Band Ryeong Gyo (밴드 령교) Album Release Show

This is a Busan band that I just happened to stumble across on youtube. I’d never heard of them or seen them before but it seems they have quite a following and their sound is unique and fresh. They are called Band Ryeong Gyo… quite a mouthful for western tongues, and quite an earful too. This might be too obscure a reference: If anyone remembers the electronic rock band Defector Frequency a few years ago… they sound like that but cooler. I can say that because Defector Frequency doesn’t exist anymore… and that isn’t cool at all.

The drummer has an awesome, tight driving feel which help boost the synths and get the energy up. You wouldn’t think the guitar’s power metal sound would jive… but it fits in there like bacon wrapped around melon. The band’s namesake, 령교’s vocals are powerful and, once again, fit perfectly within the band’s style. Perhaps she is the toothpick with which we can easily enjoy this bacon/melon/band metaphor. Layer upon layer of sonic goodness.

I’d love to see them live… and this weekend is the perfect opportunity. On Saturday at Oz Hall in Seomyeon, they are having a party to release their first EP. The guest band is DHMP… I once caught them at an outdoor stage in Gwangan singing a song in which every other word was a curse. There were old folks and families with young children happily clapping along. So yeah… they just don’t give a fuck.

There are a couple different options for tickets. Presale tickets (15,000) for the first 100 people come with a band towel and bracelet. Or you can just pony up 20,000 at the door. Also, if you are kind enough to share the concert poster on facebook, the band will give you a bracelet for your trouble. Details below.

Definitely go and check these guys out. Oz Hall has the best sound and lights out of any venue in Busan… so you can’t ask for a better setting. And I’m sure it’ll be a great show. In my experience, Korean bands take these kind of events seriously and prepare and prepare and prepare some more. It’ll be a Saturday night well spent.

Find this poster on their facebook page and share it to get free stuff!

Find this poster on their facebook page and share it to get free stuff!

Presale deal: Transfer 15,000 won per ticket to 137301-04-235916 국민은행 (KB Bank) 지상호. Then send a text to 010-7547-1112 with your name (on your bank account) and number of tickets bought. They will reply with a confirmation letting you know what number ticket(s) you are. If you are within the first 100, then you qualify for the free towel and bracelet. 

Concert poster deal: Find the concert poster on their facebook page and click share. Get a bracelet at the show! 

How to get to Oz Hall: This place is kind of tucked away… basically you want to be across the main street from Lotte Dept. Store/Hotel/Casino. If you are facing Lotte, walk right until you see the big yellow tooth building and turn right. Oz hall is underground, about halfway down the block on the right.


Busan Rock Fest 2013 Guide

This weekend sees the biggest musical event of the year in Busan. Although the lineups aren’t as star studded as some of the other big festivals in Korea, Busan International Rock Festival is unique in that it is free and that it takes place right in the city. This year’s headliners stay true to the festival’s pedigree of hard rock, metal and punk that dominate Korean indie music. But the past few years the organizers have been bringing many new types of bands such as celtic, ska, reggae and funk.

The festival will, once again, take place at the spacious Samrak Park (삼낙공원) that borders Busan’s west edge against Gimhae. There are two stages, the main stage and a smaller stage for up-and-coming acts (And the award for best second stage band name goes to… Velcro Sex out of Daegu!). Also there are concessions and a “Club Music Lounge” which, in the past, has been a nice, if not quiet, place to get out of the heat.

Lineup-wise, this year is dominated by some big names in Korean indie rock. The festival headliner is Stratovarius, from Finland. Perhaps the band I’m most excited to see, however, is SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS, a jazz/funk 6-piece out of Tokyo. I’ll give a run down of what bands to check out, and why, below. Click the band name for a youtube link.



SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS – I was introduced to this band by Ahn Woo Sung, trumpet and band leader of local jazz/funk powerhouse Hot Pepper Pasta. SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS call their brand of music ‘Death Jazz.’ It certainly isn’t your father’s jazz. One member of the band doesn’t play an instrument or sing. Instead he is an ‘agitator’ and his job is to… eh… agitate the crowd. I’m interested to see what all the metal-heads make of it. Sunday 6:20

Kingston Rudieska – I freaking love this band. They are THE original Korean ska band and after 10 years or so, they’ve only gotten better with age. They always attract a crowd… expect all the kids in the audience to lose their shit once KRS hits the stage. The singer, Suk Yeul, is a consummate showman. Gonna be a great set. Friday 3:40

Romantic Punch – The first time I saw these guys was 3 years ago on this same stage. At first, I didn’t know what to think. The singer is flamboyant and androgynous and the band looks like they’re out of the 80’s. But Romantic Punch just puts on an incredible show! The frontman is just nuts… he’s got a bigbag of tricks to get the crowd frothing! Saturday 7:40

Icy Cider – Along the same lines as Romantic Punch… the lead singer is CRAZY but these guys play white knuckle ska-punk instead of straight ahead rock. Very fun band to watch. The frontman kind of reminds me of a Korean Jack Black. He’s a monkey! Friday 3:00

#1 Korean

#1 Korean

#1 Korean – Another great ska-punk band… these guys like to lay back into some reggae from time to time though. The onstage chemistry between the band members is fun to watch. Friday 2:30

Feverdogs – One of the few Busan bands to see the main stage this year is Feverdogs. Everything about these guys is tip top. The songwriting, the musicianship, the talent. My advice to you is catch this band before they move to Seoul and become the next big indie thing. Sunday 2:00

Stoned – Another local band, Stoned, is a handful of punksters that have been heavily entrenched in Busan scene for years and years in one band or another. One fixture of their shows is mischievous fun… who knows what kind of tomfoolery will visit Samrak park this weekend. Saturday 3:00



Jennifer Isolation – I hadn’t heard of this 4-piece before… but after looking up a few of their videos, it seems like a Japanese Rage Against the Machine. Definitely looking forward to checking them out. Friday 5:30

Crying Nut – Probably the most famous band to come out of Busan. Their sound is hard and fast and fun… yet their latest single is super poppy. I’m interested to see how it fits in their usual set. Saturday 9:40

No Brain

No Brain

No Brain – Korea’s Green Day. They are noteworthy because of their fame in a country whose radio waves are dominated by K-Pop. Lotte Giant’s fans will recognize their song Your Falling Into Me as Gang Min Ho’s walkout music. Friday 9:30

YB – This is the main musical project of Yoon Do Hyun, who is kind of like the Korean Ryan Seacrest. He is very famous for his TV show and various appearances on other shows (you can see him as a judge in the Romantic Punch link I posted). I’ve seen him before and his live performances are much more energetic and rocking than his studio stuff. He is probably the most famous act at the festival and will be closing it down after Stratovarius Sunday night. Sunday 9:50



PIA – Another very famous Busan band, PIA had a bit of international success after playing with Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park during their respective heydays. They started off as very hard rock but in recent years their sound has mellowed. Their video link is quite funny as they try to channel Michael Jackson on Top Band. Saturday 5:30

If I missed anything, please let us all know about it in the comments.

How to get to Samrak Park

Take the Green Line (2) to Sasang station and go out exit 3. Walk straight about 4 blocks. You will go past E-mart and Homeplus. From there, take the bridge over the highway… and you’re there!

Roots Space 공간루츠

This place is one of the newest venues in Busan. It’s not exactly a venue, but more a utility space for local ska band, Ska Wakers. They built it themselves… from the multi-colored wooden bricks decorating the mezzanine to the 15 foot high Bob Marley mural that dominates the wall behind the stage. There is a small bar that serves coffee, soda and beer on some nights… so long as you deposit a modest donation into the Roots fund.

Roots Space

Usually, the sound system is just a small PA that does a decent enough job. A couple times I’ve seen a much larger rented system for bands like Windy City and Kingston Rudieska. The atmosphere is great… there are places for everyone to enjoy the show. You can chill on the couches off to the side or revel right along with the band. It’s definitely got that house party vibe with the band just raised a few inches off the dance floor. The balcony is another chill spot to sit and take it all in. 

Kingston Rudieska @ Roots

Kingston Rudieska @ Roots

To find out about what shows are going on at Roots Space, the easiest way is to check out their facebook page. Usually they only advertise the bigger shows though, and it’s all in Korean. It isn’t super easy to find either. It’s in an alley and there isn’t a sign or anything… just a door that leads underground. Which is pretty cool actually. After you find the nondescript door, follow the metal stairs down into the dark with the thump and hum of live music gradually getting louder and suddenly you emerge into what feels like a secret party that only you and a handful of fellow music-lovers know about.

Roots Space Map

If your Korean isn’t too hot, the black dot in the bottom left is the PNU subway station. Walk up the street towards the university, past Busan Bank. Turn right at the eye glasses store. There’ll be an alley on the left and it’s at the back of that on the right.


Mission Statement

Music. It’s been part of me for every step I’ve taken in this life. I’ve studied, taught, performed, promoted and produced. Since moving to Korea 4 years ago, music has taken control. This has opened the door to a vibrant music scene that perhaps many people don’t realize is happening right under their noses. Even when Korean promotors and bands actively pursue foreigners for attendance at their shows, all the necessary info is rarely translated or distributed properly. There are amazing artists that are doing their thing in dingy basement clubs and most expats never know.

I’m no insider. But I do find myself regularly trying to get my friends to see bands that I find incredibly interesting. Hopefully, if you’re reading this blog, you’ll learn about a new venue or festival or band that will change the way you think about arts in Busan.