Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jisan Valley — And More

By Mark

Well, this weekend is the biggest music festival of the year in Korea, Jisan Valley Rock Festival. Maybe it does not have the biggest acts ever, but it is still a fairly rich lineup. Certainly there is a great selection of Korean acts playing, giving many acts their best and biggest forum of the year. Chang Kiha and the Faces has a new album out, so they should be a great. Delispice is playing (very rare these days).

And this year has more K-pop stuff than ever, with Skull and Big Mama playing (and one of the guys from 2am). And 80s disco queen Kim Wan-sun. Old favorites Crash is playing. And current favorites Apollo 18.

Of course, Jisan Valley, although it is a lovely location, it is a tough place to get to (and, more importantly, from). So if you are not camping there overnight, make sure you have your transportation sorted out. Fyi, last year one was able to catch a cab from the front gate to Apgujeong around midnight for around 90,000 won.

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But if you are not going to Jisan Valley, this weekend in Seoul may be quiet but there are a few shows going on. Bulgasari, the experimental noise collective, is playing at Yogiga this Sunday at 4pm, with guests Yerevan: Martin Kay and Heesun Choi. And Yogiga is also hosting KImMaster Group on Saturday evening.

Taiwan Indies — Something to Learn From?

By Mark

In talking with Shawn, I noticed just how strong an international presence Taiwan’s indie/rock music has had recently. It is quite striking and quite a contrast with Korea.

Earlier this year, there were nine Taiwanese acts at SXSW this year (versus five Korean… but the Taiwanese acts got some decent government support to help them out)

And coming up, there will be three Taiwanese bands at Fuji Rock this year (versus only one Korean, Apollo 18), and four Taiwanese bands on Summer Sonic’s Asian Calling Stage (along with four Korean bands and eight Chinese bands).

Well, six Korean bands if you include Girls Generation and Boa, who are both playing at Summersonic, too. Boa’s playing the Mountain Stage, which is a pretty good-sized stage (Avril Lavigne and Korn also play there that day). But Girls Generation on the Asian Calling Stage? That’s a little odd.

Okay, the numbers are not all that skewed in Taiwan’s favor. But the Taiwanese government actually does help Taiwanese bands play around the world … something that can make a big difference for a small Asian band trying to build its name internationally. (Btw, Taiwan’s Go Chic will be playing Pentaport this year, so if you are in Korea you have a good chance to check out one of Taiwan’s better bands.

Oh, the Korean bands at Summersonic are Galaxy Express, Idiotape, The Koxx and W&Whale. Not a bad mix.

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And in other concert news, there is going to be a “Pentaport After Party” in Seoul on Aug. 10, with the Ting Tings, W&Whale and Idiotape. Show begins at 8pm at Ax Korea, and tickets cost 88,000 won.

Hiphop, K-Pop Added to Pentaport

By Mark

Well, we finally have some answers to the mystery of the K-pop artists that turned up on the Pentaport website a few weeks ago, only to be disavowed by all involved. It turns out they are part of a special Friday night subsection of Pentaport, called SuperTraxx.

SuperTraxx is actually a concert to promote the IAAF World Championships, a big athletics competition being held this year in Daegu (?!). That’s a long way from Pentaport, but I guess the organizers thought it would be good synergy.

Anyhow, the important thing is the bands. And for SuperTraxx, B.o.b., Drunken Tiger, Yoon Mirae (aka “T”), G Dragon and T.O.P., Taeyang, and Miss A will all be performing at Pentaport on Friday, Aug. 5, beginning at 7pm. While I quite like Tiger JK, in my humble opinion Yoon Mirae is one of the most talented singers/artists in the entire Korean scene. I wish I were able to see her perform live.

Depending on how media savvy you are, you can check out SuperTraxx on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. And there is even a SuperTraxx contest you can enter, to be flown to Korea for the the show, the full “VIP” treatment.

I find it quite interesting that the summer music festivals are trying harder to integrate themselves with the more mainstream Korean music scene. Jisan, for example, has added Skull, DJ DOC, and Big Mama. They may not be my favorite bands, but a hell of a lot of people do like them, and if this can inspire more people to come out to the festivals, I think it can only help the scene.

Free B-Boy Workshops on Monday, Tuesday

By Mark

The organizers of the R16 B-boy competition asked me to mention that there are also going to be free b-boy workshops next week, after the competition, on Monday and Tuesday nights at the Letzdance studio in Apgujeong.

Monday’s class starts at 8:30pm and features lessons by Cico, Pelenzinho, and Hong10.

Tuesday’s class starts at 7pm and features lessons by Rox Rite, Taisuke, and Hong10.

I don’t know if anyone who frequents the Gig Guide is limber enough to enjoy breakdancing classes, but I thought I would pass along the info, just in case. As I said, classes are free, you just need to register. If you are interested, please email