Beset with visa issues in the spring, the first Seoulsonic show this year was a good event, and a blast, and DFSB Kollective could have kept it at that. If I had to wait till the 2015 show after seeing Big Phony and Love X Stereo, that would have been fine by me. However, DFSB went the extra step to coordinate a fall show for the bands that couldn’t make the spring show, Rock‘N’Roll Radio and Glen Check, while From The Airport joined the tour as a new addition. Held at the colorful SOBs (Sounds of Brazil), the fall Seoulsonic NYC could only be described as fun.
[Note: I will echo some of Chris’ thoughts on the San Francisco Culture Collide show, so forgive me if you’ve heard this before.]
As part of the larger College Music Journal (CMJ) marathon festival, Seoulsonic brought out South Korean indie fans as fans of music in general, looking for something different. From the start, From The Airport was a feast, visually and sonically. Having brought their electronic synth sound from previous releases and a couple of new tracks, From The Airport’s music live had a harder edge than their recorded material.
Adding more teeth to the lower end of the music brought out a more dance vibe, which definitely got me moving. The videos to go along with their set were a treat, but it was Milo‘s and Zee’s ability to juggle multiple layers of music at once, and with such talent, that blew me away. As a guitarist, Milo can play a mean solo, and together took my breath away on “It’s Raining.” From The Airport was great start to the show and a good addition to the Seoulsonic lineup overall.
Of all the bands that night, Rock‘N’Roll Radio won the stage presence award. Having enjoyed their record, Shut Up And Dance when it released last year without hearing it much since, I forgot how catchy it was.
The melodies on it are immediately recognizable and more than infectious live. Dressed rather simply, except for guitarist Lee Min Woo‘s red hair, I wasn’t expecting much, but man did they put on one hell of a show. Kim Nae Hyun was silly and charming in his attempts at jokes, which endeared him to the crowd.
When they went full tilt, though, Rock‘N’Roll Radio rocked like no one was watching and we danced right along with them. The band was a stellar example that playing instruments in itself isn’t a performance; what you do around it is what stays in the mind of an audience member.
Glen Check was the crowd favorite of the crowd, being the oldest band of the three. I’m also part of that fandom, and was happy to see them. Glen Check is feel good music through and through and they delivered. What struck me most, apart from the fact that they weren’t selling their sweatshirts, was their dynamics onstage.
While June One Kim and Hyuk Jun Kang are more reserved, their drummer had stage presence enough for all three. He even posed for pictures while playing, which shows how much of a crowd pleaser he is. The trio was a hit, judging by the size and reaction of the audience, ending Seoulsonic on a high note.
The second Seoulsonic show was a blast. From The Airport, Rock‘N’Roll Radio and Glen Check was a perfect trio of bands to put together, each blending rock and dance music in their own distinctive way that got everybody moving. The vibrant staging of each at SOBs only added to the joy of seeing them for the first time. It might be too much to ask, but if DFSB can make Seoulsonic a bi-annual showcase, I’ll be a happy camper. If not, then I’m happy to say I experienced two great Seoulsonic shows in one year.