Still Alive 8: Seoul's Best Halloween Punk Party at DGBD

It's been awhile since I've posted because traveling abroad makes finding shows more difficult. It's rare to find an American band playing internationally, and when I do, the tickets are usually quite expensive. So I have to rely on getting my music fix from local bands. This weekend, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a punk rock show in Seoul.

Still Alive 8 is the name of the annual Halloween punk rock show at DGBD, a popular live music venue in Hongdae  The neighborhood is near several universities and is considered one of the hubs of youth culture in Seoul.

It being Halloween weekend, the majority of the audience were in costumes, and it was hard to tell whether the steampunk outfits and rockabilly hairdos were fact or fiction.

The line-up featured five of Seoul's best punk bands. We arrived in time to catch the second band, National Pigeon Unity. Formed in Seoul in 2007, the two-piece consists of Dong-Hun Kim on guitar and vocals and Young-mok Park on drums and vocals.

They began their set wearing masks that were really creepy. At one point Dong-Hun flipped his mask over his shoulder and it landed perfectly on the mic stand.

Here is a clip from their performance on Saturday. The guitar line really moves!

Next up was ...Whatever That Means, a Seoul-based band dressed up for the occasion like a minion and three bananas.

The band was formed in 2009 and consists of four members: husband and wife Jeff Moses and Trash Yang Moses, Mateusz Bialy on guitar, and Dony Pyo on drums.

The pit was in full-force for songs like "I Can't Take It" off their 7" Blowing Minds & Melting Faces, released earlier this year. From the enthusiasm of the crowd it seems like they are a pretty big deal here in Korea, and after some research it looks like they have a formidable following, having toured throughout Korea, Malaysia and the US.

Their music reminded me of early NoFX and Millencolin, and we could have easily been in Southern California, not South Korea. Their happy, energetic punk rock was perfect for the evening.

After ...Whatever That Means came Wasted Johnny's. Formed, in 2011, the band consists of Nils Germain on Bass, Young Jin Kim on drums and frontwoman Angie An on guitar and vocals.

Angie had the room mesmerized as she showed her prowess on the guitar and flexed her wide vocal range. I could hear (and see) some influence from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs through her stage demeanor which recalled Karen O. Their blend of blues and rock hearkened back to classic rockabilly artists like Gene Vincent and Carl Perkins, but with more attitude.

The headliner was a band by the name of Burning Hepburn. Hailing from Dajeon in central South Korea, the band is Wonsuk Song and Woowon Jung on vocals and guitar, Geunteck Oh on drums and Sangwoo Han on bass.

Probably the funnest song they played was "Let's Skanking", an upbeat ska number that had the whole audience breaking out into what I like to call "the punk shuffle". It was highly entertaining to witness.

When people think of Korean music they only know of K-Pop and "Gangnam Style", and I admit, I shared this close-minded worldview. But now I know better. I was very pleased and impressed to find such a passionate and lively punk rock scene in Seoul.

For more Korean punk rock, check out this free download of "Them and Us", a Korean punk and ska compilation album produced by World Domination Inc.

Next Post »