Friday, January 5, 2007

Review of South Korean Rock Festival

Pentaport Rock Festival 2006...
the highlights...yeah yeah yeahs (discovered the lead singer is half-korean and was born to have a mic in her hand), the strokes (10 times better live than cd, fuck they just make it look like the 1970's are in full flight), franz ferdinand (met expectations), black eyed peas (i downplayed the live effort having seen them at glastonbury and been disappointed, but they surprised me, they did so many cover songs and fed the crowd with compliments about korea and korean girls being the best looking asian girls, so...minus the 80 wardrobe changes they impressed), story of the year (this band blew me away, flat-out brought the energy, had the crowd in their hands), atmosphere (hip-hop act from Minnesota, buddy had the gift to gab and they brought originality in having uncommon instruments for the genre). and a couple Korean bands...Vanilla Unity (Korean version of 'the used', despite not knowing the lyrics buddy had an amazing voice) and finally Hedwig (transexual act, ridiculous outfits, quite the sexual behaviour, but solid musically, picture a modern day Queen for entertainment value)

the lowlights...snow patrol (stale shit, they sing every song the same and expect the girls to drool over every similar chorus), placebo (mediocore band, no right being on the main stage and taking two encores, even in Korea), jason marz (i'm sorry, but enough with the shitty-ass ben harper/jack johnson/john mayer/dave matthews wannabe acts, even those bands themselves are hard to like)

6 hours of downpour on friday turned this music festival into a mud festival and a glastonbury sequel for me (including tossing my shoes in the end). but come sunday, it was sunny and absolutely beautiful, everything dried up. the Koreans proved they know how to throw a music festival (despite this was the first time in a long time). only three places did they go wrong, 1) having the "satanic rock" acts opening up in the mornings, not the most pleasant sound to be woken up to after a heavy night of partying) 2) the mispronounciation of the word "encore", koreans are enthusiastic with their chants of "anchor" and 3) selling one day passes, my chingo (friend) proved it only took $80 rather than $150 to enjoy the entire festival, no idea why you would allow everyone in and expect people to leave on their own free will.

personally, i got my fill. got there early friday, helped close the dance tent everynight at 5am. even stayed after all my chingos left sunday night to catch the last bus home to get some sleep for work. i took the 6am monday bus, got back to daejeon in time to shower and head to work....lets just say i know where my priorities are!!! was most proud of a korean friend who came saturday despite not really knowing any acts, she lied her way out of a family funeral based on my excited phone call urging her to come and she had an absolute blast, made my weekend.

overall, most of the overseas acts stated it was their first ever show in korea, and they were taken aback by the showing and impressed with the crowds, many vowed to return in the near future (and it felt serious). and they all even gave a shot at korean with the thank you's and hello's, i think 'julian cassablanca' (the strokes) took the cake on fucking that up. the website for the festival says "rock and roll will never die. see you next year". so it looks like a good sign that this will become an annual thing.

for more professional pics go to

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