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.

Kingston Rudieska get Aggro

If you thought Kingston Rudieska‘s last release — Ska n’ Soul with Dr Ring-Ding — was too short, now they’ve gone and put out a full two-CD album. This latest project, titled Everyday People, shows off the nine-piece ska band in pure form. Simply put, they’ve never sounded more like themselves before.

The secret weapon in their arsenal this time was Brian Dixon, music engineer extraordinaire. You might have heard some of his music from his time playing guitar in the LA dirty reggae band the Aggrolites, but his main love is in producing music. Dixon was in Korea this September to record, giving Korea Gig Guide enough time to ask him a few questions about his mission here.

How were you convinced to come to Korea?

An old friend of mine, Walter Dunn, works for the US military and is stationed in Korea. He told me about Kingston Rudieska and that they were going to do a new album and that I should engineer/produce it. He told me they were great musicians, but they needed that “grit” that I’m known for.

Brian Dixon (right) with Walter Dunn, former vocalist of Stingers ATX

Brian Dixon (right) hangs out with Walter Dunn (left), former vocalist of Stingers ATX, at a Kingston Rudieska concert at Sungkyunkwan University.

I have traveled the world, but had never been to Korea. Kingston Rudieska are a tight band and I wanted to make them sound the way I hear them. It was a very easy sell. Getting to go to a foreign country to record ska/rocksteady/reggae is a blessing.

Can you explain your philosophy on music production? What makes a recording have grit?

My approach is so simple. I have the band play live together in the same room. No headphones. No separation. I put them in a circle, so they can all see each other. The band always plays better in their natural environment. This is how they rehearse. This is how they sound the best. It’s so easy.

What is one thing you can zero in on about Kingston Rudieska that you would say is truly unique and special?

I instantly Ioved their “Asian” take on Jamaican music. They do it differently than musicians from California. Musicians from Los Angeles have a certain take on Jamaican music. Asians have their way. Both are valid, in my opinion. Life isn’t fun if you eat the same dinner every night.

Is there a lot of what you would consider “Koreanness” in their music?

There’s some, but I wanted more. This was a big discussion during the recording. They wanted a more traditional Jamaican sound. I wanted a more “Korean sound,” using ancient traditional Korean melodies and instruments. They seemed a bit confused why I kept asking them to do that. Five thousand years of culture… it is amazing to me. Finally, the last day, they indulged me with a “jam session” – they pulled out two ancient Korean songs to play. It was amazing! They actually embraced their 5,000-year-old culture and played the music that is in their souls. Beautiful.

Why was it decided to do a second disc?

When I do production/engineering work, I usually ask the band to do a “jam session” for me. This is helpful for a number of reasons. I get to hear what the band is sounding like in that particular studio. I can check all of the mics. The band starts to relax and have fun, which makes recording their songs much easier because the studio can be stressful for musicians. Kingston Rudieska was against my idea at first. It’s just not the Korean way. On the last day, we finished with the recording of all their songs, so they allowed my “jam session.” That became the second disc. The second disc isn’t “perfect,” but it has a certain energy that is even higher than the album. An incredible few hours that I will never forget. The band was on fire!

How will this album compare to earlier Kingston Rudieska recordings?

I recorded them the way they were meant to sound!

The double album Everyday People was released at the start of the month, but the release party is happening on Saturday, December 13 at MUV Hall, around the corner from Sangsang Madang in Hongdae. The concert starts at 7 pm and tickets are 35,000 won in advance and 40,000 won at the door.

Kingston Rudieska Everyday People For more information, RSVP on Facebook.

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

Rocking Out for a Good Cause at Rubber Seoul 2014

The seventh annual Rubber Seoul concert takes place on November 29 (Saturday) in Hongdae and will feature 25 acts performing at Club Ta, Club FF, Gogos 2, Club Freebird 2, and DGBD from 8 pm to 3 am.  The goal of the charity event is to raise money for Little Travellers Korea and create awareness about AIDS/HIV.  A non-profit organization, Little Travellers collects funds not only for AIDS/HIV research but also provides aid to South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, where over 40% of the population has contracted the disease.

Last year’s Rubber Seoul raised nearly four million won. The event is always a great night, so you should definitely make an effort to swing by, see some cool bands, and support a great cause.

Hairy Big Button

Hard rock trio Harry Big Button will be making their third Rubber Seoul appearance on Saturday night.  They previously played in 2011 and 2013 and had a blast, making it an easy decision to say “yes” for Rubber Seoul 2014. Guitarist and vocalist Sungsoo Lee likes that his band can help support people battling AIDS/HIV with their art.

“Although people know that so many others are suffering around the world, we often forget to do things to help unless something is happening right next to us,” says Lee.  “Rubber Seoul is an excellent reminder that there are many people who need our help.”

At Rubber Seoul, Harry Big Button will be playing with the newest edition to their band, drummer Taegi Kim.  Kim joined the act in September and used to be part of the Korean bands Necropageos and Bolt.  The group will be working on the follow up to this year’s “Perfect Storm” EP in 2015 and Lee thinks Kim’s contributions will definitely strengthen the act.

“Taegi is an excellent rock drummer and we have very similar taste in music,” says Lee.  “We’ve known each other for a long time but have never had a chance to play in the same band so I’m really glad he joined Harry Big Button.  His drumming has a really deep and solid sound which fits well with Harry Big Button’s sound.  I think this will make our next album our hardest sounding one yet!”

When asked what fans at Rubber Seoul can expect from Harry Big Button’s 10:30 pm show at FF, Lee has this to offer.

“If you’re thirsty for real hard rock come see us play, we promise we won’t let you down!  And to anyone who will be catching us for the first time, we’ll make you sweat.”

Love X Stereo

Having gigged as part of Rubber Seoul in 2012 and 2013, Love X Stereo will also be making their third straight Rubber Seoul appearance on Saturday night.  When asked what keeps the electro-rock act coming back to the event, vocalist and synthesizer player Annie Ko says “It’s a good cause, and there’s always a great crowd.”

Last month, the group made their third stateside visit in the span of 12 months to play festival showcases at Culture Collide in Los Angeles and San Francisco and CMJ in New York.  The Los Angeles edition of Culture Collide ranked Love X Stereo no. 3 on their list of “Top 10 International Acts.”

“Our tour was great,” shares Ko.  “Culture Collide was really fun and we had a good time there. We felt like a lot of other bands and fans were rooting for us to do well at the festival.  We definitely want to go back to LA again – the weather was so good there!  And CMJ was really interesting too.”

What does Love X Stereo have planned for their 11:30 pm set at Club Freebird 2?

“We’re going to mix some danceable tracks and some soothing tracks together,” says Ko.  “It’s going to be fun.”

Wasted Johnny's

Bluesy rockers Wasted Johnny’s are also Rubber Seoul vets, having played at last year’s event. Bassist Nils Germain shares why the trio like playing at Rubber Seoul.

“Rubber Seoul brings a large amount of people to make crazy shows at the best clubs and it’s all for charity – what more could we ask for?” he says.  “We’re always proud to be a part of the event.”

In 2013, Wasted Johnny’s also traveled to the US for a handful of gigs in New York City and a show in Conneticut.  Germain would love for the band to return back to the States one day and also dreams of touring in Japan, Russia, England, and his home country of France.

“Our concerts in the US were great,” he says.  “We had some weather problems – it rained each time we played outside – and the club we played in didn’t have cymbals either.  But we overcame these problems and were able to perform all the concerts.  The response we got from people was great.  We had a blast!”

The group have nearly finished recording their first full-length album and fans can expect the release to come out sometime in 2015.  Fans wanting to know what to expect from the disc should check out Wasted Johnny’s midnight set at Club FF.

Billy Carter

Billy Carter will be making their Rubber Seoul debut on Saturday night and are really looking forward to the concert.

“We love to take part in charity shows,” says vocalist Jiwon Kim.  “And besides that, we used to play at Club Ta when we were a two-piece acoustic band but haven’t played there for a long time. We’re quite excited to play there again now that we’ve added a drummer.”

Earlier this year, drummer Hyunjoon Lee joined Billy Carter adding a harder edge to the act’s cool, bluesy tunes.  The band are currently recording their first EP and want to release the five-song offering in the coming months.  Just like with Wasted Johnny’s, Rubber Seoul show-goers can get a taste of the music that will grace the EP during Billy Carter’s 10 pm gig at Club Ta.

What does Billy Carter have in store for their Rubber Seoul set?

“We’re going to do what we always do!” Kim says.  “We’ll be singing, dancing, and crying out.  We always give it our all every time we play.”

Rubber Seoul 2014 takes place on Saturday night.  Tickets are 10,000 won and include entrance to all the venues.  For more information about the concert, check out its Facebook event page here.  And here’s the full schedule for the event:

Club Ta
8:00-8:20 Eshe & Navah
8:30-9:00 Veins
9:15-9:45 Ynot?
10:00-10:30 Billy Carter
10:45-11:15 Space Papa
11:30-12:00 Yes Yes

Club FF
9:00-9:30 pm The Roosters
9:45-10:15 24 Hours
10:30-11:00: Harry Big Button
11:15-11:45- Dead Buttons
12:00-12:30 Wasted Johnny’s

Gogos 2
9:00-9:30 Light and Noise
9:45-10:15 Oops Nice
10:30-11:00 Les Sales
11:15-11:45 Streetguns

Club Freebird 2
10:00-10:30 Williams Town
10:45-11:15 Patients
11:30-12:00 Love X Stereo
12:15-12:45 Man
1:00-1:30 Cannibal Heart
1:45-2:15 Mystery House
2:30-3:00 Burning Monkeys

DGBD
11:15-11:45 Pentasonic
12-12:30 4 Brothers
12:45-1:15 Magna Fall

Rubber Seoul Poster

Get Wild and Sweaty with Dan Deacon at Club FF on Friday

Acclaimed American electro-pop musician Dan Deacon will be bringing his high-energy live show to Seoul on Friday, November 28 for a show at Club FF in Hongdae.

Dan Deacon

Friday night’s gig will be Deacon’s second time touring in South Korea.  He previously played here in early 2012, doing dates in both Seoul and Busan.  Later that year, he released his “America” full-length offering.  Like the rest of his praised efforts, the album is densely packed full of a wonderful array of sounds.  In their review of “America,” DIY Magazine said, “As with all Dan Deacon albums, ‘America’ is a challenging listen and at times the sheer amount of things going on becomes a bit much, however it is also a supremely powerful album from a musician at the very top of his game.”

On September 9, 2014, Deacon posted on his Facebook page that he was “Finalizing the song order and then sending off my new album off for mastering tonight!”  No other information has come out about the upcoming release yet, but maybe with a bit of luck fans packed into Club FF will get a sneak peak at a few new tracks from the record.  But even if that doesn’t happen, you can still bank on Friday night being a highly entertaining (and very hot and sweaty) affair.  Renowned for his live sets, Deacon is big on crowd involvement at concerts – so his Club FF concert definitely won’t be a stand–perfectly–still–and–watch–with–your–arms–crossed kind of show.  Instead, expect a wild and memorable night full of fun shenanigans and great music.

KGG was able to ask Deacon a few questions a couple of day back.  Check out what he had to say below.

Why are you excited about playing in Seoul at the end of November?

The last time I played in Seoul is was super fun. The crowd was amazing. It made me really happy to be with so many happy people having a great time.

Aside from performing, is there anything else you’re hoping to see or do while you’re in Seoul?

I want to eat lots of food and drink way too much makgeolli.

What are some of your best memories from your 2012 Korean tour?

We hung out at this vinyl bar that played only Korean vinyl and drank makgeolli that they brewed in house.  It was a wild night.

What have been some of your highlights of 2014?

Touring with Arcade Fire was totally surreal, but making my new album was the highlight of my year for sure.  I miss making it.

What do you have planned for 2015?

Lots and lots of touring!

Dan Deacon plays on Friday night at Club FF.  The show starts at 11 pm and tickets are 45,000 won at the door. Love X Stereo will open the concert. For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Dan Deacon Poster

Critical Darlings Wild Beasts Make a Mid-Week Stop in Seoul

**KOREA GIG GUIDE HAS FREE TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY FOR WILD BEASTS’ NOVEMBER 5 SEOUL CONCERT. DETAILS ON HOW TO WIN THE TICKETS ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST **

Highly praised British electro-pop band Wild Beasts will be playing a show at V-Hall in Hongdae on Wednesday, November 5.  The concert will be the first of seven dates the quartet are doing in Asia this month.

Wild Beasts Band

Wild Beasts’ 2008 full-length debut, “Limbo, Panto,” received positive write ups from the likes of Pitchfork, NME, and Prefix Magazine with the latter saying “‘Limbo, Panto’ may be one of 2008’s most startlingly great debuts.”  The act’s sophomore offering, 2009’s “Two Dancers,” proved to be an even more successful affair.  Along with being nominated for 2010’s Mercury Prize, it was also included on NME’sBest Albums of the Decade” list and earned a spot in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear before You Die.”

The group kept going strong with 2011’s “Smother.”  In their review of the album, the BBC wrote that Wild Beasts “are, right now, the most inspirational, intriguing, effortlessly enrapturing band at work on these shores.”  This year saw the release of Wild Beasts’ fourth long-player, “Present Tense.”  Issued in February, just like the rest of the band’s back catalogue, “Present Tense” has had little trouble collecting accolades with The Line of Best Fit saying “They’ve pulled off possibly the most intelligent, involving and profound record since ‘OK Computer.’”

While supporting “Present Tense,” Wilds Beasts have played a number of high-profile outings including Glastonbury, Fuji Rock, and the Pitchfork Music Festival.  V-Hall is obviously a much more intimate space than those large festival stages, which should make for a much more memorable experience for gig goers.

Wild Beasts perform on Wednesday night at V-Hall.  Doors open at 8 pm and the show starts at 8:30 pm.  Tickets are 50,000 won in advance and 60,000 won at the door.  Information on purchasing advance tickets can be found here.  And there’s a Facebook event page for the show here.

Wild Beasts Poster

Want to win a pair of free tickets to see Wild Beasts play at V-Hall?  Korea Gig Guide has two pairs of tickets to give away for Wednesday’s concert courtesy of My Same InkTo qualify for the tickets, simply share this story on Facebook.  Then email us at koreagigguide@gmail.com to let us know that you’ve posted the link to your Facebook wall, and we’ll add your name to the draw.  The contest closes at 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon (November 4) and we’ll notify winners by 4 pm that day.  Good luck!

The Muffs Play Seoul in Support of Their First Album in a Decade

On Friday night (October 31), Los Angeles punk/garage rock stalwarts The Muffs will be making their Korean live debut with a show in Hongdae at DGBD.

The Muffs Profile

The Muffs formed in 1991 and released their eponymous debut in 1993.  In 1995, their fantastic take on Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” was featured in the popular teen flick “Clueless” bringing more mainstream attention to the act.

Between 1995 and 2004, The Muffs issued four praised full-length albums.  But after that things got quiet with the group.  Although they still gigged sporadically, they went a decade without releasing an album.  The band members kept busy with other projects, though.  Drummer Roy McDonald is also in the seminal power-pop band Red Kross, and last year vocalist and guitarist Kim Shattuck spent several months as the touring bassist for the Pixies after Kim Deal’s departure.

The Muffs Album

This past summer the long-awaited follow-up to 2004’s “Really Really Happy” finally surfaced.  Playfully titled “Whoop Dee Doo,” the effort’s dozen tracks were penned between 2006 and 2010, and The Muffs started recording the album in February 2010.  And much to the delight of fans, despite the 10-year gap, with “Whoop Dee Doo” The Muffs sound just like … well, The Muffs.  The release fits in great with the band’s previous output making it very easy to forget the extended break between albums.  Consequence of Sound touched upon this in their positive review of the offering saying, “‘Whoop Dee Doo’ is a statement of consistency. It might be more of the same, but if they’re not pushing their sound forward, they aren’t losing pace.”

The Muffs played in Tokyo today and will be flying to Korea Friday early in the day to prepare for their gig at DGBD.  Saturday will see the band traveling back to Japan for concerts on November 1 in Osaka and November 3 in Tokyo again.  Prior to her Shibuya show tonight,   Shattuck answered a few questions for Korea Gig Guide.

Why are The Muffs excited to be playing in Seoul on October 31?

We’ve never played in Seoul before and we can’t wait to go there.  We’re going to be really loud and energetic at the gig!

What are some of your best memories from making “Whoop Dee Doo”?

I really enjoyed recording my sister Kristen singing harmonies on the album. We work well together and have a lot of laughs.

How do you feel the album compares to the rest of The Muff’s back catalogue?

I think it’s our best record yet.

Ten years passed between the release of “Really Really Happy” and “Whoop Dee Doo.” After such a long break, why did this year feel like a good time to put out “Whoop Dee Doo”?

Because we were finally done!

The Muffs play on Friday night at DGBD.  Tickets are 30,000 won at the door.  The show starts at 8 pm and Crying Nut and Look and Listen are also on the bill.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Here are the estimated set times for the show:
8:00 Look and Listen
8:40 Crying Nut
9:30 The Muffs

The Muffs Poster

Start Your Week Off Right With Touché Amoré

Mondays in Seoul are usually very quiet gig wise but Touché Amoré are helping to change that this week.  The critically acclaimed post-hardcore act will play at Gogos 2 in Hongdae this Monday (October 27), which should pretty much guarantee a fantastic start to the week for all who make it out to the show.

Touche Amore Photo

Formed in 2007, the band went through a few member changes in their first couple of years together.  Their current lineup of vocalist Jeremy Bolm, guitarist Clayton Stevens, guitarist Nick Steinhardt, bassist Tyler Kirby, and drummer Elliot Babin has been together since 2010.

“I met Nick and Clayton many years ago from playing in bands and working at a record store,” says Bolm. “Elliot and Tyler joined a couple years after.  We all have a strong connection with one another that translates well with our music.”

Is Survived By Cover

Touché Amoré’s first two albums, 2009’s “…To the Beat of a Dead Horse” and 2011’s “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me,” have rightfully been called “genre-revitalizing LPs” by Pitchfork.  Written and recorded in early 2013, their latest full-length, “Is Survived By,” came out last fall and was met with rave reviews.  Awesome from start to finish, Alternative Press said the offering is “their most frantic, panicked, passionate and best album of their career.”

“The (album’s) sound grew from getting tighter as a band from playing so many shows and learning how one another writes,” says Bolm.  “It’s us showing our maturity.”

This year the band have played more than 100 gigs in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.  October has seen them performing in Brazil and also doing a Japanese co-headlining tour with the amazing screamo/post-rock hybrid band Envy.  What have been some of the high points in 2014 for Touché Amoré?  Have there been any low points?

“We’ve had many highlights,” says Bolm.  “Getting to play Brazil was a huge one. There are always low points because you can’t always have perfect shows.  You get tired and depression can set in being so far away from home for an extended period of time.”

Monday night will be the group’s first time gigging in Korea.  And although Monday is far from the most rock ‘n’ roll of nights, expect to see plenty of sweaty bodies bouncing around both on and off of the stage during Touché Amoré’s set.  If there’s one show in Seoul for hardcore and punk fans not to miss this autumn, it’s this one.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to play in Seoul,” Bolm says.  “We’re going to play 20-plus songs to the energy given back to us from the crowd.”

Touché Amoré play on Monday night at Gogos 2 in Hongdae.  The show starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are 25,000 won at the door.  Asian Chairshot, The Geeks, and Hollow Jan are also on the bill.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Touche Amore Seoul Poster

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