Monthly Archives: March 2011

KGG in Da Press

By Shawn Despres

I meant to post this weeks ago, but have been swamped with other work. Oh well … better late than never, right?

Surprisingly enough, we didn't break the camera lens! Dain, Mark, and Shawn (L - R) photo by Dylan Goldby

Korea Gig Guide was featured in March’s Groove Korea magazine. Dylan Goldby kindly snapped a picture of Dain, Mark, and me (Jon couldn’t make the shoot) last summer at Bbang and seasoned drummer Colin Owen Griffin, who plays in Blue Biscuit Blues Band, spoke with Mark and me in January for the story. Check out “Where The Music At?” here.

Mark was also interviewed for this month’s KoreAm magazine story about Korean acts Apollo 18, EE, Galaxy Express, Idiotape, and Vidulgi Ooyoo all playing gigs in North America in March and April. You can read “ROK Heavy” here.

Thanks to Colin Owen Griffin, Dylan Goldby, and KoreAm’s Oliver Saria for showing support for KGG.

Korean Bands in North America — So Far, So Good

By Mark

So I guess our friends who are playing North America at the moment are all about halfway done their tours. And we are starting to get a little press on them.

At Canadian Music Week in Toronto, where Seoulsonic took Galaxy Express, Vidulgi Ooyoo, and Idiotape to play last week, Idiotape got praised by the Toronto Star as one of “Nine acts that stood out from the Pack.” Said the Star:

This Korean electronic trio were achieving the near impossible — getting a strange audience in Toronto to dance — with their infectious sound, somewhere between Cut Copy and Chromeo. The two guys twiddling knobs at the front, Dguru and Zeze, could have kept it going, but the stunning live drummer known as DR kept breaking parts of his kit with his power. Even so, the audience was won over. If the band`s attempt to break into North America is serious — and they are playing at South by Southwest after this — then catch them the next time.

So it sounds like they were a big hit. Kind of funny, considering they might be the band with the smallest following of the three in Korea. But different places respond to bands differently, so you never know.

Funny, too, to see that they played Clinton’s, a dodgy old dive bar on Bloor Street that has been around since 1937 and helped launch the careers of Holly Cole and Cowboy Junkies. But it is also right in Toronto’s Koreatown, and these days has a noraebang and PC bang in the back (or at least it did the last time I was there).

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By the way, you might want to check out the calendar and see the latest lineups for the Beautiful Mint Life, World DJ Fest, and Green Plugged festivals. All three have updated their lineups, with the World DJ Fest now looking especially large and impressive.

Apollo 18 Preparing For Lift Off

By Shawn Despres

There are four Seoul indie acts doing North American concerts this month.  Galaxy Express, Vidulgi Ooyoo, and Idiotape will tour together and all departed earlier in the week.  Apollo 18 are touring on their own and will fly out on Monday morning.

Apollo 18 will play 16 gigs in the United States in 13 days.  They will appear at South by Southwest (SXSW) and The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival.   Apollo 18 are on the official poster for SXSW will the likes of Emmylou Harris and The Kills.

Apollo 18 will play a special acoustic show in Hongdae at Guitar Men & Hippie Girls tonight (Saturday, March 12).  Billed as the “Apollo 18 U.S.A. Tour Send Off” the concert will include opening sets from National Pigeon Unity and SuriSuri MahaSuri.

In January, Hyunseok and Daeinn from Apollo 18 performed a short, three-song unplugged set for the re-opening of the very cool vintage clothing shop Gyahaha.  They both played acoustic guitar for that.  Tonight’s show will see Daeinn playing acoustic bass and drummer Sangyun on djembe.

Expect National Pigeon Unity to preview material from their recently recorded full-length, which is set to be released this spring. Operating as a duo since the departure of bassist Manga last, this will be their first album with their new configuration.

Tickets for the Apollo 18 acoustic gig cost 10,000 won.  Admission includes one free drink.  Surisuri Mahasuri will play from 9 – 9:30 pm, National Pigeon Unity from 10 – 10:30 pm, and Apollo 18 from 11 – 11:30 pm.

Directions to Guitar Men & Hippie Girls:  From Hongik Station go out exit 8 and turn right. Walk up the street and turn left at the convience store on the corner. Stay on the right hand side of the street (you’ll pass a bunch of BBQ restaurants) and turn right at the first proper road (not one of the small alleyways). Walk up the left side of the road.  Gutiar Men & Hippie Girls is about half-way up the street (across from Beetlejuice).  For more info, call 010-2088-4642 (Korean and English).

Rest In Peace, Jong-su

By Shawn Despres

This afternoon (Sunday, March 6) there will be a memorial concert  at Yogiga Gallery for Hong Jong-su.  Jong-su was the organizer of the Love Camp festival that ran in Hong Chon, Kangwon-do.  He sadly passed away in January.

Here’s a great photo of Jong-su dancing along to the music of Sato Yukie & Kopchangjeongol at the 7th Love Camp in 2009.  This is one of my favourite pictures of him.  Smiling and having a great time with his friends at one of the coolest music festivals in Korea is how I will always remember Jong-su.

Photo by Koichi Hanafusa/ Smashing Mag

Today’s concert will begin at 5 pm.  Sato Yukie & Kopchangjeongol, Eshe, Tamyo, and Ramoo Hong will all perform along with others.

For seven years, Love Camp took place in a small clearing in the middle of a forest.  Food, drink, and live music were provided for the low price of a flower and a candle.  Even if you showed up without a flower and a candle you were still welcomed with open arms.  Love Camp didn’t happen in 2010 because the land used for the festival site had been sold.  At Jong-su’s wake in January, Sato Yukie said to me, “We must do Love Camp again this year.”  I couldn’t agree with him more.

Photos of Love Camp 2008 are here.

Photos of Love Camp 2009 are here.