Korean bands make new fans at the Seoulsonic South by Southwest showcase
It was a beautiful, sunny day in Austin as we strolled down to Rainey Street for the Seoulsonic show. Here are the highlights of the Korean music showcase.
The venue was interesting because it was a little more trendy and upscale than I was expecting for a rock showcase, with the showcase itself being outside on the back patio (on the only day I didn't bring a jacket). It had a good vibe though.
One of the coolest things about all the Korean showcases, including this one, was that the musicians often wandered around the venue, interacting with fans and supporting each other. Case in point: seeing Crying Nut show up for No Brain’s show or the bands themselves hanging out near the merchandise table.
While there were a few Smacksoft fans in the crowd – a couple even brought signs – I suspect that many people were seeing them for the first time. But it wasn't long before everyone was focused on the stage as the audience was quite receptive to them. I loved the interaction with the crowd and the passion they brought to their music.
Big Phony did an acoustic set, so he was different than the other acts – his was also the only solo act of the night. As a singer-songwriter, his music isn't the kind to get you jumping up and down, but his voice quickly mesmerizes you. And while he says he writes sad songs, his interaction with the crowd is quite funny. I loved all the comments about his wife yet-to-be.
They were definitely a fan favorite as it was obvious that many people came just to see them. I loved their energy and positive vibe; they really seemed to enjoy playing for the crowd at SXSW. And I wasn't the only one enjoying their music, the audience loved their set and spent a good portion of it dancing and bopping away.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio
I personally loved their set, and especially enjoyed how they closed it with my favorite of their music – “Shut Up & Dance.” They got a good reaction from the crowd, who seemed a little less familiar with them, although that didn't stop the audience from enjoying the set. It was pretty apparent that the band was having fun on stage and they seemed to feed off of each other’s energy, which was cool.
Love X Stereo
I was a little surprised that the crowd took awhile to warm up to Love X Stereo, but after a couple of songs, it became noticeable that the band had finally won them over. The combination of lead singer Annie Ko’s smooth but powerful vocals with the strong guitar and bass driven music is hard to resist for long. Plus, Annie is so friendly and she engages the crowd so well that it's impossible not to like them.
No Brain was the other fan favorite of the evening, which is understandable given this punk rock band's long history and fabulous live performances. They were the perfect band to close the night out with – and I’m not just saying that because they are my favorite Korean band– as they always bring so much energy and such a fun, positive vibe to their shows. It’s hard not to be captivated by them and I didn't even try (hey, I did say they were my favorite Korean band). Looking around at the audience, I wasn't the only one who had fallen under the spell of their music.
To sum up the Seoulsonic Showcase
I loved it! It was a fantastic show as each of the musicians came out ready to play and were obviously enjoying themselves, as was the crowd. I talked to a few people throughout the night and everyone was saying lots of good things. An interesting observation over the K-pop Night Out showcase, there were a lot more specific fans of the bands rather than just general fans of K-pop, which was very encouraging for the state of Korean music in North America.
If you ever get the chance to check out any of the bands/musicians from the Seoulsonic showcase, go! You will be treated to some great music.
Cindy Zimmer, ATK Magazine