Monthly Archives: January 2014

Rux, Love X Stereo, and The Greatest Voyage at Shake Shop Vol. 11

Shake Shop, the monthly show presented by Korea Gig Guide and Hapjeong’s Dream Dance Studio, is starting off 2014 with a great bill that will have Rux, Love X Stereo, and The Greatest Voyage all collaborating with bellydancers Eshe and Navah on Friday (January 24) at Club Freebird in Hongdae.

Rux Band

One of the most respected and influential acts in Seoul’s punk scene, Rux have been a band that Shake Shop creator Eshe has wanted to work with since the concert series’ February 2013 inception.  This month she finally gets her wish as the quartet will close out Shake Shop on Friday night.  The performance will be their first show since guitarist Lee Hyun-hee was seriously injured in a workplace accident in November.

“Hyun-hee works in the kitchen at a Japanese okonomiyaki restaurant,” says vocalist Won Jong-hee.  “One of his co-workers accidentally dropped a canister of butane gas into a big deep fryer and the hot oil from the fryer exploded all over the kitchen.  Luckily, no one was killed.  However, three people in the kitchen got burned very badly.   Hyun-hee had to stay in the hospital for a month because of his burns.  He’s still recovering from the burns on his legs, but he’s strong enough to play gigs again.”

It has been over two-and-a-half years since the group issued their “5000 Years of Hallucinations” EP and nearly five years since they put out their 2009 “The Eternal Kids” full-length effort.  Rux fans who have eagerly been waiting for new music will be happy to know that the group are in the midst of recording a new album and hope to have it out in early summer.

Friday night will be Rux’s first time to work with bellydancers.  Won says the band are not exactly sure how the collaboration will turn out but are looking forward to seeing how things develop.

“It’s going to be a very interesting night,” says Won.  “I still can’t picture what it’s going to be like it.  But I guess it’s going to be a pretty cool sight.  As long as we enjoy Eshe’s and Navah’s dancing, and the audience enjoys our music, I’m pretty sure everyone will have a lot of fun.”

Love X Stereo

Fast-rising Love X Stereo embarked on their first North American tour last autumn in support of their “Glow” EP to play at the renowned CMJ Music Marathon in New York.  The electro-rock act will be returning stateside in March for another tour.  This time around they will hit the road with Glen Check and Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio as part of Seoulsonic and their itinerary will include a stop at Austin, Texas’ massive South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival.

“Our tour in the fall was so cool,” gushes vocalist and synthesizer player Annie Ko.  “It definitely exceeded our expectations.   The fans everywhere we went were really supportive.  It was amazing to meet so many people who were interested in our music.  And the sound quality everywhere we went was really good.  No matter how small or narrow a venue was, the sound guys knew what they were doing and made us sound great.  We were impressed.  We were very pleased with the tour and can’t wait to go back to the US this spring.”

Love X Stereo previously performed at Shake Shop last May.  They really enjoyed themselves at the gig and gladly accepted the invitation to appear at this month’s event.

“We were on cloud nine during that show,” says Ko.  “Lots of beautiful ladies danced in front of us while we played.  It was pretty awesome to see.  And it’s pretty unique, isn’t it?  Most bands or musicians have backup dancers, not ‘front up’ dancers.  So in that way, we could also enjoy the show as an ‘audience.’  It was a really rare experience for us, which is why we we’re thrilled to play Shake Shop again.”

The Greatest Voyage

The Greatest Voyage is fronted by No. 1 Korean’s vocalist Kwon Milk.  Kwon Milk originally planned to do some solo music as a side project from his main gig in the ska group No. 1 Korean.  He released an excellent album under his own name in May 2010 called “The Greatest Voyage.”  While gigging in support of that album with backing players, The Greatest Voyage became a proper band.

The act play really cool folk and rock compositions that are accented with bits of blues and country.  As The Greatest Voyage, they’ve released an EP (2011’s “The Commuter Blues”) and a handful of singles.  They are currently working on The Greatest Voyage’s debut full-length offering.

“We’re planning to release our first album as The Greatest Voyage this year,” shares Kwon Milk.  “We’ve got around 30 songs right now and we’re deciding which direction we want to take with the album and what tracks to use.  I think it may have a bit more of a rock feel than our previous work.”

Like Rux and Love X Stereo, The Greatest Voyage are happy to be teaming up with bellydancers Eshe and Navah for this weekend’s Shake Shop.

“We’re really excited for the Shake Shop show,” says Kwon Milk.  “We want to see how our music crosses boundaries and what new areas it can go to.”

Shake Shop Vol. 11 takes place on Friday, January 24 at Club Freebird. The show starts at 8:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with one free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Rux, Love X Stereo, and The Greatest Voyage.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the estimated set times for Friday’s show:
8:30 The Greatest Voyage
9:15 Navah
9:40 Love X Stereo
10:15 Rux

Shake Shop 11 Poster

Loud Aid Vol. 2: Good Music and a Good Cause

This Saturday (January 25), the second annual Loud Aid concert will take place at Prism Live Hall in Hongdae. Organized by GMC Records bossman (and Today X Spot vocalist) Hyunggun “Ssako” Kim and 13 Steps vocalist (and Jambinai/No Excuse bassist) Dokyo Kim, the concert will see nine rock, punk, and hardcore acts playing between 6 pm and 10:30 pm for the very low price of 5,000 won plus a canned good.

Ssako explains the reasoning behind doing a joint concert and canned food drive.

“We still believe that hardcore is decided by people’s lifestyle – not by music,” he says. “So we wanted to share the ideas behind this positive lifestyle with all people. So we planned Loud Aid last January to collect food for those in need. The show went really well, so we wanted to do it again this year.”

The pair had initially decided to donate the food from this weekend’s concert to the Korail labor union, but now that their strike is over they are considering other options. The canned goods from last year’s drive were sent to the Catholic Human Rights Committee. And Ssako says they may give the food to that organization again.

Saturday night’s concert features some great local music including Juck Juck Grunzie, The Strikers, 13 Steps, Hollow Jan, Ninesin, Things We Say, Something Fierce, and We Hate JH. Also appearing will be hardcore act Fight It Out from Yokohama, Japan who are flying over specifically to play at the show. Emo band We Hate JH are the most recent signing to GMC Records. Their new “Officially, We Hate JH” album will be released by the label on January 28. But fans will be able to buy the disc before it hits stores at Loud Aid 2.

“There were no specific guidelines for the bands we wanted to play at Loud Aid Vol. 2,” says Ssako. “We just chose bands that can make f#cking loud music. Usually people in Korea just think heavy music only pertains to one style of music. But we wanted to show people that there is awesome heavy and loud music in lots of different genres.”

Loud Aid Vol. 2 should be a really fun night, so definitely try to stop by the show on January 25 if you can. And while the cover charge is 5,000 won with one canned good, feel free to bring a few more food items along to donate if you can afford to do so.

Loud Aid Vol. 2 takes place on Saturday, January 25 at Prism Live Hall. The show starts at 6 pm, and entry is 5,000 won with a canned good. 13 Steps, We Hate JH, Ninesin, Juck Juck Grunzie, The Strikers, Hollow Jan, Things We Say, Something Fierce, and Fight It Out will all perform. For more information, check out the Facebook event page for Loud Aid here.

Here are the set times for Loud Aid 2014:

6:00 – 6:30 Juck Juck Grunzie
6:30 – 7:00 We Hate JH
7:00 – 7:30 Something Fierce
7:30 – 8:00 Ninesin
8:00 – 8:30 Fight It Out
20:30 – 21:00 13 Steps
21:30 – 21:30 The Strikers
21:30 – 22:00 Hollow Jan
22:00 – 22:30 Things We Say

Loud Aid

Vassline Showcase New Album and Musical Diversity at Battle of the Silence

Vassline will be holding their second album release party for their “Black Silence” disc on Saturday, January 18 at Prism Live Hall in Hongdae.

Vassline Band Photo

Released in September on GMC Records, “Black Silence” is Vassline’s long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s “Permanence.”  The Seoul metalcore act initially intended to put out “Black Silence” in the fall of 2012.  But with things moving at a much slower pace than planned, the quintet eventually adopted an “It’ll be out when it’s done.” mentality.

“We started recording in early April 2012, and we thought we could finish the recording process in about three months,” shares guitarist Cho Min-young (aka Chainsaw Cho).  “And since it had never taken us more than six weeks to finish post-production stuff before, we figured we could have the album out that autumn.  But when we were recording, we fell way behind schedule.  Our own self standards are a lot higher now, so we put way more energy and effort into ‘Black Silence’ than we have for any of our past albums.  We were trying to be more professional, perfect, and precise.

“Also, we’re all way busier than we were six or seven years ago.  A few members are married and have kids.  And our day jobs have become more demanding too.  Balancing work, family, and band commitments also made it more challenging to get things done on the album quickly.”

Vassline Black Silence Cover

Fortunately, the loud and heavy “Black Silence” has proved to be worth the wait.  A powerful listen from start to finish, the record was chosen by Hellokpop as last year’s “Best Rock and Alternative Album.”  Boasting fourteen tracks, Jambinai and members of Hollow Jan, Pia, Ninesin, and To My Last Breath make guest appearances on several of the cuts adding some different flavors to Vassline’s fantastic sonic offering.

“With (2007’s) ‘Permanence’ we wanted to make an album that was more professional and better produced than our first two albums,” says Cho.  “Our second album, (2004’s) ‘Blood of Immortality,’ won the 2005 Korean Music Award for ‘Best Rock Album.’  And we felt a lot of pressure to make a better album than our prize-winning album.  At the time, we may have said that we didn’t care that much about making something better, but honestly, we did.

“But with ‘Black Silence,’ we became free from all the pressure and expectations.  We approached the album like we approached our very first record.  Because a large gap of time had passed since ‘Permanence,’ we thought we could bring a different kind of structure and character to our music.

“I think we did a really good job on ‘Black Silence.’  I think the overall sound is more organized and refined than it has been on past albums.  Our recording and mixing engineer took so damn long time to mix it down, but he did a really great job so we can’t complain!   I really like how the vocal recordings for the main and the backing vocals came out as well.  Our vocalist (Shin Woo-seok) experiments with different styles a lot during practices and shows, but he tends to stick to one style when it comes to actually recording. So the backing vocals need to give more layers and colors to the sound. I think the balance between the main vocals and the backing vocals came out much better on ‘Black Silence’ than on our previous records.”

Saturday night’s show is part of Vassline’s “Battle of the Silence” concert series, which is meant to promote the release of “Black Silence.”  The first Battle of the Silence took place in December.  And there will be four or five more shows held under the moniker this year.  With the Battle of the Silence shows, Vassline are looking to present bills that mix hardcore acts with bands from other genres.  December’s Battle of the Silence included punk bands No Brain and Lazybone, and this weekend’s gig will feature blues rock band Lowdown 30 and the soulful, retro-flavored pop rock of Goonam.

“The main idea is to bring out some of the best bands from other scenes and mix them with our music,” says Cho.  “As the Korean underground music scene has grown, its bands have gotten separated by categories or genre and it’s getting harder to see other bands grouped together from different genres.  We’ve been around more than 17 years now and we have lots of friends in many different scenes, so we wanted to invite them and let the bands and fans experience the different vibes that other music styles have.”

According to Cho, with future Battle of the Silence gigs, Vassline wants to continue to create lineups that are as diverse as possible.

“We’ll even invite idol dance music groups to perform if we can,” he says.  “But I’m guessing that won’t happen because we don’t have any friends in that scene.  Well, not yet, at least!”

Vassline’s second Battle of the Silence show takes place on Saturday night at Prism Live Hall in Hongdae.  The show starts at 6 pm and tickets are 20,000 won at the door.  Vassline, Lowdown 30, Knockdown, and Goonam will play.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

Vassline Poster

Change of Venue and Discount for Phoenix’s Seoul Gig

Phoenix’s Thursday, January 23 concert has been moved from Olympic Hall to Uniqlo AX.  The concert starts at 8 pm and the fantastic Seoul electronic band Idiotape will open the show.

Phoenix Photo

Tickets for the gig are 121,00 won.  However, if you buy a ticket before Monday, January 20 at 5 pm, you can score yourself a 30% discount making the entrance fee 84,700 won.

To get the discount, you have to buy a ticket in advance by transferring money to VU Ent’s bank account (Bank Name : Woori Bank / Account No : 1005-802-107643 / Account Holder : VU Ent).  For more information, email vu.michelleh AT gmail.com or call 070-4010-7874.

Phoenix are currently touring in support of their 2013 “Bankrupt!” album.  Last year saw the acclaimed French quartet performing at renowned fests such as Glastonbury, Coachella, and Lollapalooza.  In 2010, the act won the Grammy Award for “Best Alternative Music Album” for their 2009 “Wolfgang Amadeus” disc.

PHOENIX Poster

KGG Staff 2013 Live Faves

Here are the live performances from Korea (and other countries around the world) that Korea Gig Guide’s staff (Shawn, Mark, Jon, and Dain) enjoyed the most in 2013.  We hope to see all of you at lots of concerts throughout 2014!

And if anyone is interested, our 2012 lists of top shows can be checked out here.

A reunited Jurassic 5 at Japan's Fuji Rock Festival (photo by Keiko Hirakawa/Fujirock Express '13
A reunited Jurassic 5 at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival (photo by Keiko Hirakawa/Fujirock Express ’13

Shawn Despres
1. Jurrasic 5 @ Fuji Rock Festival (Japan) on July 27 (live photos here)

2. Jambinai @ Veloso on October 12

3. Bo Ningen @ Fuji Rock Festival (Japan) on July 28 (live photos here)

4. Dirty Projectors @ V-Hall on January 27

5. Goonam @ Yales Café Bar (Wrexham, Wales) on April 27 (live video here)

6. Hellivision @ Prism Live Hall on November 3

7. Galaxy Express @ Studio 2 (Liverpool, England) on May 3

8. Shugo Tokumaru @ Sangsang Madang on March 24

9. Mojo Project Sound System with Eshe @ Freebird on November 29 (live video here)

10. Bulssazo @ Sangsang Madang on March 30

Japandroids at Citybreak
Japandroids at Citybreak

Mark Russell
(shows listed by date)

Holly Odell and Damned Hillbillies @ VIPs (in Barcelona, Spain) on Jan. 18

Japandroids @ Citybreak on Aug. 18

Vidulgi Ooyoo @ Badabie on Nov. 2

Genius @ Strange Fruit on Nov. 9

Daikaiju at Double A Studio. Photo by Jon Dunbar.
Daikaiju at Double A Studio (photo by Jon Dunbar)

Jon Dunbar
1. Slackers @ Pawn Shop (Edmonton, Canada) on June 15 and 16  (live photos here)

2. Kingston Rudieska @ Prism Live Hall on December 29 (live photos here)

3. Autocratics @ Prism Live Hall on February 9 (live photos here)

4. Heimlich County Gun Club @ Hongdae Playground on May 25 (live photos here)

5. Daikaiju @ Double A Studio on August 4 (live photos here)

6. Yuppie Killer @ Club Spot on October 26 (live photos here)

7. Dr Ring Ding and friends @ Club Ta on August 3 (live photos here)

8. Funkafric & Boostdah @ Blue Star on April 5 (live photos here)

9. Oki Band @ Kuchu Camp on September 7 (live photos here)

10. Epaksa and the Mimi Sisters @ Sangsang Madang (Label Market) on January 19 (live photos here)

Metallica at Citybreak
Metallica at Citybreak

Dain Leathe​m
1. Metallica @ Citybreak on August 18

2. The XX @ Ansan Valley Rock Festival on July 26

3. Japandroids @ V-hall on February 14

4. Galaxy Express @ Rolling Hall on January 20

5. The Killers @ Olympic Hall on October 5

6. Placebo @ Jisan World Rock Festival on August 3

7. Supreme Team @ Green Plugged on May 17

8. One Drop East @ Club Ta on May 17

9. Shut Da Mouth with Pinnacle the Hustler @ Jisan World Rock Festival on August 3

10. WhoWho and Glen Check @ Club FF on July 13