Voodoo Children & Top Band (톱반드) – part 2- Yangju or Bust?

After being lucky enough to get through the first round, then our little interview piece that we’d recorded the week after, we now had about a week to decide what to do for the second and final round of competition.

The rules changed somewhat from the initial round. This time bands were told to pick a Korean rock song from the ‘Top 100 list”, then perform it at one of the 3 designated competition days.

We decided to choose 미인 (Mi-in) by Shin Jeong Hyun and we had about 3 rehersals to get it down. It was an interesting choice for me as I wasn’t really aware of the influence that the ‘Godfather of Korean rock’ had on today’s music scene. After a bit or reading and a chat with Sam and Joon it all became too apparent. We’d have some big boots to fill.

Of course, being a Korean TV contest and a Korean song, it meant that Ripley would have to sing it in the native language. Luckily for us he’d already played the song with another band a few years previously and had sung it with them. Not blowing smoke up his arse, but he does speak Korean well and takes it all in his stride.  We’d be fine…

We dropped down to a 4-piece after Josh had conflicting travel plans and unfortunately couldn’t do both things. However, the show must go on and all that and we hit the rehersal room.

Sam had put together a track at his studio at home giving us a good idea of how different we could make the song sound. It was a good starting point and after some trial and error, experimenting, angst and the usual ups and downs that go with getting a song ‘right’, we were ready to go give it the beans.

KBS had advised all the remaining entrants that they’d have to make their way to a place called Yangju (양주), about an hour or so the north of Seoul. It would be an early start as we were expected to be there by 12 or so. Such a rock’n’roll o’clock.

We met up and hit the road, not really sure what our fate was going to be. But we were in good spirits, if still a bit sleepy.

It’s always nice to get out of the city, even if it’s not that far, the difference is quite amazing. Yangju has plenty of forests, roadside restaurants and plenty of things to see and do for the day tourist. Movie sets and all that jazz are just one of the ‘famous’ things in this hood.

We parked the car, walked up a hill towards what looked like some kind of resort-dwelling. It was hard to make out what it exactly was used for. The bands signed in, got to hang out and relax for a bit, then the random interviews started. This was to be a recurring feature of our day in the country.

We were band #14 so plenty of bands to see before we hit the stage. It would prove to be a very long wait.



Author: From a Late Night Train

Teacher. Musician. Ponderer. Had lived in Seoul, South Korea since 2000. Moved back to Glasgow, Scotland in May 2017.

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