Saturday, March 22, 2014

SXSW Day 3: SeoulSonic

SXSW Day 3 - March 13, 2014

I will admit that day 3 had a bit of a tough start. It was the morning after the 'accident' that took the lives of 2 festival attendees and put another 20 + in the hospital. The police presence was larger, one of the main venues; The Mohawk was closed, and there were reporters everywhere. It made the start of the day pretty somber.

But, as they proved the rest of the week, "The show must go on" and go on it did. I met up with Hollow Jan early in the day and did a quick interview with them about their music and how the festival was going. Then I biked down to Hotel Vegas to catch Jambinai again.

And again, Jambinia was fantastic on stage. They blew away a new audience. It was great to see them in a setting outside of the "K-Pop influence." There weren't any other international bands there, and the people there were pretty low-key and looked like they were really enjoying themselves. I noticed not long after they left the stage that Sean Lennon was talking about their performance on social media - so it was great to see them getting recognition.

Thursday night was the big Seoulsonic showcase at Icenhaur's. I was really excited for this night because some of my favorite bands were playing. Not just some of my favorite of who came, but actual bands I listen to on (at least) a weekly basis.

First up on the stage for the night was Smacksoft. Lead by Bo-Ryung Whang, they smashed the stage with energy and cranked up the crowd. At this point of the night the crowd was a good mix of Korean music enthusiasts and just people walking in off the streets, so it was great to see their reactions.  One man even said to Bo, on the mic "I will come see you every f*ing time you come to town." Me too, sir, me too.

Smacksoft's dynamic stage performance was a hard act to follow for acoustic singer-songwriter Big Phony. But with his wit and charm he very easily won over the audience. His gentle, somber songs reach into the audience and resonates there, easily capturing each and every heart.

Glen Check came on next, and they were clearly the crowd favorite of the night. The audience was largest during their performance, and they enticed the largest crowd participation as well. With their catchy beats, and unique sound, they were definitely worth seeing live.

After Glen Check were this year's Rookie of the Year winnners, Rock 'N Roll Radio. With their retro styled rock, they kept  the audience going. I love the energy from guitarist Jin Kyun Kim. He was definitely my favorite to watch.

The headliner for the night was No Brain. They've been one of my favorite bands for at least 6 or 7 years now, so to finally see them perform was a bit of a dream come true. They are energetic, magnetic and just crazy enough to be entertaining - and not so crazy that you worry for your life (I've seen some wild shows.)

In all, it was a great night of wonderful music and fun. I couldn't have asked for a better group of musicians to represent Korea to a new audience.

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