K-Pop Night Out was a mixture of independent acts and Kpop, but Seoulsonic’s showcase at The Majestic was fixated solely on South Korea’s electronic and rock bands. With K-Pop Night Out, many fans were more interested in Crayon Pop or Epik High. At Seoulsonic, there were people who had an idea, but curious attendees came to see what South Korea had to offer.
First in the lineup was From the Airport. The duo caught attention at last year’s Culture Collide and did it again in Austin. The crowd was still coming in when they started, but by the second song the band caught the attention of the audience. Even looking at the bartenders, they would take glances at the performance. From The Airport played older songs like “Timelines” and songs from You Could Imagine like “The Queen.” As the starter for the night, From The Airport set the tone and got people excited. It’s still funny to see Zee and Milo interact with the audience because of the slight awkwardness of their interactions.
After Geeks From Gangnam, I was excited to see The Solutions again. The band comes off a little cold when they start, jumping into the first song. But when playing songs from Movements, and being a transition of styles between From The Airport, The Solutions melodic dance rock grabs the audience. A lot of the crowd were dancing along to the songs, many they only heard for the first time. By the middle of the set, vocalist Sol and guitarist Naru, connected with the crowd and got them to move.
Still following the electronic theme, HEO was third. The band’s music is very different from The Solutions and From The Airport with the only similarity is the use of synth. Structure is one of my favorite albums and it was amazing to hear these songs live. The tone of HEO’s set was more somber, but hearing “Luna” and “Word of Silence” in that setting was amazing. The crowd was also mezmerized by the show. TVs were playing music videos from the performing bands and HEO’s “Luna” had most people commenting. Listening to BoYeong‘s voice live has a more ominous tone. I’m really glad that HEO was able to attend SXSW because this was the set I was most exited for.
After HEO, Big Phony played a mixed set. Starting with his customary acoustic style and “I Love Lucy,” he was the most recognizable artist at that point. There were some feedback issues during his performance, but watching Big Phony is always enjoyable. After playing a few songs, he switched and brought Vovo and Dolly from No Brain to help on guitar and drums and Howon from TV Yellow to add the synth to Long Live The Lie‘s songs. It was the first time I saw Big Phony’s electronic songs, but while they sound different, all still have the same enticing sound. The audience responded to both styles, and a lot of people looked like they enjoyed hearing the electronic mix.
The previous four bands highlighted rock mixed with electronic. Then Victim Mentality started. Immediately starting an over-the-top performance, they got the crowd moving faster than I expected. Holding a lightsaber, Krocodile was insane. He moved through the entire show, keeping the audience involved and talking a lot about the lack of sex during SXSW. Victim Mentality made Seoulsonic into a rock party and the crowd was crazy. It was amazing seeing people headbanging and jumping to Victim Mentality’s songs and cheering at Krocodile’s high notes. I didn’t know what to expect for their performance, but they definitely know how to get the attention of the audience.
The last band was YB. As the headliners, some people were familiar with them because of their previous SXSW appearance. Personally, I only know YB by name, but they know how to play a show. The blues/rock instantly caught the attention of the crowd, namely a bunch of people from KOCCA who danced to every song. YB spoke to the audience a lot and had them involved, but he could have played without talking once and still gotten the whole crowd sucked in. The band’s experience definitely shows and they put on an amazing performance complete with encore.
Seoulsonic’s mixture of bands was perfect. Even though it was a bit heavy on electronic music, each band found their audience and got the attention of curious people who came for the show. The venue was perfect and got a lot of people dancing and jumping. Even with the “K-Pop” keyword, Seoulsonic continues to showcase great bands and surprise attendees.