This weekend marks the fourth Korea/Japan Oi Fest to be staged in Korea (seventh overall, but who’s counting? [seriously, does anyone keep track of these things?]). Without a set time of year and club, the festival just seems to pop back up every couple of years, marking the return of one of the longest-running underground music collaborations between Korea and Japan.
The streets of Hongdae will overflow with skinheads from all nations as they descend on Club Spot for a show that will include a wide variety of musical genres connected with skinheads.
Returning Japanese bands include Tabloid Play and Raise a Flag who are no strangers to the Oi Fests, as well as newcomers Proud Hammers and ska band Rollings.
This year will see seven Korean bands, with only Captain Bootbois having a skinhead connection. We’ll also see straight-up punk bands like Spiky Brats and Swindlers, ska-punk bands Skasucks and Burning Hepburn, faux-Irish punk band from Busan Nachopupa, and Stoned (I’m afraid to Google “stoned Korean punk” on my work computer so I can’t tell you anything about them).
The show starts early on Saturday (Nov. 26) at 5pm so all the bands have time to play, and will probably end around midnight.
To celebrate Peppero day, the SSMBA Graduate School have organized a three-venue charity event to raise funds for a local orphanage, SOS Children’s Villages. HELP! 11-11-11 takes place in Hongdae at Club Ta (from 1o:50pm), FF (from 11pm) and Gogos 2 (from 9pm). At FF, Seoul Electric Band return to the stage after a long break, followed by hip hop act Pinnacle the Hustler (performing without the Antidote), who is celebrating the release of his new K.O.R.E.A. the Album effort. Then Kim Bada’s Art of Parties close things up at FF with their new look lineup.
Club Ta hosts belly dancing troupe Navah, up-and-comers Band Minha, Zach & The Cosmonauts, Ynot?, Mirrorhouse, and Romantiqua (which features former members of Oriental Lucy), plus DJ Smiley will be spinning in between acts.
The earliest starting venue, Gogos 2, has the most variety, with a range of acoustic solo artists, duos, and groups. Guy Girl, James Holt, Just Friends, Jupiter 102, and Greg Priester perform from 9 pm – 11 pm, and after that bands Kozmo 3, Chanters Alley, The Total Assholes with rock the night out, with rapper Gaia Bless making an appearance in their too.
All proceeds from the door go directly to the SOS Children’s Villages, there will be T-shirt sales too, and the price is just 10,ooo won for entry to all three venues. For more information, visit here.
Saturday night (November 5) will see seminal American post-hardcore act Bitch Magnet playing their second concert in 21 years at Club FF in Hongdae. It was originally supposed to be their first gig since reforming the band, but this evening Bitch Magnet announced on their Facebook page that they were playing a secret show at Seoul’s Strange Fruit, too.
Vocalist Sooyoung Park and guitarist Jon Fine started Bitch Magnet in 1986 and drummer Orestes Morfin joined the following year. The act went on to release 1988’s excellent “Star Booty” EP and two great full-lengths, 1989’s “Umber” (which Mojo magazine included on its 2004 list of “Lost Albums You Must Own”) and 1990’s “Ben Hur.” Playing a noisy mix of hardcore punk, math rock, and post-rock, Bitch Magnet’s music influenced the likes of Mogwai, Don Caballero, Superchunk, Rodan, June of 44, and numerous other underground acts.
Morfin left Bitch Magnet after making “Ben Hur.” Drummer Peter Pollack toured with the group to support “Ben Hur,” but Park and Fine decided to disband in December 1990.
“It’s a long story, but the short version of it is that Sooyoung and I made the mistake of thinking we could replace Orestes when he decided to leave the band after we finished recording Ben Hur,” says Fine. “His replacement was an enormously talented drummer himself – as anyone replacing him would have to be – but the chemistry wasn’t right anymore and the entire thing wasn’t the same.
“We were all quite young then, and, if I am to be honest about it, I was even more of an asshole then than I am now.
Park went on to play with Seam and Fine with Coptic Light (and briefly with Don Caballero, too). Battles asked Bitch Magnet to reunite and perform at the All Tomorrows Parties “Nightmare before Christmas” show they are curating in England in December, and Bitch Magnet agreed.
Bitch Magnet began practicing together in April. Park lives in Singapore, Fine is in New York, and Morfin resides in Calgary, so practicing hasn’t exactly been easy. The band have managed to get together in Calgary, Vancouver, and New York over the last few months. Deciding to meet in Korea for more practice sessions, the trio also booked Seoul and Tokyo concerts to help them get prepped for their December ATP appearance and a handful of European dates they have scheduled around the festival.
“It seemed sporting that, at a certain point, we come to Sooyoung since he’s had to fly to North America so many times,” says Fine. “We’re going to practice for a few days in Seoul and then play at Club FF on November 5 and O-Nest in Tokyo on November 7.”
While Seam and Coptic Light have both toured Asia, this will be Bitch Magnet’s first visit here.
“Bitch Magnet always wanted to play in Asia when we were first together,” says Fine. “We’re thrilled to have the chance to finally do so. It just took a little longer than we thought it would.”
Saturday’s show starts at 10 pm and tickets are 15,000 won at the door. Make sure you get to FF early to watch new instrumental rock trio Hellivision. Hellivision formed this past August and their opening slot for Bitch Magnet will be only their third gig. Hellivision features bassist Gunwoong Oh (from The Mustangs), guitarist Taehun Lee (from Second Session/Funkafric & BoostDah), and drummer Jiwan Jung (from Cocore/Oorineun Sokotdo Saenggyutgo Yujado Neurutdanae, a.k.a. Sokot Band). Also on the bill are 3rd Line Butterfly and Angry Bear.