Tag Archives: Rock

PNU Club Tour

Damn… It’s been a long time – apologies and all the usual garbage excuses about being busy. Let’s get into it.

This weekend in PNU, a great event returns: The Club Tour. This will be the last one of the year… perhaps it is the 3rd or 4th of 2013. Anyways, a local promotor has been throwing together as many local bands and venues as possible for a few years now. It’s always between 10 and 15 bucks and it’s a great way to sample the scene. There are a lot of great bands that aren’t regularly gigging but manage to put together an impressive set for this event.

I missed the last one… but caught the one before. It was there I was introduced to some great bands like the Cowchips, Herz, Sugimoto Ladyland and the Feverdogs as well as caught old favorites Unchained, Every Single Day, Ska Wakers and Hot Pepper Pasta. All the venues are close enough together so that, if perhaps one band doesn’t suit your taste, you can easily get to another stage.

This time around, the venues are Jay Square, Dazzle, Roots and Moo Monk. Lineup and map below:

MOO MONK:
Oh Rock Bu Jang
Manixive
Low Feels
pinkfunniAde
Herz

ROOTS:
aluk
Dan Sin Band
Stoned
Ska Wakers
Sugimoto Ladyland

DAZZLE:
Woopa Roopa
Bossa
Moon Scent
Cha Soo Jung
Dal Kom Sseup Seul Han feat. Sora

J SQUARE:
Jin Lee Project
Jo Yeon Hee
Night Suede
Cowchips
Lee Sang

Club Tour Lineup & Map



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2013 Busan Sunset Live Preview (Part 3)

<<<Part 2 and Part 1>>>

Ninano Nanda

Ninano Nanda

A few days ago, the timetable was released to us common folk. It seems that they tried to intersperse the rock acts in amongst the non-rock acts instead of clumping them all together. So… no matter what time you go, there’ll be a smorgasbord of musics to sample and taste. I’ll make an english timetable at the end of this post for all you non-hangeul-reading mofos. By the by – weather report is lookin’ real nice.

2013 Sunset Timetable

On to the music:

Lee Han Cheol – Don’t know too much about him except that he is from the old guard of Korean pop rock. He’s had radio play throughout the years since his 1994 debut and has done all the TV shows. He headlined every single Sunset Live that I’ve been to so at this point he’s just part of the landscape for me. Another band my wife will love.

Windy City – This band is a powerhouse on the Korean reggae scene. Hell – it could be argued that they ARE the Korean reggae scene. The band leader/singer/drummer, Kim Ban Jang, is a self-professed Rastafarian who has been known to spend a lot of time in Jamaica each year. He is also the frontman for Bibim Dub Trio (Live dub reggae) and I & I Djangdan (Korean folk/Dub reggae). With his stage presence and his constant posse wherever he goes, he can come of as some kind of prophet. That doesn’t detract from his chops though… his singing and rhythm are spot on – enough so to send Windy City to the SXSW festival in Austin, TX last year. Every Windy City performance I’ve seen has been special in some way… can’t wait to enjoy them again on Sunday! Rumor has it they’ve been exploring Soul music this past year…

Human Race – I’ve seen these guys a few times this summer at various festivals. Apparently, they had a hit on one of the Top Band TV shows and now all the kids go nuts for them. A very tight sounding band… I can’t tell if their single sounds familiar because I’ve heard it before or because it sounds like some other band from back home.

Bard – Another purely unique Korean act that you can predictably see at Sunset each year. These folks play traditional celtic music. It’s perfect for just lying down in the sun and enjoying life. Great songwriting and superb talent.

Unchained – These boys are some of the hardest working bands in busan right now. They began as an Alice in Chains cover band but have quickly branched out to writing their own AiC inspired original music. Very fun to watch and get into with the crowd. This is a must-see band within the Busan music scene. They recently released a new music video featuring the singer from 21 Scott.

One Drop East – I’m quite partial to these guys… after all (full disclosure), it is, in fact, the band I play in. So I won’t toot our own horn section too much… just suffice to say this is a show we look forward to playing every year.

Tehiun & Purijah – I’m very excited to see these guys. I’ve seen the lead singer, Tehiun, once before in a solo, acoustic show and he was amazing. These boys are newish on the reggae scene, but they’ve made up for lost time. Tehiun runs his own record label and his own indie music magazine in addition to writing songs for and leading Purijah. The songs themselves are infective and easy to sing a long to, even if Korean isn’t your first language!

Ninano Nanda – Another bizarre act on paper that works miraculously in action. Ninano Nanda are a duo – he lays down funky house and dub beats, she sings ethereal pansori (Korean folk singing) over the top. Just fantastic. A truly Korean experience. Don’t miss these two!

Seoul Riddim Superclub – They are a late addition to the Sunset lineup, but extremely welcome. They are the reggae supergroup composed of 13 members from Kingston Rudieska, Tehiun and Purijah with MC’s Jahmai and Rude Paper. Since they are such a large group spanning multiple bands, it is rare for them to put on a live show. This will be a special performance for everyone, both on stage and in front of it.

Seoul Riddim Superclub

Seoul Riddim Superclub

Hot Pepper Pasta – This band represents the finest jazz talent Busan has to offer. But you won’t find them playing along to grampy’s old records. Hot Pepper Pasta turn up the volume with blistering horn lines, the deepest funk grooves and horn solos that make you scream. If you miss them here, you can find them most Saturday nights at Billie Jean in Haeundae… or you could catch them both places!

Cozy Cafe – I don’t know much about this band… but from what I’ve seen on youtube they look like a great jazzy pop group. Cute and capable singer, talented band. Can’t ask for much more.

Chowchips – Even though these guys are are listed dead last in the lineup, they are one of the bands I’m most excited to see. I caught them at a festival a month or so back and was blown away. Their sound is that perfect mix of blues and old hippie rock. The singer is charismatic and every band member wails. Wait for those ridiculous lead guitar solos. Can’t wait to see more of Cowchips as time goes on. The video below isn’t great quality but you get an idea of what they’re about…

So there you have it… every damn band of the weekend. A whole lot of winners in there too. It isn’t too late to pre-order tickets (details in part 2) or you can just buy a wrist band on the day. See you at Sunset Live!!!

Saturday Time Table

2:00 Ska Wakers
2:30 Americano Band
3:00 South Carnival
3:30 Duo Sonic feat. Lee Jae Yong
4:00 No Brand
4:50 Jude
5:30 #1 Korean
6:10 The Explosions
7:00 Rapercussion & Zion Luz Project
8:10 Yaya
8:50 Every Single Day
9:30 Kingston Rudieska

Sunday Time Table

2:00 South Carnival
2:30 Cowchips
3:00 Tahiun & Purijah
3:40 One Drop East
4:10 Cozy Cafe
4:50 Windy City
5:50 Ninano Nanda
6:20 Lee Han Cheol
7:00 Hot Pepper Pasta
7:30 Unchained
8:00 Bard
8:40 Human Race
9:20 Seoul Riddim Superclub

2013 Busan Sunset Live Preview – (Part 2)

Sunset Live Preview Part 1

Before we get into the meat of it, some quick bits of info are in order. Since my last post on Sunset Live, some new info has been released: luckily for us foreigners, we can now buy tickets via bank transfer (details at the end of the post). Also, they announced the actual venue which is an upgrade. This year all the fun is going down at the far end of Song Jeong Beach. It isn’t clear if it’s on the sand or on that pier… but it beats last year’s parking lot! Ok – on to the music.

The festival will be held in the blue area at the bottom of the map. Show this to your taxi driver.

The festival will be held in the blue area at the bottom of the map. Show this to your taxi driver.

Saturday’s lineup is dominated by Korean ska and latin bands. Like I said before, every band stands up on it’s own but definitely don’t miss these – the two Japanese reggae bands: The Explosions and No Brand… Korean ska powerhouse Kingston Rudieska… Brazilian beat masters Rapercussion… #1 Korean… South Carnival… hell – don’t miss any bands.

On the facebook – like the Busan Sunset Live page. They regularly post videos of all the bands from the lineup.

Kingston Rudieska – These boys have been making original Jamaican ska music for 10+ years in Seoul. Always ahead of the curve, it seems Kingston Rudieska is finally making it having appeared too-many-times-to-count on TV, touring internationally, collaborating with K-pop stars and recently acting in, what seems to me, a Korean version of The Harder they Come. Ok… it’s not the same plot, but it’s a starring ska musicians. So maybe that’s a stretch. We’ll have to wait until it comes out. Regardless – one of my favorite bands hands down.

Every Single Day – If you watch any Korean dramas, you already know this band. Their music has been featured on multiple television shows and is very recognizable. They have a happy-fun-time pop rock sound. ESD actually has roots in Busan. On one of their albums, you can hear them snarling at each other in Busan dialect before a track… but actually they were wondering aloud when to start playing. Oh Busan Dialect!

The Explosions – Whoa… I’ve been checking these boys out on the youtube and I’m super excited to see them. If you know reggae music at all, think ‘Scratch Perry at his dubbiest, but live.’ If you don’t know reggae music, think ‘My fuck – I need a fat blunt and a bean bag chair STAT!’ The Explosions are everything you could want from a reggae band: hypnotic bass lines, echo and jangle guitar, melodian to put you in a trance. Wah gwan rude boi!

No Brand – And in yet another piece of evidence that everything the Japanese do musically is 200%, we have No Brand: Super fun reggae music, with sexy, in a hippie-chick way, dancers! Once again, I only know them from youtube but they seem tight and ready to explode with some sort of free love sentiment at every turn. Another one not to miss.

#1 Korean – I wrote about them for the Busan Rock Fest. Sadly, the organizers had them on at the beginning of the day – which is bullshit. This band buts on a show. Period. The front man is sauve and charismatic. Their punk is restrained to the point that it is still fun and listenable and their ska lights up the dance floor.

Rapercussion/Zion Luz Project – I probably shouldn’t put both of these bands together… but I am. I have known Rapercussion for years and they always manage to get all 6’5″ of me bouncing around like I’m on gummy berry juice. Zion Luz Project is a new iteration of the former… but with different personnel I think. Some other differences may be: Rapercussion is to Batucada as Zion Luz is to West African Rhythms/Reggae. It doesn’t matter what these guys and girls do though… they are all extremely talented musicians and will play the crap out of anything. Also: Dreadlocks!

Rapercussion: More band members than people in the audience.

Rapercussion: More band members than people in the audience.

Yaya – Sunset Live is special because they manage to bring the entire Island of Misfit Toys and put them on one stage. Yaya is a mind blowing artist. You can’t put her in a box. She’s mysterious, she’s rock and roll, she’s gypsy. Her voice does interesting things: she can sound like a duck or a songbird or speak in German and Spanish. And it all fits in some bizarre way.

Jude – ‘HEY – WE PLAY FUN POPPY ROCK AND WE DON’T GIVE A FUCK!!’ Ok… they don’t just play rock. You’ll also hear some soul, r&b and other good listenin’ musics. My wife is going to love them. Talent all over the stage… check out their drummer.

South Carnival – One of the very few bands making waves out of Jeju these days. It’s hard to pin down their genre because they don’t consistently play a single particular style. You’ll hear everything from latin, ska, reggae, brass band – If it sounds good and makes you dance, South Carnival will make it into a song.

Duo Sonic feat. Jae Yong Lee – Can’t find anything on this act. Must be a one-off band.

Ska Wakers – Busan’s very own ska-plosion. This gang has been around for a long time and within the last year have honed their sound to a fine result. Their originals have evolved too, using a lot more different styles for accent. One of my favorites is What is Love which manages to mix reggae, tango, jazz and latin for a song that’s too easy to lose yourself in.

Americano Band – Another fun poppy rock band. I bet they chose their name because they knew their music would, one day, be pumped into cafes all across the peninsula.

So there you have it… if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Be back with part 3 shortly!

Buying tickets via Bank Transfer: Gather your friends and figure out how many tickets you need. Remember… it’s buy five (of the same price level) get one free! Transfer the correct amount to KB Bank (국민은행) 115301-04-069812 (엠팩토리). It is 22,000 for one day and 33,000 for both. After the money has been sent, email busansunset@naver.com with your name, phone number and type and number of tickets purchased. They should email you back a confirmation letter.

2013 Busan Sunset Live Preview (Part 1)

At the end of every summer, great bands from every corner of Korea, Japan and beyond converge upon some idyllic place near Busan and make a party. Pure and simple. No pretensions, no stress, no worries. It’s called Sunset Live and it’s the little brother of one of the largest reggae festivals in the world.

My first Sunset Live was 3 years ago in the mountains near Yangsan. It was just a small gathering of music lovers… maybe 50 or 60. Back then, it was only a one day festival but most of the bands and fans stayed overnight in a nearby ski lodge. The all night party was RIDICULOUS. The sound company set up a small dance club in the hotel lobby… which was joined by Brazilian beat masters Rapercussion (also on the bill this year). They distributed all manner of percussive toys and drums to us and suddenly the dance party became a percussion jam along to the DJ’s rhythms. I remember the band leader walking around with a whistle giving various rhythms to people. All the bands lounged around on the picnic tables outside and the beer flowed like wine. The good vibes were organic and I was having too good a time to grasp how fondly I’d later look back on that weekend.

And I digress… Just know that I look forward to this festival every year starting on the last chord of the previous year’s final band.

Sunset Live

The festival’s first year was 1993 in Itoshima, Japan. A group of surfers rented out a parking lot and brought as many people together as they could to raise funds and awareness for the ocean. The first year’s motto was “Let’s Clean Up Our Dirty Ocean!” or something along those lines as it doesn’t quite translate. These days, the Fukuoka festival is 3 days with 75+ bands on the lineup. The Busan festival is now in it’s 7th year and growing nicely.

This year the festival will be held at Songjeong beach over two days (August 31st and September 1st) with 25+ bands covering Electronica, Reggae, Ska, Jazz, Pop and various Rocks. Even though Sunset Live grows each year, it has still managed to keep it’s grassroots feel. Bands mingle with the regular folk… good food (last year was catered by the Holy Grill in Daegu!)… cool vendors… Everything is just perfectly chill. As it’s a long day outside, I suggest you bring the usual sun protection, a nice blanket to sit on, some folding chairs perhaps and a cooler with ice and refreshing beverages.

With all these bands, I’m not going to squeeze everything into one post… but spread it out into several. The order of bands will be thus:

Sunset Live Lineup

If you’re interested in buying tickets beforehand, you can get them on Interpark but you might need a Korean friend to help the process along. Prices are 22,000 won for 1 day… 33,000 won for both days: a goddamn steal considering the cost of most other weekend festivals you’ll find around Korea.

UPDATE: The festival is promoting a buy 5 get 1 free deal for tickets!

And while I’m mentioning money, I’d like to say that the organizers seem to care very little for it. You won’t find yourself paying 5 bucks for a bottle of water and they don’t mind if you bring in your own food or drink.

I’ll leave you all with a plain ol’ lineup per day. Of course, within the list are bands I’m excited to see for the first time, bands I’ve never heard of and bands I’m psyched to see for the umpteenth time… But I can’t honestly say any one of these bands isn’t worth seeing on their own. It’s music lover’s Festivus with no grievances to air!

This year’s lineup is:

Saturday

  • Kingston Rudieska
  • Every Single Day
  • The Explosions (Japan)
  • No Brand (Japan)
  • #1 Korean
  • Rapercussion
  • Zion Luz Project
  • Yaya
  • Jude
  • South Carnival
  • Duo Sonic feat. Lee Jae Yong
  • Ska Wakers
  • Americano Band

Sunday

  • Lee Han Chul
  • Windy City
  • Human Race
  • Bard
  • Unchained
  • One Drop East
  • Tehiun and Purijah
  • Ninano Nanda
  • Seoul Riddim Superclub
  • Hot Pepper Pasta
  • Cozy Cafe
  • Cowchips

I’ll be back soon with a preview of each day. Stay tuned!

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

SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS

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

Stoned

Stoned

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

PIA

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!