Since February 2013, Korea Gig Guide has been co-presenting the Shake Shop concert series with Dream Dance Studio. Created by bellydancer Eshe, the monthly event mixes local indie music with bellydancing. After seven years in Seoul, Eshe will be moving back to her native Canada this spring which means there will only be two more Shake Shop shows. This month’s gig will take place on Saturday night (January 24) and will see No. 1 Korean, Ynot?, and Sugar, Come Again all collaborating with Eshe and her Navah bellydance troupe.
No. 1 Korean were quick to join the bill for Saturday’s show after learning that January’s Shake Shop will be the second last installment of the series.
“We heard our friend Eshe will be moving to Canada soon, so we really wanted to do this concert together” says Kwon Milk, the band’s charismatic frontman.
Although No. 1 Korean’s catchy hybrid of ska and rock is very different from typical bellydance fare, the group have little doubt that their collaboration with Eshe and Navah will be fun and entertaining.
“We think our music easily transcends boundaries,” says Kwon Milk. “And beyond those boundaries we hope to dance with everyone. Together with the dancers, we hope to share feelings that cannot be expressed with words.”
The act’s most recent offering is their “My Small Calendar” EP. Released last April, the six-track effort is a mellower affair than No. 1 Korean’s previous output.
“We chose to make love songs for the EP,” shares Kwon Milk. “We tried to express many complicated feelings about love in the world with different relaxed sounds.”
Like No. 1 Korean, Ynot? are looking forward to their collaboration with Eshe and Navah.
“These belly dancers have been performing for a very long time, but unfortunately Ynot? haven’t had the chance to perform with them yet,” says vocalist Jeon Sangkyu. “Since this will be one of the last Shake Shops, we feel very lucky to be playing.”
As for the collaboration itself, Jeon feels that Ynot’s funky rock cuts will fit well with bellydancing.
“Throughout our career, Ynot? have been very interested with the idea of rhythm,” says Jeon. “Our beat might be a little tougher and more rocking compared to more traditional bellydance ones, but it should still be good because all rhythm is meant to make people dance! And we also use Korean traditional percussion, which will make it a very unique and interesting performance.”
In December, the quintet celebrated their fifteenth anniversary and issued a new full-length titled “Swing.” In their write-up of “Swing,” the website Korean Indie said that the “album offers emotional and intensified music which makes you yearn for more.” Wanting more songs to bop around to, the favorable review later stated that despite the disc boasting a dozen tracks, “it doesn’t seem like enough.”
“It’s heavier and the music and lyrics are more aggressive,” says Jeon when comparing it to the group’s back catalogue. “We spent a whole year writing and recording our new album. I think we put the most effort, time, and money into this one.”
Rounding out Saturday night’s bill is Sugar, Come Again. The self-dubbed “emotional reggae” band is led by Kingston Rudieska vocalist Sugar Sukyuel and also includes Kingston Rudieska drummer Kim Daemin. The project sprang from a solo show Sugar Sukyuel did in October 2013.
“I had some friends help me with my solo show,” Sugar Sukyuel says. “It was so much fun that we decided to make a band. I really like reggae music and had actually been thinking about making a reggae band so I’m happy that it luckily happened!
“Sugar, Come Again’s music has violin, which is unusual for reggae music, but we’re trying to challenge ourselves and to create a new sound which we call ‘emotional reggae.’”
In spring 2014, Sugar, Come Again entered the studio to record some tracks, and last July they put out a two-song single called “1st Exercise.” The group’s goal for this year is to continue to practice and play lots in order to continue growing as a band.
Last year, Sugar Sukyuel appeared at Shake Shop with Kingston Rudieska and had a great time working with Eshe and Navah. He’s excited about teaming up with the hip-shaking beauties again as Sugar, Come Again.
“We’ve been thinking that bellydancing is a good match for our music, so this should be a great collaboration,” he says. “We think there are no boundaries between any kind of music and dance and that it’s really easy for music and dance to come together as one.”
Shake Shop Vol. 19 takes place on Saturday, January 24 at Club Freebird 2. The doors open at 7:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with a free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside No. 1 Korean, Ynot?, and Sugar, Come Again. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here. And here are the set times for the concert:
8:15 Sugar, Come Again
9:45 No.1 Korean