In the episode of KBS2 survival show Top Band 2 that we covered last week the Top 8 band had been reduced to the Top 6, which really turned out to be the Top 7. In episode 16 some of the bands that had previously gotten eliminated got to battle it out for a chance to make a return. 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 happy for the chance to watch some of the bands again.
Fabien: Ok, I know, “Resurrection” sounds as if it was for one more sequel to a bad trilogy of movies, but it is actually the title they used in this episode.
Sangha: I find this whole thing very silly. But ah, HarryBigButton!!!
Dahee: It’s even sillier because of the random selection of bands they chose to “resurrect”. BAH HUMBUG.
Fabien: But as far as my Korean allowed me to understand, it’s not so random as it may appear.
Dahee: Oh sure, they tried to put a spin on it to make it seem not random. But in the end, the bands were chosen based on popularity and personal tastes, and not on how far they got in the competition. Which is bullshit.
Fabien: Of course! For me, as long as they don’t bring back Vending Machine or No Respect For Beauty, I cannot see Top Band 2 as a fair competition.
Anna: They bussed 2000 people all the way out to Chungju for this? Hope it’ll be worth waiting in all the mud and rain for them. Aw, that kid cheering Nemesis on!
Sangha: And in that storm, too!
Dahee: CRAZY. I don’t envy that audience right now.
Fabien: Yay, let’s go back to Chungju and talk a little bit of that rowing competition ! I love the dramatic editing when showing all these people ready to enjoy
Anna: I still don’t see the point of bringing these bands back into competition. Will they act as free runners without coaches? If Transfixion doesn’t win, does it mean some other band should’ve had their spot in the Top 8? I’m very happy to see HarryBigButton get another chance though. And I’m happy to see more of both Wiretap In My Ear and Nemesis as well.
Dahee: It looks like they’ll get a coach regardless. And yeah, I don’t see the point, either, even if I’m also very glad to see HarryBigButton and Wiretap In My Ear.
Fabien: How long can they make Top Band last by eliminating a band one week and giving it another chance the other week ?
Lightinthemind: I’m just curious about the point of extending Top Band 2 airing. Maybe because of viewer rates or the income out of Pentaport? Anyway, I’m cheering for HarryBigButton and No.1 Korean the most.
Special Stage: Kim Jong Seo – “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin cover)
Anna: I still can’t appreciate Led Zeppelin as I should, so I find this special stage more annoying than entertaining. Was much happier to see Kim Jong Seo singing the songs that weren’t shown on TV..
Dahee: I was really glad to see this. Yay for Kim Jong Seo and for Led Zeppelin! I love when he covers their songs. I wish they’d shown more of the performance in the broadcast, though.
Lightinthemind: Is this to show how ‘true’ cover should be done? Then not a good example, sorry.
Xtian: I’m amazed how little Led Zeppelin has shown up on this show, but I like this cover. The vocals are by the numbers on Mr. Kim’s part, even with his high voice. The band is cool as well, but ultimately I’m not blown away. I love the song already, so this is easy to stomach.
A jury with 20 members and a group of 800 people picked 15 bands among contestants on the show for second consideration: Daybreak, HarryBigButton, The Koxx, Coreyah, Fellas, No.1 Korean, Wiretap In My Ear, Yery Band, Nemesis, Tacopy, VenEZ, Ironic Hue, Magna Fall, Exit no.4, Siberian Husky. From those fifteen the coaches selected the final 6 bands that can compete to re-enter the show: HarryBigButton, Nemesis, No.1 Korean, Yery Band, Wiretap In My Ear, Transfixion
Anna: Looking at the 15 bands the jury got to chose from, I’m a bit surprised we didn’t get to see Daybreak or The Koxx come back, but maybe the coaches too recognized that those bands didn’t really want to be on the show. Or they simply turned down the opportunity not to get humiliated again. But what did VenEZ do to get so far? I can’t even recall what they sound like anymore.
Dahee: Again, I am very annoyed with this entire selection process, and think it is extremely unfair. But man, I would have so loved to see Exit No. 4 again…
Fabien: This is not really fair, as the final decision has been made by the same coaches who got the most of them eliminated by them unfairly low scores. So, in the end, there is almost the same band than the first time we went to Chungju. I would have liked Magna Fall, Exit No. 4 and Ironic Hue to be given a second chance.
Lightinthemind: Meh, strange decision to put on the list that bands. Give me Vending Machine, Crimson Butterfly Ensemble and No Respect for Beauty. Why VenEZ and Yery Band???
Xtian: Yay! Yery Band is back! Can’t wait for more weirdness. And so is Wiretap? Can this episode have been made for me? *eyes glisten anime style* [Future self: Not really, Xtian. Just watch.]
For this competition a special jury of five members has been called in: Kim Se Hwang, Song Hong Seob, Kim Jong Seo, Lee Han Chul, Jeong Dong Ha.
Anna: Jeong Dong Ha is a first in Top Band!
Sangha: Jeong Dong Ha, really? Really though?
Dahee: But he totally was a judge in the first season, in the preliminary auditions. But yeah, I also don’t really get why he’s here, considering that he debuted like eight years ago, although as a Boohwal fan I’m excited to see him.
Anna: Ah, so they get to sing their own songs for once? I’ll admit I didn’t keep track of Nemesis long enough to be familiar with this one, but I’m loving the intro. And the entire song! They have too many session players for my taste, since I still think this should be about what the band itself can manage but it all works out so well I can’t be too upset about it. Bravo!
Sangha: I agree, I thought they didn’t need all those sessions.
Dahee: Hmm, kinda boring. I feel like they should have rearranged the song, or chosen a completely new song to remake. Playing an old song felt like a bit of a miss, especially since it doesn’t exactly have that climax that the audience loves. And yes, those sessions were annoying.
Fabien: I’m really not so fond of their music. For me it just sounds like some generic J-rock, and it’s very hard for me to get past this impression. It became so boring that by the end of the performance I wasn’t paying any more attention.
Lightinthemind: I’ve liked Nemesis for a long time, so they are one of my biases and this song sounds perfectly like Nemesis, nothing less, nothing more. And I think with all that efforts and nervousness and willingness to go further they showed much. Still I’m kind-a unimpressed with the lack of progress in their music.
Xtian: Terrible dye job on the vocalist’s hair. Whoa, drama major by Nemesis. He squeezing that orange from the emotional tree for all its worth, and the band is right there with him. Not sure I love it, though, but I liked their energy on stage.
Kim Jong Seo: 15
Kim Se Hwang: 12
Song Hong Seob: 12
Lee Han Chul: 17
Jeong Dong Ha: 16
Anna: Lee Han Chul seems to be with me on the session members, saying having three of them is a minus. I’m glad we finally got to hear an opinion like that in the show as from what I understand many other critical remarks from the judges have been edited out. (During the sliding stages I was so looking forward to hearing Shin Dae Chul put Daybreak in place for auditioning only for fun, alas that part didn’t make the cut). This should be a good score, I think.
Dahee: I’m always annoyed when they cut out the judges’ remarks. Ouch on the two 12’s, though.
Xtian: Wiretap can do this better. I just hope they do.
Interview & Behind The Scenes of KBS 2TV My Way (청진기)
Anna: I’ll be honest, I’m not at all happy to see Yery Band again. They even got to do a CM song after Top Band?
Sangha: I’ve seen that commercial! Whoa. I’m not a huge fan of Yery Band either (I actually find their music really annoying…), let’s see if they manage to change my thoughts on them this time.
Dahee: And to think of all the other bands they could’ve resurrected instead…:(
Fabien: Ok. So, in one hand, they had Siberian Husky with a wonderful woman vocalist, and on the other one….this ! Like the flu, Yery Band is coming back to torment us after a oh so short rest. Why? What is the thing that the audience and jury alike love in this band that I cannot get ? How are they any better than the other bands.
Lightinthemind: I agree with Fabien, I can’t find anything special about Yery Band besides the personality of the vocalist. Somehow so many male musicians are showing their support for her.
“술 취한 마돈나”
Anna: To my surprise I’m actually enjoying the bridge and the refrain! I really dislike the funky verses and I absolutely can’t stand Yery’s vocals, but judging just by the band effort they are doing well. The looks on the faces of Nemesis when Yery takes off her white doctor’s coat also add to the entertainment value.
Sangha: Meh. Yery’s voice is just so unpleasant to my ears. And I found the song really boring.
Dahee: Another surprisingly boring performance. Yery Band is usually at least entertaining, or able to keep my attention, but felt bored for most of this performance. This is…not a good song. Things got better when she started adding her own percussion to things, but the addition was a tad late for me. And I still can’t stand her voice…
Fabien: As usual, the vocals and the pronunciation are terrible, and she tries to make it up by undressing herself in the middle of the performance. I don’t get it. Even K-pop girls bands make a better performance.
Lightinthemind: As usual she is trying to pull things with her ‘unusual’ clothes. Hey, you’re not good enough for roleplays! I’m sorry but seeing this sort of dress and undress at gothic festivals (and more bare skin of course) was much more entertaining than this poor and incongruous with other members’ style performance.
Xtian: Oh my god, I got the Basic Instinct vibe from her with her white get-up and the handcuffs on her left wrist. That is, until I saw the jacket’s medical symbol. And what is it with all the bandages? Is this supposed to be a performance criticism on plastic surgery? Obviously her outfit detracted from Yery, but I liked the performance. It was fun and lively, especially after Nemesis.
Kim Jong Seo: 16
Kim Se Hwang: 13
Song Hong Seob: 14
Lee Han Chul: 17
Jeong Dong Ha: 17
Anna: Jeong Dong Ha’s manager is a fan, apparently. And Lee Han Chul enjoyed the dance number. No fair! Even if I could listen to Yery Band Nemesis offered the better performance of the two.
Dahee: I get why they got the higher score, though, even if I do prefer Nemesis as a band.
Lightinthemind: Those men…
Xtian: Haters on this panel, yo.
Anna: Splendid start! They keep a high energy throughout. And that bass solo was pretty awesome! Well played!
Sangha: Ah, No.1 Korean! And such a great song choice. High-energy as usual, and Kwon Milk sounds good, and that bass solo!
Dahee: SO MUCH FUN! Man, have I ever missed this band and their sheer energy. That bass was fierce! And so much stage charisma! This episode is starting to look up.
Fabien: I like it so much, this energy from the singer that seems unstoppable, and that joyful atmosphere that they always manage to convey. Exactly what was needed after Yeri Band.
Lightinthemind: I’m huge fan of Kwon Milk and the whole band so I was just deeply enjoying the performance and dancing and smiling and thinking stupid things as usual. I can’t get enough of their music and especially liked the bass addition. It was like a cherry on a music cocktail^^
Xtian: Fantastic performance by these guys. The trumpet playing and the guitar solo did well in extending the standard length of ska songs. But No.1 Korean will never convince me that ska should continue to last in this day and age.
Kim Jong Seo: 15
Kim Se Hwang: 10
Song Hong Seob: 13
Lee Han Chul: 15
Jeong Dong Ha: 19
Anna: Kim Se Hwang comes out as a fan of guitarist Jung Chang Ho and gets a shy heart shaped by fingers in return. That’s just too adorable! But just 10 points? What’s that about? At least Jeong Dong Ha has better taste. Now I’m getting scared Yery Band will come winning out of this.
Sangha: I expected higher for them, this is really disappointing. And Kim Se Hwang, what the?
Dahee: OUCH. The judges talk about how they got overly excited and weren’t completely in tune with each other, but BAH to that, I say. They were so much more engaging than either Nemesis or Yery Band, and they deserved a higher score than this. The Boohwal fan in me is kind of proud that at least Jeong Dong Ha gets it.
Fabien: This is ska, it’s a carnivalesque band, who cares about being in tune with each other when we have so much fun ? Ok, I know, I’m biased….
Lightinthemind: I hardly hold myself not to say several (or not several) swearing words about the judgement.
HarryBigButton at M Plus Studio in Hongdae
Anna: Ah, all the Top Band bands recording chorus together for HarryBigButton’s album! That’s so nice!.
Dahee: I’m totally going to get my hands on this album once it comes out just so I can listen to this chorus.
Lightinthemind: Sung Soo promised to release the album till this winter, so I’m definitely waiting for it too^^
Anna: Oh Yeah! HarryBigButton! They are rocking it so hard! Look at that headbanging audience! That was awesome.
Sangha: I am squealing, they are so fantastic. And their new drummer Kim Joo Young is so charismatic, ah I’m falling for her already. I really hope HarryBigButton gets to move on!
Dahee: SO HOT. Why are they so sexy, seriously?? I was so totally into this, and wanted to be in that audience, headbanging with all those ladies. Their sound just sucked me right in, and that vocalist!! God, I love him. I need to see more of them!
Fabien: There’s something annoying with the production with always qualifying them of “macho”. They’re not macho, they’re just TOTALLY AWESOME, and it’s really a shame, yes, a shame for the credibility of Top Band that they have to go through a second chance process. This is a nearly perfect performance, the jury should just stop now this episode and give them the place in the final stage that they deserve.
Lightinthemind: After seeing them live at Hongdae’s Club FF I feel like crazy hearing their music. And the most amazing part of live show was long cheering of Park Guitar (ok, actually JooYeong but everyone calls him that) for his talented skills. No, I think all members are really talented and in a good way fierce in music and attitude towards it. As for the performance, it is totally a m a z i n g.
Xtian: Holy mother of god, and I’m talking about Mary. That was sooo good! Amaze balls all the way. What a damn shame they didn’t go forward. Sorry, but I need a minute to…
Kim Jong Seo: 16
Kim Se Hwang: 12
Song Hong Seob: 15
Lee Han Chul: 18
Jeong Dong Ha: 18
Anna: Song Hong Seob likes their vibe but is not as keen on Lee Sung Soo’s vocals, going so far as to say that recruiting a new vocalist would be an upgrade for the band. The audience does not seem to agree and I’d say Lee Sung Soo’s vocals are an integral part of the band’s sound. It isn’t the 80’s or 90’s anymore, Song Hong Seob! Kim Jong Seo comes out in defence of Lee Sungsoo, saying he has sufficient charm as vocalist. Great score! But what’s up with Kim Se Hwang?
Sangha: Yes, Lee Sung Soo’s vocal makes HarryBigButton what they are and I don’t see how they could ‘improve’ with a different vocalist. I think they’re fine as they are right now, and after all, it’s only been maybe a year since Lee Sung Soo began singing.
Dahee: HarryBigButton simply wouldn’t be the same without Lee Sung Soo’s vocals. Full stop. Song Hong Seob can shove it. I’m so glad they beat Yery Band!
Fabien: Are you serious, Song Hong Seob ?
Lightinthemind: I’m glad for the high score and glad that we won’t see Yery Band again (only if they won’t decide on next ‘resurrection’ episode which would be my nightmare)
Xtian: Why? WHY?!?! Sobbing uncontrollably here.
Wiretap In My Ear
Coaching & Interview
Anna: Oh, Shin Dae Chul did some extra coaching even though their not “his” band anymore? That’s so nice! He says there’s a fantasy movie like feeling to their music
Dahee: I love that moment when he starts smiling slowly as the song ends. So sweet.
Lightinthemind: I feel like he is really good mentor for bands and so sweet hearted to continue coaching!
Anna: Gorgeous intro and beautiful feathers! And look at that white nailpolish on Lee Hyuk! At my age I shouldn’t like this band as much as I do, but it is nice to be a fangirl every now and then. Objectively speaking HarryBigButton might’ve been better, but that’s not what I’m feeling right now. Shin Dae Chul is looking sufficiently happy backstage.
Sangha: I like the string sounds, and whoa, look at Lee Hyuk’s feather costume! Wiretap isn’t my cup of tea, but I really liked this stage, it was so dramatic and fun.
Dahee: What a great song! The thing I really respect about Wiretap In My Ear is that they’ve been willing to take risks during this competition, and play songs that might not go over all that well with an audience. Sure, this song wasn’t the best one to play during a competition, but like they said, they just wanted to let people know that it exists. And that’s enough. Lee Hyuk is so divine, isn’t he? I just love staring at him.
Fabien: Wow, such a dramatic performance, with these feathers, Lee Hyuk looking so painful and desperately trying to fly away. I always have fun watching their weirdness on stage, and it’s even better when the sound is so well crafted. I think I couldn’t get my mind between them and HarryBigButton.
Lightinthemind: That is really the performance! I mean not that silly attempts of Yery Band, but this is almost theatrical in a good way and well combined and prepared thoughtfully. I like this band only for their existence and their decision to proceed their own way.
Xtian: My hands, my hands! Everyone look at my beautiful hands! Mwuahahahaha! Love that guy. This is exactly where Wiretap excels, as the dark androgenous angels of hard rock. Not that dance non-sense they did several episodes back. Killer guitar solos, exceedingly dramatic microphone clutching and strings so overblown even Elton John would say “bitch please”. They need to stick to this sound.
Kim Jong Seo: 14
Kim Se Hwang: 15
Song Hong Seob: 14
Lee Han Chul: 15
Jeong Dong Ha: 17
Anna: Oops, Lee Han Chul points out that they only had 4 minutes running time and have exceeded that. Finally, Kim Se Hwang! Not enough to continue, but I’m still so happy from seeing that performance just now there’s no room to feel sad about that.
Dahee: Their score makes me a little sad, but I’m fine with HarryBigButton moving on too, so I can deal with this.
Lightinthemind: Ouch. Two bands whom I like and HarryBigButton is staying as leaders. I feel twisted.
Xtian: Dammit! So freakin’ good! Such a shame.
Transfixion Return to Their Debut Stage
Anna: Aha, so they had their first ever gig at Live Club Rolling Stones! Kim Do Kyun joins them for extra curricular coaching. He persuades them to go with “Get Show” instead of “Radio”.
Dahee: I love watching Kim Do Kyun coaching. He makes the most popular and experienced bands think hard about the basics and go back to their roots.
Fabien: Kim Do Kyun seems at the same time so humble and full of professional advices. I don’t understand everything he says, but it always sounds technical and precise.
Anna: Transfixion bring their best arena rock manners to a super catchy song. When they can make songs like this, and offer performances of this caliber, it’s quite sad that they’re still not better known than they already are. I can’t say I like it much myself, but there is undeniable mainstream potential in there just waiting to be harvested. I imagine this song being played often around various sports arenas.
Sangha: I’m glad they picked this song because it’s really catchy and fun to rock to! The band sounds fantastic as usual, and this time we don’t have to worry about lacklustre arrangements since it’s their own song!
Dahee: …Eh. I’m not a fan of this song, and there’s not enough energy here to really lure me in. There’s no doubt that they’re playing well, though. It’s just not for me.
Fabien: So Transfixion decided to use their Big Bertha, I think it’s their most mainstream song and thus their most famous one. The performance is quite impressive, with a lot of energy, despite the rough voice. But at the end of the end, I still felt not totally satisfied, as if it missed something to really stand apart.
Xtian: Good energy and I can see why the crowd loves it. Thinking they took a page out of the Romantic Punch playbook, though, with this song choice and performance. Romantic Punch all the way, mofos. These guys can suck it.
Kim Jong Seo: 17
Kim Se Hwang: 19
Song Hong Seob: 15
Lee Han Chul: 18
Jeong Dong Ha: 19
Anna: That caught me by surprise! When I saw the 8 I thought for sure that HarryBigButton would re-enter competition, but a score this high was totally unexpected. Then of course the jury members are all closer to Transfixion in terms of sound and audience than HarryBigButton so in a sad way it does make a lot of sense. Turns out Transfixion really did deserve their spot in the Top 8.
Sangha: What is up with Kim Se Hwang and his scores? Anyway, I don’t think Transfixion did that well compared to everyone else but they did put on a fantastic show. But now that Transfixion moves on the Top 8 again, I don’t see why this episode was necessary… We’re back to where we are, once again.
Dahee: So what was the point of this episode, exactly? I am so annoyed right now.
Fabien: Oh, great. We just spent two episodes for nothing new, except more frustration for us and the bands.
Lightinthemind: Was it made specially for Transfixion? (suspicious face)
Xtian: I can’t.. I don’t… I shouldn’t be upset by this, since TB2 has been upsetting since the beginning, but man, is this frustration. HBB and Wiretap killed it, and Yery Band brought the weird and cool, but Transfixion comes back? They only just lost. Sigh, you disappoint me, TB2. Seriously.
Ending Credits: Wiretap In My Ear feat. Shin Dae Chul – “Perfect World”
Anna: What a great performance! Wish we could’ve seen more of it on TV. And why isn’t it uploaded to Daum??
Dahee: Seriously, I want to see more of this!
Fabien: Actually, I thought it was just a teaser for next week’s episode.
Although not shown on TV, a few performance videos more from the taping of this episode showed up on Daum: