Victim Mentality To Preview New Album at SXSW Send-Off Gig

Korean glam rockers Victim Mentality are one of 15 Seoul-based acts traveling to the States this month to perform at the massive South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas.  Before leaving for SXSW, the quartet are playing a special show on Friday night (March 6) at Club Ta in Hongdae to preview cuts from their soon-to-be released full-length debut, “Heavy Metal Is Back.”

Victim Mentality New Album Cover -- Heavy Metal Is Back

Formed in 2009 as a duo, Victim Mentality’s first recording, 2013’s five-track “Magic Finger,” was crafted by guitarist Kyungho Sohn and vocalist Krocodile.  Bassist Scorpion was brought on after the recording was finished.  When Victim Mentality started gigging behind “Magic Finger” they did not have a drummer yet.  So a drum machine was used at concerts until Tarantula was finally hired to handle drum duties.

Now more than year after the addition of Tarantula, Victim Mentality have finished their first album as a quartet, “Heavy Metal Is Back.”

“From the beginning, we wanted to be a foursome,” says Sohn.  “Working with four people is much easier and better for us.  I know there are some people that play as one-man bands, but I think it’s important for each member to be able to focus 100% on their instrument.  And a one-man band style doesn’t necessarily fit with the image of a ‘80s heavy metal band!

“When making ‘Magic Finger,’ I recorded the guitar and bass parts, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results.  On ‘Magic Finger’ we needed a bassist to make the arrangements.  On our new album, we have that!  The same thing goes for the drum parts.”

Following a similar sonic path as “Magic Finger,” “Heavy Metal Is Back” sees Victim Mentality continuing to pay tribute to the past by banging out anthemic cuts heavily inspired by ‘80s glam and hair metal.  Although the group are very serious about what they do, they don’t take themselves too seriously which is evident by their flamboyant costumes, and playful lyrics and stage antics.

According to Sohn, they like to have fun when working in the studio too.

“We laugh a lot when we record,” he says.  “Watching Krocodile record his vocal parts was quite the spectacle.  We also like to misbehave a bit when recording as well!  We told a lot of dirty jokes while we were recording the song ‘Is It My Child?’”

Photo by Esthero

Photo by Esthero

Although “Heavy Metal Is Back” won’t be officially released until the end of the month, the group will be taking copies of the disc with them to SXSW.  If the band’s suitcases are checked at all by customs workers, the albums will be easy to talk about.  The bullwhip that Krocodile uses during live shows, however, may be a bit more challenging to explain.

“We’re planning to bring the bullwhip with us to the US but haven’t given any thought to what we’ll say if any airport staff ask about it.  But if they don’t let us bring the bullwhip in the US it doesn’t really matter.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to find another one in Texas!”

Victim Mentality perform on Friday at Club Ta.  The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 22,000 won.  Mimi Sisters will open the show.  And here are the band’s concerts during SXSW:

March 18 Austin, Texas (4:30 pm) @ Club Metropolis (Heavy Metal Pool Party)
March 18 Austin, Texas (9 pm) @ Karma Lounge
March 20 Austin, Texas (12 am) @ The Majestic (Korea Night II: Seoulsonic)

Victim Mentality Club Ta Poster

Shake Shop Ends on Feb. 14 with Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, Goonam, and … Whatever That Means

For the past two years, Korea Gig Guide has been co-presenting the Shake Shop concert series with Dream Dance Studio.  Held monthly, the event has seen some of the top talents in Seoul’s indie scene collaborating with bellydancer Eshe and her Navah troupe.  Since Shake Shop started in February 2012, here’s the complete list of acts that have performed at the show:

Galaxy Express, Kingston Rudieska, Rux, Jambinai, Hollow Jan, The Strikers, Smacksoft, Harry Big Button, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio, Ludistelo, The Geeks, The Greatest Voyage, Asian Chairshot, Big Phony, Startline, ECE, A’z Bus, Streetguns, 4 Brothers, Momguamaum, Hellivision, Romantiqua, Viduldi Ooyoo, Yukari, Juck Juck Grunzie, Pavlov, Love X Stereo, Dead Buttons, Toyshop, Beatniks, Ninano Nanda, Summit Beatbox, Tengger, …Whatever That Means, Mojo Project Sound System, Sato Yukie, Counter Reset, Bad Trip, Wasted Johnny’s, Modsdive, My Way Killing, T-shirts Sunset, Yamagata Tweakster, National Pigeon Unity, Danpyunsun, Sugar Come Again, No. 1 Korean, Ynot?

Shake Shop Banner

This Saturday (February 14), will be the final Shake Shop concert as the creator of the series, Seoul-based bellydancer Eshe, will soon be returning to her native Canada.  But Shake Shop will definitely be closing out on a high note as Saturday’s concert at Club Freebird 2 in Hongdae will see Eshe and Navah teaming up with Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, Goonam, and … Whatever That Means.

Apollo 18 picture

Saturday night will be Apollo 18’s first time playing Shake Shop.  However, the post-hardcore/post-rock trio have a long history with Eshe.  In 2009, they asked her to star in their “Orbis” music video and they have performed the track live with her as a special guest several times over the years.

“It’s always exciting to play with Eshe,” says bassist Kim Dae-inn. “Her dancing adds so much beauty to the world.”

The band are currently working on material for their long overdue follow-up to 2011’s “Black” EP.  Three new songs have been penned so far, and the band are hoping to start recording this summer.  But for now, Kim’s mind is on Apollo 18’s Shake Shop appearance with Eshe and Navah.

“For our next album, we need to think bigger,” he says.  “But now the most important thing is Apollo 18’s concert with bellydancers.  It’s going to be a wonderful performance of dance and music.”

Galaxy Express pic

Galaxy Express were a part of the February 2014 edition of Shake Shop, Shake Shop volume 12.  The psych-tinged garage rock group are excited about having the opportunity to help finish the series too.

“We’re so happy to be playing,” says bassist Lee Ju-hyun.  “It’s an honor to be a part of the lineup for the last Shake Shop.  We think it’s going to be a really fun and happy night.”

The band are putting the finishing touches on their fourth full-length offering and the plan is to issue the disc sometime this year.

“The music is more relaxed, simple, and free” says Lee.

Goonam Pic

Goonam have been on Eshe’s and Navah’s wish list for a long time.  And luckily schedules meshed and the four piece were able to join the final edition of Shake Shop.

“I think this will be a special experience,” says guitarist Joh Ung.  “I wanted to be a dancer when I was younger so this is a good fit for us.”

Like the other bands playing on Saturday night, Goonam’s retro-flavored rock is very different from traditional bellydance music.  But Joh doesn’t think that matters.

“Nice music complements nice sceneries,” he says.  “So nice dancing will be really good with nice music.”


… Whatever That Means have also appeared at Shake Shop before.  The melodic punk act were a part of Shake Shop volume 9 back in October 2013.  Eshe and the band have been talking about teaming up again ever since.

“The first Shake Shop we played was so much fun,” says guitarist Jeff Moses. “We really didn’t know what to expect last time. I knew The Strikers had done Shake Shop, and they said it went well. Still, we weren’t really sure how it would go. Everything went really well though, and all the dancers were just so impressive. We knew right away that we’d want to do this again.

“Since then, we’ve become good friends with several of the ladies who do the show so this time should be even more fun. Add to that the great lineup for the final show, and how couldn’t we be excited?”

The band recently returned back to Korea after touring in Singapore and Malaysia in January.  They had previously toured Malaysia in 2010, but this was their first time doing dates in Singapore.

“The tour was great!” says Moses. “The last time we came down here, we were a really new band. We’d just released our first demo and nobody had heard of us before. We ended up playing most of our shows with hardcore and metal bands who we didn’t really fit in with. This time around, the lineups were a lot more balanced, a lot of people remembered us from the last tour, and a lot of people who didn’t know us listened to us online and watched our music videos before we came. All that just really helped us have more excited audiences to play for.

“One of the biggest highlights was definitely our show in Melaka. We honestly had low hopes for the show. It was on a Tuesday in a city with a really small scene, and we hadn’t seen a lot of advertising for it. We showed up at the venue, and there wasn’t anyone there at first, but over fifty people ended up coming out and they all went nuts! We were playing in a big practice room and everyone was jumping around and moshing. It was really cool.”

Shake Shop volume 20 will be the last edition of the Shake Shop concert series and takes place on Saturday, February 14 at Club Freebird 2.  Eshe and Navah will collaborate with Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, Goonam, and … Whatever That Means.  The show starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are 20,000 won with 1 free drink.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Shake Shop 20 Daeinn Poster

Love X Stereo Offer New Tunes and a Good Excuse for Some Weekday Rockin’

Seoul electro-rock act Love X Stereo will play a special album release concert for their new “We Love We Leave, Part 1” EP on Tuesday, February 10 at Prism in Hongdae.

“We Love We Leave, Part 1” boasts two excellent new tracks that were written and recorded in December and early January.

“The new songs have more of a ‘80s synth-pop vibe,” offers vocalist and synthesizer player Annie Ko.

Along with the recently penned numbers, “We Love We Leave, Part 1” also features five re-recorded cuts from the group’s earlier EPs – “Glow” (2013), “Off the Grid” (2012), and “Buzzin’” (2011).  And while the original versions of all the selections were quite good, these updated takes are stronger and much more polished making them even more infectious.

“For the last three years, we’ve been experimenting,” shares Ko.  “We have learned a lot, experienced a lot, and thought now is the time to properly ‘define’ our music. We re-record some tracks because we wanted to enhance their sound quality and wanted to establish our style as a band.  We picked these tracks because they are our most beloved songs so far.”

Based on the EPs title – “We Love We Leave, Part 1” – most fans are probably already assuming that there will be a follow-up album coming at some point.  Although she’s mum on the exact details, Ko does confirm that another EP of tunes called “We Love We Leave, Part 2” will surface sometime in 2015.


Love X Stereo have been operating as a duo since parting ways with bassist Sol Han last November, but Pegurians drummer Jongkil Kim has been helping them out at gigs.  He’ll be with Ko and guitarist Toby Hwang for their February 10 show at Prism too.  And while Tuesday is not usually the most rocking of nights in Hongdae, Love X Stereo’s concert for “We Love We Leave, Part 1” will definitely be a good time.

“We designed this show more like a premiere,” says Ko.  “We now feel like we have a unique sound of our own. It took a while for us to get here, but the time was worth it.  On February 10, we’re going to showcase our brand new sound and give a brand new copy of ‘We Love We Leave, Part 1’ to everyone who shows up.  And also, Galaxy Express will be there to help us celebrate!  We’re going to have some serious fun that night.”

Love X Stereo plays on February 10 at Prism. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 15,000 won at the door. The entrance fee includes a free “We Love We Leave, Part 1” CD. Galaxy Express will open the concert. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Love X Stereo Poster

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

…Whatever That Means Ready to Heat Things Up with Winter Tour

Seoul-based melodic punk group …Whatever That Means has carved out a permanent place in the Hongdae scene over the past six years. Originally started as a one-off act put together to celebrate their own wedding back in 2009, guitarist and vocalist Jeff Moses and his wife – and …Whatever That Means bassist – Trash were later convinced by friends to make it a proper band. Thus …Whatever That Means was born and has been crafting their own style of melodic punk ever since. Their current lineup includes drummer Mizno, who took over from long-term band member Hong Gu last year, and new guitarist Bialy.

WTM_Band Photo Logo

…Whatever That Means’ sound is energetic and uncomplicated but with enough depth to pull you in. The catchy vocal melodies layered over simple guitar riffs are reminiscent of the So-Cal style of punk that gained popularity in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

“Our biggest influences are probably Bad Religion, Face To Face, The Descendents, and Social Distortion” says Jeff.

In 2011, the band took their show on the road stateside. A career highlight for Jeff was getting to play at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley, California. Growing up listening to punk rock, he’d wanted to watch a show there since he was 15.

“It’s the club where Operation Ivy, Green Day, and Rancid all got their starts,” Jeff says. “It had a huge impact on the US punk scene of the ‘90s so playing on the stage where so many of my favorite musicians had played really was amazing.”

The band recently released a cover of the Chinkees’ “Asian Prodigy” as a digital single to add to their catalogue of two EPs and two full-length albums. While their style has inevitably evolved since their first release, they have retained their trademark sound.

“Things are still simple, but I think the song writing in general is better,” says Jeff. “We’ve also become a lot more aggressive over the years.”

WTM Album Cover

You can hear this new energy on their latest album, “Sixty-Eight, Twenty-Two.” Recorded at Trash and Jeff’s home studio, it is named after the distance (6,822 miles) between their old apartment in Pennsylvania and Hongdae Playground. The pair spent a year there in 2012 while Jeff attended grad school in the US. A longing to return “home” to Korea and its punk scene inspired the lyrics.

“It’s all about finding that place where you feel like you can be yourself and really making it your own,” says Jeff.

Back home in Korea, the band was fortunate enough to recruit Hongdae punk legend Jonghee Won of Rux to perform on the album’s title track.

“We were running through it at practice, and I kept hearing Jonghee’s voice singing it in my head,” Jeff explains. “It just had that Rux street punk kind of rhythm during the verse. I’ve known Jonghee for years, and we’d worked on a few other projects together so I shot him a text message to ask if he’d be interested in singing on our album, and he responded positively almost immediately.”

Another standout track on the album is “The Goodbye Note,” whose sobering lyrics take the form of a lover’s farewell. They came from Jeff one day thinking about dying and what the most important things to tell Trash would be if he had to say goodbye to her. His wife understandably had a very emotional response when she read the finished lyrics.

“They made her cry, and she swore she’d never be able to sing that song,” he shares “It actually took quite a while before she could get through it, but now it’s a regular part of our set.”

Photo by Ken Robinson

Photo by Ken Robinson

So how does the band go about writing its music?

“Usually, a line or two of melody or a lyric will pop into my head, and it all just builds from there,” Jeff says. “I’ll come up with more melody and lyrics. Then, I start building the rhythm guitar and main riffs around that. Next I’ll record a demo at home with the song basically complete and send it to everyone else in the band.”

The punk scene in Korea has also seen its share of change over the years. While there is a thriving community of musicians and concert goers which has kept the culture and the music alive, many are concerned that the scene is currently on the decline. However, Jeff is more optimistic.

“Some people say that the scene is dying here. I disagree. It sucks that there’s no central club here that we can all rally around like in the past, but there are a lot of really great bands and a lot of people coming out to shows. I hope that more people start to realize the quality of Korean bands and things grow even more, but in general, I think things are good right now.”

Aside from …Whatever That Means having a regular spot on the bill at Hongdae’s now defunct Club Spot, Jeff worked the bar there right up until the iconic basement club closed its doors for good in October last year. He laments its closure but is upbeat about the future.

“It sucks. I hate not having ‘my place’ to go hangout at. Someone just opened a noraebang there. What a waste! In the short term, I think it’s harder for punk and hardcore bands to find a place to easily put on shows in a good-sized club. In the long term, I think the scene will naturally gravitate towards somewhere else. It won’t be the same as Spot, but it’ll be awesome in its own way. Where that will be, I don’t really know. Maybe it’ll be Ruailrock. Maybe somewhere new will open.”

This month will see … Whatever That Means gigging in Malaysia and Singapore as part of their 2015 winter tour. They previously toured in Malaysia in 2010 when the band was in its infancy and well before their new rhythm section got on board.

“We’re all so excited to get back down to Malaysia,” Jeff says. “This time, we have an even more solid lineup and better songs to play. We had only been a band for about eight or nine months when we did that first tour. We’re obviously a lot more experienced now so I’m looking forward to showing how we’ve grown.”

… Whatever That Means will kick off their winter tour in Seoul on Saturday (January 17) with a gig at Ruailrock in Hongdae. The show starts at 9 pm and tickets are 10,000 won. The Veggers, 21 Scott, and Startline will be opening. For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the concert here.

WTM Poster

And here are the rest of the dates for the band’s 2015 winter tour:

January 24 Singapore @ Aliwal Arts Centre
January 25 Batu Pahat, Malaysia @ The Wall
January 27 Melaka, Malaysia @ UTC 8th Floor
January 28 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia @ ALT+HQ
January 30 Kuantan, Malaysia @ Darksky Lounge
January 31 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia @ Black Box (Publika)
February 14 @ Freebird 2


“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.

Party 51 screenings in English

A few years ago, Hongdae was the location of a brilliant moment in Korean underground music history. Musicians looking for an affordable place to practice and have concerts connected with Duriban, a small noodle shop undergoing a struggle for its existence. And you can relive it all in the new documentary by Jung Yong-taek, Party 51.

Duriban was located a couple hundred meters out Hongdae Station exit 8, past the Lotte Cinema, near where exit 4 is today. In Duriban’s former location, there is an empty lot filled with weeds. The restaurant owners were offered 5 million won in compensation, from the 25 million they originally put in. Then on Christmas Eve 2009, 30 hired goons entered the restaurant while there were customers eating to forcibly evict everyone. The very next day, Duriban owner Ahn Jong-nyeo returned, forced her way into her shuttered, destroyed business and began a 531-day sit-in protest.

That period presented a unique opportunity for Hongdae musicians, who now had a free place to go to practice, put on shows, or just hang out or even sleep. The main musicians who gathered here were bluesman Ha Heon-jin, grind band Bamseom Pirates, neo-folk musician Danpyunsun, Hahn Vad of Amature Amplifier and Yamagata Tweakster, and noise musician Park Daham. They rallied behind Duriban, forming Jarip (Independent Musicians Collective) and holding the first 51+ Festival on May 1, 2010, which is depicted in the early moments of the movie.

The film premiered on December 11 at theaters around the country, but four screenings with English subtitles are being offered at Indieplus, located near Sinsa Station. Tickets are 7,000 won. Here’s the schedule for the screenings with English subtitles:

12.29 (Mon) 20:30
01.03 (Sat) 10:30
01.07 (Wed) 20:30
01.11 (Sun) 16:10


“Duriban was a kind of utopian moment in Korea’s capitalist society, and I doubt there will be another situation quite like that again,” said director Jung Yong-taek in an interview with Broke in Korea. “That Duriban period will never occur again, and there will never been another like it.”

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