Top Band 2 Episode 6: 300 Seconds Sliding Part 2

Episode 6 of KBS ‘Saturday Rock Festival’ Top Band 2 aired on June 9th and we’ve prepared to offer some opinions on each of the performances. KBS offers VOD to anyone with a KBS account if you want to watch the full episode. Daum does not allow video embeds, but if you follow the links below you’ll get to see the full versions of all performances.

In addition to myself the Top Band 2 commentary panel consists of Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real, Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle, Ranya of K-Underground Sweden and Xtian aka drowningn00b. This week we find reason to change our previous opinions on some of the bands, both to the better and to the worse.


 

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Top Band 2 has now reached stage 3, with the 49 bands that managed to qualify through the Triple Tournaments of the first five episode competing to be one out of 30 bands to make it to stage 4. For stage 3 each band gets 300 seconds to perform while the four judges together with a jury of 20 decide who will qualify by issuing points, more details in the first post on the sliding stages. In this episode some bands get  a special introduction ahead of their performance being shown, giving viewers a chance to get to know the bands better.

 

Swingz: “Candy” (H.O.T cover)

Anna: I can’t decide whether they’re being cute or too cute. And they’re crying?

Anna: No.. They’re trying to be cute in the beginning, but it’s not until they add some more power to it that it actually works. As a fan of H.O.T I really don’t like this cover, but trying to put that aside … it’s still not for me.

Lightinthemind: They are just sooo young… 19, 20… That’s why they are not acting like teenagers, but they are as it is. I wasn’t into the Korean world in the H.O.T. times that’s why I’m not against the cover. They really did smth unusual with that kind of cheerful song – they replaced the pop sound with guitar riffs and added a light scent of punk. Not bad, but still not my choice.

Dahee: Aww, Swingz seems like a really sweet group of girls. And so young and bold, to set off to Seoul at that age, just to play music! I definitely see their charm, but their performance was unimpressive. They seemed nervous, and lacked their usual energy. And the vocals were strained, probably because this song is supposed to be sung by a group of people, but she had to sing it alone. No time for breathing! Shin Dae Chul says they’re like a pretty apple that’s still a little green. Kim Kyung Ho says he’s disappointed.

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 83
You Young Suk: 86
Kim Kyung Ho: 85
Kim Do Kyun: 83
Sub-total: 337
Jury: 222
Total: 559

Anna: This is the lowest score from the jury that we’ve seen so far and it puts them in the bottom of the six bands

Lightinthemind: I wasn’t expecting them to go further than this. And for sure for such a young band formed only two years ago it is really not a bad result.

Dahee: Pretty decent scores, considering their performance. And the girls seem happy with it, so that’s good. They’re still very young, so they have a lot of time to grow and mature.

 

Peterpan Complex: “몰래한 사랑” (Kim Ji Ae cover)

Anna: Jeon Ji Han wrote a book about piano playing? Howcome I didn’t know of this sooner? Not that I would be able to read it, but it would fit well on my shelf with all the other books I should use to get a better grasp of Korean whenever that time comes… And it’s even been translated to Japanese!

Lightinthemind: I didn’t know that either! Oh! What a sudden insight! Really a multitalented person.

Dahee: LOL at Jeon Ji Han’s blatant self-promotion of his book. He was reading it for the camera, hehe. Suddenly I want a copy…OMG, did his tactic actually work on me??

Anna: I love them for picking a song that isn’t so typical. With Jeon Ji Il taking on DJ duties Peterpan Complex too have added a session member to cover his bass playing. I really like the way this cover sounds, though if it wasn’t for Jeon Ji Han’s voice I probably would’ve never guessed that Peterpan Complex was behind it. Lovely arrangement, though I imagine it may be difficult to entice a live audience with it.

Lightinthemind: How do they manage to do covers which sound not like a cover but their own song? I still can’t understand this. The voice and the piano alongside a short amount of synth created a beautiful masterpiece.

Dahee: Oooh, surprising choice of song! But I think I like it, and the way they arranged it, although it admittedly could use a little more polish. Kim Kyung Ho doesn’t like the way they arranged the song, though. You Young Suk does, however, and I loled at all his compliments and Jeon Ji Han’s monotone “Thank you” every time. He’s quite the character.

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 85
You Young Suk: 91
Kim Kyung Ho: 88
Kim Do Kyun: 85
Sub-total: 349
Jury: 289
Total: 638

Anna: Not bad, it placed them second

Lightinthemind: And still we could see how our two rock legends relate to this kind of sound. While You Young Suk and Kim Kyung Ho gave good marks, the others are giving only 85.

Dahee: Not a bad score. But I was hoping for better for them.

 

Tal Band: “준비 없는 이별” (Green Zone cover)

Anna: Look, the vocalist’s daughter is so happy for her daddy! An Kim Kyung Ho looks happy too! The vocals could well be improved, but there’s something very sympathetic about this cover. Kim Kyung Ho says there’s an old feeling to the arrangement as if it’s not really a good thing, but that’s actually what made me like this one so much and I think it really suits Tal Band.

Lightinthemind: Thinking thoroughly they can’t make it to the finals. They do not create music for the masses or for teenagers. I feel uncomfortable saying this, but this cover is very cute and really heartfelt but suites that 90s kpop discos more than modern reality. Sorry for saying this, Tal Band. Really sorry.

Dahee: Awww, his daughter came to cheer him on! I’m really enjoying these little side stories about the bands. This performance was better than I expected, and it’s making me smile. So much warmth and cuteness. I hate the way they edited it, though. Kim Kyung Ho kindly asks how the vocalist’s restaurant is doing, and then turns around and criticizes the old-fashioned arrangement. He be Serious Judge, yo.

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 75
You Young Suk: 78
Kim Kyung Ho: 80
Kim Do Kyun: 70
Sub-total: 303
Jury: 179
Total: 482

Anna: Ouch, that ought to keep them at the very bottom unless some other band really mess up. I can understand the jury though, especially considering the level of most other bands.

Lightinthemind: And now I feel depressed about this band being ‘top choice’d while leaving others out of the boat. Why wasn’t Kim Kyung Ho thinking about this while making that decision? They don’t fit in this cruel world of the contest.

Dahee: Damn! That score is like a direct punch in the marshmallows and rainbows! But I think we all saw this coming. Still makes me a little sad, though…

 

Daybreak: “인디안 인형처럼” (Nami cover)

Anna: Haha, Lee Won Suk calls Rose Motel ‘hyungnim’ even though he’s 4-5 years older than the members! It’s an understandable mistake, but very, very cute. Suddenly I like Daybreak more than ever before.

Dahee: Oh my god, the members of Rose Motel are actually younger than the members of Daybreak!! I had no idea…LOL, Daybreak says Rose Motel got more attention than them from viewers and thus they have to defeat them. Interesting rivals, to say the least.

Anna: I see they go with the same song hakdong-8gate used at the second stage. I like this arrangement more than I usually like Daybreak, but then there’s everything I dislike about them. They’re doing it super well though, being Daybreak and all. The jury will probably go wild for this.

Lightinthemind: Not quite sure whether to like or dislike this. Causes for liking it are the arrangement, energy and that beautiful guitar solo. The most serious cause for disliking it is that I smell biases everywhere. Everybody for now likes Daybreak and my nonconformist heart attempts to stay reluctant. I already feel the highest points from the judges and the jury.

Dahee: This was a good arrangement, and they played well, but they just…aren’t…for me. = This is a very personal thing, though, and apart from that, I can’t really find fault with their performance, besides the fact that that last scream felt very anti-climactic. The judges loved them, though. So much praise! You Young Suk says they had no flaws, and Kim Kyung Ho says he will become their fan from now on. Kim Do Kyun says that they’ve set a new level for the other bands to compete against, and Shin Dae Chul says they’re most likely to become the winners of the overall competition. I…don’t…get…it…

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 90
You Young Suk: 98
Kim Kyung Ho: 95
Kim Do Kyun: 95
Sub-total: 378
Jury: 320
Total: 698

Anna: Wow! That’s even better than I had expected. And that’s the highest score from the jury so far. Puts them at the very top with 45 points on Super Kidd that have to literally hand over the leader flag.

Lightinthemind: Here they are. Ok, they are doing a great job but why do I still think that their music is so ordinary and could be heard everywhere?

Dahee: Must…remain…unbiased…

 

The United93: “Arabian Night” (Kim Jun Seoun cover)

Anna: I want to see them jumping like they did last time, but there’s nothing of that. Still a bit of energy, but I’m not sold on the arrangement. A very average performance.

Lightinthemind: Hard to comment this just because the guys seem to be far away from that time and from liking that song. As if they are standing against covers and not doing them full-heartedly. But if trying to evaluate this composition as their own song it is not bad.

Dahee: Kim Kyung Ho says their arrangement was so hard through all of it that it didn’t allow the audience to feel interested in the latter half, or wait for a climax. I think I agree, although it certainly wasn’t bad, per se. Just…meh.

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 85
You Young Suk: 83
Kim Kyung Ho: 86
Kim Do Kyun: 83
Sub-total: 337
Jury: 275
Total: 612

Anna: The jury gave a relatively high score compared to the judges! I’m very surprises as the jury until now has clearly favored the bigger name bands. It’s not a bad total score and they end up as number 5 out of the ten bands that have played so far.

Lightinthemind: Now they are after Monni, not bad for young band, but rotten result for United93. I know that they could have done better.

Dahee: Again, meh. I find myself not caring.

 

RuRuRu: “그녀는 예뻤다” (JYP cover)

Anna: What? RuRuRu doesn’t get the a special clip introducing them like the other bands had? Their cover wasn’t very much to be excited about though.

Lightinthemind: Not catching, not skillful. Not my choice.

Dahee: Gah, that editing. I REALLY need to TP this editor’s house. ANYWAY…So many bad choices in this performance. Their charm lies in their cuteness and bubblegum sweetness, and yet this cover seems to be going for something tougher and very not them. And the vocals just don’t suit this arrangement. I had expected better from them than this.

 

MetallateM+: “이유같지 않은 이유” (Park Mi Kyoung cover)

Anna: Vocals are a very shaky. Why is the boy that was singing so well in all those videos on YouTube playing the keyboard while this old dude ruins the band’s performance?

Lightinthemind: Stupid choice to put that old man for vocals. Judges possibly liked those young talents, not him.

Dahee: I didn’t like this teacher’s vocals in any of the videos I saw online during the band previews, and I don’t understand why they continue to use him. Maybe they feel obligated to since he’s their teacher and all. And what is with that awful La Piata-esque opening and ending? Cringe, cringe. There was a distinct lack of harmony and cohesion in this performance, which is surprising considering that we know that they can do much better than this. Overall a very disappointing performance.

 

Au Revoir Michelle: “흥보가 기가막혀” (Yookkaksoo cover)

Anna: We didn’t get to see much of them on TV.Listening to the whole thing I like what I’m hearing. I think this vocal style mixes really well with heavier music.

Lightinthemind: Oh… I fell slightly in love with Mark’s new band. Btw they released this song as a single the previous week and I’m still hoping to get a full album some time. What I want to see is some diversity in the covers since the previous ‘trot’ version was quite similar. But judges seem to like that band too.

Dahee: The weird noises that the vocalist was making at the beginning were, well, WEIRD. And seemed a little out of place. I do like that they’re going for something different with this mixing of traditional/trot style of singing with rock, but I feel like there were some shaky moments in this performance, and some unnecessary vocal flourishes. The guy needs to learn a little restraint. Still, it was good overall.

 

RuRuRu + MetallateM+ + Au Revoir Michelle Scores

Au Revoir Michelle: 637 (4th)
MetallateM+: 595 (8th)
RuRuRu: 569 (11th)

Anna: So Au Revoir Michelle did really well, only one point short of Peterpan Complex. I wanna see how much Kim Do Kyun gave them.

Lightinthemind: Surprised to see MetallateM higher than RuRuRu, I thought the audience liked those little girl as well as the judges. But really excited to see Au Revoir Michelle doing well.

Dahee: I’m surprised to see MetallateM rank higher, too. I’m pissed off that Au Revoir Michelle got a good score, and yet the editors decided they weren’t worthy of any real screentime.

 

Magna Fall: “거울도 안보는 여자” (Tae Jin Ah cover)

Anna: Nice choice! And very nicely done! The show even asked Tae Jin Ah’s opinion on it? Way to go, Magna Fall!

Lightinthemind: That red haired guy really showed his charisma while singing! I liked the arrangement and foreign approach to the song.

Dahee: Oh, I liked this much more than I thought I would! It was good to finally hear them sing a Korean song. It was a fun performance, and the vocalist’s pronunciation is actually pretty good. Finally, something from them I can get behind!

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 85
You Young Suk: 87
Kim Kyung Ho: 95
Kim Do Kyun: 83
Sub-total: 350
Jury: 301
Total: 651

Lightinthemind: Wow! Wasn’t expecting such high scores! 3rd place!

Dahee: Whoa, Kim Kyung Ho’s score is high!

Anna: The jury certainly approves. I’d guess many of them through their work as journalists and music critics are more familiar with non-Korean music (it’s a common complaint that most people writing about Korean indie music professionally do so without really knowing anything about it) so to them this must feel more pleasing to the ears.

 

AshGray: “배반의 장미” (Uhm Jung Hwa cover)

Anna: I hope some time during the course of this competition we’ll get to see them take on Click-B. I used to listen a lot to this song and there are parts of AshGray’s arrangement that doesn’t work for me for that reason. Trying to listen as if it was a new song I still don’t like it that much even though the AshGray I like shines through occasionally.

Dahee: I was liking it overall through most of it, expecting an emotional climax…until that inexplicable transition and that awkward “Bada ba ba ba.” That was pretty much the end of it for me. Kim Kyung Ho tells the vocalist that he needs to learn restraint.

Lightinthemind: Simple and beautiful but not for the full power they have. What have become with them?

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 85
You Young Suk: 83
Kim Kyung Ho: 82
Kim Do Kyun: 90
Sub-total: 340
Jury: 264
Total: 604

Anna: Considering their performances I’m not really surprised. It’s a shame they couldn’t do better this time. They’re nine out of fifteen so far so they should be able to advance to the next stage of competition anyway.

Dahee: I was a little surprised by how low the scores were, but then I watched the uncut version of the performance and understood it much better. Kim Do Kyun apparently loved it, though, and I wish they’d shown his commentary. Ouch on the final score! They have charm, they do, but they didn’t really show much of it here.

 

Black Bag: “Dreams Come True” (S.E.S cover)

Anna: Looks like Black Bag and Coreyah have both picked the same song. I suppose that’s why we didn’t get to see any of Black Bag last week even though they were the fourth or fifth band to play.

Dahee: Where is the suspense in this set-up when we already know Black Bag’s score…?

Anna: I really like what they’ve done to this song!

Dahee: I like it too, although Shin Dae Chul says that at the midway point the arrangement became boring. I can see where he’s coming from in that I wish they’d gone for a bigger climax, but I think they handled the arrangement very well overall. They definitely need to move on to the next round!

Lightinthemind: This time I can definitely say I liked how they performed, their rockish version of this songs suits Top Band better than Coreyah’s.

 

Coreyah: “Dreams Come True” (S.E.S cover)

Anna: I like the overall arrangement, but what’s with these weak vocals? Doesn’t fit the arrangement and they’re not strong enough to stand on their own.

Dahee: Coreyah is doing better than I expected. I think this is the best I’ve seen from them so far, actually. The judges say they’re very harmonious, and they played well. Shin Dae Chul says their music has the power to comfort people. I guess I will have to learn to stop being annoyed by them in order to feel that comfort.

Lightinthemind: Weak voice as I previously mentioned is the weak point of this performance. Overall it looks really well done for some folk lovers and it should definitely be put out as a single.

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 90
You Young Suk: 88
Kim Kyung Ho: 90
Kim Do Kyun: 85
Sub-total: 353
Jury: 279
Total: 632

Anna: Really? For once I was gonna agree with the rest of the panel that Coreyah didn’t really have anything to do in this competition, and they end up 6th? No fair considering how much better Black Bag’s version was. Maybe the judges and the jury managed to disregard the vocals and judged on the capabilities of the rest of the band?

Dahee: Yes, it looks like they judged them based on how well they played their instruments. I’m surprised they got such a high score.

Lightinthemind: Are they really worth such high scores? What are the judges waiting for from this band? Don’t know, hope we’ll see smth catching to go for larger audience.

 

Yery Band: “그녀는 예뻤다” (JYP cover)

Anna: Yery is looking to Lady Gaga for style inspiration? I would very much approve if I didn’t already dislike the band.

Dahee: I’m kind of impressed that they hold meetings to discuss stage outfits and make them themselves. Then again, I’m not a fan of their outfits, especially the culturally insensitive ones.

Anna: The beginning is very slow. Kim Do Kyun looks as he approves when Yery pulls off her boring yellow blouse to show a more exciting outfit. And is she trying to sing Metallica’s “Fuel”? She really needs to work on her pronunciation. This is a lot more fun than RuRuRu’s take on the same song and overall I like it. They’ve got great energy, but I still can’t really stand her vocals.

Dahee: Decent performance from Yery Band. Lots of energy. They go for some uniqueness with their style and stage presence, but is the music itself all that shocking or unique? No, it isn’t. Still, they did well, there’s no doubt about it, and I can definitely see their charm, even if the vocals also still annoy me.

Lightinthemind: I can’t get into this band and this voice and this manner to show themselves to the audience. I don’t like the outfits which are strange for the song and performance. I don’t like the energy which is useless within this band. Again, if taking a look at Lady GaGa she is thinking about all the show, not only about herself and here we can see only a girl wanting to be leader and to shine like no other. Sorry, lady but you’re not GaGa at any accounts.

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 85
You Young Suk: 91
Kim Kyung Ho: 93
Kim Do Kyun: 95
Sub-total: 364
Jury: 308
Total: 672

Anna: 3rd? Wow! I wonder how they’d done on Superstar K3 if they didn’t drop out.

Dahee: I wonder at Shin Dae Chul’s 85. I wish they’d shown his commentary.

Lightinthemind: I feel Shin Dae Chul here. Thank you, my lovely rock star.

 

Fellas: “내 남자 친구에게” (Fin.K.L cover)

Anna: Having liked this song a lot in the past I didn’t expect it, but Fellas have done a very good job transforming it into one of their neo-soul pieces. Not my style of music, but I appreciate that they didn’t ruin the song.

Dahee: So smoooooth. I love the variety they bring to the show. It felt a little rocky at times, and I wonder at the song choice, but still. So smooooooth. Kim Kyung Ho says the ending felt anticlimactic, and Shin Dae Chul says they’re a great band. But he dramatically pauses the proceedings at the end to correct them on something – they’ve been introducing themselves as playing “black people music” all this time, and he says that’s an incorrect way of introducing their music, and that it shows a lack of knowledge about their own genre. I’m glad he pointed that out, because it’s REALLY annoying.

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 89
You Young Suk: 90
Kim Kyung Ho: 90
Kim Do Kyun: 88
Sub-total: 357
Jury: 294
Total: 651

Anna: After hearing the judges I had expected a lower score, but this isn’t bad at all! Currently sharing the fourth place with Magna Fall.

Dahee: Good score for a good performance.

Lightinthemind: Sorry, but I refuse to comment. I don’t think this band is smth that ought to be here.

 

Unside: “달팽이” (Panic cover)

Anna: They showed the weakest part on TV. 604 points, just like AshGray.

Dahee: It took a while to get going, but once it did, it took my breath away. This was an arrangement that could have used a little more work, but I feel like if they perfect it, it could become something really incredible. Please let them stay on this show!

 

Remnants of the Fallen: “열정” (Yoo Seung Jun cover)

Anna: Yoo Seung Jun <3 I really would’ve wanted to see more of them on TV. It would’ve been so awesome if they’d try to pull a few of those dance moves, too. But just 569 points? I guess the jury doesn’t care much for metal.

Dahee: Aww, the song choice brings back memories. Maybe they didn’t show much of it on TV precisely because they’re covering a Yoo Seung Jun song, and we all know that Yoo Seung Jun has become a naughty word in Korea. But y’know, setting all that aside, I feel like the song choice was a bit of a mistake for them – the melody doesn’t really suit the metal growl that the vocalist usually has going for him. There were some good moments in this cover, but it was also a lot shakier than I’d expected.

 

La Piata: “걸어서 하늘까지” (Jang Hyun Chul cover)

Anna: 571 points is a pretty decent score considering their limitations.

Dahee: UGH. The cheesiness is so cheesy that I feel like I’m drowning in cheddar and mozzarella every time I have to sit through one of their performances. 571 points is high for them.

 

hakdong-8gate: “Speed” (Kim Gun Mo cover)

Anna: The judges look bored. 583 points and 15th place.

Dahee: This was cute, but…that’s about it, really. The vocal harmonizing still needs major work. I want to shake them and say, “Work on your pitch and harmonizing, dammit!”.

 

Ynot?: “내사랑 내곁에” (Kim Hyun Sik cover)

Anna: For Ynot? this was a pretty daring arrangement, especially of such a well loved ballad classic. I’m surprised they got as many as 642 points.

Dahee: Did they seriously turn this Kim Hyun Sik song into…reggae?? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that when suddenly they go into that transition, and my head starts spinning even more. I’m sorry, but this song should not be handled in this manner. This arrangement is all over the place. I’m disappointed, and am shocked they got such a high score.

 

Crimson Butterfly Ensemble: “배반의 장미” (Uhm Jung Hwa cover)

Anna: At least they’re doing it better than AshGray. 618 points isn’t bad at this stage.

Dahee: Rawr. This was sexy, probably mostly due to the hot vocalist. I definitely like how they approached the cover, although it wasn’t particularly original, and I agree they did it better than AshGray. I want to see more of them.

Lightinthemind: Ouch, I can’t get rid of the feeling that they are worth much more than that. So short cut of their performance which is done not deeply in their style but with a lot of singing deserves full time.

 

Exit no.4: “달팽이” (Panic cover)

Anna: Magna Fall help them to get ready. So sweet!

Dahee: I love seeing people bond and become friends, despite being competitors. Can we get some potential bromance out of this?

Anna: The vocals were a bit shaky in the beginning, but became really strong. A performance full of charm!

Dahee: Awww. This was SUCH a sweet performance!! I never knew the vocalist could sing so well! They have so much to offer, and so much potential. Oh man, I’m starting to get all fangirly over them…

Lightinthemind: I almost cried watching their performance. Lovely, strong and done with passion which no other band could put in the songs. Though it is a bit slower than I expected it is really decent. Thank you, guys!

Scores

Shin Dae Chul: 85
You Young Suk: 88
Kim Kyung Ho: 95
Kim Do Kyun: 83
Sub-total: 351
Jury: 295
Total: 646

Anna: Really, the most adorable! Kim Kyung Ho gave them a high score and the audience applauded, but the band of course couldn’t see so Kim Kyung Ho apologized and told them the score instead.

Dahee: Wow at Kim Kyung Ho giving them a 95! D’awww. All this sweetness is going to give me a toothache.

 

Wiretap In My Ear: “” (Lee Jung Hyun cover)

Anna: Shin Dae Chul looks bothered and You Young Suk looks like he’s struggling to stay awake. This feels very uneven. Some parts are fantastic, other are just bland. Mostly it’s a below average performance. I really had expected more from Wiretap In My Ear. Especially after hearing the bassist do the ‘날봐 잘봐 사랑을 다시봐’ part in the clip before. Super Kidd prefer their own version. I do too. And the score is left as a cliff hanger…

Dahee: I might be totally biased here, but I actually liked this overall. I like that they took risks with the arrangement and didn’t go for something safe and boring like Monni did. Some parts are indeed pretty fantastic, and I feel like if they just polish the arrangement more, it could become something really good. How pissed am I that I have to wait an entire week to see their score?

Lightinthemind: I’m biased here too. I liked the performance nevertheless. Though it is a bit strange and not so polished like it should be, but also with some gorgeous parts making me like this band and Lee Hyuk’s vocals more and more. Not ordinary and not simple. I want to know the results! Can’t wait till next week!

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