After selecting coaches last week, the bands on KBS survival show Top Band 2 are now about to go from Top 16 to Top 8. The first part of this elimination was shown in episode 11, that aired on July 14th. 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 click the song titles below the full performances are available for viewing.
In addition to myself the Top Band 2 commentary panel consists of Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real, Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle, Sangha of strangeseasons and Fabien of Kimchi Popcorn, Ranya of K-Underground Sweden and Xtian aka drowningn00b. This week we’re enjoying the first real challenge on the show.
As the show starts, the judges arrive on location with Kim Jong Seo being there in place of Kim Kyung Ho.
Anna: Considering that Kim Kyung Ho ended up with some of the least well known bands it must be fun for them to also get somewhat close with Kim Jong Seo.
Dahee: LOL at the judges arriving there on a boat, while posing like models. Kim Kyung Ho has a concert that day, so he asked Kim Jong Seo to fill in for him. It’s a Sinawe reunion! While I’ve never been a huge fan of Kim Jong Seo’s voice (especially when singing ballads), I do like him regardless and think he seems like a really nice person in real life. I am always amused by the selcas he uploads on his Twitter account. Kim Do Kyun says that 25 years ago Sinawe and Baekdoosan held a concert in this area. He sure does have a good memory.
Behind the Scenes
Anna: Jeon Ji Han is being weirdly awesome again. They’ve got the mission with the toughest competition, but even though I want every other band with the same mission to advance as well, I can’t help but root a bit extra for Peterpan Complex just to get to see more of him.
Dahee: Same here. I must see more of Jeon Ji Han!!
Sangha: God I’m so excited to get this started! Bring it on!
Fabien: I am REALLY excited by this introduction, the dramatic set-up of this new step into the competition. Now I feel like I have no more complaints against the rules, nothing could stop me from enjoying the next performances. So all these bands really need to fulfill my expectations.
The bands will be playing in front of an audience of 300, with every member of the audience eligible to give them one point if listening to the band touches their hearts. For every mission the audience members will select the two bands out of the four that should make the top 8.
Anna: Combining the scoring of both Immortal Song 2 and I Am A Singer? I kinda like it, assuming they did it both to provide an instant ranking of the bands while still keeping it a secret to the audience which bands actually advanced.
Xtian: I thought it odd to see four bands going against one another, but this elimination scheme makes sense.
Dahee: I approve, especially in the little detail of carefully choosing the ages and genders of the audience to make it all even.
Fabien: The live score allows for direct feedback from the public, and it’ll be exciting to follow the evolution of this score during the running of the songs.
Pre-7080 Concert Mission
Achtung did not show up, but Rose Motel, Tacopy and Coreyah all get to compete against each other in a rowing challenge in Chungju. The winner gets to be the first to pick starting number for the performances.
2. Rose Motel
3. Rose Motel
Anna: It’s nice that they get to bond a bit before. Tacopy looked really slow in the beginning, but . If Achtung had showed up they might’ve been able to give Coreyah a match, but regardless of where they’d get to start it shouldn’t really affect the outcome in their case.
Dahee: This really annoyed me. Instead of using this time to show the bands practising or interacting with their coaches, they show them…participating in a rowing competition to decide the order of performances?? W.T.F. What a blatant way of promoting that stupid sports competition, and what a waste of my time. I was so bored throughout. Achtung is lucky they had a performance that day and didn’t show up. -_-
Sangha: I was really annoyed too, it wasn’t entertaining at all and I just wanted them to get on with the performances already. But apparently the producers had to put the bit in because of the sponsorship. This show DOES cost a lot (￦100,000,000 per episode, roughly $90,000 USD… which makes it one of the more expensive ‘variety’ shows) and even with commercials during the show and funding from KBS, it’s not enough. Still, they’re trying everything they can to make the show happen… I found it admirable and kinda felt bad after learning that, but still, at least they could’ve put more effort into making it more entertaining?
Fabien: I really laughed at this attempt to make thinly veiled promotion of Chungju. Korean mayors do not miss an opportunity to advertise their city and its local specialty. Here, they specialize in rowing, to the point that Chungju will host the world championships in 2013! It’s a good enough reason to send Rose Motel and others paddle to choose their order of appearance. Great! As an indie music lover, I’m glad to know all of this, and you can count on me to attend this awesome event. But I must admit that the sport avenue used for the concert offers nice view and stage. Anyway, as you’ll see, the whole episode is a big commercial for various products. It’s not a surprise that Achtung had just found a good excuse to escape the gym class.
Coaching from Kim Kyung Ho & Kim Jong Seo
Anna: Kim Jong Seo doesn’t seem to have many nice things to say about Achtung. I’m so curious to learn what it is about them that I have missed, because I know they have fans and they somehow managed to make it this far. Although I wonder whether the coaching they’ve received will be enough to show it to me as well.
Dahee: Kim Jong Seo and Kim Kyung Ho tell Achtung they need to work on their harmony, and to make sure to practice in a way that’ll make them improve – because practising in the wrong way won’t help them at all. They decide to play Jo Yong Pil‘s “Short Hair”, and worry that it’ll become a boring arrangement since the audience is so used to that song and remakes of it. It’s cute when the vocalist calls Kim Kyung Ho “unni”.
Fabien: Here is finally the kind of moments I expected so much. Would it not have been more interesting to see the bands coached earlier in the competition? I’m not a fan of Achtung either. I discovered them three years ago already, but they did not left a great impression on me. They still have to find their touch of personality to make it a band to follow. I think the lead singer tries too much to imitate British singers.
“단발머리” (Cho Yong Pil cover)
Anna: This song has been covered far too many times, but Achtung actually does a fairly good job. There’s some of that playful feeling from the original, while it’s also very Achtung. I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but they’re actually doing really well! Towards the end they’ve messed up the arrangement a bit and I still don’t really like their sound, but overall this was far better than anything I’d anticipated.
Dahee: This is very Achtung-esque, and as a result it’s something that I can’t get into at all. It’s so repetitive for so much of it, and then in the middle things feel shaky and off, and then near the end they change things up and try to make it more exciting. But by then it’s too late. I think this arrangement would have benefited from some editing. Still, it’s definitely better than anything they’ve shown thus far. I think they’ve improved, and are starting to show a little more creativity.
Sangha: Good song choice because it’s a song that people are familiar with, which can certainly work in the favour. Yup, this was by far their best performance on the show so far. And Ahn Byung Chul on the bass is phenomenal! Just sad that the audio of the show doesn’t live up to it.
Xtian: Sorry, but no. Nice acoustic guitar work, and the bass solo was good, considering, but still can’t get into Achtung. That voice! I was already drifting off by this point, but when he started scatting in the middle I had to pull out my headphones. A screeching cat is a screeching cat, whether he’s by himself or with an orchestra behind him.
Fabien: I was very much impressed by the improvement, but after 2 minutes, I went back down and I saw the same Achtung offering only some generic indie pop. I still can’t stand that voice.
Anna: It’s always difficult to say whether a score is good or not without a reference, but for Achtung I’d venture to say that this a very decent achievement. Kim Jong Seo seems quite satisfied with their performance at least.
Dahee: Oh my god, Shin Dae Chul. Was it really necessary to say that? “What kind of coaching was this great band subjected to?” Really? REALLY? That is so rude and unnecessary that I don’t even know what to say. And then You Young Suk agrees with him! WTF! Poor Kim Jong Seo has to sit there and be subjected to all these insults. Softie Kim Do Kyun can’t bring himself to say anything mean to Achtung, and talks airily about how the song suited the water and the air surrounding them. Shin Dae Chul goes on to say that the arrangement felt like a new song rather than a cover, as if that’s a bad thing, and Kim Jong Seo quips that in TODAY’S world, people don’t expect straight covers. Hear hear! I realize that the coaches are kind of competing with one another, but to publicly criticize each other’s coaching is completely crossing the line.
Sangha: Not impressed with the coaches’ attitude, either. What’s up with the dissing? Unprofessional, unclassy.
Xtian: Maybe its my inordinate amount of bad reality tv show watching, but I have to disagree with Sangha and Dahee; people talking trash about each other is awesome, especially the judges! My favorite reality shows include smack talk, so I hope more comes in the future. PS: I too was thinking about the open air and water while watching Achtung. Had more to do with boredom than fitting the cover.
Fabien: I found this little session of verbal attacks funny, I really took it in the second degree. Shin Dae Chul and Kim Jong Seo being longtime friends, I have not taken any of these comments seriously. But Shin Dae Chul has no right to condemn a song for being an interpretation rather than a straight cover! With this in mind, I can now understand many of the weird choices he has made so far. I love the more relaxed line of management of Kim Do Kyun.
Anna: Chu Seung Yeop is crying. Apparently they had not gotten any calls to play festivals after releasing their albums, but that’s a fate they share with many bands. Dodgy relationships between labels and festival arrangers are usually a factor in this, but sometimes the music just isn’t good enough.
Dahee: Awww, poor guy, crying like that. They’re obviously worried and not expecting to move on to the next round. And they’re thinking about their hardships as a band in the past…
Sangha: Not gonna lie, I got teary-eyed here. People crying is the worst, I start crying too, haha.
Fabien: It really gets me when the camera man follows people in a desperate state and that the production overdramatizes it. A bit of respect for them, please.
Kyoung Yi’s Wedding
Anna: Apparently one of Coreyah’s percussionists got married on June 9th! And Shin Dae Chul was there. Of course Coreyah would perform a special wedding song – they’re just the band for it. But wait, we don’t get to see any actual coaching?
Dahee: Cute wedding footage and all, but I would’ve preferred to get a glimpse of Shin Dae Chul’s coaching style…
Sangha: I agree, I still don’t know what kind of a coach Shin Dae Chul is (maybe I should really go watch season 1). Cute wedding though.
Fabien: We have no insight into the coaching work done, but it’s very nice to see Shin Dae Chul involved like that in his relationship with Coreyah. And they too seem to have been delighted to see him at the ceremony.
“왜불러” (Song Chang Sik cover)
Anna: I love this song, but I was quite disturbed to learn that Coreyah had picked it to cover. The vocalist doesn’t even offer the delivery of the actual “왜 불러” part of the song in the way that makes the song so appealing to being with. Halfway things get more interesting as more power is put into the performance. Maybe they’re doing a good job. I couldn’t say, being too distracted by the way they’ve handled this 70’s classic.
Dahee: Hmm, this is definitely the best performance that Coreyah has shown so far. I’m still not convinced by them, but it seems they’ve benefited from Shin Dae Chul’s coaching, going for a more energetic approach. The audience seems less convinced, though.
Sangha: Fun! More upbeat approach than their past performances, and they really went full out with the instruments this time, didn’t they. Vocal Kwon Ah Shin is fantastic. Overall fun and interesting stage.
Xtian: Where’s my poppy pipe? This was fun! Agree with Sangha on this and add that their energy was great as well. Watching all of them get so into it after the vocal break was nice. Finally, love the addition of the kazoo and the noise makers around Kwon Ah Shin’s neck. Don’t see those everyday :)
Fabien: Wow! An amazing evolution of the concept of this band. First, the instruments, whether traditional or not, are better emphasized in this way. But what really appealed to me is the second half, very energetic, which made me think of gypsy music, and more particularly to the Balkan bands of Goran Bregovic or Boban Markovic accompanying Kusturica‘s films. Gypsy music with Korean instruments, here is a concept that I hope them to keep for the future of this band.
Anna: Seems very fair to me.
Dahee: Not surprising. Their music isn’t exactly the crowd-pleasing type, after all. The announcer tells Kim Jong Seo that this is his chance to get revenge on Shin Dae Chul for all the mean things he said about Achtung, and Kim Jong Seo says he’s not so small-minded that he’ll diss them just because of that, and says that he was very impressed by their harmony. Man, I love Kim Jong Seo. I want to be his friend.
Sangha: I guess their particular sound didn’t appeal to the audience enough? Oh well.
Xtian: Humph, what do the audience know anyway *pouting*
Fabien: I will avoid blaming the public. They came to see rock performances, it’s normal that they are not seduced by something as unusual. It’s still a good score.
Fabien: So here we have something particularly spectacular. First, the mayor of Chunju (yes, no other than himself) is taking some time to give us his well-written speech, with a montage of beautiful pictures of people doing rowing. Amazing. And suddenly, actor Yoon Je Moon gives an encouraging message to all these bands. Why him? Because he just released a new film last week about indie music scene of Hongdae, Dangerously Excited, in which he’s seen helping a unknown band to rehearse in his basement. Is that all now ? No, because right after, Rose Motel are looking for help from Younha, the pop rock singer who got a new release last week too. Oh my god, I can’t wait to see who they’ll find as new sponsors for next week!
Coaching from You Young Suk
Anna: Allegedly You Young Suk thought coaching over the phone was enough and that’s all we get to see here too. Good thing Rose Motel already know how to put on a good performance. Plus points for checking out their competition before selecting a song.
Dahee: Hehe, Rose Motel tells You Young Suk that Shin Dae Chul is regularly chatting on Kakao Talk with Coreyah and getting close to the bands, and after a pause, You Young Suk quips, “He must have a lot of spare time!”. Lol.
Sangha: This band is so hilarious, they have such great personalities!
Fabien: You Young Suk doesn’t seem interested in coaching bands, but only in winning with them. But actually, I don’t think he would have had a lot of work with Rose Motel. The audience is already in love with them, what could go wrong?
“밤이면 밤마다” (Insooni)
Anna: I could never really get into this song and Rose Motel’s arrangement does little to change that. But when it comes to Rose Motel the way they act on stage is more important than how they sound while on it. I’m not worried for them, but this was weaker than I had expected.
Dahee: This…is my least favourite Rose Motel performance. = I expected You Young Suk to help them with their arrangement better than this. Like I feared, it feels a little too straightforward and familiar, despite them changing things up a little. It feels a bit like they’re trying to be the kind of band that they’re not. I mean, I still laughed at their awesome little performance tricks (kicking off your shoe? Who thinks of that??), and I still love them, but I expected…more.
Sangha: They took a more rock ‘n roll approach to the song. Their performances are solid, each member is very capable on their instruments and it certainly shows. I thought they sounded pretty good, but this is a boring arrangement. And I’m finding their stage antics a bit trite now… It’s still funny, but I don’t know, it’s almost like they’re trying too hard now? Near the end it was definitely too much.
Xtian: I liked it! This is their shtick and it was fun seeing them act so silly in the open air. It kind of reminds me of the way YB covered “Round and Round” on I Am A Singer last year, and that was one of my favorite performances last year. Love performances that extend longer than anticipated.
Fabien: Sad to say, but Rose Motel is already part of their routine. The same grimaces, the same sexual overtones. Musically, it is energetic and well done, but there is much less of madness than in previous performances.
Anna: I didn’t actually think they’d get a score this high, but I may have been blinded by my bias against the song. Good for them!
Dahee: I have a feeling this was more of a popularity score than anything else…
Sangha: You Young Suk is really defensive when Kim Jong Seo criticizes them! Someone needs to chill down a bit.
Xtian: And Coreyah got in the low 100s? Damn, but Rose Motel is dominating this season, so I expect them to get the lion’s share of the scores.
Fabien: Rose Motel have already won Top Band 2, but they just do not not know it yet.
Coaching from Kim Do Kyun
Anna: Kim Do Kyun takes care to really listen to the drummer and provides a few tips. This is the kind of coaching I’d been hoping to see from all the coaches.
Dahee: Wow, Kim Do Kyun really pays attention to the details! I’m impressed. Tacopy says that he says a lot of airy things that they don’t really understand, but he’s also very perceptive and catches their tiniest mistakes. I want him to be my coach!
Sangha: Finally, some coaching. Kim Do Kyun seems really attentive.
Fabien: Wow. Kim Do Kyun looks like a very kind man in real life! I want to meet him in Hongdae’s streets !
“세계로 가는 기차” (Deulgukhwa cover)
Anna: I’m very surprised. I had expected them to make the cover more Tacopy sounding, but with the classic rock feel this could’ve come from just about any rock band. I like it much better when they make Tacopy out it midway, but I fail to see why they couldn’t just have done it this way throughout.
Dahee: I’m a fan of this song, and overall I like the way Tacopy have arranged it. But they didn’t have the kind of energy that they usually do, and the vocalist was obviously tired and having problems with his singing. If they had only just brought out more energy, this could have been a really fun performance.
Sangha: Kim Jae Kook doesn’t sound so hot. Liked the overall energy of the performance, but I don’t know, when the most memorable thing about the performance is the keyboardist who isn’t even in the band… I don’t think it’s a good thing. And off topic but ah, that shot of Shimji dancing while everyone else in the waiting room looks so serious! Such a character.
Xtian: The United93 would’ve done it better. But bias aside, I really liked the keyboard playing. Other than that, this is very much in keeping with their own sound. I thought this performance would showcase something different from TA Copy, but alas, that is not true. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but this coaching business should help introduce something new to these bands. So far, it doesn’t seem like it.
Fabien: I was really hoping they manage to be a threat to Rose Motel. But all was sorely lacking energy. When the singer spends the entire duration of the song with one hand in the pocket, it is not at all a good sign.
Anna: Dangerously close to Achtung, but I have a feeling the start order will have a play in who actually advances.
Dahee: Not bad. You Young Suk wonders whether they practiced enough, and Kim Do Kyun says serenely that they worked hard. Why do I get the feeling that Shin Dae Chul and You Young Suk are being really competitive? Once backstage, the vocalist admits that they really weren’t able to practice much, and he expresses how sorry he feels to Kim Do Kyun for that.
Sangha: Pretty good. You Young Suk is attacking with his criticisms again…
Fabien: Almost as bad as Achtung and Coreyah. I guess it can be seen as a failure.
Pre-Saturday Night Movies Mission
The bands draw balls from a bin to determine start order.
Anna: This wasn’t at all as fun as the rowing competition
Dahee: I’m confused as to why they only subjected four bands to that rowing torture…How unfair. Not that I wanted to see more of it…
Sangha: Oh no, Fellas is going first. How unlucky, they’re already sandwiched between the strongest contestants…
Fabien: I was expecting them to compete in speed skating or archery. I’m so disappointed.
Coaching from Kim Kyung Ho & Kim Jong Seo
Anna: I thought they’d be going with “How Deep Is Your Love”. Hearing the way they sung both I can’t help but think it would’ve been the better pick.
Dahee: Kim Kyung Ho apparently gave them a list of songs he thought would suit them, and wants them to choose “How Deep Is Your Love”. But they say that the song is too hard for them, and in the end they go for the more standard “When A Man Loves A Woman” (a choice that Kim Jong Seo strongly disapproves of).
“When a Man Loves a Woman” (Michael Bolton cover)
Anna: Fellas still aren’t for me, but they should have much credit for re-arranging this to their own soul-ish style rather than only going with the more straightforward cover they offer towards the end. I liked the ending more though. And they hand out roses to the audience! Why didn’t Rose Motel do this first?
Dahee: I like this arrangement! It’s very them, but they’re taking more risks this time, and they’re really hitting the emotions and mood of this song very well. Well done! I can feel myself growing more and more fond of them.
Sangha: Great performance! They really brought out their sounds with this arrangement, and it’s good to see something different from the expected ‘rock’ stage, I’m sure the audience will appreciate it too. Fellas is very mainstream-friendly, I think. And I think they got the talent to make it far, too. The vocals sound amazing, and I like the arrangement too.
Xtian: *dramatic fainting* I loved it! So good, and Fellas did the song justice with their singing. So glad we get to see more of these guys because this show is missing some good singers. Fellas, fighting!
Fabien: A surprisingly strong performance to be honest. They use the band’s strengths while presenting a different face. I have not been impressed, but it was nice to watch and listen to this. Given that they face Transfixion AND Pia, both very rock oriented, it’s a very smart choice to opt instead for a soul ballad.
Anna: I think Fellas are better as a vocal team than as a band, and it seems You Young Suk is of the same opinion. Although it must be difficult to make that distinction while sitting in the audience, instructed to listen with the heart, so I very much suspect that is the reason behind this high score.
Dahee: You Young Suk says that they don’t feel like a band, like they’re just a couple of vocalists being supported by instrumentalists, and like they practiced their singing more than their playing. The vocalist quips back with, “We’ve always been good at singing.” LOL. And Shin Dae Chul inexplicably says “If they had come to me, they’d have gotten even better.” WTF, man. WTF. Kim Jong Seo looks pissed. And then Fellas again quip that they had two coaches instead of one and they’re the luckiest band ever to be coached by the nation’s two unnis. Awwww. It’s official, I love these guys.
Sangha: I kinda agree with You Young Suk here, I did get the vocals and the back band impression from Fellas. But that’s not a bad thing at all, I can’t believe You Young Suk is using that as a negative criticism of the performance… They aren’t the only band that depend on strong vocals.
Xtian: As long as the scores are up to par with how I feel about the act, then let them talk smack. Bands are bands are bands, regardless of where the focus is.
Fabien: Although I agree with the remark You Young Sok, I do not necessarily see it as criticism. They managed to take the public with them, and even compete with Rose Motel. I just have a slight doubt as to the public. Is it the same as in the previous mission, or is it renewed each time? I think the answer could greatly influence the result.
7080 Concert Mission Results
Coreyah vs. Rose Motel — Winner: Rose Motel
Anna: Were they really competing two and two all along, or is it just the way they present the results? Either way it was very expected for Rose Motel to move on and Coreyah to be eliminated.
Dahee: It’s just the way they’re presenting the results. Coreyah says in an interview that they weren’t even surprised to be eliminated, after going face to face with Rose Motel like this. I agree, there was zero tension in this elimination. I do feel that Coreyah has improved, though, whereas Rose Motel was disappointing, so I feel a little sorry for them. Just a little.
Sangha: I don’t like this process of elimination at all, definitely lacks the tension. It was so obvious that Rose Motel would move on.
Xtian: Damn. I thought the process was everyone together and the top two moved on? This isn’t fair at all! I wasn’t expecting Coreyah to move on, but dammit! Top Band needs to get their act together!
Fabien: It’s just a loosly way to add tension to this selection process. As it was now sure that Coreyah would be eliminated and Rose Motel would go on, they wanted to keep the real unsure result for…
Achtung vs. Tacopy — Winner: Achtung
Anna: Now here’s a surprise! Achtung did offer the better performance, but I somehow thought Tacopy would come winning out of this anyway from both popularity and experience. Although considering how young the current incarnation of Tacopy is, Achtung does actually have more experience as a team. I never thought it would come to this, but I’m actually quite satisfied with the outcome.
Dahee: I’m…shocked. I did NOT see this coming! Like Anna, I thought the audience would lean more towards Tacopy and their sound. I guess it’s karma though, since Tacopy apparently didn’t practice much.
Sangha: I’m surprised as well! Tacopy seemed like the more obvious choice but I guess Achtung won the audience over this time. How embarrassing for Kim Jae Kook, he’s been saying how Tacopy is better than Achtung throughout the whole show…
Xtian: o_O I guess….? And TA Copy IS better than Achtung, Mr. Kim. I must agree.
Fabien: Considering the performance of Achtung and TA Copy, it does me neither warm nor cold. They were at the same level for me, and I guess the points difference was small. This is certainly reassuring that the public does not only rely on first impressions, as the result is quite different than the live score hinted at.