Monday, August 3, 2009
Kimchibilly Festival @ Club DGBD (Seoul)
The 8th installment of an ongoing rockabilly fest. held at Club Drug in Seoul's 'East Village' area (Hongdae), featured three Korean bands (Rusty Belle, Gentle Slicks, The Rocktigers) and one old school Japanese band (Johnny Jokers). The monthly night is aptly named 'Kimchibilly' after the spicy bedrock of Korean cuisine, and what could be more foundational for RnR than the 2x4's of shake, rattle & roll? Anyways, I have some knowledge of Japanese rockabilly but none of Korean, so the night was a real learning experience. I got to see an array of takes on the genre while fearing a few local American servicemen who didn't take a liking to anyone in the crowd. No need for a few bad apples to spoil the bunch, however, so I'll say I enjoyed the variety of the audience's background apart from that. It really speaks to the wide appeal of the earliest form of RnR.
The energy was high from the start, despite differing levels of musical originality and spark from band to band. It was all topped off with a cherry when the night's main attraction, The Rocktigers, hit the stage. Singer/guitarist/hell cat Velvet Geena was a blonde pompadour'd powder keg, swiveling her hips and throwing in all the right machismo moves with the spry agility of a pretty young thing. Only catch is she seemed to be lip synching a few numbers, which was completely puzzling to me, but I bought the record and she does just fine singing for herself. Whatever the case may be, since it's ever so hard to find rockabilly that infuses something entirely new into the mix, 'music critic' in me aside, I was just happy to enjoy the excitement of the crowd, the greased up hair, and the upright bass acrobatics in the city setting of Seoul.