SXSW Showcase: K-Pop Night Out
Tuesday, March 12, 7:30pm, Elysium
By Dan Oko, Fri., March 8, 2013
Thanks to a couple strong years of Seoulsonic label promotion, Gangnam style will be in short supply here. Breaking with past years' guitar-rock hegemony, f(x) could teach the ubiquitous PSY a thing or two about bringing sexy back. These five women look like Seoul's answer to the Spice Girls, a diverse outfit with Korean, Korean-American, Chinese, and Taiwanese members. As for those searching out hard rock, don't despair: the Geeks exhibit serious suicidal tendencies, bringing hardcore with real vigor. A feedback-drenched dirty dozen moshes their Every Time We Fall. Meanwhile, New York-bred singer Yi Sung Yol, utilizing both Korean and English, won't necessarily reach the crossover level of, say, Colombian superstar Juanes, but he's got a good thing going with his Bowie-like croon and chunky backing band. More likely named for the manga (or manhwa, in Korean) comics than the Samsung product, explosive proto-boogie trio Galaxy Express returns after a breakout SXSW last year. Opening for Linkin Park at home in Seoul, they should be on the Stooges' bill in Austin. Having played together 15 years, smart-dressed scenesters No Brain bring bouncy ska-punk and surf. Another veteran, Jeong Cha Sik, formerly of Nineties indie stalwarts Rainy Sun, follows loosely the track paved by LCD Soundsystem; last year's Turbulent Modern Times was runner-up for a South Korean Grammy. The young psychedelic rockers Gukkasten, whose name translates loosely to "peep show," have faced down turbulent times themselves, forced to take a break for military conscription. K-Pop's global gallop lives in them.