Monthly Archives: September 2009

Gigging Abroad – Barcelona

By Mark

As you may have heard, I moved a few weeks ago to Barcelona. Fortunately, thanks to Shawn and Jon and several other great people, the Korea Gig Guide lives on. In fact, I think the event listings and blog posts in September were the strongest since the KGG made its debut in January 2008. So thanks much to everyone to contributed (and to all who read us).

Adjusting to a new country has been a lot of fun as well as challenging. But at last, I have started to venture out into the live music scene here. So I thought having a random post about music abroad might be an interesting change of pace.

The first thing you notice in a place like Barcelona is the overwhelming number of great concerts going on. It is so hard getting big names to come to Korea, but everyone seems to come here. There is a great website dedicated to music here called Barcelona Rocks, which covers big names and small, next week’s shows and shows far off.

I caught two concerts so far, Steve Earle playing a small acoustic show last weekend, then Leonard Cohen playing to 11,000 people at the Palau Sant Jordi (on his 75th birthday, no less). I also ran across a couple of local bands playing in the park behind the Santa Maria de la Mar around midnight one evening, which was quite a lot of fun (did not get their names, sadly).

Right now, we are in the middle of the biggest festival of the year, Les Festes de la Merce, which features street festivals, films, food, and lots of music. The musical portion of Merce is called BAM and features over 100 bands from around the world playing outside, in public squares around the city, all for free. Music ranges from international pop stars (Go! Team, The Hives, Dirty Projectors) to local rock (like the Basque rockers Berri Txarrak), to Afro Beat (Tony Allen) and more. Even the Chinese rock great Cui Jian is playing. It is pretty overwhelming and oodles of fun.


So.. so far, so good. Big recommendation for the live music scene in this city. Now, if I can only get the Catalans to start putting gochujang on their food…

Bulssazo Back For More

By Shawn Despres

Bulssazo ended their seven month hiatus in June to open for Nosaj Thing on his South Korean tour. At the time, guitarist Sang Chul Han hinted at the possibility of the Seoul post-rock trio doing their own solo show later in the year as well. This concert, only their second live appearance of 2009, will take place on Saturday, September 26 at Bowie in Hongdae.

Saturday night’s show starts at 9:30 p.m. and there will be no opening acts. Bulssazo are likely to play for around an hour, so if you plan on attending it is probably unwise to do the whole “fashionably late” thing if you want to see their whole set.

Word has it that Bulssazo will start recording the follow up to 2006’s “I Also Will Laugh At Your Disaster…” in December and that a new CD of material will surface sometime in 2010.


Ready To Blast Off!

By Shawn Despres

Although it’s been available since late July, the official release party for Apollo 18’s new full-length, “[O] Album” (also known as “The Blue Album”) takes place at Salon Badabie in Hongdae on Saturday, September 19. The second in a series of three albums, “[0] Album” follows February’s excellent eponymous EP (also known as “The Red Album”). Fans can expect the final chapter (tentatively titled “[0.5] Album” or “The Violet Album”) of the Ilsan-based act’s rock ‘n’ roll trilogy to surface on local label Estella Records at the end of this year or early in 2010.


Apollo 18’s stock has been steadily rising since forming in the summer of 2008. This past July they were invited to showcase their infectious mix of hard rock and post-rock at both the Jisan Valley Rock Festival and the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival. In August, they won a “Rookie Music Award” from EBS and KOCCA. To learn more about the group, check out the interview I did with them for this month’s Groove Korea magazine.

The entrance fee for Saturday night’s festvities is 15,000 won and things get started at 7 p.m. Finger foods will be served and everyone will be given one free cocktail (you get to choose the colour – red, blue, or violet). Apollo 18 are giving away 50 t-shirts, 50 hand-numbered three-track demos, and 20 copies of their EP at the gig. Those who reserve tickets for the concert in advance through their CyWorld page will get first crack at the loot and any left over goodies will be distributed to the rest of the attendees. Apollo 18 will be playing an hour-long set that will include the bulk of their recorded material to date. According to an interview on the always awesome Indieful ROK, belly dancer Eshe will join them for “[0 Album]” cut “Orbis” (she appears in the song’s music video). No. 1 Korean, National Pigeon Unity, and The Plastic Day will open the gig. Rumour has it that N.P.U. will cover an Apollo 18 song during their performance.

Here’s Apollo 18’s “Orbis” music video.

On Sunday Apollo 18 will be flying to Japan for their first overseas concerts. They’ll be playing in Tokyo on September 21 (Shibuya O-East & Duo Music Exchange) and September 22 (Shibuya O-Nest) as part of the “Zankyo Festival 5th Anniversary” and will share stages with Sweeden’s Scraps Of Tape , the UK’s Shapes, and top notch J-indie acts such as 9mm Parabellum Bullet, Te’, and Mudy On The Sakuban.

Continue reading Ready To Blast Off!

All Dressed Up

By Shawn Despres

Being brought to South Korea for a trio of gigs by ambitious promotion/ booking organization Super Color Super, this weekend marks the first time Tokyo’s Henna Dress will perform outside of her native Japan. The self-dubbed “outsider artist” has been making electronic music with Nintendo Game Boys for more than a decade. She currently uses a Nintendo DS as well along with several other goodies to hash out her minimalist, eclectic soundscapes.


Continue reading All Dressed Up

Gathering Times

By Shawn Despres

Billed as the “World No. 1 Dance Music Festival” Global Gathering will make its inaugural visit to South Korea this weekend. Started in the U.K. in 2001, the event has grown with each passing year. Along with the U.K. this summer the fest also touched down in Poland, Belarus, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia. South Korea is its next stop and there will also be an Australian Global Gathering in the coming months.


Continue reading Gathering Times

This week…US and Dutch hardcore

By Jon Dunbar

This isn’t Terror’s first visit to Korea. The California hardcore band came in January 2008 and apparently liked it so much they decided to come back. Vocalist Scott Vogel says this time he’d like to “drink less and see more of [the] country.”

Then at one of the later planning stages, the Dutch band No Turning Back figured they’d meet up with Terror for a Friday show in Korea. They’re playing a second show without Terror on Saturday that will be considerably more affordable (10,000 won).


Korea seems to be turning into a major stopping point for hardcore bands (and not really anyone else). These shows are funded by the blood and tears of music fans and makers from the local scene, and they could use all the help they can get.

More details here.

From Shawn …

Just to add a few things to Jon’s post about Terror‘s and No Turning Back’s visits to Seoul this weekend. Advance tickets for the gig on Friday, September 18 at Ssamzie Space are 33,000 won and can be purchased at Hyang Music in Sinchon. They’ll cost you 40,000 won at the door. Things We Say, Mahatma, No Excuse, and The Geeks also round out the loud, energetic bill.

Here’s a commercial that’s been made for the concert:

As Jon mentioned, Terror were last here in January 2008 for gigs at the now defunct Skunk Hell and DGBD. Jon took pictures at the Skunk Hell gig for his Dae Han Min Decline site. I wrote a review of the concert for Smashing Mag. If Friday’s Terror second visit is anywhere near as fun and wonderfully chaotic as their first, this will definitely be a good night.

Swedish hardcore invades Korea

By Jon Dunbar

No, it’s not a new kind of porn. The Swedish band Fy-Fan is swooping through Korea, Japan, and Australia this month. First on the tour are three shows across the peninsula.

Fy-Fan are described as Swedish D-beat, a minimalist style of hardcore involving rhythmic drums and shouted slogans. The band themselves describe themselves as “raw, fast and energetic hard core punk…short songs, fast drums, distorted guitars and angry screamed vocals. We jump around a lot, sweat and look like idiots.”

Korea tour flyer!

Sep 11 2009 8:00P
Suyu Jiok w/ Gəsædəri and Find the Spot
Sep 12 2009 9:00P
Salon Badabie w/ Gəsædəri, Find the Spot, Join the Circle and Nuclear Rockets
Sep 13 2009 9:00P
Club Heavy (Daegu) w/ Gəsædəri, Nuclear Rockets, Sahyeong Jiphaengdan and Sinklair