Monthly Archives: September 2011

Te’ Hope To Incite A Riot At Ssamzie Sound Festival

By Shawn Despres

The 13th annual Ssamzie Sound Festival takes place this Sunday (October 2).  After last fall’s scaled down event at V-Hall in Hongade, this year Ssamzie Sound Festival is returning to being a proper outdoor outing and will take place at Namyangju Sports & Culture Center (near Donong Station on the Jungang Line).

The lineup boasts nearly two dozen acts.  Here’s everyone that will be playing: Te’, Chang Kiha and the Faces, Bamseom Pirates, Gogo Star, Dongmulwon Soran, Hong Sun Kwan and wHool, Goonamguayeoridingstella, Windy City, Yellow Monsters, Sugar Donut, LeeSsang, Galaxy Express, Han Young-ae, Yamagata Tweakster, The Koxx, 24 Hours, Black Bag, Fantastic Drug Store, Four Brothers, and Peacock Green.  The latter five acts on the roster were the lucky finalists of the Ssamzie Sound Festival audition contest that was held in late summer.

While there is plenty of top-notch talent on the bill, the band I’m most excited about seeing is Tokyo’s Te’.  The instrumental rockers formed in 2004 and issued their debut full-length in 2005.  They’ve gone on to release three more scorching albums, but sadly only one of those (2008’s “Mashite. Kokoro To Gokan Ga Icchi Suru Nara Subete Saijou No [ongaku] ni Henzuru.”) has been licensed in South Korea.

Te’ have toured internationally in the US, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  Ssamzie Sound Festival will be the quartet’s first time to play in South Korea.  When asked why they’ve waited so long to come, guitarist Kono offers a simple answer.

“We’ve released a CD in Korea, but no one has invited us to tour there before now.”

Kono says Te’ will have some copies of 2010’s excellent “Aete, Rikai wo Nozomi Motsure Tsuku Onsei ya Moji no Wakugai de no ‘Yakusoku’ wo” (all of the act’s discs have ridicously long titles) to sell at Namyangju Sports & Culture Center.  There’s a review of the record here.  Te’ are currently working on tracks for their next album.  It will be their first effort with new bassist Matsuda, who joined the band this past January.   However, none of the new material will be previewed during their Ssamzie Sound Festival set.

“This time we only have 30 minutes to play, so we don’t have enough time for any new songs,” explains Kono.  “We hope we can come back and play them another time.”

Known for their high energy gigs, Te’ are really excited to finally have the chance to share their music with a South Korean audience.  Hopeful that folks at the Ssamzie Sound Festival with be able to match their intensity, Kono has one small request for the crowd.

“Please listen to our music and riot.”

The Ssamzie Sound Festival starts at 1 pm on Sunday.  Tickets are 25,000 won at the gate. Namyangju Sports & Culture Center is located near Donong Station on the Jungang Line. Or you can get there by taking bus #1000 from Jamsil Station exit 9.

There’s Music in Cheonan Now?

By Jon

Yes, Virginia, there is a scene in Cheonan.

This long weekend, Picture My Face Bookings is launching a three-day music festival, The Cheonan After Dark Indiefest, which is certain to build some momentum in the Cheonan live music scene and show the local club owners that there is money to be made in live music. The first night of the festival is at Banana Bar, and the last two nights are in Dolce, which is convenient to Cheonan Station.

The first day features an eclectic array of bands, covering genres such as blues, power pop, and hardcore punk. One band worth checking out is Billy Carter, who despite their name are a duo of Korean punk girls who sing folk and blues music. You can hear them reinterpret “Personality Crisis” by the New York Dolls here. You can also see Things We Say in lead singer Victor Ha’s hometown, as well as the Essence, a newish band who are introducing Korea to power-pop (video here).

Things We Say, partly from Cheonan

The second night features the biggest bands, with Seoul’s most experienced bands coming down for the night, as well as 13 Steps, a hardcore band from nearby Cheongju. Low Deal is a new Cheonan band. The highlight may be Black Leather Lagoon, a hysterical side project of Seoul punk band the Tremors featuring members dressed in drag and singing Cramps covers.

Black Leather Lagoon

The third and final night of the festival has several bands I’ve never heard of, including some whose Korean names were difficult for me to translate. Genius is from Busan, but I can’t find information on the remaining four bands. There are likely to be a few surprises on this night, and don’t forget that Monday is a holiday.

Cheonan After Dark Indie Fest

  • Friday, September 30 to Sunday, October 2
  • all shows start at 10pm
  • Venue: Banana Bar on Friday, Dolce on Saturday and Sunday
  • Admission: 6,000 won for one day, 10,000 won for two days, and 15,000 won for all three days
  • Friday bands: Angry Bear, Telefly, Billy Carter, The Essence, Things We Say
  • Saturday bands: Midnight Smokin’ Drive, …Whatever That Means, Seoul City Suicides, Self-Made Hero, Kkachisan, Black Leather Lagoon, 13 Steps, Low Deal
  • Sunday bands: Genius, Tiger Summer, Awkward Turtle, Go Home Together, Original Green System
  • RSVP
  • Where Did Wonder Breeze Come From?

    By Mark

    Okay, so I’m rather late to the party … but I just realized that is another festival going on this weekend — the Wonder Breeze Music Festa, happening in Yongmun (Yangpyeong), Gyeonggi Province. It’s a pretty full line-up, all Korean, with artists as diverse as Crying Nut and 2am. Seriously. But I guess that has been the big trend this year, combining more K-pop with Korean indie festivals (which, if it brings out the crowds, is fine with me).

    Anyhow, Wonder Breeze goes from Saturday to Monday, with tickets costing 77,000 won for one day or 143,000 won for three days. Yongmun Sports & Culture Center is located pretty close to Yongmun Station (the very last stop on subway line No. 3), so you should be able to find it without too many problems. Interpark is selling tickets, but not on their English sub-site … but if you can maneuver the Korean site, that’s an option.

    Oh, and as long as I am talking about festivals, it is worth pointing out that this year’s Grand Mint Festival is nearly all sold out already. Great to know the festival is doing well, but disappointing if you were hoping to crash the festival at the last minute.

    UPDATE: I just realized that I also totally overlooked the Jarasum Jazz Festival this year. It also runs Oct. 1-3, and it also is nearly totally sold out. At the moment there are some tickets available for Monday.

    Dance With Sato Yukie

    By Shawn Despres

    Sato Yukie is holding a weekend-long residency at Strange Fruit in Hongdae in support of his new album with Kopchangjeongol, “Dance With Me.”   Fronted by long-time Seoul resident Sato, the Japanese act’s 1999 “Annyoung Hashi-mu-nika?” debut was the first album to be released by a Japanese rock band in South Korea.

    Issued by local imprint Beatball Records, “Dance With Me” is Kopchangjeongol’s second full-length effort.  Written from 2000 to 2005, the disc’s seven excellent psychedelic and classic rock songs were recorded in South Korea in 2008 and 2009.  While “Annyoung Hashi-mu-nika?” included a mix of Korean covers and original cuts, “Dance with Me” was written solely by Sato.

    “Dance With Me” is dedicated to former Kopchangjeongol bassist Shibato Koichiro and to Hong Jong-su, the organizer of the amazing Love Camp festival (photos here and here).  Both men sadly passed away because of cancer.  Shibato died in June 2010 and Hong this past January.

    “Shibato-san was diagnosed with cancer in 2008,” shares Sato. “He lived for two more years after that.  We wanted to finish the album before he died.  ‘Dance With Me’ is the last album he played on.

    “Hong Jong-su really liked psychedelic music and was a big supporter of our band.  He and I chose what songs should go on ‘Dance With Me.’  We feel that this album belongs to him and Kopchangjeongol.”

    There are some great photos of Shibato and Hong with Kopchangjeongol and friends inside “Dance With Me.”  My personal favourite was taken by a talented photographer, and a very good friend of mine, named Koichi Hanafusa at the last Love Camp in 2009.  It shows Hong dancing during Kopchangjeongol’s set, and he, Shibato, Sato, and drummer Ito Koki all have big smiles on their faces.

    Since Ito (who also drums in well-respected Japanese rock band Soul Flower Union) and current Kopchangjeongol bassist Akai Kojiro both live in Japan, tonight’s (September 17) and Sunday’s shows will feature only Yukie.  I went to Strange Fruit for last night’s gig and it was good fun.  The always entertaining Sato played a mix of tracks from “Dance With Me” and his 2009 solo effort, “Sarangseureoun Geudae.”  Gwangju’s Badak Project opened the concert and backed Yukie on several numbers as well.

    Tonight’s and Sunday’s shows both start at 8 pm.  The cover charge for each is 10,000 won. Indian Soonie will open tonight and Second Session will do the same tomorrow.

    “Indian Soonie is a very good female acid folk singer and Second Session are a funky rock band,” says Sato.  “They will both play some songs with me.  I’ll play acoustic on Saturday, but on Sunday I’ll do acoustic and electric stuff.  The song lists for each night will be different.  I’ll be singing songs from ‘Dance With Me’ and lots of other songs, too!”

    Sato will play Korean gigs with Kopchangjeongol this fall. We’ll post the concert info in our calendar as soon as the dates are announced.

    *Love Camp photo by Koichi Hanafusa/Smashing Mag

    Rally to Save Badabie

    By Mark

    Badabie is a long-running live club in Hongdae, putting on shows regularly since 2004. Honestly, I cannot remember the first time I crept down those dingy steps to check out a show… Maybe it was for a Bulgasari experimental showcase on a Sunday afternoon? Or perhaps it was to meet a friend who was confident he had found the next hot band in Hongdae. But I do remember that feeling of curiosity, walking past the front door and seeing cheap posters plastered on and around the door, hearing the clanging and noise bubbling up from below.

    Badabie was located by the bridge over the train tracks (well, the former train tracks now), in a quiet part of Donggyo-dong. Although the gentrification and coffee-ification of Hongdae has now spread pretty much all the way to Shinchon, back in 2004 Badabi’s location was a real dead zone, and it was to overlook. It is not the nicest venue in town or the biggest, but over the years a lot of great bands passed through there.

    Sadly, though, Badabie’s owner was recently diagnosed with some kind of brain tumor and needed some expensive surgery — not the sort of thing a Hongdae club owner usually budgets for. The surgery appears to have gone well, but now there are a lot of bills to pay, not to mention having to deal with the continual rent hikes of Hongdae these days (I think he hasn’t paid his rent in quite a few months).

    So in a great show of solidarity, 137 indie bands and eight clubs are getting together for 10 days of shows to help out Badabie, in a series called “Badabie Will Never Die“. Most of the top indie bands in Korea will be playing, often in venues much smaller than you would ordinarily find them, so it is a great chance to catch a lot of music … not to mention help out a good guy and Hongdae institution.

    Tickets go on sale Sept. 8 and cost 20,000 won (I don’t know if that’s per show, per day, or what exactly… but I’m trying to find out).

    Thurs., Sept. 15
    Badabie – 7:30

    Juck Juck Haeseo Grunzie, Bunabi, Poe, Hwang Boryung Band, Crying Nut
    V Hall – 7:30
    Goodbye Sea, Savina and Drones, 10cm, Icy Cider, Galaxy Express

    Fri., Sept. 16
    Badabie – 7pm
    Flat Out, Electric Eel, Bamseom Pirates, 99 Anger, National Pigeon Unity, Ankle Attack, Apollo 18
    C Cloud – 7pm
    Becks And Josh, Seokjoon, Green Face, The Finn, The Freaks, Nabimat, Rubin

    Sat., Sept. 17
    C Cloud – 4pm

    Jang Folk, Hado, Timirho, Beautiful Days, 9 and the Numbers
    C Cloud – 7pm
    Line 9 Interchange, Kim Mok-in, Jeff Park, Victor View, Sogyumo Acacia Band, 3rd Line Butterfly

    Sun., Sept. 18
    Yri Cafe – 5pm
    Yang Chang-geun, Solsolbuneun Bombaram, Hajji and Seoul Seagull, Sohee, Manggakhwa
    AOR – 6pm
    Swimming Doll, Murmur’s Loom, Tenderlign, The Quip, Daydream, Vidulgi Ooyoo

    Mon., Sept. 19
    Badabie – 7:30pm

    Erang, Boochoolaamaa, Broken Money, Yamagata Tweakster, Ash Gray, Dear Cloud

    Tues., Sept. 20
    Rolling Hall – 7pm

    Midnight Smoking Drive, Oh Ji-eun, Joaseohaneun Band, Kafka, Huckleberry Finn, Telepathy, Gate Flowers
    Badabie – 8pm
    Hawaii, Modeun Gayageum Jeong Mina, Hi Mr. Memory, Jang Jaein

    Wed., Sept. 21
    Club Ta – 7pm

    Black Bag, YNot, Kim Master, Choi Go Eun, Que Bosta, Jokkareul Rose, Chang Kiha and the Faces
    Badabie – 7:30pm
    Kim Sujin, Surisurimahasuri, Mujeungryeok Sonyeon, Yozoh, Uju Hippy, Son Ji-yeon

    Thurs., Sept. 22
    Badabie – 7pm

    Devil E So Marco, Baekja, Nangman Yurang Akdan, Jo Taejoon, Big Baby Driver, Selli Selli Sellinneu, Jeong Mina and Haegeum
    Yogiga – 7pm
    Dorin, Namu Band, Hoegidong Danpeonseon, Anakin Project, Sai, Sato Yukie, Taehiyeon

    Fri., Sept 23
    Badabie – 7:30pm
    Number Nine, Javo Island, Siberian Husky, The Moon, Tacapi, Ally Spears
    C Cloud – 7pm
    Raccoon, Shin Jae Jin, Scarfish, Neutbom, Oh Soyoung, Lee Janghyuk

    Sat., Sept. 24
    C-Cloud – 7pm

    Tumyeong, Morrison Hotel, Park Hyeri, Jeong Yeong-geun, Party Story, Ravie Nuage
    Badabie – 6pm
    Spiky Brats, Couch, Dokkaebi Assault, Style Live, Combative Post, Vicious Glare, 13 Steps, Kicks

    Sun., Sept. 25
    Club Auteur – 4pm

    Unique Shadow, Citi M, DK, Soul, Lee Han-choul
    Club Auteur – 7pm
    Seo Yeong-do Band, Ha Hyeon-yong Band, Renata Suicide, Jae, New York Fish
    Badabie – 6pm
    Dringe Augh, Desert Dolphin, Ironic Hue, Brocolli You Too, and more
    Yogiga – 6pm
    Slow Baby, FE, Guten Birds, Pavlov, The United 93, No Control, Pigbit5

    You can learn more about the shows at Badabie’s website. And if you understand Korean, there is this video to explain more:

    Shimmying to Jellyboy

    By Shawn Despres

    This Saturday night (September 3), Seoul belly dancer Eshe and her Navah and Mahadevi troupes will be presenting a new non-verbal, belly dance drama called “La Mer” at their Nirvana Nights Vol. 3 event.  “La Mer” is an hour-long production and boasts 10 dance scenes, all of which will be performed to the music of Korean electro-pop musician Jellyboy.

    Jellyboy is the solo moniker of Dae-inn Kim, the bassist for lauded local rockers Apollo 18.  He released two fantastic solo albums, 2005’s “Everyday Trouble” and 2007’s “They Dream Daydream Everyday,” before starting to play with Apollo 18 in 2008.

    Eshe starred in Apollo 18’s “Orbis” music video and has performed several times with the band.  She was aware of Kim’s Jellyboy past, but she didn’t hear his solo stuff until earlier this year.

    “Out of curiosity one day I Googled Jellyboy and found his ‘Infant Song’ video on YouTube,” Eshe says.  I asked Dae-inn if he could send me the track and he did along with an unreleased song called ‘Dancing Hell.’  I danced to both tracks at Apollo 18’s US tour fundraiser in February.

    “When Apollo 18 got back from playing in the States, I asked Dae-inn about his other Jellyboy music.  He’s so shy and so humble.  After much cajoling, he reluctantly played me some more of his stuff.  I loved it all!”

    Completely imagined by Eshe, “La Mer” is the tale of a family of mermaids and the encounters they have with other sea creatures and a group of Sirens.  It’s the third belly dance drama she’s produced.  Previous shows have featured a wide range of songs from around the globe.  But once she heard Jellyboy’s music, she knew that she wanted to make something only using Kim’s tracks.

    “Jellyboy’s work has such a wide range of emotion.  At times it’s delicate, fresh, and innocent.  Other times it’s raging, inconsolable, and dark.  For a dramatic story, I couldn’t have asked for better music.  Dae-inn’s a genius.  I feel so lucky to know him, and to have access to his talent.”

    Kim is quick to admit that he never envisioned his Jellyboy music being used in a belly dance show.

    “I had no interest in belly dancing before,” he shares.  “But that changed the first time I saw Eshe’s dancing.  I love Eshe and everything she does.  I feel truly honored that she, Navah, and Mahadevi will be dancing to my music.”

    Like everyone else, Kim will see “La Mer” for the first time on Saturday night.  He’s got an early concert with Apollo 18 at Culture Station 284 that day and will be quickly making his way to Theater Zero right after he finishes playing.

    “I can’t wait to watch the show,” Kim says.  “I want to feel my music in Eshe’s dancing and feel Eshe’s dancing in my music.  I think that it’s going to be a really fantastic experience for me.”

    Kim’s main focus right now is Apollo 18.  The trio are keeping him plenty busy having toured in the US, Japan, and Taiwan already this year.  They’ll soon be releasing their new “Gogol” EP as well.  Although Jellyboy has been put on the back burner, Kim’s alter ego is far from dead.

    “Right now I’m trying to make the best music I can with Apollo 18,” he says.  “I’ll make more music as Jellyboy sometime in the future.  I don’t know when it’ll happen, but I definitely want to play as Jellyboy again someday.”

    Nirvana Nights Vol. 3 takes places on September 3 at Theater Zero in Hongdae.   In addition to “La Mer,” the event will also include belly dancing from Farasha (from Tokyo), Jimin Park, Eunji Park & Top Belly, Aly Kate Mewse, Maha Bamaarouf, and Maya & Ana.  There will be a hooping performance from Kali Deno & Vanessa Barbee, and jazz and K-pop dancing from JK Pole & Dance Korea.  Gwangil Bae, Riol Kim, and Doyon Ha will play a short live music set.  Wilfred Lee and Alison Hjelseth will be doing live art.  The show starts at 8:30 pm and tickets are 20,000 won.  For more information, head here.