Korea Rocked the Camden Barfly

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The 28th of April saw a special concert at the Camden Barfly featuring four top Korean indie bands: Galaxy Express, Goonam, Gate Flowers and Apollo 18 as part of Korea Rocks. ‘Korea Rocks’ was organised by Hyundai Card Music to introduce K-rock and K-indie music to UK audiences. In London, the audience got to experience these great bands each with their own unique performances and styles.

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Apollo 18 kicked off the night’s festivities with a rocking performance that was a reminder of just how eclectic the music scene in Korea is. Apollo 18 played the following songs and the crowd loved it: Magnolia, Iridescent Clouds, Discusting, Corpse Flower, Trampoline, Warm, End, High Stepper and Orbis. Apollo 18 pointed out that they felt “passion and energy” while performing in front of UK audiences. The whole place was vibrating with the explosive music being played on stage; it brought the audiences energy up and made everyone move.

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Next was Galaxy Express who in my opinion shook the whole place with their groundbreaking performance. They performed the following songs which drove the crowd wild: You Want It Real, Tonight with You, Where am I Going, Soldier, Daybreak Snowfield, Horongbul, Dawn, Jungle the Black and Bye Bye Planet. After their performance the band told me that they were really surprised that so many people came to see them perform. They not only enjoyed themselves but they also had great interactions with the crowd. Their energetic performance certainly drove the audience crazy and many people were rocking out hard.

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Next up was Goonam bringing a sense of calm with their smooth music. They performed the following songs: Long and Healthy Life, Shadow Dance, Go South, Jang Dan, City Life, Light of Dawn and Apologize. Imagine this scene while listening to their performance: having a few drinks at a bar while you look back into the old days. Not only that, Goonam had put in the essence of Korean culture in their songs and performances. With their outfits and music, the crowd were definitely swaying along with a happy energy especially when the bassist, Eem Byung Hak joined in with them towards the end of the performance. Although Goonam felt “hot” when performing they brought enjoyment which will last for a long time even after seeing their performance.

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The last band to play where Gate Flowers, showcased why they have been gaining international recognition. They had end the night with the following songs: We Are One, F.M., Misapprehension, Paint It Black, Inconvenient Truth, Regret and Ghost. They performed the ‘Paint It Black’ cover to celebrate Rolling Stone’s 50th anniversary. Their performance was definitely soulful and you could tell there was a lot of emotion put into the songs. Yeom Seung Shik, the guitarist, said that “performing in the UK gives us the opportunity to gain experience through music and audiences”.

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Gate Flowers and other bands definitely gained many experiences and enjoyed themselves with the UK audiences. The audience was made up of a mix of Koreans and locals in London who had come to enjoy the music. They were rocking out, jumping around and head banging with the music. Some even cheered and shout. The audience were open to what K-rock and indie really are and left craving for more.

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I left myself feeling that my energy had been drained and my ears were buzzing due to the loud music. For me, ‘awesome’ is the only word I can use to describe the live rock gig. I would love to come and enjoy these performances when some more K-rock and indie bands come to the UK. As for me, I’m going to purchase a few albums and blast them out like there’s no tomorrow.

On behalf of London Korean Times, I would like to thank Hyundai Card Music and the performers for inviting me to enjoy this performance and the opportunity to speak with them. Also, I thank them for bringing and introducing K-rock and indie to the UK. I wish them great success in continuing to show what K-rock and K-indie really is to international audiences.

Hopefully, they would come to the UK again so we can enjoy even more live K-rock gigs and concerts. Please do support and promote them especially by letting your friends know more about K-rock. Although it’s just a start to have live K-rock gigs in the UK, but I’m sure all of us definitely want more performances like these in the near future.

Galaxy Express will be having a Japan album release on the 22nd May. Goonam has plans to release two albums (for two main members and the whole group of four) at the end of this year. So, keep on a look out for them. Also, if you have plans to visit Seoul, be sure to stop by Hongdae because that’s the home of Korean indie music and where you’ll enjoy live K-rock and indie gigs.

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