Last week the second round of sliding stages started on KBS show Top Band 2. The stages continued into episode 9, aired on June 30th, and we’re now ready to share our opinions. 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.
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’re again finding favorites eliminated aplenty.
For stage 4 the 30 bands that made it through the first 300 seconds on the sliding stages get another get to take on the sliding stages one more time performing 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. In this final part of stage 4 the 16 bands that moved on to be mentored by the judges are revealed.
Siberian Husky: “도마뱀”
Anna: There they go again, that funky Siberian Husky I can barely stand listening to no matter how good the vocalist is.
Xtian: Not sure how to feel about jazz on a rock program, but this is cool. Really digging the BMK look-alike on the keys, but this particular performance isn’t catching. Oh well.
Dahee: But it’s not a rock program, it’s a band program! Sure, this performance was a little dull, but they played well, and I’m always so impressed by the vocalist. I like them.
Lightinthemind: Good, but not for me. No matter how the band tries they are not good at a rock stage. (On a side note. I noticed only in this episode that Lee Sang Woo is commenting the show. Is it the first time he’s doing this?)
Anna: The vocalist doesn’t look too happy even though it places them seventh. They wanted more than 1600 points, I think.
Dahee: I’m confused as to why they got a relatively low score after the judges praised them for improving. And to put things into perspective: This score is lower than Coreyah’s. WTF! (I’m starting to sound like their anti-fan, aren’t I?)
Crimson Butterfly Ensemble Eliminated
Anna: No!!!! I wanted to see so much more of this band
Lightinthemind: What??? How do they dare? What were they thinking about? This band is just the most awesome out of all rookies of this season (imho)
Xtian: Aahhh! NOOOOOOO! Dammit.
Dahee: It feels like a stampede of elephants trampled all over my girl crush. Excuse me while I nurse the bruises.
Romantic Punch: “토요일 밤이 좋아”
Anna: A standard Romantic Punch song. They’re doing it very well and it seems the audience already knows the lyrics. Maybe this time the jury will like them more.
Xtian: A classic from Midnight Cinderella. These kids will go far in TB2 because their style is so easily digestible by the wider Korean audience. But one problem; the outfits aren’t androgynous enough!
Dahee: Nice energy, and it’s amusing that the audience sang along so well…But they still aren’t for me. Will they ever win me over, I wonder?
Lightinthemind: Yes, classics (O_o) of Romantic Punch. I’m returning to complain about nothing being released by them for a time. How long will we hear the same things? Yes, they are good, but I want smth new.
Shin Dae Chul: 140
You Young Suk: 134
Kim Kyung Ho: 147
Kim Do Kyun: 140
Anna: A very high score from Kim Kyung Ho and an average of 138 from the other three judges. With the currently third highest score it looks like Romantic Punch will have a future in this competition.
Dahee: Kim Kyung Ho says they showed an energy that not many people are capable of, and then shows his score. Holy cow mackerel, Kim Kyung Ho! That’s majorly high! (And kind of undeserved…I’m sorry, my fangirl heart!)
Lightinthemind: That score probably goes for their ability to jump, run and sing at once. And of course a lot of energy.
Au Revoir Michelle Eliminated
Anna: Too bad. Maybe their trot rock could be considered something of a one-trick pony, but I still think they had more to show. And of course I really enjoyed seeing them myself.
Lightinthemind: Again… One of my favorite bands leaving… I think that they deserved to show smth more of their own, so we could understand their way…
Xtian: Yeesh, these eliminations thus far are brutal to my ego. I was lukewarm from the start, but was intrigued in the last round. Too bad they aren’t around for more.
Dahee: I’m not overly depressed about this, to be honest. The trot thing never really won me over. But it’ll be interesting to see what they’ll do outside of this competition.
Nevada#51: “Feel It”
Anna: No, this party rock version of Nevada#51 really isn’t working for me. There’s a bit too much of everything and nothing coherent enough for me. The audience and band members are looking much happier than Shin Dae Chul.
Xtian: Damn that bass! But that keyboard screeches too much for me. And still not buying what that rapper’s selling. Ugh, just stop, Nevada 51, stop it.
Dahee: I’m actually okay with this performance. It was fun, and more to my taste than Romantic Punch. Shin Dae Chul doesn’t seem to like what they’ve done, but Kim Kyung Ho seems to approve. Why are these two always disagreeing?
Lightinthemind: I like this band and this song has been quite frequently on my playlist, so I can’t say anything against those guys. And for sure I can party rock with this music. Btw, what are these strange gestures of the drummer, the girlish necklace on the vocalist and some red toy on the mic stand of the guitarist? And what’s up with the outfit?
Anna: Though the score was fairly low I’m not sure they deserve even that after this performance. But other than arranging the thing they do seem to know what they’re doing on stage and all that experience has to count for something.
Dahee: Eh. I’m not really invested either way.
Jung Band Eliminated
Anna: This is one band I won’t be missing. For an ajusshi band they’re good, but I can only take so many heavy metal covers before I need some originality.
Xtian: Once in a while, the judges make good decisions. This is one of them.
Dahee: I feel a little sorry for them, but if we have to have some eliminations, it’s pretty clear by now that they should be one of the bands to go.
Lightinthemind: I’m not sorry either. They can’t jump higher.
No.1 Korean: “외롭지 말아요”
Anna: I’m surprised they go with something so slow and still. Sure, it can help build an atmosphere and I imagine this to be a great closing track at their gigs, but it takes too long before No.1 Korean bring all that energy that is something of their signature. And even when they do bring it, it’s not at the same level as we’re used to seeing them. The audience seems to respond well anyway though.
Xtian: Ugh, they’re still here? And I can barely hear the brass below the guitar solo. Snooze. The first performance so far that I wish the 3 ½ minute limit still existed.
Dahee: They were good! It’s nice to see a more emotional side to them. I got all sentimental when they got the audience to sing along with them. Shin Dae Chul says all their arrangements are the same, but Kim Kyung Ho says that this arrangement suited this song. Again with the dramatic Shin versus Kim editing! Ugh.
Lightinthemind: And again I can’t say anything against the band I like. I remember that song performed live very clearly as if it wasn’t year ago and I should state that it is perfect for bringing the mood. Judges asked No.1 Korean for smth different in the previous round and they showed not different but slower with their recognizable mark. So please don’t feel indignant.
Anna: The score is a bit harsher than I had anticipated, but the judges were saying something about them repeating the same pattern over and over.
Dahee: Not fair!
Anna: It could’ve been fun to see more of them, but there are other bands I’d rather see move on still in competition so it seems a fair sacrifice.
Lightinthemind: I’m not mourning on them but still they need good mentor. Hope that some of judges could take them under the wing to show how to improve. I don’t want to lose that growling ability of vocalist without a chance to shine.
Xtian: Aww, no more werewolf. Bummer.
Dahee: Bye-bye, Quartz. Not gonna miss ya.
Achtung: “6월 8일”
Anna: This is better than much of what we’ve heard from Achtung so far, but I still can’t get into them. I feel like I’ve been very patient with them, especially considering how many chances I gave them a few years back, but it’s clear this really isn’t a band for me.
Xtian: Is this the 90’s? I feel like I should be at the Lilith Fair music festival if the band were of the opposite gender. Man, what awesome Engrish. I love how he counts down to the same note sequence from the beginning. Nothing changed, but had to be dramatic to usher it in.
Dahee: BO-RING. Was there anything remotely special or endearing about this performance? If there was, I can’t see it. Kim Kyung Ho looks displeased. Shin Dae Chul says he was a little disappointed, but that he knows from the past that they’re a strong band. Shouldn’t you be judging them based on THIS performance?
Lightinthemind: I feel uncomfortable to say this but due to personal antipathy I can’t even look at the vocalist. And it has a strong effect on understanding their music.
Anna: I really wish I could figure out what it is I can’t see in them that others do.
Dahee: Unbelievable…Someone please explain to me how they could get a higher score than No. 1 Korean?
Lightinthemind: What a crazy decision.
Ironic Hue Eliminated
Anna: Given their last performance this was fair, but this band is really much better than this! I had hoped to see more of them on the show, but maybe this will have helped them enough to give them some extra publicity once that second full-length album they mentioned with their video audition finally gets released.
Anna: I’m so curious to know why they’re sticking to their first album songs in this when they’ve got two albums more to pick and choose from. This sounds good though, so I’m not really complaining. But what’s this? Only 1506 points for them?
Xtian: He’s lip-synching those lalas! But I love the changes between hard rock and the neo-waltz segments. Too bad this is their swan song, though.
Dahee: Typical Nemesis. I want something new from them. But what is this editing?? And why such a low score??
Lightinthemind: I can’t understand the low score. For what?
Exit no.4 Eliminated
Anna: It was expected for Exit no.4 to face this destiny sooner or later. I’m glad we got to see so much of them.
Dahee: My heart…it is covered in elephant bruises…
VenEZ: “SNS (Stand N’ Shout)”
Anna: At first I thought somehow a new band had mysteriously qualified directly for this round, but then I realized whoever adds the info had just mixed up the band name and the song name. VenEZ continues to offer performances I can’t seem to enjoy. And as an added bonus this time I’m sort of hating their own song. I feel like I might come off as unusually negative today, but there has yet to be anything to be really excited about in this episode.
Xtian: This reminds me of The Breeze and last year’s Broken Valentine. Someone needs to tell the others to copy the drummer’s energy level. I’m bored watching them, and I shouldn’t! And hopping doesn’t cut it. And ditto Anna on the excitement.
Dahee: A big fat MEH.
Lightinthemind: No, the Breeze are much better than this band. VenEZ are just boring in too many ways to try to verify.
Anna: I really don’t think they deserved it after that performance. But maybe the judges thought they were getting a bit too much of the same thing. Would’ve wanted to see more covers from them later on.
Yery Band: “Standing in the Way of Control” (The Gossip cover)
Anna: Since they let a cover represent them I’m a bit surprised they didn’t go with that The Ting Tings song they seem to be so fond of. But at the same time I’m very happy, because I don’t think I could sit through another performance of that and this at least was bearable. I still can’t really stand Yery’s vocals though
Xtian: I love that song! Anticipation building… Her nasal delivery is killing it for me! She’s trying, though. It’s hard to cover faithfully because she doesn’t have the pipes Beth Ditto has. She needs help doing “riot grrl” performances, but cool try.
Dahee: Ugh, Yery Band is back to doing everything I dislike about them. Wearing that awful headdress, choosing to sing an English song despite the awful pronunciation, the focus on performance over sincerity…I agree with the judges when they say that there’s just something about them that doesn’t hit you in the heart.
Lightinthemind: The only one member I like in this band is the bassist. Have you mentioned her headbanging and falling on the stage? Cutie)
Anna: Finally a judging more on par with what I actually think of them.
Dahee: Ouch for them! And yet I don’t feel sad. At all.
Lightinthemind: Could you please give them a lower score? And take away that indian headband.
Anna: No reason to shed any tears for VenEZ. They seem to get some kind of advice from Kim Do Kyun before leaving. They may well have a future on the scene, but with their style of music their audience is limited.
Dahee: It was sweet of Kim Do Kyun to talk to them before they leave.
Bands Vote on Judges
Dahee: They’re voting on which judge tends to give the lowest scores. Apparently it’s Shin Dae Chul, haha! But Kim Do Kyun praises the bands and then gives out low scores? If the editing weren’t so bad, we’d be aware of that already…
Super Kidd: “Rock Star”
Anna: They’re wearing their “Feel Good” costumes and I wish they would’ve performed that song instead.This isn’t as much fun as before, but perhaps they figured it was time to show if only a little more serious image.
Lightinthemind: If I’m not mistaken the costumes are a contribution from Her Check‘s wife (they married this year) who is a designer. As for the song it is really the crazy rock which I like to hear from them. Fun-fun band to help me smiling. I’m fan-fan.
Xtian: At least they didn’t cover Kim Bum Soo’s “Rockstar”, lol. But this is a dance song, so I’m disappointed by the misleading title. Then again, the whistling was awesome. They can definitely get a crowd going, so I’ll give them that.
Dahee: Before they go on stage, they send out a message to Shin Dae Chul saying that they’re going to concentrate only on fun and lightness, and nothing else. But for all their bravado, this performance wasn’t as fun as it could have been. Nice long scream at the end.
Anna: With only four bands left to play that fourth place guarantees they get to move on to the next stage. Nice work.
Dahee: Yawn. Very expected.
Yery Band Eliminated
Anna: I wish I could say I was sad about this, but I’m actually a bit relieved. But more than anything this makes me wonder what would’ve happened if they hadn’t gotten themselves out of Superstar K3, and what would be the outcome if some of the bands that didn’t make it on Top Band this season tried out for Superstar K4 instead.
Xtian: Aww man, I liked their quirky girl concept. Damn.
Dahee: Thank god I don’t have to listen to her voice anymore.
Lightinthemind: Dahee, high five^^
Wiretap In My Ear: “Party”
Anna: I had completely missed side-unit Yeonnamdong Dumb and Dumber. Seems like a fun band to check out if I ever can get around to learning some more Korean.
Dahee: I am so amused that they tried out for the singing contest aimed at the elderly audience, National Singing Festival..and actually got in.
Anna: Lee Hyuk makes me laugh so bad. Those hand gestures! I remember them so well from when I saw them live last year, but then I thought they were just a consequence of too much alcohol. I don’t particularly care for this song, but nevertheless I’m loving the performance. At least it’s different from everything else they’ve shown on the show so far. Kim Kyung Ho is pumping his fist in the air, Shin Dae Chul is shaking his head.
Xtian: Ooh, Bon Jovi for the modern age. Man, his right hand is oddly distracting; it’s a performer on its own! But “Party” isn’t heavy enough. Isn’t that what these guys are about? Hopefully this is to show a different side, not a change in music style.
Dahee: Fun! They are such an interesting band. Not my favourite song, but they rock it. Lee Hyuk is like a hypnotist, working that crowd. LMAO at Kim Kyung Ho’s reaction!! Shin Dae Chul seems to be the lone judge who isn’t pleased…?
Lightinthemind: Is it only me wanting to hear more pure vocals here? Ok for the strange face expressions and gestures but where is the voice? But the costumes are great, gothic rock rules! (Why am I paying so much attention to outfits in this episode?)
Anna: They made it to the next stage! Yay!
Dahee: No surprise here.
Anna: Nevada#51 should’ve been among the giants on the show this season, but their new sound just isn’t working well enough. It’s a shame to see them go, but they didn’t do anything to make me want to keep them.
Xtian: Yay! But it’s a sad state of affairs if I’m more excited about bands leaving than performances that move on.
Dahee: I’m not really sad about this, although I do think that they had more to show.
Lightinthemind: Ok, though I’m biased I should admit that they didn’t get the audience to the bottom of their hearts, wish they could improve in future.
Transfixion: “내게 돌아와”
Anna: Yes! Classic Transfixion! The first bar is enough to send me back a decade, to a summer where I had the time of my life getting re-acquainted with Korean music. It’s not really an outstanding performance, but nostalgia can be powerful.
Xtian: Like the song, but I hate it when the lead to any group, whether rock or pop, performs to a camera when there’s a live audience. Use them! Engage them! A camera can’t respond to you!
Dahee: Huh, I actually know this song! And I kinda like it, mostly for nostalgia reasons. It’s not a very interesting performance, though. They can do better.
Lightinthemind: I’d prefer smth from the last album since this song is just too short. I want to see more Devin Lee on stage))
Anna: A decent enough score. And as much as I liked this, I hope they’ll find reason to try something new next time.
Dahee: Did they deserve this, I wonder…?
Magna Fall Eliminated
Anna: Would’ve been fun to see them mentored by one of the judges, but at least it was great to see them come this far.
The Koxx: “ACDC”
Anna: Is this what The Koxx sound like? I’m actually a bit surprised, and not at all fond of or amused by the intro. It takes quite a while before they start sounding like something I would connect with The Koxx. I had no idea they could sound heavy like this! But in this case unfortunately it’s a bad thing to me.
Xtian: Yeah! Keep singing Center for Disease Control! Never heard so much appreciation for a US government agency. But wow, this is great. But I should hate them! Argh, internal conflict happening.
Dahee: This was really hot in some places, and made me go “meh” in others. I’m confused by the flag moment. Overall I’m conflicted. There’s no denying their stage presence, though.
Lightinthemind: Flag for now is an essential part of their concerts as far as I understand. Maybe the intro was a courtesy of the show rock theme? In everything else performance is the Koxx’ style and with quite a balance between quirky sound and serious attitude. But HyunSong showing his tongue in the end… Dear guys, if you are not Gene Simmons don’t even try to do this!
Anna: Wait, that doesn’t make 1678? It should be 1658, or either the judges score or the jury score. Given the many other problems with the infographics I’m tempted to think it’s really a fault on the editing side, otherwise The Koxx would’ve been wedged in between Romantic Punch and Super Kidd instead of taking the third place.
No.1 Korean Eliminated
Anna: This one I did not see coming. To see the many other bands still in competition while No.1 Korean are eliminated.. It’s not fair.
Lightinthemind: Minute of silence. My lovely Kwon-sshi leaving the show… That is bad.
Xtian: Sorry ladies, but I’m glad for this. Ska’s a dying art.
Dahee: SO. UNFAIR. *HULKSMASH*
Rose Motel: “너 그러다 장가 못간다”
Anna: I love them!!! They’ve got such stage awesome stage manners, and I love that synched leg dance. But why does Shin Dae Chul look so bored again? I don’t particularly like the song, not understanding the lyrics and all, but when it comes to Rose Motel it’s entertaining enough just to watch them.
Xtian: Slowly getting used to the Rose Motel Kool Aid. Maybe liking it? Cool energy, great song and the judges and audience are eating from the palm of their hands.
Dahee: Yay, they’re playing one of my favourite songs of theirs! Hmm, it sounds better on record. Still, they’re so much fun, and I love that they added lyrics to poke fun at the judges and Kim Do Kyun’s hair, lol. They even get the audience to turn and point at the judges and sing, “You won’t be able to get married!”. LOL. Don’t you love Kim Kyung Ho’s imitation hair flip?? And Kim Do Kyun’s so cuuuute. You Young Suk and Shin Dae Chul are less impressed, with Shin even saying that they’re starting to show their limitations. Whatever, Shin, Rose Motel is awesome!
Lightinthemind: Good sense of humor gives spicy flavor to the music of Rose Motel. I’m charmed and don’t want to say anything else.
Anna: A somewhat lower relative score than last round, but still very high. And with their very high scores from the first round, that’s enough to make them second!
Dahee: They’re definitely Daybreak’s rivals, all right. Hehehe.
Lightinthemind: I’d be much more happier if they jumped over Daybreak.
Harry Big Button Eliminated
Anna: No! No! No! They were sooo close!
Dahee: I don’t even have a heart left anymore. Just a hole in my chest. A hole of DESPAIR.
2Round Total Results
Bands Qualified for Next Round
|10||Wiretap in My Ear||1639||675||572||392|
Xtian: Dudes and ladies, what the hell? All SIXTEEN bands that are moving on are experienced bands! Where are the newbies? Oh right, they LOST! I know this has been talked about before, but for those of us who know k-rock, where’s the sense of discovery? Now all we have are pros and intermediates aiming for wider audiences than their fan bases, while those on the up and up had their time in the light. Beating a dead horse, I know, but still frustrating.
Dahee: Why…why…WHY is Coreyah on this list???
Anna: I feel like I’ve finally come to terms with this being a band competition more than the amateur band competition that was the first season of this show. As such I’m not as upset with the result as I could’ve been, but even so I find it questionable that some of the bands are still in competition.
|17||Harry Big Button||1555||621||490||444|
|28||Au Revoir Michelle||1371||637|
|29||Crimson Butterfly Ensemble||1342||618|
Dahee: I’m pissed off about way too many of these eliminations. This show is going to make me need anger management classes.
Anna: The biggest loss here I’d say is Harry Big Button.The jury really liked them, putting them 6th out of all the bands we got the see the jury’s score from. Hopefully this bodes well for future attention to Harry Big Button by the journalists and reviewers present.
Lightinthemind: *facepalm* Seeing these two lists I feel like chosing the second one consisting more of unknown bands to go further. I’m not quite sure we could see anything new or miraculous from the Top 16 bands. But this is Korean TV. And producers. If kpop fans are so powerful as they said to be why are kindie fan so silent? I think I need to estimate my attitude towards all this to watch Top Band further.