smith and more.

But here’s where things get fun. The Jisan Valley Festival is being organized by Yellow 9 Entertainment, the people who used to put on Pentaport (indeed, people have been informally calling the festival “Yellow Fest” for weeks).

Pentaport is held each year the same weekend as the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, allowing it to “share” artists (July 24-26 this year). Now the Jisan Valley Rock Festival is going to be held on that same weekend, too, forcing the two festivals to fight it out for artists.

Which is a little disappointing. Japan also has the equally big Summer Sonic festival, held two weekends after Fuji Rock. It would make far more sense for one of these two Korean festivals move to the Summer Sonic slot and share those artists…

More importantly, having their shows on separate weekends would not force music fans to choose between the two. Because while Korea’s music scene is growing, it still needs to be nurtured, not divided. I wish both festivals well, but I fear this will not be good for either.

* * *

Oh, forgot to mention, there will be other big concerts, outside of the summer. For example, the Time to Rock festival on May 30. And last year there were several big events in the autumn, like the Grand Mint Festival.