Grand Mint Festival @ Olympic Park, Seoul (17th - 19th Oct. ’08)
GMF Day Three - Still More Minty Goodness To Be Had
Held within the sprawling confines of Seoul's Olympic Park, the second annual Grand Mint Festival brought together nearly 60 international and local acts. The weather was great for all three days of the outdoor event, making for a fantastic finish to one of South Korea's most active music festival years.
Three stages showcased a wealth of musical styles. Mint Breeze Stage housed bigger name artists, while the covered, shed-like Blossom House and the lovely lakeside Loving Forest Garden provided an opportunity to watch some talented groups in a more intimate setting.
A line of early revelers waited patiently outside the entrance to Loving Forest Garden on the final day of GMF. Just prior to noon, the stage was opened and fans eagerly filed in for a lunchtime set from Seoul septet Orgeltanz. Showcasing cuts from their soon to be released debut, the band's organic hybrid of world music and folk drew positive responses from the audience and fit in well with the chilled out atmosphere of the area. Percussionist HaMin sang backup on several cuts creating some really nice harmonies with accordion player and vocalist Marca Marco. A collective gasp from the crowd greeted Eshe, the band's belly dancer, as the group kicked into the fantastic instrumental number "Orgeltanz." Much to the spectators' delight, Eshe soon shimmied her way into the middle of the audience, her playful nature shining through as she sat down next to a Korean girl mid-song to pose for a quick photo.
The mellow vibes continued with Broccoli, You Too? Their appearance at this summer's Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival had the quintet more than ready for GMF. Comprised of four females and one male, the band's pop-rock sounds drew a huge audience who were more than happy to sing along to favourites from last year's No Calling For Encore EP.
A small, but extremely enthusiastic audience made their way to Blossom House for the alt-rock stylings of Sunstroke. The quintet overcame some minor mid-show sound difficulties and turned out a solid array of selections from When The Sun Strokes You. Fans eagerly danced and jumped during songs such as "You Got Me" and "Ready To Fall" with one overzealous gal grooving along while sporting a mask made out of a McDonald's paper bag. It was definitely an innovative way to ensure the only sunstroke she experienced on this sunny Sunday afternoon came from the band.
Starry-Eyed followed with a killer performance of songs from their sophomore effort, Sweet Night. GMF was the quartet's first gig since their CD release party at the beginning of September and the guys came out with guns blazing, nailing tracks like "Smith" and set closer "Nasa." Despite sounding ridiculously tight, the mood on stage was really loose and fun. Drummer Duck was beaming while banging away on his kit, bassist Mongoo bounced around on stage and guitarist LiLots led the growing audience in a clap along. LiLots sang with vocalist Sub on "Midnight Driver" adding an extra shot of energy that the crowd loved. Starry-Eyed's 40-minute concert was one of the day's best.
Loro's followed the awesomeness of Starry-Eyed with a strong showing of their own. Attracting a large crowd to the Blossom House stage for their dinnertime concert, the massive sound floating across the field from the Mint Breeze Stage tried to drown them out at times, but the sextet were still able to get their pretty, intricate melodies across. Using keyboards, synthesizer, cello, and at one point a megaphone in addition to the usual rock staples, Loro's re-constructed the excellent, orchestral walls of sounds presented on their Pax album. The multi-layered sonic bursts brought smiles to the faces of all present.
As darkness fell, Windy City took to the stage at Loving Forest Garden, the lake's illuminated waterfall providing a beautiful backdrop. The quintet's mix of reggae, funk, and pop helped people relax and unwind after a long day of almost non-stop live music. Charismatic vocalist and drummer Banjang Kim summed things up well as he crooned, "Oh, baby we have to cool down", atop a wonderful bed of infectious island rhythms. "Silky Silky Love Song", "Countryman", and "Carnival" from 2007's Countryman's Vibration all came off wonderfully and kept me humming and dancing all the way back to the subway station.
Day Three - Still More Minty Goodness To Be Had : Grand Mint Festival feat. Orgeltanz, Sun Stroke, Starry-Eyed, Loro and more (17th to 19th Oct. @ Olympic Park, Seoul)
Rock And Roll All Nite : Judas Priest (21st Sept. @ Olympic Gymnasium, Seoul)
Better Late... : Envy, Bulssazo (18th Jul. @ Rolling Hall, Seoul)
Clubbin' It By The River : Cocore, Kyoto Jazz Massive, and Hollow Jan in Next Floor 08 (28th Jun. @ Hangang Park, Seoul)
Music Is A Universal Language : Tenniscoats with Vidulgi Ooyoo (7th Jun. @ Liveclub Ssam, Seoul)
This Is Music : Love Camp 2008 feat. Oriental Lucy, The Plastic Day, Sagitta, Yukie Sato and more (31st May. @ in Hong Chon, Kangwon-do, Korea)
Fuck Being Rock Stars : Bulssazo (24th May. @ Bowie, Seoul)
Rocking Out In Style : The Moonshiners (16th May. @ 500, Seoul)
Classy Digs + Awesome Acts = Memorable Night : Oriental Lucy with The Plastic Day, Sagitta (26th Apr. @ 500, Seoul)
Saturday Night Fever : Gumx (15th Mar. @ Club Spot, Seoul)
Next Stop: New Orleans : Harry Conick Jr. (13th Mar. @ Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul)
On Fire : The Rocktigers (9th Mar. @ Sangsang Madang Live Hall, Seoul)
Get The Party Started : Cocore (29th Feb. @ Club DGBD, Seoul)
Out Of This World : Björk (19th Feb. @ Olympic Hall, Seoul)
No Rust On This Machine : Rage Against The Machine (9th Feb. @ Makuhari Messe Kokusai Tenjijo)
A Cause For Dance : The Afet Collective (8th Feb. @ Harajuku Studio Cafe)
Music Makes The Perfect Gift : Swinging Popsicle (26th 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)