Continuing where we left off yesterday we’re back with more opinions on episode 8 of KBS show Top Band 2, aired June 23rd. 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 in the headings below you’ll get to see the full versions of all performances, including the ones that weren’t shown on TV.
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. Today we again find reason to be discontent with the editing.
A quarter into episode 8, the third stage (1Round) of Top Band 2 is completed and it’s time to hastily move on to the fourth stage (2Round). This part of the show was shot the day after all the performances from the first sliding stages and the bands will again be playing the same location in Incheon in front of an audience of 2000.
Anna: Everybody must be so tired! Jumong of Ynot? is even yawning on camera.
Dahee: Seriously, why so little rest between rounds? It may save money, but it sure makes for less energy for the footage.
For stage 4 the bands get another 300 seconds on the sliding stages, but this time the mission is for the bands to freely play a song showing their personalities. The points from the previous round remain and to that new scores from the four main judges and the 20 members of the jury will be added. The judges now have 150 points each at their disposal whereas the jury has 30 points. The 30 bands will be down to 16 once this round is over.
Anna: I’m looking forward to seeing how the jury members are planning on using their extra ten points. From what we could see during the first round, the judges gave an average score of 88 out of 100 which is really the same as 17.6 out of 20. But the jury had an average score of 14.4 out of 20. I think this is part anonymity, since they won’t be held personally responsible for their score by anyone, but also that even though it’s really the same thing it feels like 17 out of 20 is a relatively high score while 85 out of 100 does not.
Anna: I like that they’re starting with the bottom band from the previous round. Gives everybody a better chance at air time. Quartz are definitely better with their own songs than when doing covers. Their ‘macho sound’ is so much more convincing then.
Dahee: I don’t like this song at all. I’m unimpressed. And dude. Vocalist. I do not need to see your pecs, okay? No more shirt lifting, please. It does not make you appealing in any way.
Lightinthemind: Is it everything they could show as their personality? I’d prefer their song from the previous round actually. But that extended growling for me is sooo charming that I don’t need any parts of his body to be shown. As for the macho look – some girls really like this. For example while drinking on Friday with my Korean teacher she almost forced me to find a possibility and took her to their concert^^
Shin Dae Chul: 100
You Young Suk: 120
Kim Kyung Ho: 120
Kim Do Kyun: 110
Anna: Looks like a pretty low score, but we’ve yet to figure out how the jury is reasoning now.
Dahee: I don’t like that they add their score from the first round onto the final score. It puts the teams who were lower on the list at a disadvantage. I can see why they did it, since it helps to secure favourites, but still. With this score, I can’t see Quartz advancing any further.
Anna: The fans go wild for Monni! And they’re playing my favorite so I do the same. They’ve lost their session keyboardist since last round which helps me to enjoy them even more. (Not that she did bad, but it’s just that I have some reservations towards entering a band competition with anything but the band members) Kim Sini throwing his guitar around the next was a nice finish. They did awesome. The jury is sure to like this and it seems like the judges do too.
Dahee: Monni did really well! You can tell they were desperate to prove themselves. They chose a good song – one, I’m sure, they’ve played countless times before, so to play it badly would have been truly embarrassing. The vocalist is rocking the guyliner and updo. Much better than the last performance.
Lightinthemind: What an expressive performance! The vocalist even hurt himself while tricking with the guitar (le wild malicious voice: ‘of course since they are not usually doing those things since they think they are above going wild during performances’) The song indeed was played on the high level and Monni proved their skills. Well done!
Shin Dae Chul: 100
You Young Suk: 133
Kim Kyung Ho: 140
Kim Do Kyun: 140
Anna: Wow! For the first time the jury is more generous than the judges! I think Monni suffered from being the first band to play last time, but now they’re being generously compensated. Shin Dae Chul seems a bit grumpy though. I wonder what he had against this performance? Not even Tal Band got a score this low from him, if looking at how many points he’s got at his disposal.
Dahee: Why such a low score, Shin Dae Chul?
Black Dog: “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin cover)
Anna: Another Led Zeppelin cover from Black Dog? I’m not really impressed. The vocalist does a good job, but other than that there’s nothing to make me want to hear more.
Dahee: If you’re going to take on a classic song like this, you need to do something really different with it. Black Dog did not do that. I agree with You Young Suk and Kim Kyung Ho – all they did was copy the original. What a disastrous decision.
Lightinthemind: That is what I was warning them about. To step into competition with only one own song and doing only covers will not help you. But I was touched with the talk that was shown between father and daughter, keyboardist of Black Dog…
Anna: That’s a very low score from all! Maybe it’s time to rethink their ‘Led Zeppelin motive’.
Dahee: OUCH! What a low score from the jury! Not that I blame them…
Ironic Hue: “기억”
A total score of 1422 puts them on second place.
Anna: Again with the editing! Why not show us even a little bit? If you let us suffer through Black Dog why not give us a chance to also hear the bands that actually score well?
Dahee: Seriously. We need to egg this editor’s house. I have a carton of expired eggs and a whole lot of anger. Just say the word. (Let’s just ignore the fact that I wasn’t in love with this (somewhat boring, yet also somehow kind of intriguing) performance.)
Anna: Agreed. It was a boring performance, especially considering what we’ve heard from them so far of the show. Why did they pick this song to represent themselves, I wonder…
Crimson Butterfly Ensemble: “날갯짓”
A score of 1342 puts them on fourth place, second from the bottom out of the five bands that have played so far.
Lightinthemind: What? Why did they cut out this superior girl? The song really suits her and my ears, a good example of alternative metal to say it is worth listening.
Dahee: Gah, edit out my major girl crush, why don’t you. It’s okay. WE WON’T NOTICE OR ANYTHING. *ahem* So I feel like this arrangement still needs work and sounds a tad awkward, but the vocalist is amazing enough that I can forgive them (almost) anything. It’s certainly not an awful performance, and DID NOT DESERVE TO BE EDITED OUT.
Anna: They did well, and I actually quite like the arrangement even though it could be improved. I really wonder why they got such a low score.
Anna: Finally! I’ve been waiting for this Pia since seeing their video audition. They could’ve kept the synth part out of it, but it finally makes sense to me how I never had an issue with their vocals prior to Top Band when clearly they’ve been having big problems on the show — the old Pia that I knew never had a need for pitch perfect vocals. Re-inventing yourself every now and then is fine, but with a bit of luck this’ll make Pia realize that they already had a winning concept years ago.
Dahee: Now this is the Pia that we know. I’m not a huge fan of this song, but they’re playing it very well, and with far more energy than they’ve shown so far. I think they were lucky in this round to be allowed to play their own song. I’m still skeptical of their remaking abilities, but I guess we’ll see how they do next time.
Lightinthemind: I’m not surprised at all that they choose that old song for this round. Probably they understood that they can win some points only by returning to their old sound and already beloved compositions. But I’m still thinking that leaving Seo Taiji harmed that aggressive and energetic style of old Pia a lot.
Shin Dae Chul: 149
You Young Suk: 140
Kim Kyung Ho: 135
Kim Do Kyun: 140
Sub-total: 555 (564)
Anna: 149 points!? Shin Dae Chul, I didn’t know you had it in you! But did he accidentally press ‘9’ instead of ‘0’ since the total score from the judges has somehow changed when it’s time for Pia to find out their total score? Either way it is a great score for a great performance. And considering the members of the jury I’m not really surprised that they’re holding back a bit, now that Pia are showing their true colors.
Dahee: I was shocked by Shin Dae Chul’s score, but looking at Anna’s reasoning above, now I also wonder whether he made a mistake. And hmm at Kim Kyung Ho’s score…
Tacopy: “Glory Days”
Anna: It’s amazing how much better some of these old bands are when they get to play their own songs. I thought competition was more fair with the covers since a band can be a good band without being capable of writing a hit, but apparently there are many bands that have to play their own songs to really shine. Tacopy do not offer a super fantastic performance, but they’re doing very well and they get the entire audience to wave along.
Dahee: Not bad. Not particularly touching, though, considering that was what they were going for. But they played well, and kept their heads on straight, unlike their last performance.
Lightinthemind: They are doing a rather smooth song for a punk band but doing it really well. I think that without that mic trick and screaming their performance definitely suits an amateur band as they are. It wasn’t a shining song but a thoughtful choice.
Anna: A fair score, I’d say, if a bit low compared to how well they scored in the previous round..
Dahee: I have no complaints.
Ynot?: “Let’s Rock Now”
Anna: One of their signature songs which with the funk rock style means it’s not really for me, but then there is that unavoidable charm that Jumong exudes. And I know very well, that had I actually been there I would’ve absolutely loved this. I wonder when I will finally learn to appreciate Ynot? also without being in the same room, but I trust You Young Suk is right when he says “Best of Best”.
Dahee: I’m not a fan of this song. I can buy that they played well, but it didn’t show off the vocalist’s skills very well at all. They can do better.
Lightinthemind: They do a funky rock sound which for me is rather light but despite that I like the professionalism they showed. On a side note: are red pants a sort of trend among musicians these days?
Anna: I wanna see the individual scores from the judges!
Dahee: Me too!
Exit no.4: “청구역 로맨스”
Anna: This band is impressive in so many ways. I get how they can play guitar and bass without seeing because that’s mostly about feeling anyway, but drums? How can a visually impaired drummer not be limited by his handicap? How does he make sure that the drums are always where they are supposed to be? I don’t enjoy this song as much as “Amazing Lady”, but even so it’s quite charming. Considering how the established bands have really stepped up their game for this round I wonder whether there’s really still a place for Exit no.4 in this competition.
Dahee: What a cute song! And what sweet lyrics – telling the story of a blind man who meets a girl who helps him, and grabs her hand based on her voice alone. They weren’t as harmonious as they usually are, though, which was disappointing. Still, they have so much charm, and I want them to stay!
Lightinthemind: That brave guys are really awesome! My heart is tearing and ashamed at once seeing their will to do music despite the whole world! But the song is not practiced well maybe they really need more time to remember all parts to perform smoothly. And the chorus isn’t essential thing here for sure. Amazing voice of vocalist would be enough.
Anna: It’s enough to put them right in the middle among all the bands that have played so far. And we’re already seeing a separation of the established versus the not so well known bands. I’m sure Exit no.4 will still be able to bring joy to many after this. Maybe this’ll be enough to also get them playing outside of hospitals, should they want to.
Dahee: With that score, they’re in serious danger of elimination. My heart is already broken.
Lightinthemind: I just hope that thanks to this show they’ll gather recognition and maybe good producing company interested.
Harry Big Button: “Angry Face”
Anna: One of my least favorite songs from Harry Big Button with all of those old rock references, but they’re doing their thing and they’re doing it very well. The audience members doesn’t look like they’re really digging this either. At least You Young Suk likes it.
Dahee: I like this song! This was a hot performance, and man, that vocalist is so sexy it kills me. You Young Suk comments that the ending was kind of awkward, and they explain that they had to shorten the song to fit the 300 seconds rule.
Lightinthemind: That is really strange that despite doing music of old style they input smth untouchable to create desire to listen their songs and to enjoy performance. Not sure if our ‘modern rock’ addicted audience really can feel it.
Anna: That’s a pretty decent score, placing them right after Tacopy.
Dahee: A good score for a good performance.
Lightinthemind: Unfair! They rocked the stage!
Jung Band: “Metal Heart” (Accept cover)
A score of 1389 puts them on ninth place
Anna: Nothing new from Jung Band. They keep their heavy metal covers coming, and they’re doing them well. The guitar solo was great. And they’re taking care to really use all of their 300 seconds to show off their musical skills rather than chatting up the audience. Still not for me, though..
Dahee: Aww, look at their rocker clothes! Look at their HAIR! I feel like they could have picked a better song, but they really do have good stage presence (the fact that they’re enjoying themselves is enormously evident), and that guitar solo was hot. There’s no doubt that they play well. I do think that it’s about time for them to show a different side to themselves, though.
Au Revoir Michelle: ”난 행복해” (Lee Sora cover)
A score of 1371 puts them on tenth place.
Anna: I wonder what Au Revoir Michelle did to fall out of favor with the judges. The trot/traditional style vocals aren’t used in the beginning, but they come out for the heavier parts. I’m really enjoying this performance. And Mark Choi possesses even more advanced vocal skills than I had though. Could that be the problem perhaps, the vocalist
Dahee: It feels a bit like the vocalist is doing his best Lee So Ra impression at the beginning. His voice is kind of getting overwhelmed by the music as a result. You can’t understand a thing he’s singing. He really needs to work on his pronunciation, especially when singing a song like this one, which hinges so much on the lyrics. And while I think this arrangement has tons of potential, I think it needs a bit more work. Overall, I’m not surprised by their score.
Peterpan Complex: “사랑” (Na Hoon Ah cover)
Anna: Peterpan Complex go for another cover — I like it! This is one of those bands that for sure is a great band, not limited to just their own songs. And Jeon Ji Han’s voice… I’m loving this. Also, Peterpan Complex need to release a cover album. Shin Dae Chul is so cute, saying “Thank you” in the same gentle way as Jeon Ji Han does.
Dahee: Beautiful! I like that they chose to do a cover instead of going the safe route with an original song. Peterpan Complex has this wonderful ability to make every remake feel like an original anyway. Pia could learn a thing or two from them. And when You Young Suk asks why Jeon Ji Han always says “Thank you” at the end, he replies casually: “Doesn’t it seem dignified?” LOL. And Shin Dae Chul’s cute little “Thank you”!! I die. Even if Peterpan Complex weren’t doing so well, I’d want them to stay just so we can see more of Jeon Ji Han’s wackiness.
Lightinthemind: Why do I want to add a one of those stupid net memes here with an overload of cuteness? Cause ‘yes, you can’ do anything here Jeon Ji Han!
Anna: I had expected a somewhat higher score for them, but apparently the judges thought they were about as good this round as they were in the previous round.
Dahee: I had expected a higher score too, but it’s still a good one.
Anna: Now here’s a band that’s worse with their own songs than with covers. This was a pretty plain performance from Coreyah. I wish they had possessed the insight that while the mission was a song to represent Coreyah as a band, it should also be able to compete with whatever the many, many rock bands in the competition could be expected to bring.
Dahee: Cute song, with cute lyrics. This is probably my favourite of Coreyah’s performances so far. I like them better when they’re going for this jokey, lighter mood. Shin Dae Chul apparently loves them.
Lightinthemind: I’m disappointed with this performance. Theatrical manner doesn’t suit them.
Shin Dae Chul: 140
You Young Suk: ?
Kim Kyung Ho: 130
Kim Do Kyun: ?
Anna: Obviously the judges disagreed with me. But the jury’s score is what surprises me the most. In which way was this almost as good as Peterpan Complex? I came into this as the strongest supporter of Coreyah on the panel, but now I find myself bored by their music in contrast to the other bands.
Dahee: I am also confused as to why they received such a high score. Just because they play their instruments well? Shouldn’t we be judging them based on more than their playing?
Lightinthemind: Where is the wall?
A score of 1562 puts them on sixth place.
Dahee: Guh, still so smooooooth. Every time I watch them I feel like I’m getting hypnotized. Or, y’know, drunk. On wine. And chocolates. And maybe some lingerie. I don’t understand why this performance didn’t air…
Anna: It is super super smooth, but I can’t really enjoy it anyway. It’s not like funk or one of those other genres where I simply cannot stand listening to it, rather it requires a specific mood and setting (perhaps something similar do what Dahee described above) to make this kind of music appealing to me.
Magna Fall: “모래그림자”
A score of 1532 puts them on ninth place.
Dahee: Heh. They start out by saying in Korean that they’re playing an original song. And wow, most of the lyrics are in Korean! Their pronunciation is pretty terrible, but I’m impressed all the same. They still aren’t for me, but there’s no doubt that they play well.
Anna: I’m not a fan of the song either. Seems like I only can enjoy Magna Fall when they’re playing covers of Korean songs.
Anna: Daybreak have gotten kimbap from a fan. Again, I’m both happy and sad to see how the traits of K-pop fandom can now be found also within the indie realm, but then there are many within the scene that wouldn’t consider Daybreak an indie band at all. They have the good taste to play a song that I don’t mind as much as most of what I’ve heard from them and it makes it even more obvious what a skilled band this really is. You Young Suk looks like he’s really enjoying the performance.
Dahee: Daybreak did well. My mind tells me that they did well. And this song is more palatable to me than many of their others. It was a fun performance, and I get why the judges loved them. All my complaints are of a purely personal nature, so I’m not going to voice them, and just agree that they…did well.
Lightinthemind: Dear Daybreak, you can never ever be able to hook me with your performance. It is polished till boredom. Verified till last note. And again dreary. For me of course, for me. Soon I’ll quit commenting Daybreak anywhere…
Shin Dae Chul: 140
You Young Suk: 146
Kim Kyung Ho: 145
Kim Do Kyun: 140
Anna: That’s a very high score.
Dahee: Holy crapazoids on the judges’ scores! Wouldn’t it be funny if Rose Motel beat them again?
Black Dog Eliminated
Anna: Not something I’m particularly sad about. After only playing together for a couple of years, then going on a long hiatus and only recently started playing again, they’ve already come farther on this show than what could be expected.
Dahee: I’m not really sad about this, either. They made a huge mistake with their approach to the cover song, and they’ve paid for it.
|9||Harry Big Button||1422|
|15||Au Revoir Michelle||1371|
|16||Crimson Butterfly Ensemble||1342|