For those less aware, Live Club Day is a mini music festival with some of the best performances across live clubs in Hongdae. What’s unique about Live Club Day is that with one ticket, you can pick and chose your own itinerary, moving from venue to venue as you wish. I initially gave up going because the tickets had sold out but thanks to the good folks at DoIndie I managed to go. DoIndie is not just a great bilingual resource for your Korean indie band needs, they also hold events and giveaways so its definitely worth the 2 minutes it takes to follow them on all their social media and sign up for an account on their site!
As much as I wanted to go to different bands at every timeslot, I couldn’t deny my fangirl heart. I’ve been following DICKPUNKS since around 2012 and needed to experience them live. Since they’ve been gaining mainstream attention, my more Hongdae-live-scene-experienced friend decided the best way to catch them was just to arrive early at Lehzin Comics Vhall where they would be at and just stay til their set. Besides, we both weren’t familiar with the other bands playing there and game for some new music.
My opinions and experiences are, of course, only my own and I apologize in advance for my less than stellar photos. That said, on to the night!
LudiSTELO getting the crowd to clap along.
The first act up was LudiSTELO (루디스텔로), an electronic rock trio that warmed up the crowd with their easy beats. They switched to a psychedelic style song for their third number that had a soothing swaying mood and maybe its because I was recovering from a cold but it felt like a soft blanket I could just lie and sleep on. They picked up the pace in their next songs and one had a prominent guitar presence that gave space for the guitarist to work the crowd a little bit. Personally though it felt like they climbed without peaking, like a roller coaster without a drop. Their songs brought huge anticipation and kept me on the brink of that jump, and in their more upbeat songs I was rearing to go but the energy fizzled out. The sound system also didn’t do the synthesized vocals any justice, I couldn’t really make out what they were saying but I caught a small introduction in the beginning of the first song. Other than that and the guitarist’s occasional trip to the front they didn’t really interact much with the crowd. They came, they played, and left without a word. Looking them up now, the songs definitely sound better in studio quality than it had live where all the small details and nuances get swallowed by the atmosphere. All in all it was a decent opening set, but electronic-heavy songs are generally not my thing so until I hear something I can like a little more, I’ll probably skip them next time.
We Are The Night (위아더나잇)
We Are The Night introducing their new songs.
Up next was five-man band We Are The Night (위아더나잇), coming in with a surprisingly fresh and light sound. They also had a slight electronic feel from the beats but the vocalist’s airy tone lifted them out into a more breezy, spring sound. The band used this performance to actually showcase their new songs for their next release and from the likes of “Tiramisu Cake” and “별, 불, 밤” its probably going to be a spring album you can both relax and dance to. They gave little explanations of the songs in between (or “non-explanation”, apparently one song was too hard to explain the frontman eventually gave up and left it to the crowd to decide haha). They mostly let the music do the hyping, but the vocalist was really active getting the crowd to jump and sing along. That connection made it easier to slip into their songs and I noticed more people were open to grooving to them. The sound system threatened to dampen them but We Are The Night managed to cut through with their high energy. By the end of the set, and I mean no disrespect, the only word that comes to mind was cute. Everything about them was adorable, from the songs to their stage manners, that it felt like you’re having a fun get together with old elementary school friends. They also previewed “Brother”, “Alright” and “Drive” and from the sound of it they’re a super fun band that I’ll definitely continue to check out in the future.
Their chats with the crowd during the downtime never fail to turn into a ramble or a random story.
It was a little bit obvious that the four man popfunk band were the main attraction as the previously stoic DSLR wielding fans in the front row suddenly came to life and the crowd swelled during the soundcheck and setup break. DICKPUNKS opened to loud cheers with “Sunglasses” and the fans chanted along, even having choreography for certain parts! In that first song I quickly realized they weren’t just the fun foursome that play really well, they were the famous fun foursome that play really well. All the energy from from the crowd was thrown right back after a short introductory speech (or..more like ramble. I adore the disorganized mess that is DICKPUNKS, I really do) with “Viva 청춘” after which they slowed it down with “약국에 가면”. They kept the easy vibe going with another ballad and some more crowd favourites like their “고추잠자리” cover, and then had some confusion as to how long their set really was, making bassist Jaeheung complain about how they “always end too early”. The crowd started yelling out suggestions and they picked up on it as requested but declined on the cheers for the multi-genre oldie “Aspirin”. I was beginning to think they wouldn’t be playing my all-time favourite of their songs but they very suddenly announced “This next song is 좋다 좋아!” and dancing the infamous dance with them was the highlight of the night for me. They wrapped it up with “아 ㅅ#ㅂ# 꿈!” and lead vocalist Taehyun very cutely asked the crowd to “please don’t curse” towards the end of the cursing-heavy song, drawing a laugh and ending the night on a high note. True to the DICKPUNKS style, they riled up and bantered with the crowd, and gave a wonderfully fun performance.
Right after that my friend and I tried to catch GoGoStar at GOGOS2 but unfortunately the venue was at full capacity. Since there is a lot of movement between clubs on Live Club Day organizers have advised that venues, especially smaller ones like GOGOS2, might need to deny entry once at capacity for safety. If the band you’re keen to see is at a particularly small venue, do try to get there earlier. We didn’t really feel like checking out the two other remaining acts (not many venues had bands playing late) so we ducked into the first available cafe and called it a night. It was probably a good thing we did because I wasn’t yet used to the cold of Seoul’s volatile “spring” weather and my body was not kind to me the next morning but I got to check out new bands and get reunited with an old favourite so I have no regrets. With good music and good company, my first Hongdae live performance experience did not disappoint.
Live Club Day will be having their third run on April 24th 2015. The full lineup is yet to be announced but earlybird tickets are at KRW15, 000 and if you’re planning on going, don’t make the same mistakes I did! Get them as soon as you can. Going by the first and second Live Club Day events, these might sell out just as quickly! Keep an eye on the official Live Club Day Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter page, or follow the updates and events from Live Club Day partners with the hashtags #liveclubday #LCD #liveishere #라클데 on your favourite social media. DoIndie in particular have been giving out tickets for Live Club Day Vol.1 and Vol.2 so it’ll be worth checking them out too.
BEAT is currently holding an event to win invitations to Live Club Day Vol.3 for those that went to Live Club Day Vol.2. All you have to do is write the name of the artist you want to see in the bracket on your entry bracelet and share it on your favourite SNS with the hashtags #Beat #liveishere for a chance to win! The contest ends on the 3rd of April and winners will be announced on the 6th of April, so good luck to those participating!
Live Club Day Poster Credit: Live Club Day Official Facebook