One theater, one month, lots of bandsLive Addition 2004 is the first major event of the summer festival season. Some of Korea’s most popular live bands are slated to perform at this month-long festival at Chongdong Theater, located downtown near Deoksu Palace.
Opening the festival Friday at 10:30 p.m. are the bands Linus Blanket and Julia Hart. Linus Blanket’s debut album, “Semester,” was released last year online and at niche music stores, and features what could pass for music from a Volkswagon TV commercial. The band formed in 2001 with Min-seong on rhythm guitar, Neul Pureun on drums, Yong-seok on bass and Yeon-jin on keyboard, Korean flute and vocals. It takes its name from the Peanuts comic strip. The members all work full-time, devoting their spare time to making indie pop music.
Julia Hart, named after a character in the movie “The Wedding Singer,” formed in 2000. This four-member group has been called an indie all-star group and performs folk rock. The two bands’ joint concert has been titled “Simple Diary,” after the simple structure of their songs and their confessional lyrics. The bands will be cheekily playing each other’s songs as well. “We wanted to set up a casual atmosphere so that people could eat cookies, read comics, sit back and simply enjoy the music,” says Chongdong Theater employee Ji Jun-hee.
The festival ends on June 26 with Lazybone, a poster child for “Joseon punk” that began its ascent to fame around the same time as Crying Nut. Lazybone, along with Crying Nut and Supermarket, was the focus of a 1999 documentary called “Our Nation: A Korean Punk Rock Community” by Stephen Epstein, a professor of classics from New Zealand.
But it’s tickets to Saturday night’s performance by Asoto Union that have sold out. Asoto Union is a funk and soul band led by a drummer and featuring a female bassist. After launching in 2001, the four-member band performed in Mad Funk Camp, a series of street “guerilla concerts” in the Hongik University and Itaewon areas. Their debut album, “Sound Renovates a Structure,” was released last November.
Though tickets for Asoto Union are sold out, organizers are expecting some cancellations and will release those seats on the day of the concert. Fans will have to stand in line the day of the show to get tickets.
Two groups, Pureun Saebyeok (Blue Dawn) and Plastic People, will be performing on June 11. Both are with Cabaret Sound, a music label reputed to be an indie incubator. The label releases at most three albums a year. Last year they scored big with two albums released by these two bands, whose music tends to be on the melancholy side.
The singer-songwriter Yi Song-yol will be performing modern rock on June 12. His voice has been likened to that of U2’s Bono.
The rock band Rainy Sun will be on stage June 18. The members started the group in Busan in 1993 and hosted their first concert in Seoul in 1997, titled “Rock ‘n’ Roll Korea.” Their popularity fueled the release of the 1998 album “Porno Virus,” part heavy metal, part goth rock. In 2000, they went accoustic with the album “Yugam,” and at the end of that year were invited by Seo Taeji to perform in concert as a guest band. Their 2004 release, “Woman,” is a mixture of trip-hop and jazz.
Mowg, an electric bassist, will be performing on June 19. Mowg cites Jaco Pastorious and Marcus Miller as inspirations.
On June 26, the folk duo Jaeju Sonyeon will be taking the stage.
by Joe Yong-hee
For more information, visit the Web site www.chongdong.com/reserve/live/index.htm. Ticket prices vary, but in general range from 20,000 ($17) to 35,000 won. All concerts start at 10:30 p.m.