Time has come to find out which of the final two bands from the Top 8 will make it to the Top 4 in KBS2 survival show Top Band 2. Episode 18 was broadcast live on September 22nd with the TV audience helping to decide which two out of the last four bands would remain in competition. 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 have to say goodbye to some of our favorites.
Anna: Jeon Ji Han talks about the memory of his first love, a girl he spotted at a bus stop.
Dahee: I can’t believe they had Jeon Ji Han reenact how he met his first love! I’m watching this through my fingers, it’s so embarrassing. But he’s so game about it! I love him.
Fabien: Looks like a parody of drama :-P
“누난 너무 예뻐” (Shinee cover)
Anna: I love this already from the opening. They’re really going all out on this one! So strong from the first chord! And it’s the original Peterpan Complex sound even!!! I feel like Jeon Ji Han disappears a bit when he starts walking around the stage and his vocals are not as perfect as usual. It’s still a good performance, but I worry that they’ll get punished for this. And this time Locomotive is not behind the drums but rather singing from the LED displays otherwise boasting colorful patterns. Look at Jeon Ji Han! So cute when skipping over the stage to sing to Lee Ji Ae!
Dahee: As always, I’m very impressed with the arrangement. LOVED that Locomotive solo moment. It was a way of making sure that she could be a part of the performance, even if she couldn’t play the drums. So sweet. But Jeon Ji Han had some major vocal problems throughout, making me wonder if he has a cold or something. But he still managed to make this so entertaining with his characteristic stage mannerisms. I really can’t get enough of this guy.
Sangha: I like it! Peterpan Complex always has such fantastic arrangements. Jeon Ji Han was really underwhelming though, his vocals weren’t the best. And that bit with Locomotive! Very nice.
Dahee: According to Top Band 2’s twitter, Jeon Ji Han was very sick this day, to the point that he had to go to the hospital before the show. So that explains the vocals.
Fabien: Even with the problems in the vocals, Peterpan Complex remains entertaining and goes with a solid interpretation. I was quite puzzled with this choice of song, but as always they arrange it to make it listenable. But I’m not as moved as for some of the other songs they covered in Top Band. Loved that Locomotive part too and Lee Ji Ae’s awkward dancing.
Xtian: What an interesting take on the song. I would not have thought to change the production to a mid-tempo rock tune. It’s actually really good, and I LOVE the addition of Locomotive in the climax! I’m surprised to feel this way this late into the game. I thought Peterpan Complex had done their best a while back, but this puts them back near the top of my ‘yay’ list.
Kim Jong Seo: 90
Chung Won Young: 80
Song Hong Seob: 85
Jang Hye Jin: 85
Kim Se Hwang: 85
Anna: Kim Jong Seo compliments them on their charisma and even Salt Song expresses a positive opinion. But he too noticed the somewhat shaky voice. Jang Hye Jin really, really likes their dynamic sound. Look at those scores! It’s the highest we’ve seen from the jury this far. This is the one band I’m rooting for now so I really hope the TV audience approves as well.
Dahee: Why don’t all the judges get to speak?? Because of time constraints? And showing their scores after the fact? So odd. But yay for the high scores! Maybe Kim Se Hwang got a little scared by all the netizen backlash from his scores last week?
Sangha: Wow, such a great score!
Fabien: That’s a lot more than what I expected.
Xtian: Considering his vocals, better than I expected.
Anna: I’m very fond of Cho Young Pil and I’m not sure I like the direction in which they’ve taken this song. At least not what little we heard from their test run at Club Auteur in front of Her Check’s parents. It’s cute that he has them there though. And is that Her Check’s great grandfather with the beard? I love that we get to know him a bit better like this.
Dahee: His parents are adorable. And LOL at one of the members saying that his ex-girlfriend was named Jung-Nyung. Pffffft.
“모나리자” (Cho Yong Pil cover)
Anna: I like the megaphone in the beginning. It does a good job of hiding Her Check’s most obvious vocal flaws. Once they get going with the synth and all it sounds a lot better than what the clip earlier had me believe. Those four drummers with their neon green drumsticks and Korean drums were quite effective as well. They’re fun to watch and it’s the best arrangement we’ve seen from them on the show for quite a while. I’m really enjoying this. Very nicely done!
Dahee: Oh, I like this arrangement! Super Kidd continues to impress me with their willingness to experiment and try new things. And they’re starting to show that they can be upbeat but still musically serious at the same time. Good energy, and I love the extra percussion. I did feel like Her Check’s vocals were buried under the sound a bit, and this is making me think that they need to turn the volume up on the mic.
Sangha: This is probably their best stage in recent rounds! I loved how they finally decided to go back to the sound they’re more suited for. Her Check sounded better than usual. But I feel like the guest drums didn’t shine as much, despite being so obviously there.
Fabien: Maybe is it due to my high expectation but I wasn’t so impressed by this performance. The take on the song was good, and I got used to the vocals. But the drums didn’t add much to the arrangement as they stuck to the same beat during the whole song.
Xtian: Whoa, for the first time, I think, Superkidd has made me eat my own bullshit. Never cared for their ska stuff, but this cover is amazing! I love the emphasis on the drums and the row of percussion players in the mid-ground of the stage. This is such a great drums-lead dance track for this type of venue. They nailed it, but I didn’t like the megaphone. I understand the effect, but I wasn’t thrilled to see it again in a Superkidd performance.
Kim Jong Seo: 75
Chung Won Young: 70
Song Hong Seob: 75
Jang Hye Jin: 80
Kim Se Hwang: 60
Anna: Kim Se Hwang is back to being himself. I thought after the Peterpan Complex score that perhaps he’d learned how to behave since last week but I was wrong. But what are these low scores from all the judges? I thought this performance would make Super Kidd a serious threat to everybody else, but perhaps I was the only one fooled by their performance.
Dahee: The judges are all going on and on about how they chose the wrong way of arranging the song, and how the various sounds didn’t mesh together, but I really don’t get what they’re babbling about. They were good! SO much better than Transfixion last week, for instance. Remember that, Kim Se Hwang?
Sangha: Kim Se Hwang is back!!! I had no idea what he was saying when he was saying “we come from the same side”, and apparently the Korean fans have no idea what he was referring to either. This man is such a mystery to me. Every time he opens his mouth I can’t help but to hold my breath a little. He’s terrifying.
Xtian: I can see why the score difference, but I liked Superkidd’s performance better.
Anna: Konchi learned to play the guitar because his dad played the guitar. Another sweet family story in this episode!
“Somebody To Love” (Queen cover)
Anna: This song does feel very Romantic Punch to me and already much better than the Queen medley we had to sit through last week. But aren’t they making things too easy for themselves? It still sounds a lot like Queen to me, especially with that chorus. But perhaps that is just the danger of covering a song that is already close to your own style.
Dahee: Yeah, they definitely need to turn up the volume on the mic. As for the overall performance…I admit I’m disappointed. This fell rather flat. The arrangement stuck way too closely to the original sound. It felt more like a performance during a Queen tribute concert than an original arrangement for a competition. Bae In Hyuk’s vocals are still good, but I missed his usual flamboyance this week. Be crazier, dude, it’s okay!
Sangha: Ahhh…….. Romantic Punch! They fit this song so well, I am also a bit let down. I always felt like Bae In Hyuk channeled Freddie Mercury, so I would’ve rather seen something different, but this was a fantastic stage nonetheless. Yeah, the arrangement was a bit boring and the guitar solo wasn’t the best but it just oozed energy!
Fabien: I quite enjoyed this performance as this time, this is not a medley of Queen, but only one of their song, and it was very well rendered. Maybe too close to the original version, yes, compared to many other bands in this Top 8, this is the only complain I can find. The vocals suit the music, the music is good and there is still a lot of energy put on stage. And there is definitely a problem with the balance of the sounds…
Xtian: Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes!! Love the tribute to Queen in the beginning with the band on the screens. Fabulous background harmonies, which I didn’t think they could do, since I’ve never heard them do so before. I just wish Bae In Hyuk and gone on a vocal run at the climax. He’s so good at doing them and he didn’t take the chance! Ugh, but Romantic Punch and Queen is the ideal combo. If ever there was a k-rock band to do Queen justice, and then some, it’s Romantic Punch.
Kim Jong Seo: 90
Chung Won Young: 80
Song Hong Seob: 70
Jang Hye Jin: 87
Kim Se Hwang: 95
Anna: Jang Hye Jin likes the vocals and so does Kim Se Hwang. Kim Se Hwang even gives his highest score yet!
Dahee: Okay, I do NOT understand these judges. Do they not care about arrangements at all?? And conflicting opinions on the vocalist, I see. Why does Salt Song seem to hate every vocalist ever? At least he points out that their arrangement wasn’t very original. And Kim Se Hwang, WTF?? 95 points?? He says he didn’t really know Romantic Punch before this, which is like…uh. Weren’t you watching this show at all? Shouldn’t a judge know a band’s history on the show in order to judge them properly? And again with the dissing of the guitarist! And yet they still get 95 points. I don’t get this guy.
Sangha: I can see where Kim Se Hwang is coming from with all his comments on the guitars since he’s a guitarist himself, but oh wow, look at that score! I’m not complaining.
Xtian: Yay! Well deserved score.
Anna: Ouch! Pia had a fire in their rehearsal studio? No good. Maybe this means they will actually have use for the price money for something other than drinking and I can start rooting for them again.
Dahee: This is rather tragic. Imagine watching the news and realizing that that’s your rehearsal studio burning on camera…
Sangha: Apparently that’s the same studio that Idiotape uses as well! I want to cry for all the lost instruments.
Fabien: That’s really bad for them, but at least Pia can afford to buy new instruments.
“울트라맨이야” (Seo Tai Ji cover)
Anna: I love this song and I’ve heard Pia do it well on multiple occasions while still under Seo Tai Ji management. As expected they haven’t done much to re-invent it since, but I’m a bit surprised at how Yohan is suddenly emulating Seo Tai Ji’s vocal style and keeps it up pretty much throughout, whispers and shouts and all. It is a great performance, but unfortunately I can’t say I’m very impressed by it.
Dahee: This…didn’t really work for me. There were some definite rhythm problems throughout, and again I’m frustrated by Yohan. He definitely needed to show more power. At some parts I felt like headbanging along, but at others I just felt annoyed. But maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of the original song to begin with?
Sangha: I’m not a huge fan of the original song but I could deal with this, for sure. It’s such a perfect song for Pia to cover because it’s totally up their ally in terms of sound, and it really goes well with the whole electronic hard rock thing Pia always seems to do with their covers nowadays. I liked it, not their best, but definitely awesome.
Fabien: I’m glad they didn’t take this song sooner in the competition as it wouldn’t have been fair, but it couldn’t be avoided and it makes sense to go with a Seo Taiji’s cover for this mission. This song doesn’t have much appeal to me, and I couldn’t avoid thinking that Yohan’s vocals were again painful to hear. I feel like he rely too much on screaming because he knows he cannot keep the right tone. But beside him, the level of the music displayed with the song is absolutely awesome. The other way would have been really disappointing from them.
Xtian: Fuck yeah! After the god-awful collaboration with Zico from Block B last week, Pia redeems themselves on this one. Gloriously heavy and this could not at a better time in TB2. The sound machine throughout the song is reminiscent of my old favorites, The United93 with some dubstep thrown in. I love the audience member near the 3:20 mark with the silver mask. This episode has made me so happy to be a rock fan. Finally, TB2 gets good (after ages of sucking major).
Kim Jong Seo: 80
Chung Won Young: 90
Song Hong Seob: 90
Jang Hye Jin: 85
Kim Se Hwang: 98
Anna: It seems the jury ate this right up. Shin Dae Chul looks very satisfied. And Kim Se Hwang shows that he’s better friends with Pia than any of the other Top 8 bands.
Dahee: The judges love them, and I don’t really get why. I give up on you, Kim Se Hwang.
Sangha: Kim Se Hwang and his crazy gestures, can you please tone it down a bit! You are not impressing any of us!
Xtian: Wow, I knew I liked it, but would not have guessed they did too! Who knew I would agree with the judges for once?
Anna: Little more than 27,000 audience votes had ticked in before the voting closed this time. That’s fewer than last week, but I suppose not even Pia has a fanclub the size of Transfixion’s. Still, I find it a bit weird since performances this week were so much stronger than those last week.
Sangha: Maybe everyone’s busy doing something else than watch this show on a Saturday night….
Fabien: I have another explanation. The disillusioned audience already knows that Pia will make it whatever they do thanks to the huge crowd of fans voting for them before their performance.
Super Kidd vs. Pia
Anna: Those numbers for Pia are just crazy! No surprise where this was going, the lowest scoring band vs the highest scoring bands with more than 80 points between and audience votes likely to favor Pia. In a way it makes me glad though, since it means we’ll get to see either Peterpan Complex or Romantic Punch in the Top 4, both worthy candidates.
Dahee: *sigh* Not surprising. But I feel really bad for Super Kidd. They really won me over during this competition, and I feel like they’ve grown a lot during the course of the show. Whereas Pia has been very hit or miss, mostly miss. This is so freaking unfair.
Sangha: I saw this coming. Super Kidd has been really shaky recently. As much as I like Pia, kinda like Transfixion, I’m not too thrilled to see them move on because they’ve been kind of a let-down throughout the show. I’d rather see Peterpan Complex and Romantic Punch move on, but alas. It does not work that way.
Fabien: An obvious choice and I won’t whine about it, but what shocks me is the difference in audience’s voting.
Xtian: Finally! Gotta say it folks: ska sucks.
Peterpan Complex vs. Romantic Punch
Anna: Wow!!!! Romantic Punch got even more of the televotes than Pia? This is way beyond anything I had expected. I would’ve loved to see Peterpan Complex go winning out of this, but I can’t be upset when it means Romantic Punch gets some more time in the spotlight. Both have been active for well over a decade, but whereas Peterpan Complex have been relatively well-known throughout Romantic Punch only really started to see some return on all of their efforts during the last couple of years. And Jeon Ji Han accepts defeat so graciously. It would surprise me greatly if we don’t get to see more of Peterpan Complex on other shows after this.
Dahee: Oh god, I was so conflicted when I saw these two bands were going against each other. I was rooting for these two out of the bands in this group the most before the episode, but after watching the performances I knew I wanted Peterpan Complex to move on. But no. Only 58 points?? Give me a break. The audience sucks. Excuse me while I wail inconsolably in my little corner over here.
Sangha: Yes! Romantic Punch moves on! I’m really sad to see Peterpan Complex go though. But Ropun!!!
Fabien: I can’t help but feel sorry for Peterpan Complex, but at the same time Romantic Punch really deserved to be part of the top 4 after what they showed throughout Top Band 2. But I still don’t eat this voting system.
Xtian: For the first time I actually fist pumped in celebration at seeing the results. YAY!!! So glad my personal favorites are still in the running. Like them well enough, but Peterpan Complex doesn’t compare to Romantic Punch. This episode totally made my day :D