The first stop in the Seoulsonic Fall 2K15 tour was an under-the-radar approach. For this stop, HEO and WYM played at DSF Clothing on October 1 and 2. Culture Collide definitely scaled back the San Francisco portion from last year with a much smaller number of bands and only two venues. DSF Clothing definitely wasn’t designed for live shows, but to the talent of the sound people, bands sounded very good in the small store.

HEO performed on October 1. The three member group arrived with a new member. 3rd Line Butterfly drummer Seo HyunJung sat behind the drum kit. I saw HEO at SXSW 2015 and that was the first time watching him perform live. There was a big difference between the performances because the sounds were a lot more balanced. The songs came through much more on key and the intimate setting allowed the audience to get exposed to their sound directly.

The band played many of their “bigger” songs like “Luna” and “Word of Silence” along with debuting their new single “Sleep Tight.” I really enjoy the recorded sound of HEO, but they sound miles better live, especially with the right sound tech. The set slot was for an hour, but with setup and breakdown, the band played for about 45 minutes.

It was plenty of time to surprise the crowd who didn’t know what to expect. It was a repeat of last year’s Culture Collide because the audience didn’t know who HEO was or what style of music. But after the first song, people moved in and started getting into the music.

On Friday, WYM setup with drummer Yang Hyunmo. I’ve never seen WYM live, but when I mentioned that I was excited to see the live performance, he only said “it sounds the same, just live” with a smile. Just like HEO, WYM immediately grabbed the audience’s attention with his music. I don’t think the audience expected the type of music WYM played, especially with Hyunmo’s powerful drumming.

While the album features great drumming, the songs sounded even better live. WYM also performed a new song “Love Call,” which hasn’t been recorded yet. The audience enjoyed WYM’s performance and like HEO’s was around 45 minutes with setup and breakdown.

Culture Collide is a great place to expose Korean musicians to different audiences. Rather than a specific event with only Asian bands, placing the bands among other artists gives the bands a chance to stand outside of the location. Hopefully people will attend Culture Collide Los Angeles and CMJ Music Marathon because they’ll also be able to see Sultan at the Disco.

Korean Indie Editor-At-Large The person in the background watching over everything.