Swinging Popsicle @ Baekam Art Hall, Seoul (26th Jan. '08)
Music Makes The Perfect Gift
Formed in 2002, Pastel Music is a Seoul-based independent record label. Releasing discs by top-notch homegrown talent along with licensing material from foreign acclaimed underground acts for domestic consumption, their hard work was recognized in 2006 when they were selected Best Label at the 2006 Korean Popular Music Awards.|
Building, and more importantly maintaining, a successful indie imprint has never been easy and in an iPod-driven era it's become even more difficult. With this in mind, Pastel Music rightfully wanted to celebrate their fifth anniversary in style. Renting the spacious Baekam Art Hall for the entire weekend, they presented three separate bills of delectable Korean and foreign music. Tokyo's Swinging Popsicle were given the honour of headlining the second night's festivities.
After the disco-inspired electro-pop stylings of Casker and a predominantly acoustic set from American folk duo Swan Dive, Swinging Popsicle appeared shortly after 9:30 p.m. Opening with more of a rock-driven number, they soon had the near capacity crowd clapping along to the track.
Usually a trio, they performed as a quintet with a drummer and Steve Laity from Tokyo's Guitar Vader helping flesh out their sound in the soft-seated theatre. Despite the extra musicians, it was clear that vocalist Mineko Fujishima was the star of the show. Standing centre stage with the rest of the band positioned behind her, her fantastic, powerful vocals filled the venue. The remarkable sound inside the room ensured that she could be heard clearly by all. Singing over a bed of catchy pop-rock, she swayed along to the music and shook a small shaker before strapping on an acoustic guitar three songs in.
The other two core members of the group, guitarist Osamu Shimada and bassist Hironobu Hirata, looked almost like twins. Dressed in white sneakers, jeans, and 3/4 length baseball t-shirts, their flying hair hid both their faces as they bounced around to the band's radio-friendly material. Guessing from the cheers that greeted each new number, many in attendance would have been happy to dance with Shimada and Hirata if not for the theatre's seats.
Speaking in short, simple Korean between songs, Fujishima had to consult notes that were perched on a lyric stand beside her when it was time to make a longer speech to introduce a guest Korean vocalist. Her efforts were praised by all. One spectator even called out "Kawaii" (Japanese for "cute"), which allowed everyone in Baekam Art Hall, both on stage and off, to share a laugh together.
Formed in 1995 and having been releasing music since 1997, Swinging Popsicle had no shortage of material to draw from. Focusing on selections from their fourth full-length, last year's Go On, Fujishima, Shimada, Hirata, and the extra musicians didn't use a flashy stage show or gimmicks to win people over. Instead, they wowed them by simply playing a stellar set of well-written pop songs.
At the back of the stage was a huge banner for Pastel's fifth anniversary. Under the label's name was the quote "we will be together". After Swinging Popsicle's excellent performance tonight, there will be a whole lot of people who will want to be together with them next time they tour in Seoul.
report by shawn and photo by Eshe
Music Makes The Perfect Gift : Swinging Popsicle (19th Jan. @ Baekam Art Hall, Seoul)
At The (Co) Core, It's Still Rock N' Roll : Cocore (19th Jan. @ Blue Spirit, Seoul)
Good Ol' Fashioned Hardcore Workout : Terror and The Geeks (5th Jan. @ Skunk Hell, Seoul)
Shirt N' Tie Affair : Oh! Brother and Cabinet Singalongs (22nd Dec. @ Velvet Banana Club, Seoul)
The Blues : The Zoobombs (10th Oct. @ Starlight, Waterloo, Ontario)
Girls Just Want To Have Fun : The Pipettes (9th Aug. @ Harajuku Astro Hall)
For Those About To Rock : Metalchicks (16th Jun. @ Shibuya O-Nest)
Great Expectations : Asakusa Jinta (12th May @ Yoyogi Zher The Zoo)
Interview : Everybody Dance Now : The Afet Collective (22nd May.)
Thank You For Not Being White : Think About Life (3rd May @ Harajuku Astro Hall)
Too Good To Resist : Bleach with Midori, Electric Eel Shock, Detroit7 (23rd Apr. @ Shimokitazawa Shelter)
History Repeating : Flogging Molly (16th Apr. @ Shibuya AX)
The Self-Proclaimed World's Third Best Punk Band : Converge (7th Apr. @ Shinkiba Studio Coast)
Don't Forget Your Manners : Converge (16th Mar. @ Shimokitazawa Club 251)
They Don't Build Them Like They Used To : Yo La Tengo (19th Feb. @ Shibuya O-East)
Smoking Hot : Isis with These Arms Are Snakes, Boris (29th Jan. @ Shibuya Club Quattro
Hot In Herre : Calexico with Iron & Wine (27th Jan. @ Shibuya Club Quattro
You Can Always Come Back Home : Deerhoof (20th Jan. @ Shinjuku Loft)
The Untouchables : The Roots (15th Jan. @ Shibuya O-East)
Dream A Little Dream : The Album Leaf (13th Jan. @ Liquidroom Ebisu)
Here Today ... Gone To Hell : Arab Strap (11th Dec. @ Shibuya O-Nest)
Mo' Mo' Mo' Mo'some : Mo'some Tonebender (2nd Dec. @ Shibuya AX)
Good Things Come In Threes : Bleach with Ni-Hao!, Watusi Zombie (5th Nov. @ Yoyogi Zher the Zoo)
Glitter And Mop-tops : The Zutons (2nd Oct. @ Shibuya AX)
Twisting Minds And Tanning Behinds : Asylum Street Spankers (17h Sept. @ Shibuya Club Quattro)
DVD review : I Know I'm Not Alone : Michael Franti & Spearhead (4th Oct.)
Melodic Metal Monday : Dark Tranquility w/ Galneryus (1th Sept. @ Daikanyama Unit)
Give Me Something I Can Dance To! : Fangsanalsatan Extra feat. The Stars, Boris, Guitar Wolf (22nd Jul. @ Shinjuku Loft)
Melting Everything In Their Path : Melt-Banana (9th Jul. @ Yokohama Club 24)
Never Too Old To Party : Shonen Knife (8th Jul. @ Shibuya Club Quattro)
An Early Summer Night's Dream : Belle and Sebastian (3rd Jun. @ Shinagawa Prince Stellar Ball)
Zoobombcrazy : The Zoobombs (6th May. @ Yoyogi Zher The Zoo)
F-U-N : Limited Express (Has Gone?) (2nd Apr. @ Yoyogi Zher The Zoo)
Full CCCIIIRRRCCCLLLEEE : Cave In (25th Mar. @ Shibuya Club Asia)
The Perfect Storm : Mono (18th Mar. @ Shibuya O-Nest)
School Of Rock : The White Stripes (6th Mar. @ Zepp Tokyo)
Far From Extinct : Dinosaur Jr. (27th Feb. @ Shibuya AX)
Vintage Valentine : Showa Genroku Crazy Tangoku feat. Thee 50's High Teens, Salome no Kutibiru, The 50 Kaitens & The Captains (13th Feb. @ Shimokitazawa Club 251)
Walk The Line : Afrirampo (29th Jan. @ Higashi Koenji UFO Club)
Every Girl's Crazy About A Sharp Dressed Man : Kaiser Chiefs (23rd Jan. @ Liquidroom Ebisu)
All That And Looks Too : Tristan Prettyman (22nd Jan. @ Shibuya AX)