Last Saturday, I went to Hongdae, yes you read correctly I volunteerily went to Hongdae last Saturday for a rock show. I don’t go to as many rock shows here in Korea because they tend to not be rock as much as pop and they tend to be late, the early band playing well after midnight. So needless to say I’ve only been to one rock show while I’ve been here in Korea, Linkin Park.
My friend John had a punk band, The Tear Jerks, but unfortunately I was back in the States for the majority of their shows and their one show, their last show coincidentally, that I could have been to, I had just moved into my apartment and had no clue how to get back to my area of Seoul from Hongdae. I’m not used to taking taxis in the States and I really didn’t want to be taken all around the peninsula really late at night/early in the morning (depending on your view of the world) and not have a blessed clue about what was happening. But I was still sad that I wasn’t able to see his band.
And then I got great news, John and Josh had a new band, First Round Heroes. Josh sent me the dates and times of their upcoming shows and one of them happened to happen way before midnight (!!!) which of course made me happy since (1) it’s on the complete other side of Seoul from where I live, (2) I would be awake, (3) I would be able to make the subway home before it closed, and (4) it’s on the complete other side of Seoul from where I live.
An unknown duo opened for the opening act. The nicest thing that I can say is that they’re experimental rock, but completely opposite of Mute Math, the complete opposite. The first song sounded okay…and then it was all downhill from there. Especially after it was noticed that the drummer was playing the same rhythm over and over again. They were supposed to play for only 10 minutes, apparently 30+ minutes later they were finished.
The next group up, Neoconartists, was another duo. They were better than the first group, but they were so uneven in mood, there wasn’t a gradual build to the heavier songs or a gradual decline to the slower ones. The lyrics were pretty much the same for each song, just the tone changed. It was the longest thirty minute set that I’ve ever sat through, and I’ve sat through Blast Intrepid.
Same Old Story, a Korean screamo band, that was surprisingly good. I didn’t have too many expectations for the only Korean band on the bill, but they had really good lyrics and decent ones in English. They definitely knew how to play their instruments and they had a fun presence on stage, at one point in time their guitarist did a jump kick. Fun stuff.
Finally it was First Round Heroes turn and the boys didn’t disappoint. Josh and John’s banter has been perfected over the years and it’s just entertaining, at least to me. If you get the chance, watch them.
A side note: I was noticing all the interesting hair choices, dredlocks, half-shaved heads, etc. and I wondered in an industry where you have to submit a photo to recruiters and schools, how is it that they go to work with randomly colored hair that can’t pass for natural hues except maybe on Pluto (whenever Pluto is actually classified as a planet) and not exactly the hairstyle choice of the stereotypical teacher, any where in the world generally speaking.