Top Band 2 Episode 13: Gayo Stage Mission

KBS survival show Top Band 2 went on a hiatus during the London Olympics, only resuming with episode 13 on August 18th. Before the break we got to see twelve of the Top 16 battling it out to get into the Top 8 during two episodes and with this episode the remaining four bands got to show their worth to the coaches and the audience. 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 struggling to pick between our own favorites.


Pre-Gayo Stage Mission

Members of Peterpan Complex, Ynot?, Monni and Wiretap In My Ear meet up in Hongdae at the luxury noraebang right next to SangSang Madang for a noraebang competition. The highest scoring artist will get to pick start number first.

Competing for Peterpan Complex, Jeon Ji Han sings Han Myung Sook’s “노란샤쓰의 사나이” and gets 87 points. Wiretap In My Ear’s Lee Hyuk sings Na Hoon A’s “무시로” and scores 84 points. Jumong of Ynot? sings Song Dae Kwan’s “해뜰날” for 96 points. Monni’s Kim Sini sings Nam Jin’s “님과 함께” and is awarded 85 points.

Anna: Oh! Unless all the rooms on the back at that place look exactly the same that’s the room I had when I went to that noraebang! When he started out by searching for Peterpan Complex songs I was hoping Jeon Ji Han would go for his own “Morning Call”, but then one of the other band people said he should go with the mission song. It would’ve been more fun if they could joke around singing their own songs… Lee Hyuk can do the trot vocals decently enough, but I’m distracted as I just love Jumong’s super shiny jacket – he looks like the perfect trot singer as he sings along with Lee Hyuk. I love how Jumong and Kim Sini too offered a bit of trot vocals, although it was far from the real thing.

Dahee: I really enjoyed this little segment, far more than the other order-deciding bits they’d included in previous episodes. I love Jeon Ji Han so much I can’t stand it.


Wiretap In My Ear


Anna: Some kind of friction between Lee Hyuk and the drummer?

Dahee: I like that they show the disagreements that arise during practice, but then during the interview they’re back to slinging their arms over each other’s shoulders and talking about how that kind of friction is normal and expected. Aww.

무시로” (Na Hoon A cover)

Anna: I’m liking the over-the-top tailcoat and top hat on Lee Hyuk as well as the sparkly clothes on all the other members. It’s been far too long since I last saw Wiretap In My Ear sporting a more visual style. The cover unfortunately is not interesting enough to match their outfits, though I feel like Lee Hyuk’s vocals are stronger than usual. Even so I like this quite a bit and I’d love to see them to more of this.

Sangha: I’ve never been a huge fan of theirs because their music is just not my style, but I really liked this performance. I thought they sounded pretty good.

Dahee: First of all, let me just say that I LOVE their outfits. And Lee Hyuk’s makeup! AWESOME. As for the performance…I think I like it? There were some definite problems throughout, and it’s certainly not a mainstream kind of arrangement, as Lee Hyuk acknowledges. I think it’s one of those arrangements I need to listen to more than once to really get it. I’m not completely won over at this point, though, and am now worried for them…

Xtian: Work that face, honey! Crazy hair and fabulous use of feathers on the bassist’s shoulder! On the whole, though, the cover is odd. It was okay from the start, though lackluster. Then he hits that long note and the heavier break happens. Why couldn’t the rest of the song gone that way? Lee Hyuk’s singing would’ve been divine on top of a darker, heavy-metal style rock ballad than the so-so instrumentation they ultimately chose. Ugh.

Score: 175

Anna: Pretty ok. A fair score, I’d say. Kim Jong Seo points out that they had some problems with the rhythm guitar.

Dahee: Yeah, I’m definitely worried…

Xtian: You should be, mwahaha.




Anna: How clever of Monni to film themselves while practicing! Watching themselves they find that they need more of a “bbong feel”.

님과 함께” (Nam Jin cover)

Anna: This feels a bit uneven to me. At times it’s just dull, but when they go more in the original Monni direction I’m loving it. I also don’t care much for the guitar solos. But howcome I never noticed how strong Kim Sini’s vocals are before? Overall it’s an ok performance though.

Sangha: This is a very Monni cover! Although I don’t think it really suits the song. Nevertheless… Kim Sini sounds phenomenal, wow.

Dahee: As Jeon Ji Han comments, this is a pretty ordinary arrangement, but it’s definitely a very mainstream one. I agree with Kim Do Kyun when he says that Monni are improving with each performance. The sound was very tight – you could tell they really practiced a lot. It was fun, nothing innovative, but fun.

Xtian: That’s the reason why I like these kids! So good! Everything was great, though I wish Sini wasn’t on the guitar. I wanted him commanding that stage like I know he can. Sigh, small price to pay, though. Had a great time watching them.

Score: 221

Anna: I honestly can’t understand why Monni would get a score this much higher than Wiretap In My Ear. Further this is a very high score considering how the other bands fared in previous missions.

Sangha: Hmmm. Yes, I agree… although Monni was good too and they’re one of my favourites, but I much preferred Wiretap In My Ear’s performance. I guess Monni just appeals to a broader audience?

Dahee: I’m not surprised. Monni’s performance was very mainstream, and Wiretap In My Ear’s wasn’t. And the general Korean audience tends to choose the mainstream over the experimental. It’s the sad truth.

Xtian: Yay! Wiretap sucked anyway.



해뜰날” (Song Dae Kwan cover)

Anna: I could never stand “Centerfold” and because of it I could never get into “해뜰날” either. Unfortunately Ynot? start out more like J. Geils Band than Song Dae Kwan so I’m pretty much hating it already from the start. And then a funk arrangement? Ynot? why did you have to do this to me? They’re so cute jumping on stage and I know well I could’ve enjoyed this plenty had I actually been there, but this kind of sound is a very different thing to me when I’m not privileged enough to be engulfed by it. But finally! There’s that ggwaenggwari I like so much! This arrangement would have been served well by more of it.

Sangha: He should’ve brought it out sooner, I say! That’s undoubtedly his strongest weapon and I would’ve liked to see more of the ggwaenggwari (that’s really difficult to spell, wow). I personally really like Ynot?, and I love their funk sound and I totally digged this, but yeah… a tiny bit underwhelming.

Dahee: I didn’t even recognize the vocalist without his glasses and with those fancy frills. This was…a confusing performance. There were some moments that I thought were interesting, but it ended up being way too repetitive, and the sudden inclusion of the ggwaenggwari was random and didn’t mix in well with the rest of the song. I agree that they should’ve brought it out sooner, and integrated it more into the song. They had great energy, though, as usual, and I wish that the arrangement had reflected that energy more…

Xtian: Whoever did the hair and make up for this performance should be fired. Ju Mong looks SO weird with that up-do and the Vaseline face. Frankly, they look like a bad version of Daybreak with the three piece suits. Not their look. The song itself ran longer than I would’ve liked, but the ggwaenggwari broke up the monotony of lalala’s. Love Ynot?, but this could’ve been better.

Score: 173

Anna: I’m blinded by my strong dislike for the song in question so whether this is a fair score or not I couldn’t say.

Dahee: I was really looking forward to these four particular performances, and I’m a tad disappointed so far. I guess the audience feels the same way.


Peterpan Complex


Anna: What? No coaching sequences at all this episode? Apparently they’re going for a 21st century style arrangement.

노란샤쓰의 사나이” (Han Myun Sook cover)

Anna: From the very beginning it sounds just like Peterpan Complex. I really like how Jeon Ji Han gets the audience to sing along. And that dance once the synth part kicks off? With that expression on his face? Hilarious! I had expected this round to be the toughest with all of these great bands competing against each other, but I’m head over heels for Peterpan Complex. The best out of the bunch. No question!

Sangha: This is fantastic. This is so fabulous. I have no words… Jeon Ji Han is so brilliant and charming with his dance, he sounds amazing, and the whole band sounded fantastic. Locomotive, you go girl! You rock those drums! And the crowd seems to love it, too!

Dahee: HAHAHAHAHA! Oh my god, Jeon Ji Han, I love you. I love you so much it’s driving me bonkers. What kind  of dance is that?? HAHAHAHA! The arrangement itself isn’t terribly energetic, but they make it their own, and he makes this performance incredibly entertaining just by himself. I love this band! Shin Dae Chul compliments them on how fresh they feel, but You Young Suk mistakes it for an insult and rambles on about how great they are while Shin Dae Chul sits there awkwardly. Shin really is so awkward with people. Kim Jong Seo compliments the drummer, and says he hopes more female instrumentalists will emerge. Aww, I love him!

Xtian: It was cute! It’s what Peterpan Complex is known for. I was pretty “meh” on this one, but I liked it enough. Can’t believe he got the audience to do that awkward arm dance. He looked so bored doing it! But I guess he needed them to do more than sing nanana’s.

Score: 171

Anna: No, this can’t be right? The audience members were even moving their arms to dance like Jeon Ji Han! They better make the Top 8 regardless.

Sangha: Why such a low score! I think it was definitely the best performance out of the four.

Dahee: I…I don’t understand…

Xtian: Gonna have to agree. That’s a pretty low score. Maybe the judges agree with Dahee with all these performances? Thankfully Monni was spared.


Gayo Stage Mission Result

Wiretap In My Ear vs. Monni — Winner: Monni

Anna: Ideally I’d like to see all four bands from this mission in the Top 8, alas we’re not that fortunate. Considering how well Monni scored it’s not much of a surprise they were the band out of these two to advance.

Sangha: I agree, this was a really deadly round and I think all four bands deserve to be in the Top 8. Glad to see Monni made it though, I do think that they’re pretty great…

Dahee: Oh no, not Wiretap In My Ear!!! T_____T I’m so sad. But this was a very expected outcome. GAH! But Shin Dae Chul, why so dramatic? Storming out like that just makes everyone feel awkward. The guy’s too emotional for his own good. I wish he’d take Kim Do Kyun’s attitude, that they did well and thus have nothing to feel regret over.

Xtian: Y’all are crazy!! Why should these four be spared from the elimination process? There’s a reason they all got placed in this round and it shows by how competitive it was. Some flopped and others landed on top. I’m happy to see Monni move on because Wiretap didn’t bring it this round. I was rooting for Wiretap going into it, but gotta say it. Compared to Monni, they bombed.

Peterpan Complex vs. Ynot? — Winner: Peterpan Complex

Anna: As sad as I am to see Ynot? go, I’m still very, very happy that we’ll get to see more of Peterpan Complex and Jeon Ji Han. Judging only by these two performances the outcome was fair.

Sangha: This breaks my heart! I love Ynot? and I really wanted them to move on, but at the same time I really like Peterpan Complex too.

Dahee: A very deserved win for Peterpan Complex. I’m sad to see Ynot? go, though.

Xtian: Love those guys, but if I don’t have to see Ynot? turn into Ken dolls before my eyes, I’ll take Peterpan Complex any day. Shuddering at the thought.


Top 8 Pentaport Preparations

Anna: Oh, so all the Top 8 bands got to play Pentaport? Now I’m getting confused. I know some of the bands were quite upset they couldn’t get real Pentaport performances because of still being in competition for Top Band 2, but I also know for sure I saw ads on the bus about Rose Motel playing Pentaport anyway. Did they change the rules? I’ll have to admit I haven’t kept up well with what’s been happening in the indie world (or anywhere else, for that matter) during the last couple of weeks so I have no idea what actually went down during the festival…

Start Order

After randomly drawing a card with one of the Top 8 band names on it, each of the bands get to decide the start number for the band on the card, beginning with the band with the highest score from last round.

Transfixion → Romantic Punch: 2nd
Rose Motel → Super Kidd: 1st
Monni → Monni: 6th
Pia → Pia: 7th
Romantic Punch → Achtung: 8th
Peterpan Complex → Transfixion: 3rd
Super Kidd → Peterpan Complex: 5th
→ Rose Motel: 4th

Anna: Although it was a bit of fun seeing the bands interact with each other, especially Transfixion and Romantic Punch, I’m again questioning the decisions of the editors/producers of this show. If they were gonna wait almost a month to show all of the missions, why not make it more even with six performances in every episode so we could get more of the music?

Sangha: Exactly. I wanted more music, and to be honest, this show needs to stop trying so hard to be entertaining because people don’t watch it for the laughs anymore. I’m sure the small population of people who do watch it are watching it for the music. Give us more music!!!

Dahee: Yeah, this was a fun little segment, but I wanted to see more Pentaport footage. Especially since apparently the judges had performances of their own as well? If they’re going to show that AND the bands’ performances…ugh. I can already foresee the editing annoying me again…

Xtian: Gasp! That would be awesome! Judges performing too? Especially now that Kim Kyung Ho is playing in my city for his US tour? So excited!!! But yes, they should include more music. At this point, Top Band 2 is slowly becoming a variety program.

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