Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Death of Club Spot

One of Korean punk’s main institutions, Club Spot, will be closing its doors this month. Since 2006, Spot has served as one of Hongdae’s best-known punk clubs. This dingy basement was the proving ground for countless starting bands, as well as a social catalyst for the music scene. Many foreign bands have played here, inlcuding US pop-punk band the Queers, Dutch hardcore band No Turning Back, and Japanese metalcore band Aggressive Dogs, to say nothing of all the bands coming to Korea to play the annual Korea/Japan Punk Fest.

Spot Entrance

“Spot has been my home for the seven years I’ve been here,” says Jeff Moses, frontman of melodic punk band …Whatever That Means. “I think I’ve spent more weekends there than not. I saw one of my first Korean punk shows there. I met so many of my friends there. I met my wife there. We had our wedding reception/punk show there. Our band’s first show was there. Our first two album releases were there. It’s the first place I bartended in Korea and the first place I worked as a concert promoter in Korea. It’s really been a huge part of my life for a really long time.”

Jeff and his wife Trash have booked shows at Club Spot under the brand World Domination, Inc, including the recently concluded 2nd Saturdays, a late-night showcase held on the second Saturday of each month, and the annual Still Alive series of Halloween shows. This year’s Still Alive takes place on Saturday, October 25 and laments the closing of the venue with a powerful assortment of Korean punk, ska, hardcore, and kimchibilly bands stretching from the dawn of punk in Korea to some of the scene’s youngest acts.

still aliveLineup:
Crying Nut (Chosun punk)
Rux (streetpunk)
BBLT (pop punk)
Burning Hepburn (punk/ska)
Skasucks (ska)
…Whatever That Means (melodic punk)
The Geeks (youthcrew hardcore)
Streetguns/ (kimchibilly)
The Pinheads (Ramones tribute band)
Yuppie Killer (kill your parents hardcore)
Resolute (oi punk)
Rudy Guns (ska-punk)

RSVP here!

Entry is 10,000 won with a costume, or 15,000 won without. “Be aware,” warns Jeff, “wearing a Misfits Jack-O-Lantern T-shirt, a name tag with someone else’s name on it, writing ‘BOOK’ across your face, and other lame crap like that…these are not costumes. They never have been, never will be, and won’t get you a discount.”

Club Spot Halloween 2011

Burning Hepburn

Burning Hepburn

Club Spot Halloween 2012

97_2012

Club Spot Halloween 2013

Misfits tribute band performed by Mixed Blood: Mixedfits

Misfits tribute band performed by Mixed Blood: Mixedfits

 

ECE, A’z Bus, and Romantiqua Play Shake Shop 17 on 10/25

After taking a summer break, Shake Shop – the concert series co-presented by Dream Dance Studio and Korea Gig Guide – makes its return on Saturday, October 25. The bill will feature ECE, A’z Bus, and Romantiqua collaborating with bellydancers Eshe and Navah.  While previous editions of Shake Shop took place at Club Freebird, starting from this month the shows will be held at the newer, more spacious Club Freebird 2.

Freebird 2

Art rock quartet ECE formed in 2012 and came in third place at last year’s Hello Rookie finals.  Walking away from the event with three million won in prize money, they used their winnings to help finance their first full-length, this August’s “Lift Me Glory.”  A strong debut filled with dynamic cuts, the group had a good time making “Lift Me Glory,” especially when creating its wide array of noises.

ECE Photo

“We did so many crazy things when we recorded our album,” says guitarist Geum Oh.  “We tried to record different sounds by doing things like throwing pieces of metal, hitting things with hammers, and dropping chairs on the ground.  It was a lot of fun experimenting to get the sounds we wanted.”

ECE are looking forward to performing alongside Eshe and her Navah troupe at Shake Shop vol. 17 and are quite curious to see how the collaboration develops.

“It’s an interesting concept for a show,” says Geum Oh.  “And since seeing the song choices that the bellydancers asked to perform to, we’ve been dying to know how they will dance to our music.”

While ECE were one of the winners at 2013′s Hello Rookie, alt-rock trio A’z Bus are finalists at this year’s event which takes place on November 8.  When asked why A’z Bus should be awarded the competition’s grand prize, guitarist and vocalist Woo Ju answers matter-of-factly “Because we’re so cool!”

A'z Bus Pic 2

“We’re very excited about being able to compete in the Hello Rookie finals,” she says.  “And we’re a bit nervous too!  But anyway, we’re just going to go and try and enjoy ourselves there.”

Composed of ex-members of Vending Machine and Sizose, A’z Bus started in September 2013.  Working fast, they recorded their debut EP, “Smilecry,” less than three months later.  The four-song effort was released this past April.

“My favorite part of making ‘Smilecry’ came when our engineer said we were done,” says Woo Ju with a laugh. “I shouted ‘Yeah! Let’s go and drink beer all night long!’

“All three of us are very different from each other. We have different personalities and like different styles of music.  Having so many differences creates a lot of new and exciting possibilities for our music.”

In addition to their Hello Rookie nod, “Smilecry” also helped A’z Bus earn a slot at this summer’s Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival.  Hoping to continue to build upon the success they’ve had in their first 12 months together, A’z Bus are currently crafting their second EP, “Mono Mobile.” They plan to issue it before year end.

Like ECE, A’z Bus are thrilled to be paired up with dancers at Shake Shop.

“I saw some videos from past Shake Shops and thought the show looked interesting,” says Woo Ju.  “We’re always eager to try new things.”

Romantiqua Pic

This Saturday will mark Romantiqua’s fifth time performing at Shake Shop.  One of Seoul’s top instrumental rock bands, Shake Shop founder Eshe is quite vocal about her love for Romantiqua’s music.  But what makes the quartet happy to keep accepting her invitations to collaborate together?

“We love the initiative that Eshe and Navah have taken with these shows,” says drummer Anton Brinza.  “They work really hard and Shake Shop is such a great outlet for their efforts.  Especially in a music scene that is flooded with performances, these shows continue to stand out as something unique and are a breath of fresh air in Hongdae.  Shake Shop isn’t just another show among the countless concerts every weekend.  It’s an event.”

Wanting to do something special for Shake Shop vol. 17, Brinza will add some bellydance-inspired flavor to Romantiqua’s music by offering his own take on Paul Dinletir and Ozzy’s “Medusa’s Finale” drum solo from Bellydance Evolution.

“I took a great bellydance drum solo that Eshe showed me and transposed it from  traditional hand drums to a drum set,” Brinza shares.  “The solo will be just me and the girls, and it’s been a challenge to learn it, but I’m super pumped for that.”

After Shake Shop, Romantiqua will take a few weeks off from gigging to focus on recording two songs for a digital single.  This will be the band’s first new material since the release of their excellent full-length, “Revenge,” last spring.  The guys are aiming to have the tracks online around Christmas.

“We’ve chosen these two songs because they best reflect our growth as a band,” Brinza explains.  “With ‘Revenge,’ we had a collection of songs that fit together really well, but as a band we’re in a continual process of discovering the true Romantiqua sound.  The nice thing about our style of music is that there are no boundaries.  There’s no framework for what we do, which is good in a way because over time we will be the ones to construct that framework.  These two songs explore a more unrestrained direction with complex structures, layered rhythms, and melodies.”

Shake Shop Vol. 17 takes place on Saturday, October 25 at Club Freebird 2. The show starts at 7:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside ECE, A’z Bus, and Romantiqua.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Shake Shop Poster

Max Reynolds and Social Bliss KR Back For More

Texas punk rocker Max Reynolds is wrapping up his second Korean tour this weekend with an HBC Fest appearance at Camarata on Friday and a pair of Hongdae gigs at Club Freebird 2 (Saturday) and Strange Fruit (Sunday).

Max Photo

Reynolds’ first Korean trek took place last fall.  He had a blast while here and made the decision to return again in 2014 pretty much as soon as his 2013 dates had finished. Over the summer, he used the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help raise cash to offset his travel costs with fans in the US and Korea making contributions.

“It was important for me to keep the relationships I have with friends and clubs alive,” Reynolds says.  “The people I have met here in Hongdae mean a lot to me, and I’ve thought of them often throughout the past year.”

Social Bliss KR live at Zandari Fest 2014. Photo by Wolf Shin.

Social Bliss KR live at Zandari Fest 2014. Photo by Wolf Shin.

In the US, Reynolds plays as part of the three-piece punk act Social Bliss.  Not able to bring his group over with him last year, he recruited two Seoul musicians – bassist Ju Sarang and drummer Jo Seonghyun – to create a local incarnation of Social Bliss which is fittingly called Social Bliss KR.  Seoul Bliss KR have been reunited for his gigs this month.

“Seonghyun and Sarang have gotten stronger over the last year,” says Reynolds.  “It’s great to get to practice with them and hang out together.  We probably chat at least every other week or so on Facebook.  I really appreciate them.  They have lives and projects of their own, so for them to drop everything and help me out is really awesome.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to travel to this side of the world and have friends and people who are willing to play shows with me.  It’s something that I will never take for granted.  And having a Korean version of my band definitely gives me bragging rights back home!”

Reynolds performed twice last weekend with Social Bliss KR and the act have been practicing a lot since his arrival on October 7.  Despite it being only their second show in the span of 12 months, they put on a really fun concert on October 11 atop of a packed Steel Face Rooftop 3639 as part of Zandari Festa.  And their upcoming gigs promise to be even better.

“People can expect to hear some of my original songs as well as some classic punk covers from the likes of the Misfits and Ramones.  I’m feeling pretty good after eating all this great Korean food so there will probably be a whole lot of onstage antics too.”

Will of Fire Cover

Fans wanting to hear new music from Reynolds will be happy to know that the Texas version of Social Bliss plan to start recording the follow up to 2013′s “Will of Fire” EP in early 2015.  And Reynolds is also giving some serious thought to relocating to Seoul sometime next year so there may be a lot more Social Bliss KR concerts in the not-too-distant future.

Max Reynolds plays a free show at Camarata in Haebangchon on October 17 as part of  HBC Fest.  He’s on at 11 pm.  For more information about HBC Fest, check out the Facebook event page here.  He also plays on October 18 at Club Freebird 2 in Hongdae.  The show starts at 8 pm and Reynolds is on at 11:15 pm.  Tickets are 15,000 won with one free drink before 10:30 pm and 10,000 won after 10:30 pm. Pulse, Theatre 8, Sperms, Painters, Rockers Passion, and Green Dolphin Street are also on the bill.

Oct 18 Freebird Poster

Reynolds will end his Korean tour on October 19 at Strange Fruit in Hongdae.  The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 5,000 won.  Sons of Tiger will also perform.  For more information about the October 19 show, check out the Facebook event page here.

October 19 Show Poster

The Geeks Celebrate 15 Years Together

On Saturday (October 11), local hardcore legends The Geeks are holding a concert at Prism in Hongdae to celebrate their 15th anniversary together.

The Geeks Poster 15 Years

And despite it being the seminal Seoul band’s birthday party, they are going to be the ones giving out presents! Attendees will be given a special Geeks poster and the first 150 people to arrive will also be given “Always Classic 2,” a cassette featuring one new song by the band and covers of Nirvana’s “Rape Me” and Pearl Jam’s “Spin the Black Circle.” The cassette is the follow-up to 2010’s “Always Classic 1” EP which saw The Geeks offering their own takes on tracks by the likes of Bad Brains and the Misfits. Along with the abovementioned gifts, The Geeks will have special T-shirts and buttons for sale too.

Saturday’s gig is also serving as the official release party for The Geeks’ sophomore full length, “Still Not in this Alone.” The long-awaited offering was issued in July through local hardcore imprint Townhall Records. The Geeks have already put out a music video for “Still Not in this Alone” cut “Defining Moments.” As a special treat they will screen their brand new music video for the album’s second single, “A Light in the Dark” for the first time on Saturday night at Prism.

KGG spoke with vocalist Seo Ki-seok about some of the band’s high points and low points over the last decade and a half, the making of “Still Not in this Alone,” and what keeps pushing them to make music. Although I’m not usually a big fan of Q&A style interviews, Seo had so many interesting things to share that it seemed wrong to just pick out a few select quotes. Check out everything that he had to say below.

What are some of the things you love most about being part of The Geeks?

I love the fact that we’ve been making history and we’re still making a difference in a relevant way. The philosophy of this band has always been to go for broke and give it all that we have. We’ve definitely taken the road less traveled by doing things that no other band in Korea had previously done, liking touring overseas at a time when most people thought it was not possible or crazy. I’m also proud that we’ve inspired and enlightened a lot of kids globally. It means the world to me that we’ve made a difference and still continue to do so. Most importantly, we helped build and grow the hardcore and punk scenes in Korea together with our friends.

You guys have been playing together for 15 years now. Can you still see The Geeks making and playing hardcore long enough to celebrate a 20th anniversary, 25th anniversary, 30th anniversary, etc?

Who knows? We never thought we would make it to 15 years! There certainly have been a lot of bumps along the way, but we’re still here and things are going well. In fact, we’re tighter than ever! I’m really hoping we can continue to make a difference in the future. And if we’re still around for our 20th anniversary, I hope I can still jump around as much as I do now because I’ll be 40 in Korean age then!

The Geeks Photo

What are some of your proudest accomplishments with The Geeks over the past 15 years?

First, when Townhall Records approached us for the first time and we started to build a local hardcore scene together in our own way with new bands and new kids. It was a life-changing experience and was so rewarding. To me, that was the single most important thing we’ve ever achieved – Seoul city hardcore and Korean hardcore are in my blood.

I think my second proudest accomplishment was when Think Fast Records in the US approached us to do a record with them. They basically wanted us to prove that hardcore was worldwide and show how it is done in Asia. It was huge for us and the Asian hardcore scene.

Next on my list were our first and second US tours. We toured the US with some of the world’s leading hardcore bands such as Bane and Modern Life Is War and played shows with Have Heart, Champion, Verse, and others. And kids went crazy for us. The whole experience was way beyond our wildest expectations.

Another proud accomplishment was being able tour in other Asian countries like Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. People there seemed to truly care about our music and the crowds were awesome. And it was also awesome to be a very active part of the Asian hardcore scene.

Geeks 2007 Tour Poster

What have been some of your strangest, craziest, and weirdest moments with The Geeks over the past 15 years?

There have been so many insane stories. But many of those can’t be shared in public! One thing I think I’ll always remember was when our van was broken into in San Francisco. We played a gig there and parked our van in what we thought was a nice, safe area. When we woke up the next day, we discovered that the windows in the van had been smashed and that equipment, suitcases, and my laptop and iPod were gone. We lost a lot of things that were necessary for our tour and felt devastated. Oh yeah, and to make matters worse – that day was my birthday!

But thankfully the bands we were touring with and the kids at shows really helped us a lot. People let us use their equipment and a donation box was put out at each show. Some bands like Bane even gave us their pay from the gigs to help support us financially. Bane gave us a new bass too when we stayed at their house. We were amazed by the kindness people showed us.

Another thing related to that story was that our drummer’s asthma inhaler was in one of the suitcases that were stolen. We didn’t have a prescription to get him a new inhaler. And we didn’t have any insurance either and were poor as hell. His asthma kept getting worse and worse. One day we were in Chicago and he was almost dying. Expired Youth were playing with us and we told them about the situation. And their guitarist Shariq (Ibriham) goes “Wait, I’m a doctor. I can help you guys with that!” And bam, it was taken care of and we were able to get an inhaler. Shariq truly saved a life that day.

What things would you still like to accomplish with The Geeks?

We haven’t toured in Europe yet so that’s one of our top priorities right now. And we also want to gig in other parts of Asia and the US again. But scheduling is tough as everyone has full-time jobs. So tours take a lot of pre-planning but hopefully we’ll be able to make some things happen.

What important lessons have you learned about the music industry and being a band over the past 15 years?

Passion drives everything. And you need to work hard if you want to achieve your goals. It is easy to set goals. But continually pushing yourself to actually make those things happen is much more challenging. It’s important to love what you do and to understand why you’re doing it. Words are great but actions are what matters.

The Geeks Album Cover

Please tell me about “Still Not in this Alone.” When was the album written? When was it recorded?

We initially finished the writing process in 2012 and started recording then. From there, we continue to modify and revise the songs as we moved forward. And for some of the songs, we decided to start all over again from scratch. Because of our busy schedules, we weren’t able to focus 100% on recording so it took a long time to finish everything. To be honest, it felt like recording would never end! You have no idea how happy all of us were when everything was finally done.

It’s been seven years since the release of “Every Time We Fall.” Was the major time gap between albums planned? Will it be another seven years before we hear a third full-length from The Geeks?

Those are good questions! No, it wasn’t planned. After releasing “Every Time We Fall” in 2007 we did a lot of touring and all started our professional working careers. Those things caused big delays in everything from planning gigs to writing songs. Some of us got married as well. One a personal level, I started a booking agency called Open Your Eyes and was pretty busy with that. I was also running a venue called Powwow with partners too. At some points during the gap, it was almost next to impossible to set aside some time to work and practice together. Actually, our original plan was to make “Still Not in this Alone” an EP. But we realized we had more songs than we needed for an EP. So we decided to write extra tracks and make it a full-length album. But then that took more time as well!

We certainly don’t have any plans for our next album yet. Right now we’re focused on playing as many shows as possible.

Listening to the finished album now, what are some of the things you like best about “Still Not in this Alone”?

We went through a lot when making “Still Not in this Alone.” In fact, we almost broke up while working on this album. We’re not in this for money. Instead it’s our passion in our music and beliefs that has pushed this band forward. There were some points when we were dead tired and wanted to stop. But those hard times reminded us of why we do what we do as The Geeks. Now we’re revitalized and stronger than ever. We survived and created the best album we’ve made to date.

With this album I think we’ve made progress but lyrically and musically. We’ve definitely stepped things up. We worked hard to ensure that we moved forward as a band but still kept our identity. This is not easy to do, especially in our genre of music.

The Geeks Live Pic

What do you have planned for your 15th anniversary gig at Prism? Why should everyone come and get wild and sweaty with The Geeks on October 11.

We’re going to play a special set on October 11 that will include some interesting cover songs. There are lots of things going on this weekend, including a few festivals that feature a lot of other great bands. But I think our show is going to be something unique and memorable because it’s an anniversary gig and a celebration of a band that helped to grow and nurture the local hardcore scene. I think Saturday is going to be an amazing experience that won’t be duplicated.

The Geeks Prism Poster

The Geeks play on Saturday night at Prism in Hongdae. The show starts at 5:30 pm and will feature opening sets from Victor Ha (from Things We Say), All I Have, Animal Anthem, Startline, Asian Chairshot, Burning Hepburn, Burn My Bridges, and Rux. Tickets are 20,000 won at the door. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

A Double Dose of Moja Goodness at Zandari Festa ’14

The third annual Zandari Festa happens this weekend (October 10 -12) and will feature over 200 acts playing in 19 different Hongdae venues. One act that should definitely not be missed is Tokyo two-piece noise rock band Moja.

Zandari Festa Logo

Formed in 2006, Moja is made up of bassist and vocalist Haru and drummer Masumi. The pair have wowed audiences with their wonderfully chaotic cuts and explosive performances throughout their native Japan, and overseas in England, Wales, Italy, the US, Canada, and Hong Kong.

Moja Photo 1

Set to perform at Zandari Festa on both October 10 and 11, this will be Moja’s third time touring in Korea. The group made their Korean debut in 2012 with two excellent Seoul gigs at Club FF and Salon Badabie. Their FF Gig was reviewed by Chincha who said “Moja were incredible. Blasting out a wall of sound from their very first note to their very last, these veteran noise-mongers grabbed the crowd by the eardrums and refused to let go.” And this past summer, Moja returned to Korea once again for an appearance at Jeju’s Stepping Stone Festival.

“Our previous visits to Korea were amazing,” says Masumi. “We heard lots of great music and met many talented musicians. And the audiences we played for were so wonderful. They were very passionate and knew how to have fun!

“We’re really happy to be coming to Seoul to play at Zandari Festa. We’re excited about being able to make new memories with people from all over the world. And we’re always hungry for new music, so we’re really looking forward to checking out some cool bands too.”

New tunes aren’t the only thing Moja are hungry for. Although they will be pretty busy during their trip with Zandari Festa, both members plan on taking breaks from the festival for something very important – Korean food.

“We love Korean food, especially pajeon,” says Masumi. “When we were in Seoul last time, Apollo 18 took us to a pajeon restaurant in Hongdae and the food was so good. It was the best paejeon I’ve ever had in my life. I want to go back there, and try other Korean restaurants too.”

Moja are gigging in support of their third album, last year’s “I Love Cheese!!!” After recording their first two albums, 2009’s “Moja” and 2012’s “Super Ultra Gold 79,” in the US, they decided to head to the UK in February 2013 to make “I Love Cheese!!!”

“Our goal has always been to try and capture the energy and intensity from our live performances on CD,” says Masumi. “That’s why we record in different studios and with different engineers every time we make a new album. I think we did a better job of capturing our live intensity on ‘I Love Cheese!!!’ but we’re still pushing ourselves to make the Moja album that we want to hear.”

Moja Live Photo

As for this weekend’s shows, what can fest-goers expect from Moja at Zandari Festa?

“There are just two of us in our band, but we try to create a loud and roaring sound at gigs,” says Masumi. “We hope people will come see us, forget about their ordinary days, and dance wildly. Let’s be free and have a great time together!”

Moja play as part of Zandari Festa in Hongdae on October 10 and 11. They will perform on Friday at 8:40 pm at MUV Hall and on Saturday at 9 pm at V-Hall. Friday’s performance is only open to those with a delegate pass, while Saturday’s gig is open to everyone that has either a one- or two-day ticket for the event.

Zandari Passes

A delegate pass is 100,000 won in advance and 150,000 won at the door. One-day tickets are 20,000 won in advance and 35,000 won at the door. And two-day tickets are 35,000 won in advance and 50,000 won at the door. For more information about the different ticket types, visit here. And to purchase advance tickets in English, visit here.

Zandari Poster 1

Global Gathering Korea Will Have Lots of Bottoms Shaking on Saturday

On Saturday (October 4) the Korean edition of the world-renowned Global Gathering music festival will take place at Jamsil Olympic Stadium. The event will run for 10 hours and feature more than 30 international and Korean EDM DJs and live acts playing on three stages.

Global Gathering Korea Poster
Saturday’s main stage (which is conveniently named “Main Stage”) will be closed out by Axwell Λ Ingrosso, which features acclaimed Swedish DJs Axwell (ranked no. 19 in DJ Magazine’s “Top 100 DJ list” in 2013) and Sebastian Ingrosso (ranked no. 18 on 2013′s “Top 100 DJ list”) who previously worked together in the very popular electronic act Swedish House Mafia. Other big-name notable draws on the Main Stage include Australia’s Knife Party (ranked no. 25 on on 2013′s “Top 100 DJ list”) which is composed of members from Pendulum, and American sisters Krewella (ranked no. 44 on on 2013′s “Top 100 DJ list”).

Topping the list of must-see local draws is Seoul’s Idiotape. In March, the three-piece electro-rock band embarked on their second American tour to play at SXSW in Texas, and this summer they released their excellent sophomore disc, “Tours.” Idiotape’s 2011 full-length debut, “11111101,” netted the group “Best Dance & Electronic Album” at the 2012 Korean Music Awards. It will come as little surprise if “Tours” does the same thing at the 2015 ceremony.

On Saturday, Idiotape will play from 4:10 pm – 4:40 pm on the Main Stage. Global Gathering Korea mainstays of sorts, Idiotape have performed at the fest each year since the event’s 2009 inception. Producer and synthesizer player Dguru and drummer DR took a few minutes to answer a couple of questions for KGG about their set this weekend and why they love Global Gathering Korea.

Idiotape Pic

Why are Idiotape excited to perform at Global Gathering Korea 2014?

Dguru: There are not many festivals in Korea that feature only electronic music. I think this is what makes Global Gathering Korea so special. And this year should be cool because the festival will be held at Jamsil Olympic Stadium, which is located in the middle of Seoul.

What can the audience at Global Gathering Korea 2014 expect from Idiotape’s performance?

DR: People can expect to hear some of the new songs from our “Tours” album. For people who have never had the chance to see us before, please don’t miss this opportunity to see us live on a big stage. We’re going to do our best to make everyone go crazy under the afternoon sun.

What songs from “Tours” do you think the Global Gathering Korea audience will love the most? Why?

DR: My guess is that the crowd will love “Airdome” the most. I’m guessing that because it’s the song off the album that I love the most. I believe our fans have the same taste as me!

This will be Idiotape’s sixth time playing at Global Gathering Korea. What makes the event special for you?

DR: Global Gathering Korea feels like our hometown. People started to get to know our music more from when we first starting playing at the festival. We are always so appreciative to be invited back to Global Gathering Korea every year. The audience at the festival is great, and we work really hard to give that same love that the crowd shows for us back to them at the festival.

Dguru: Our experiences from Global Gathering Korea have definitely contributed to our music. I always think about the times we’ve performed at Global Gathering Korea and consider the audience’s reaction when I compose music. This festival has inspired me a lot and continues to do so.

Global Gathering Korea takes place on Saturday, October 4 at Jamsil Olympic Stadium. The show starts at 1 pm and runs until 11:10 pm. Tickets are 99,000 won at the door. For more information visit the festival’s official site.

Global Gathering Timetable

Patients Play Rooftop Gig Tonight Before September Taiwan Tour

Self-dubbed “hybrid punk” act Patients will be playing tonight (August 23) in Hongdae at Steel Face Rooftop 3639.  The show will serve as a warm up of sorts for the Seoul trio’s September Taiwan tour.

Patients 2

Patients have been invited to play at Taipei’s Beastie Rock Festival on September 13 and will be playing a few club gigs as well during their time in Taiwan.  This is the group’s second overseas jaunt of the year.  In May, they traveled to the UK to perform at Liverpool Sound City, WTFest, and do a handful of other shows too.

The band started in 2005 and their current lineup includes bassist and vocalist Sumin Jo, keyboardist Hyuckjang Kwon, and drummer Jaehyuk Lee.  In 2010, Jo established the Seoul indie imprint Steel Face Records (which also runs the rooftop live space Steel Face Rooftop 3639).  Patients released their “Kitsch Space” full-length debut in 2011 through Steel Face Records and competed in that year’s Hello Rookie finals.  Just prior to their spring UK dates, Patients released a four-song tour EP called “Let’s Drive, Let’s Go!”  Their first recording with Kwon, his keyboard playing adds more diversity to the group’s catchy mix of punk, new wave, and pop.

Patients -- Let's Drive, Let's Go! Cover

Jo took a few minutes to answer some questions for Korea Gig Guide about Patients’ experiences in the UK and their upcoming Taiwan trip.

How did your UK tour in May go?

It was great!  We’re really happy with the way things went.  Our expectations were definitely exceeded.  We got the chance to play at some very cool festivals and do a few club gigs too.  We even did a house show and got to play in a kitchen.  That was definitely a unique experience!  We met some great bands, promoters, and music lovers.  And we were able to make some new friends too.  We’re hoping to return back to the UK for more concerts in May 2015.

What are some of your best memories from that tour?

The whole tour was very special to us and was filled with so many great memories.  But two of my favorite parts were Liverpool Sound City and the last show of our tour at Astbury Castle in London.  During Liverpool Sound City, we visited many clubs in the city and got to see lots of different bands play.  It was cool to get to see so many unique venues and check out music from all around the world.  The Astbury Castle show was a house concert.  It was really wild and was so much fun.  People were crowd surfing in the kitchen!  Lots of the friends we had made in the UK came to Astbury Castle too which made the night more special for us.



Why are you excited about playing in Taiwan in September?

Patients are gig addicts!  We love to play shows.  And we’re really eager to experience the music scenes in many other countries.  We’re hoping to make as many awesome tours as we can.  We’ve never been to Taiwan but have heard good things about Beastie Rock and music fans there.  It’s going to be fun to perform and meet new bands and people in Taiwan.

Is there anything you want to see or do in Taiwan when you’re not playing?

On this tour, we’re going to play in Taipei, Tainan, and Kaohsiung.  I’d like to check out Taipei at night and visit some places with great views of all three cities.  Since this will be our first time visiting Taiwan, we’re now doing some research about different places to check out.  If anyone has any tips, please let us know!

Why have you decided to make more of an international push this year with Patients?

We’ve already played many gigs in Seoul.  So we’re excited about the experiences and challenges that come from playing concerts in new places.  And being able to meet music fans and musicians from other countries is always a lot of fun.  We’re hoping to meet as many people from all around the world as we can.

What countries do you hope to take Patients to next?

As I mentioned before, we want to go back to the US next spring.  We’re talking about possibly going to the US and Japan in 2015 too.  But nothing has been confirmed yet.  We’re happy to go anywhere in the world we can.  If we can play somewhere new, we want to go there!

When do you hope to release your next full-length album?

We’re going to start recording a new album soon and hope to release it in the first half of 2015 through Steel Face Records.  We’re aiming to have 10 songs on the new album.  The four songs from our tour EP will be re-recorded for the album.  We love the original versions of the tracks, but for fun we want to add some new stuff to them.

On Saturday night, you’ll play at Steel Face Rooftop 3639 with Dead Buttons and The Veggers.  What can people expect from the concert?

We’re touring in Taiwan in September and Dead Buttons will play in Russia at the end of August.  So people can see us both play before we head overseas.  Along with The Veggers, we’re hoping to share respect, love, and friendship with the audience through some loud and fun music.

Patients Poster

Here are Patients’ Taiwan tour dates:
September 10 Tainan @ TCRC
September 11 Kaohsiung @ Paramount Bar
September 13 Taipei @ Beastie Rock Festival

Tonight’s show at Steel Face Rooftop 3639 starts at 8 pm. Patients, Dead Buttons, and The Veggers will all perform. Tickets are 15,000 won with one free drink. For more information about the concert, check out the Facebook event page here.

Bands, Bellydancers, and Barbecue for Steel Shop

Korea Gig Guide has been co-presenting the Shake Shop concert series with Dream Dance Studio for the last year-and-a-half.  Each month, the Shake Shop shows see bellydancers Eshe and Navah collaborating with three Seoul indie bands at Club Freebird.

Wanting to do something a little different for August’s event, Saturday night (August 16) will see the bellydancers working with three bands from Steel Face Records’ roster. Calling the pairing Steel Shop, the concert will take place atop of the Hongdae rooftop live space run by Steel Face Records, Steel Face Rooftop 3639. When the gig finishes, there will be a free barbecue for all attendees.

Steel Face Records

Steel Shop will see Eshe and Navah performing alongside Patients, Bad Trip, and Dives. Punk act Dives was formed in 2012 by Korean fashion model Heynam Sin. She plays bass and handles lead vocals in the group, Soobin Lee is the guitarist, and Junghee Lee drums. The up-and-coming trio finished recording their first EP in July. The disc will come out in the coming months through Steel Face Records. Dives will be previewing cuts from the EP at Steel Shop.

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Sin took a few minutes to answer some questions about Dives and Steel Shop for Korea Gig Guide.

Why did you want to start Dives?
I’ve loved punk music since I was a teenager.  I enjoyed going to punk gigs and soon after started to learn how to play music.  From there, I decided to start a band.  It was all a really natural process.

Why are Dives excited about playing at Steel Shop?
The ground in Hongdae is a crazy place with so many people which makes playing high above the crowds on Steel Face Rooftop 3639 a lot of fun.  It’s a really cool space and gigs there are always fun.  For this show, we’re going to be working with sexy bellydancers too which will make the whole night even more wild and exciting!

Please tell us about your new EP.
Our new EP was recorded this spring and summer and has five songs on it.  The songs are being mixed now.  We had a lot of fun making the songs.  We’re excited that they will come out soon!

What’s more fun, being in a punk band or being a fashion model?
Playing in a punk band and modeling are both the most interesting things to me.  I can’t choose which one is more fun to do.  Music and fashion are like good friends.  They help make things a lot more fun for each other!

Eshe and Navah worked with Bad Trip earlier this year as part of Shake Shop.  Here’s a live video from their collaboration to give everyone an idea of what to expect at Steel Shop.

Steel Shop takes place on Saturday, August 16 at Steel Face Records 3639.  The show starts at 8:30 pm and tickets are 15,000 won.  Dives, Bad Trip, and Patients will all perform with bellydancers Eshe and Navah.  There will be a free barbecue for show-goers after the concert.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

Directions to Steel Face Rooftop 3639: Go out Sangsu Station (Line 6) Exit 1 and walk towards Hongik University.  When you get to the Vans store, walk across the intersection and then turn left. Walk down the street.  Steel Face Rooftop 3639 is on top of the building that’s directly across the street from Gold I and Gold II.

Steel Shop Poster

The Business trip to Korea

Remember that time that classic UK punk band came to Korea for a show? No? Oh right, probably because this is the first time this has ever happened.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Business concluded their tour of Japan and flew to Korea for their August 15 show.

“I’ve been to Japan before, but not South Korea, the Business vocalist and last remaining original member Mickey Fitz told Dave Hazzan in an interview for Broke in Korea. It’s one of those places that you – I wouldn’t say never considered going to – but it’s one of those places that doesn’t pop into your head because you don’t know anybody there.”

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A Business meeting at skinhead-themed chicken restaurant This is Chicken. From left: Bundy, Fish, Redboi (promoter), Micky, and Trots.

Formed in South London in 1979, the Business were influential in the Oi! music scene of the late ’70s, a movement that rejected academic and artistic pretensions in favour of working-class street anthems. They had an impact on many younger bands, even all the way over here in Korea. One member even mentions that they were contacted by Korean pogo-punk band Couch several years ago when the band was seeking permission to cover their song “Drinking and Driving,” and they received a stack of Couch albums.

The Business was originally active from 1979 to 1988, and after a few years they reformed with a new lineup. The current drummer, Bundie, and bassist, Trots, have been with the band for a decade, and guitarist Fish has known Fitz for 20 years, and since joining, they estimate Fish has played about 400 shows with the band. Business is booming for the Business, and the current lineup has toured all over the world. On this tour, they’ll be selling copies of their latest EP, Back in the Day.

Redboi and his Business associates check out the venue, with Prism manager Son Jae-woo.

Redboi and his Business associates check out the venue, with Prism manager Son Jae-woo.

This show was made possible by an encounter with Redboi, an American who recently moved to Daegu with his wife who serves in the US military and their son. Redboi had run into the band in Nashville, Tennessee, and he invited them to play a show in Korea. In order to make it profitable, he helped them set up a tour of Japan as well, leaving the single Seoul date the final show of the tour.

The Business will be playing at Prism Hall on Friday, August 15, backed by local Oi! band Resolute, hardcore band Things We Say, and streetpunk band Rux. RSVP on Facebook for the Business show here. On Saturday, they’ll be taking a break from performing to go to Thunderhorse Tavern, where an afterparty concert is being organised in their honour, giving more Korean punks the chance to meet the band and show off their music. The acts for this show are skinhead reggae group Pegurians, pogo-punk group Return Bois, hardcore band Mixed Blood, punk band Cockrasher, and new black metal group Peaz Deaz. RSVP for the afterparty here.

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Pentaport Still Rocks!

Since 2006, the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival has been an important part of Korea’s musical landscape.  This year’s fest will take place from August 1 – 3 at Penta Park in Incheon. Offering a mix of huge international acts, popular Korean legends, and up-and-coming bands, alongside DJs and great food, the fest is well-suited for a weekend of rocking out!

Pentaport Banner

Big International names on this summer’s bill include Kasabian, Travis, Starsailor, Boys Like Girls, The Horrors, Suicidal Tendencies, Maximo Park, and The Inspector Cluzo. Korean acts include iconic rock/pop singer Lee Seung Hwan, Daybreak, Idiotape, Crash, Kingston Rudieska, Rux, and many others. The music plays out over five stages, and begins around lunchtime on all three days.

Main stage headlining acts Kasabian and Travis both previously played at Pentaport in 2008. At that time, Travis received a fantastic reception closing the main stage on Saturday, one they appreciated so much they came back to Korea the following year. Their mix of pop, rock, and feel-good vibes has made them fan favorites here. Currently gigging in support of their seventh album, last year’s “Where You Stand,” the Scottish rock act were last in Korea in March, but that’s not stopping Travis from coming back to wow local audiences once more.

Back when they played at Pentaport in 2008, Kasabian had only released two albums but have since grown to become one of the UK’s biggest bands. Their fifth album, “48:13,” came out in June and quickly rose to the top of the British music charts, just like their previous three albums did. Renowned as a killer live act, earlier this summer Kasabian was one of he headliners at Glastonbury.

Tickets for Pentaport cost 110,000 won for one day, 154,000 won for two days, and 187,000 won for all three days of the fest. Tickets can be purchased at the main gates all weekend long. Check out the full timetable for all of this weekend’s performances here.

Incheon Pentaport Rock Fest Poster