Canadian grunger on solid footing in Seoul

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Canadian grunger on solid footing in Seoul

In case you were wondering, jumping will be allowed at Avril Lavigne’s concert on Wednesday.
During the Canadian singer’s debut show in Korea, in January 2003, fans were barred from jumping. The concert was held indoors at Millennium Hall in Central City, and tickets sold out in a week. In other words, the fifth- and sixth-floor venue was packed with excited fans, and naturally organizers were concerned about shaking the rest of the building.
Her upcoming performance is at Olympic Hall in Jamsil’s Olympic Park, a much more appropriate ground-floor location. As to whether this means moshing will be encouraged, or even welcomed, is another matter.
But organizers at 9 Networks Entertainment might want to be prepared. Olympic Hall holds 4,500 people, and tickets are just about gone. Ms. Lavigne’s second album, “Under My Skin,” has topped the charts not just in Korea, but in Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong. Since its release on May 25, worldwide sales have surged past 4 million. Sales of “Under My Skin” in Korea have topped 70,000.
A week ago, Ms. Lavigne was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in the category of Best Pop Video for “Don’t Tell Me.” The awards will air live from Miami on August 29. Earlier, on June 20, she also won a 2004 MuchMusic Video Award (MMVA) in the People’s Choice Award category of “Best Canadian Artist.” To add to the excitement, the 19-year-old singer will be arriving in Korea after performing at the Summersonic Festival in Japan. After Korea, she heads south to Taiwan.
The singer has been credited with changing the face of young rock music, of being the grungy, wild-child alternative to sugary pop sounds. Growing up in Napanee, Ontario, Ms. Lavigne wrote songs and played guitar at local festivals and the church choir. Virtually on her own, she left Napanee, population 5,000, to hone her songwriting skills in New York. There, she caught the eye of Antonio “L.A.” Reid at Arista Records, who offered her a deal. But New York, despite the many talented artists around her, didn’t work out for the 16-year-old.
So off to Los Angeles she went, where she met producer-songwriter Clif Magness, who worked with her on her debut album, “Let Go.” Ms. Lavigne was 17 when her song “Complicated” became a summer of 2002 hit. Another song on the album, the alt-rock sounds of “Sk8er Boi,” was the one that really brought her critical acclaim.
But her road to stardom, despite the many awards bestowed on her, has been spattered with criticism about whether she is the real deal or totally made up ― a marketing ploy served up by the record labels. With her new album, “Under My Skin,” she returns to make good on her reputation, both musically and image-wise.


by Joe Yong-hee
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