All posts by Shawn

No. 1 Korean, Ynot? & Sugar, Come Again Plus Lots of Shimmies at Shake Shop This Weekend

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.”

No. 1 Korean

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.”

Ynot Picture

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.”

Sugar, Come Again 3

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:

8:00 Navah
8:15 Sugar, Come Again
9:00 Ynot?
9:45 No.1 Korean

Shake Shop Poster

“Oh Yes It’s Ladies’ Night, Oh What A Night …”

Volume 1 of Ladies’ Night, a new concert series “aimed at bringing awareness to the problem of street harassment and other issues affecting women in Korea,” will take place on Saturday night (January 10) at Club Ta in Hongdae.

Hollaback Korea

The event will feature a number of very good female-fronted local acts including Manju Pocket, A’z Bus, Veins, Oops Nice, Billy Carter, Wasted Johnny’s, and Juck Juck Grunzie as well as bellydancers Eshe and Navah. Proceeds from Ladies’ Night Volume 1 will be donated to Hollaback! Korea.

“We’re excited!” says Veins guitarist and vocalist Yu Hee.  “The show is going to be loud and crowded.”

“The purpose of the gig is also very good,” adds A’z Bus guitarist and vocalist Woo Ju.

A'z Bus

A’z Bus will be sharing material from their new “Mono Mobile” EP on Saturday night.  The five-track effort was released in December and serves as the follow-up to the alt-rock trio’s solid “Smilecry” EP.

“We made the songs last spring and recorded them in the fall,” Woo Ju says. “Our second EP sounds more organized because the members of our band were more familiar with the songs.”

November 2014 saw A’z Bus coming in second place at the Hello Rookie finals and in December they won first prize at KOCCA’s K-Rookies Final Concert.  Their set at Club Ta on January 10 promises to be one of many entertaining performances at Ladies’ Night Volume 1.

Ladies’ Night Volume 1 takes place on Saturday night at Club Ta.  The show starts at 7 pm and tickets are 10,000 won. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here.  And here are the set times for the concert.

7:00 – Manju Pocket
7:40 – Eshe & Navah
8:05 – A’z Bus
8:55 – Veins
9:45 – Oops Nice
10:35 – Billy Carter
11:25 – Wasted Johnny’s
12:15 – Juck Juck Grunzie

Ladie's Night Poster

KGG Staff 2014 Live Faves

The title above pretty much sums up what this post is about! Below are the live performances that Korea Gig Guide’s contributors liked the best in 2014. Hopefully you saw lots of great gigs last year too.  And we hope you see even more fantastic concerts in 2015!

Shawn Despres

Parquet Courts at Fuji Rock Festival (photo by Julen Esteban-Pretel (JulenPhoto) / Fujirock Express' 14)

Parquet Courts at Fuji Rock Festival (photo by Julen Esteban-Pretel (JulenPhoto) / Fujirock Express’ 14)

1. Parquet Courts @ Fuji Rock Festival (Japan) on July 25
2. Outkast @ Fuji Rock Festival (Japan) on July 27
3. Touché Amoré @ Gogos 2 on October 27
4. Moja @ V-Hall on October 11
5. Apollo 18 @ Soundholic Festival on June 22
6. Death From Above 1979 @ Riot Fest (Canada) on September 6
7. Galaxy Express @ Green Plugged on June 1
8. Ludistelo @ Freebird on May 17
9. Startline @ Freebird on March 22
10. Tie: 24 Hours @ Prism on June 6
Romantiqua with Kim Daeinn @ Freebird 2 on December 13

Mark Russell
(shows listed by date)

GeMF Mudaeruk

Note: I didn’t really go to a lot of shows this year (thanks, new baby), and when I did, I often went to see a particular band and didn’t stick around for the whole bill. But this is what I enjoyed last year.

GeMF @ Mudaeruk on February 23
Soul Train, Gopchang Jeongol @ Strange Fruit on March 1
GeMF @ Mudaeruk on March 23
Funkafric @ Strange Fruit on November 14

Jon Dunbar

Dr. Ring Ding at Sangsang Madang (photo by Jon Dunbar)

Dr. Ring Ding at Sangsang Madang (photo by Jon Dunbar)

1. Dr. Ring Ding and Kingston Rudieska @ Sangsang Madang on March 15
2. Heimlich County Gun Club @ Thunderhorse Tavern on March 29
3. Pegurians @ Ruailrock on May 31
4. Africa Sound Party @ Bar Alegria on February 21
5. Funkafric @ Blue Star on November 7
6. Crying Nut @ Club Spot on October 25
7. Skasucks @ New Generation of Ska Festival on August 30
8. Business @ Prism Live Hall on August 15
9. Ska 4 Ensemble @ All That Jazz on November 30
10. Tie: Durchfall @ Club Spot June 14
Sagal @ Jogwang Studio on May 24

Dain Leathem

Rippon Festival

Rippon Festival

1. Fat Freddy’s Drop @ Rippon Music Festival (New Zealand) on February 1
2. Empire of the Sun @ UMF Korea on June 14
3. Crying Nut X No Brain @ Let’s Rock Festival on September 20
4. Kasabian, The Inspector Cluzo, Idiotape @ Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival on August 2
5. St Vincent @ Yes24 Muv Hall on July 24
6. Diamond Dogs @ Thunderhorse Tavern on May 17
7. Tokimonsta @ Cakeshop on March 27
8. Yes Yes @ Freebird 2 on October 25
9. Messgram @ Thunderhorse Tavern on May 14
10. Whowho @ Soundholic Festival on June 21

Korea Gig Guide & Do Indie New Year’s Meet Up

On Sunday (January 4), Korea Gig Guide and our friends at Do Indie will be hosting a New Year’s Meet Up at Common in Blu in Hongdae.  The event will run from 4 pm – 7 pm and is open to everyone who is interested in the local indie music scene.

KGG Logo

Write about music?  Come hang out with us!  Play music? Come hang out with us!  Work in the Korean music industry? Come hang out with us!   Simply enjoy listening to Korea-based acts bang out indie anthems on disc and in dingy live spaces?  Come hang out with us!  Anyone who would like to have a few drinks and gab about the Korean indie scene with like-minded folks is more than welcome to join us.

Do Indie Logo

The Korea Gig Guide & Do Indie New Year’s Meet Up will run from 4 pm – 7 pm on Sunday, June 4 at Common in Blu.  The event is totally free to attend, but everyone is responsible for paying for their own drinks.  Hope to see you on Sunday!

Common in Blu Map

To get to Common in Blu, go out Exit 1 of Hongik University Station and walk straight. Turn right at the Standard Chartered bank and then left at Paris Baguette.  Walk straight for a few blocks and then turn left at the 7-11.  Common in Blu will be on your right.  It’s on the first floor of Blu Guest House.

Hippie Death Star (ex-The Plastic Day) Playing in Seoul During the Holidays

Hippie Death Star, a new Australia-based band featuring Shin Sunho (aka Green) – the former guitarist and vocalist for the excellent Korean rock band The Plastic Day – are closing out 2014 by playing a handful of gigs in Seoul.

Hippie Death Star Photo

Formed in Seoul in 2006, The Plastic Day released an EP in 2007 called “Lady” and in 2009 released their fantastic full-length, “30 Seconds between the Dreamer and the Realist.”  The band broke up in 2010 when Shin moved to Australia.

Hippie Death Star is the first group Shin has played with since moving to Sydney.  The act features him on guitar and vocals, Matt King on guitar, Jay Woo on bass, and Tobia Blefari on drums.  Like Shin, Woo is also Korean.  King and Blefari are both Australian and Hippie Death Star’s tour this month is their first time visiting Korea.

“Green was my friend back in Korea but I hadn’t heard from him since I left there,” says Woo.  “But I bumped into him in Sydney a few years later and we had lots of jam sessions with lots of musicians in Sydney.  And then we found Matt and Tobia.  It’s hard to find good players with good attitudes here. I was lucky to meet Matt, Tobia, and Green.”

Mixing rock and psychedelic sounds, Hippie Death Star began their Korean tour on December 13 and have played three gigs so far at Badabie (December 13), Yogiga (December 17) and Mudaeruk (December 20) as part of Reggae Chicken’s “Psychedelic Flowers” concert series.  The act will be finishing up their tour this week with shows at Club Freebird 2, Club FF, and Strange Fruit before flying back to Australia on Sunday.

The group formed this past summer, and surprisingly had only played two live gigs before flying to Korea for this tour.  While most bands tend to be a bit more experienced before embarking on a round of international dates, when Reggae Chicken owner Rhiu Kwanghee asked Hippie Death Star to play as part of “Psychedelic Flowers,” the offer seemed too good to pass up.

“Honestly I’m so excited to have the chance to play overseas,” says King. “I can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t want to do a tour of Korea.”

“It’s a nice excuse to visit family and friends,” adds Shin.  “It’s been a really long time since I’ve hung out over there.  We’re really grateful to Kwanghee for this opportunity.”

According to Shin, Hippie Death Star have five songs so far and their sets run about 45 minutes in length.  He says he’s also got the blueprints for two more numbers in his head and thinks that those seven songs will eventually make up the act’s first album.  The group have actually done some recording while they’ve been in Korea, but there’s no official word yet on how those tracks will be used.

Now that they are halfway through their Korean dates, what can people expect from Hippie Death Star’s remaining concerts in Seoul?

“I want to say that people shouldn’t expect anything,” says Shin.  “Just come say hi to us and give us a big hug or a smile.”

And for those missing The Plastic Day, how does Shin feel that Hippie Death Star compares to his former band?

“I don’t know,” he offers.  “It’s hard to describe some things and very easy to say other things, so it’s better for me not to compare these two bands myself.  One thing I’m sure of is that both bands aren’t chasing the mainstream.  The Plastic Day never pretended to be independent but secretly wanted to play mainstream music.  And neither does Hippie Death Star.”

Hippie Death Star play on December 24 at Freebird 2, December 26 at Club FF, and December 27 at Strange Fruit.  The full info for all the shows is below.

Reggae Chicken Poster

December 24 @ Club Freebird 2 (5 pm start): Hippie Death Star, Yes Yes, Contrules, Juck Juck Grunzie, Romantiqua with Eshe and Navah, Mineri, Kopchangjeongol, and Julia Dream. Tickets are 25,000 won at the door.

December 26 @ Club FF (10 pm start): Hippie Death Star, National Pigeon Unity, Atmo, ABTB. Tickets are 15,000 won at the door with one free drink.

December 27 @ Strange Fruit (5 pm start): Hippie Death Star, Hellivision, Dead Buttons, Ironic Hue, My Way Killing, and Juck Juck Grunzie.  Tickets are 25,000 won at the door.

Club FF Poster

Vidulgi Ooyoo Celebrates 10 Years Together at Club Ta This Weekend

Seoul shoegazers Vidulgi Ooyoo will be playing a concert at Club Ta in Hongdae on Saturday night (December 20) to celebrate their tenth anniversary as a band.

Vidulgi Ooyoo Picture

Long-term followers of the quartet may be wondering how 2014 marks their tenth year together.  Didn’t guitarist Jong-seok Lee start Vidulgi Ooyoo in 2003?

“I formed the band in 2003, but most of our present members came together in 2004,” Lee explains.  “So I think of 2004 as the year that we actually made our live debut.”

The past decade has seen Vidulgi Ooyoo release two excellent full-length albums, 2008’s “Aero” – which earned them nods for “Rookie of the Year,” “Best Modern Rock Album,” and “Best Modern Rock Song” at the 2009 Korean Music Awards – and 2013’s “Officially Pronounced Alive,” and issue a split disc with American act Bliss.City.East in 2010.  The band have also shared their music abroad during tours in the US, Canada, Japan, and China.

Saturday’s concert will be a celebration of all Vidulgi Ooyoo’s accomplishments to date.  But the night will also be a bit sad as it will be guitarist Jee-hye Ham’s last performance with the group.

Jeehye

“Jee-hye plays in two bands, Vidulgi Ooyoo and Juck Juck Grunzie,” says Lee.  “Nowadays she has a hard time keeping up with both bands because of other things in her life.  So she thought she should only focus on one band.

“Juck Juck is the band that she herself started so she decided to stick with them.  It was a very difficult decision for her to make and we totally understand why she had to make it.  We’re very grateful for everything she’s done for our band.  We hope many people will come out to the show at Club Ta this weekend to hear her play her final tunes with us.

A replacement for Ham has already been found but Lee isn’t ready to publicly announce who the person is just yet.  Instead he offers this.

“She is a complete new comer,” he says.  “We’ll start to work together from January and she’ll play guitar song and sing with us.  She’ll cover many of the things that Jeehye does with Vidulgi Ooyoo, but she’ll add her own unique style and identity to them.”

Over the past few months, Lee has written a handful of songs.  The plan is to record some of the material this coming spring and issue it is a two- or three-song single.  The cuts will be the first recordings to come out with Vidulgi Ooyoo’s new lineup.

“I think with these tracks we may expand the guitar textures a bit more than we did on ‘Officially Pronounced Alive,” says Lee.  “Maybe the songs will have more of a psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll feel to them.”

Vidulgi Ooyoo Album Cover

Looking back over the past 10 years, what are some of Lee’s best memories of making music with Vidulgi Ooyoo?

“I think all of our best memories are just performing.  Every stage we’ve performed on has been a great memory for us.  It doesn’t matter where we play, the vibes onstage during our sets always make us excited.”

Moving forward, what does Vidulgi Ooyoo hope to do leading up to its twentieth anniversary?

“We want to keep developing our own sound and mindset,” Lee says.  “And we want to keep re-creating that feeling of excitement we felt when we first performed onstage together 10 years ago.”

Vidulgi Ooyoo plays on December 20 at Club Ta. The show starts at 7 pm and tickets are 35,000 won at the door.  Also on the bill are Jambinai, Underwears Band, Love X Stereo, and a surprise special guest.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.  And here are the set times for the concert:

7:00 Jambinai
7:40 Underwears Band
8:20 Love X Stereo
9:00 Vidulgi Ooyoo
10:00 Special Guest

Vidulgi Ooyoo Poster

Nice Legs Tour Diary: Taipei4Life

By Henry Demos

I have been staring at this screen for what seems like minutes or hours or maybe days.  I have no idea.  Time has come to a standstill.  I am writing this because I fell in love with Taipei.  I have to write this.  Whatever this is, I have to write this because of Taipei.

Oh yeah, I forgot the introductions!  We are Nice Legs.  Lauren E. Walker plays the voice.  JJ hits things hard and rhythmically, and I play the three string.  Nice Legs is improv fuzz pop or something.  When we aren’t noising, we live in Seoul, Korea.

But now back to us playing in Taipei …

A few months back, we started sending emails – lots and lots of emails.  You see, we had previously toured Tokyo and I just didn’t learn my lesson.  I thought I needed to send hundreds of wasteful emails to schmucks that just don’t care about me, my music, or my face.  It seemed logical: send a bunch of emails and see what sticks.  It isn’t logical.  After days of stupidity, I started sending smart emails.

The first person I contacted was my new friend and owner/operator of another great gig guide (GigGuide.tw), Steve Leggat.  Steve is a nice f*cking guy.  He didn’t know me. Luckily through the amazing internet email land we were able to build a relationship.  He told me who to write.  More importantly, I could use his name as a reference.  Steve’s word is bond down in Taipei.  He put me in touch with my dream date Dan.  Dan is best known for being both the the booking agent for the Taipei live space Revolver and as lead singer/guitarist of the unstoppable Until Seeing Whales Eyes.

After booking us at Revolver, Dan told me that he would put us on a festival he was running called Volume 22.  Awesome!  Our first time playing Taipei and already we were getting a f*cking festival!  Man, did it kill but more on Volume 22 later because that was the sh*t.  Now we had to figure out where we were going to sleep.  I mean, we are poor … and did I mention our drummer JJ is going to have a baby?  Yeah, we needed something cheap.

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but boy did it.  We had another great stroke of luck with our friends Todde and Patty.  They not only put us up, showed us the town, and drank us under the table, but they also found us a third gig.  They made our trip complete!

So we promptly bought plane tickets.  Of course that is a total lie.  We all waited until the last minute and paid way too much.  But let’s just flash forward.

Friday:

Nice Legs Revolver

We played at the totally righteous Revolver.  I want to call it a punk club, but that wouldn’t really do it justice.  It’s a two-story joint with a bar on the first floor and the venue on the second, and it has great amps, drinks, and drums.  The green room was pretty ill too.  We were the opening act for Taipei legends Freckles and Osaka beatbox math noise rockers Qu.  The show was packed.  I stripped down to only my fishnets for some reason.  It was just that good.  Our first night playing in a new city and we already felt welcomed with open arms.

Later, Dan took us out for drinks.  Things got a little hazy from there.  I’m pretty sure it was fun!

Saturday:

Volume 22

This was that festival, Volume 22 at a place called The Wall.  There were bands from Taipei, Tokyo, Osaka, and Singapore.  It was the most organized event I have been a part of.  Two stages right next to each other.  When one band played, the next would set up.  Dude, it was great.  There was even this guy in the audience that sang along with the strangest voice.  Lauren definitely gave him the mic for the chorus of one song.  I could go on for pages about the bands, people, and everything but I won’t.  I will just say 22Records is doing some fine work.

Dan took us out for drinks again …

Sunday:

After a rough start at the crack of noon, we got fixed up with spectacular meals at Mary’s Hamburger. Definitely go there if you visit Taipei!  Gig time came quicker than we hoped so we were off to Vicious Circle.  The club had a diner, a bar, and a clothing shop.  Also it was oddly clean.

Our lovely hosts Todde and Patty had wrangled this show for us.  The young and quirky Dirty Fiction opened for us.  The concert was riddled with technical difficulties but damn it was probably my favorite show of the weekend.  Feedback can go f*ck itself!  By the way David Frazier from the Taipei Times came out that night.  I should mention he wrote an “article” about us.  It was … uh … unique.  What a guy.

Nice Legs Article

I’m not really sure how to end this.  The tour was over.  We didn’t have much time left so we thought it best to spend it with our new friends.  Actually, I retract that last bit.  The people we met in Taipei aren’t just new friends; they are new family.  I’m glad we could spend the weekend with those guys:  Dan, Todde, Patty, Kiki, Benben, Taipei Jesus, Steve, Dave, everybody.

Taiwan is an amazing place with amazing people.  Nice Legs is going back, you can bet your ass on that.  Taiwan, we love you!  Unless that is not really your thing but we love you still, okay?

rainbow

Lineup Changes and a New Band on Display at the 2014 Gogol Records Label Party

Seoul indie imprint Gogol Records will have their second annual year end label party on Saturday night (December 13) at Club Freebird 2 in Hongdae.

Gogol Picture

Two of Gogol’s acts, Romantiqua and Juck Juck Grunzie, have recently made changes to their lineups.  In November, Romantiqua and bassist Griffin Shim parted ways.  The instrumental rockers are still searching for a permanent replacement for Shim, so Apollo 18’s Dae-inn Kim will play bass during their set on Saturday night.

Romantiqua

In the case of Juck Juck Grunzie, drummer Geun-chang Park recently left so the group have brought in Kyung-hyun Lee to fill his spot.  Kyung-hyun previously drummed in the band Sun’strolling.  This weekend’s Gogol showcase will be only his second show with Juck Juck Grunzie.  He made his live debut with them on December 5 as part of Badabie’s tenth anniversary celebrations.

Juck Juck Grunzie

“Our first concert together went well,” says vocalist and synth player Ah-reum Lee.  “A lot of people there said that his drumming goes really well with our sound.  He has a lot of positive energy and rock ‘n’ roll spirit in his heart.  I think he’s going to have a great effect on our vibe and energy.”

Ah-reum is excited about working together with him and feels that his playing can help take Juck Juck Grunzie’s psych-tinged noise rock in even more directions.

“He’s a very powerful drummer.  I think a lot of rock music fans are going to be more interested in our new sound because it’s definitely going to be more rocking.  He’s really open minded about different styles of music, so we want to try and experiment more and more with our music.”

Here’s a newly released live video of Juck Juck Grunize with former drummer Geun-chang Park playing as part of Loose Union‘s “Live at Union Studio” series.

Saturday’s show will also feature a performance from the most recent addition to the Gogol Records family, Summer Never Comes.  The Gwangju post-rock trio joined the label this past summer.

Summer Never Comes

“Several bands who we like are part of Gogol Records so we were interested in the label,” says guitarist Young-do Pyen.  “Romantiqua guitarist Hyun Kim was the person who introduced our band to Gogol Records.  We’re grateful that he did that.”

Originally formed in 2008, after a number of member changes the band issued its first album, “Inuit,” in 2013.  They plan to put out their sophomore offering through Gogol Records in 2015. Set to be titled “Blackout,” Summer Never Comes will start recording the disc in January.

As previously reported on KGG, Romantiqua are now in the process of recording a new two-song single and National Pigeon Unity will be hitting the studio in January too so there should be lots of great music coming out under the Gogol Records name in the coming months.  And rumor has it label founders Apollo 18 are going to finally begin work on their very long overdue second full-length album next year as well.

Gogol Records’ label concert takes place on December 13 at Club Freebird 2. Apollo 18, Juck Juck Grunzie, Romantiqua, National Pigeon Unity, Summer Never Comes, and Contrules will play. The show starts at 5 pm and tickets are 10,000 won.

Gogol Poster

Tenacious D Heat Up a Frigid Seoul Evening

By Brian Gilbert and Jamie Gilbert

Tenacious D finished up the Asian leg of their 2014 Tour at Olympic Hall in Seoul on Saturday, December 6. Their second of two shows in the city, the act drew an enthusiastic crowd despite the biting chill outside.  The audience waited in anticipation for the band to take the stage, and the chanting began even before the first stage lights came up.  So, opening with “Tribute,” the lead single from their acclaimed 2001 eponymous debut, was definitely a crowd-pleasing way to get the night started.

Tenacious D Poster

For anyone familiar with the antics of the two comedic frontmen of Tenacious D, their entire set was a delicious mix of comedy and hard-rocking music.  Jack Black brought incredible energy to each and every song, adding to his belted-out high trills and his trademark crazy eyes. His partner in crime, Kyle Gass, added in some beautiful acoustic stylings along with quirky additions throughout the show, including a moment during which he simultaneously played two different sized recorders in the middle of “Simply Jazz.”

Tenacious D

Whether a song was one nearly everyone in the audience was familiar with like “Tribute” or “POD,” or a slightly lesser known piece, JB and KG (as they are otherwise known) maintained their unique balance and harmony as they fed off each other’s energy. It was easy to spot their joy in making music together.  And the pair’s performance was strengthened by the extremely talented musicians backing them.

Tenacious D 1

As is notable at some concerts in Korea, this show was a 19 and over event, in this case because of the crass humor and language the band added to the rock and physical comedy of the show. However, a great deal of the bathroom humor was likely lost in translation for some of the non-native English speakers in attendance. That being said, there was also plenty of higher-brow comedy to be enjoyed, highlighted in the bits with King JB and his lowly roadie and of course, the ubiquitous “Simply Jazz” break which, in addition to KG’s impressive finger/lung skills, featured unusual call and response sections encouraged with the assertion that “There are no wrong notes in jazz!”

Although the crowd did not fully fill out the impressively laid out Olympic Hall, there was no shortage of energy on the floor throughout the concert.  Anyone present looking to have their socks rocked partially off and seeking both cheap and expensive laughs clearly got their money’s worth, and the band’s actions showed they appreciated the fans in turn.  Whatever your mood, Tenacious D definitely delivers in entertainment, and if given the chance to catch the band as they continue their world tour later this month, come with tongues in cheek and rock-fingers ready for “The Greatest Band on Earth.”

Tenacious D 3

Set List:
“Tribute”
“POD”
“Rize of the Fenix”
“Low Hangin’ Fruit”
“Señorita”
“Kielbasa”
“Kickapoo”
“Wonderboy”
“Simply Jazz”
“The Metal”
“Dio”
“Roadie”
“Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)”
“We Beat the Devil”
“Double Team”

Encore:
“Baby”
“Pinball Wizard” / “There’s a Doctor” / “Go to the Mirror!”
“F*ck Her Gently”

The photos are from Tenacious D’s Friday, December 5 show in Seoul and were provided by Private Curve.

Startline, National Pigeon Unity, and Danpyunsun at the Last Shake Shop of 2014

The final Shake Shop concert of 2014 will take place at Club Freebird 2 in Seoul tonight (December 5). Presented by Korea Gig Guide and Dream Dance Studio, the show will feature a trio of Seoul-based, international touring indie acts – Startline, National Pigeon Unity, and Danpyunsun – all collaborating with Canadian bellydancer Eshe and her Navah troupe.

Startline

This will be melodic punk rockers Startline’s second time performing at Shake Shop. The three piece previously played the event back in March.

“Shake Shop was a new and exciting experience for us,” says drummer Choi Gun. “We’re excited about doing it again.  Bellydance is full of energy and passion, just like our music is.  I think together we’ll create a very cool and thrilling experience for everyone.”

This past summer, Startline played concerts in China, Taiwan, and Japan. In November, they returned back to China for a pair of shows in Suzhou and Shanghai.

“Those tours were really good for us,” says Choi.  “I want to face many new musical challenges with Startline.  (Guitarist and vocalist) Ho-jun (Jung) needs more experience on a wide variety of stages as a vocalist and (bassist) Zena (Won) likes watching great musicians from all around the world and gaining inspiration from them.  These experiences in different environments are making us a stronger band and are helping us to create our own unique style of punk.”

Startline are currently gigging in support of their latest EP, “Across the Night,” which was released in August. Similar to 2013’s “Light My Fire” EP, “Across the Night” is full of catchy, fast-paced tracks.  Next year Startline plan to put out their full-length debut and intend to tour Japan again as well.  Other overseas concerts are a possibility as well.

NPU

June saw National Pigeon Unity making their return to the local live circuit after a nearly two-year absence while the band members did their military service.  In September, the rock duo traveled to Taiwan to play at Taipei’s Beastie Rock Festival.

“Beastie Rock Festival helped us and taught us many things,” say drummer Park Young-mok.  “We’ve been a band for seven years, but that was our first time to play outside of Korea.  It was also one of our first concerts after finishing our army duties.  I think that show helped us get our energy back.  It also showed us that in places where we can’t speak the language, we still can communicate through our songs.

“The crowd at Beastie Rock seemed to be really interested in our music.  As soon as we got onstage the air felt different and everyone seemed to be really focused on what we were doing.  It was a really good experience.”

Early next year, the group plan to start recording the long-awaited follow-up to their 2011 full-length, “Root.”  Originally formed as a trio, “Root” was their first offering as a two-piece band.  With their next album they want to take things up a notch and show people just how strong of a duo they are.  Fans can get a taste of what to expect from National Pigeon Unity’s 2015 album on December 8 when they group issue a new two-song digital single called “Like a Light.”

Shake Shop will be National Pigeon Unity’s first time teaming up with dancers.

“We don’t know much about bellydancing, but we know Eshe and have seen her and Navah collaborate with other bands,” says Park.  “We’re excited and a little worried about the show.  We think it’s going to be a good challenge, though, and we look forward to seeing how our music mixes with bellydancing.”

Danpyunsun

Also on tonight’s bill is Danpyunsun.  The experimental folk singer performed in Japan in November.  And he’s been quite active this year with his excellent band Danpyunsun and the Sailors.  He’ll be playing solo at Shake Shop while the bellydancers shimmy along.

Shake Shop Vol. 18 takes place on Friday, December 5 at Club Freebird 2. The doors open at 8 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Startline, National Pigeon Unity, and Danpyunsun.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.  And here are the set times for tonight’s concert:

Danpyunsun 8:20 pm – 8:55 pm
Startline 9:05 pm – 9:40 pm
Navah 9:40 pm – 9:55 pm
National Pigeon Unity 9:55 pm – 10:30 pm

Shake Shop Poster