Top Band 3: Coach Selections

The third season of KBS2 band survival show Top Band started in the beginning of the month. Following the first couple of episodes the Top Band 3 commentary series started here on Indieful ROK with the first real post covering the live audition that took place in the first couple of episodes. Now it’s time for the second post, covering the part of the show where the bands got the coaches that will help them through the rest of the series. Only Kevin and myself took part in the panel this time around. If you want to watch it yourself all episodes can be streamed from the official site


For the second part of Top Band 3, the bands selected for the Top 18 get 300 seconds each to perform a cover of a Korean song that they like. During the performance the 3 coaches can each press a button to signal that they’d like to coach the band. If more than 1 coach has pushed the button, the band gets to pick. The coaches get to pick 4 bands each.


Oriental Showcus – 얘얘 (Chang Deok cover)

Yoon Il Sang pushed the button.

Anna: From YouTube it seems like Oriental Showcus have been covering this song also during performances ahead of Top Band. As charming on stage as during the audition, though I liked their outfits better when not as matching. The saxophonists dance is not as much fun the second time around, but I guess it’s his signature thing. Yoon Il Sang beats the button in pace with the music–cute.

Kevin: I agree about the outfits and dance being better at the earlier performance. This was still very much enjoyable though. The instruments all blended together really well, it sounded great. So much energy. It was really cute when they were all singing COOL’s “Sorrow” afterwards.


Apnea – Paradise Lost (Gain cover)

Yoon Il Sang and Shin Dae Chul pushed the button. Apnea picked Shin Dae Chul as coach.

Anna: Good choice of song for the band. I’m liking the darkness of this arrangement. The vocal distortion part seems to be lacking a tiny bit in timing, but other than that I have few complaints. The editing puts a lot of focus on the vocalist throughout, but at least it’s done a bit more seriously than during the audition portion of the show. I like how Yoon Il Sang and Shin Dae Chul are promoting themselves as coaches, especially when Shin Dae Chul claims that he can do hallyu well too.

Kevin: This song fits really well with their style. I bet Gain would have appreciated it. Actually, the singer’s outfit reminds me of what Gain wore in the “Paradise Lost” music video – that’s a nice touch. I very much enjoyed the dubstep-esque breakdown later on, as it didn’t feel out of place but rather added something new to the song. Personally, I think they did a better job here than at the audition. This is definitely a band Shin Dae Chul should work with as it’s right up his alley.


Streetguns – U-Go-Girl (Lee Hyori cover)

All coaches pushed the button. Streetguns picked Rose Motel as coach.

Anna: Interesting choice of song. I’m not familiar with the original from before and am not really won over by this version. But then I’m quite particular with my rockabilly, and the judges – Rose Motel in particular – seem to be all into it. Shin Dae Chul say they should pick him since he’s a fan and can play guitar with them. Yoon Il Sang counters that he can play the keyboard. Tiger anyway opts for the “visual” option.

Kevin: I like how they toned down on the Elvis influence for this performance. It was still rockabilly, sure, but it felt more aggressive and badass which I highly approve of. I’m loving that guitar solo. It seems like most of these bands, so far at least, have improved a lot since their initial audition and that’s great.


Lunafly – 미안해 (Lena Park cover)

Yoon Il Sang pushed the button.

Anna: Although framing it as a Lena Park cover this is more like the original Spanish version, Camila’s “Mientes”. Not too bad, but not all that original either. I’m not really against having Lunafly on the show, but I take issue with Yoon Il Sang pushing the button when they are already under his entertainment company. Not only is it unfair to the other bands (favoritism!) but wouldn’t it have been better for Lunafly to learn from one of the other coaches instead?

Kevin: Lena Park is one of my favorite singers, so I was interested to see how this was gonna go. Turns out there’s not much to talk about. It didn’t leave much of an impact on me nor did it feel unique at all. They performed it well, sure, but they probably should have picked a different song. It was like a generic rock song you’d hear on the radio with not much replay value, that’s how I would describe it. Yoon Il Sang should seriously let someone else coach them, especially if this is what he teaches them.


Pentasonic – I Do (Rain cover)

Nobody pushed the button.

Anna: From what little I heard of Pentasonic during the takeouts this seems to be a good fit of song to cover. The vocalist explains that it’s the first time he sings a song in Korean outside of a noraebang, and it kind of shows. Shin Dae Chul has a funny look on his face throughout. Not my style of music, but I anyway would’ve liked to see a little bit more of them on the show.

Kevin: Honestly, he should have practiced more on his Korean pronunciation. It made me put too much focus on the lyrics themselves rather than the overall song, which was just okay in my opinion. It felt really unprofessional in that regard. At least he tried his best, I’ll give him credit for that. But if they want to become more successful in Korea, the singer needs to improve his korean, then we’ll see how it goes from there.


leeSA – 빨개요+ 필승 (Hyuna + Seo Tai Ji covers)

Yoon Il Sang pushed the button.

Anna: This is more like the leeSA I’m used to listening to! I especially like how she integrates “필승” in what is otherwise a Hyuna cover. It seems she’s been having some problem with her throat, but I still liked how she came out. Also happy that she got the coach she wanted. But Yoon Il Sang seems way too button happy–he will have to skip on a lot of bands that would’ve been great to see him work with.

Kevin: Her voice is still not doing much for me. It’s lacking impact and power. This just makes me want to listen to the original instead. The “필승” portion was more enjoyable for me though, especially with the kazoo.


A’Z bus – 누구 없소 (Han Young Ae cover)

Rose Motel pushed the button.

Anna: I wish we could’ve seen some of A’Z bus during the auditions. This was a good choice of song for them to cover, but I recall them as sounding stronger during the Hello Rookie finals.

Kevin: Ah, this was a great performance. I love the singer’s voice. There’s not really anything to complain about. I like how the song switches from being calming to hard-hitting.


The 2080 – 나는 나비 (YB cover)

Nobody pushed the button.

Anna: The awkwardness of just putting a lot of gifted musicians together and expecting them to deliver as a band in just a week is showing during preparations. And unfortunately also during the performance. The arrangement is quite unbalanced and while there are bits and pieces that sound good it just doesn’t make for a coherent performance. I had actually expected the coaches to each take on one of the 3 project bands to be automatically assigned to a coach each. This just makes the whole project band seem like the bad idea I had expected it to be.

Kevin: This was performance felt really messy and unorganized. There wasn’t any real sense of teamwork, they just played their parts without any meaningful connection. I had my doubts at first but this was still really disappointing. They just don’t sound well together. I guess they could improve if they had more time to practice.


InPlace – Party (Girls’ Generation cover)

Nobody pushed the button.

Anna: I like this! InPlace’s light style go well with this kind of song, but we get to hear much too little of it. This is what I would’ve expected Yoon Il Sang to go for if only he had more spots open.

Kevin: As a big fan of Girls’ Generation, I was excited to see which song InPlace would be covering. This had a lot potential at first, as I was digging the intro, but it just kept going downhill from there. The singing was inconsistent in terms of notes during the chorus, not to mention how he skipped multiple lines, but also the guitar felt lacking at times. Honestly, this would probably be better off as just a studio version. Again, it has potential, I think they can pull if off well, but this particular performance didn’t do the song justice despite it not being one of my favorite Girls’ Generation tracks.


이플 – 넌 할 수 있어 (Kang San-eh cover)

Nobody pushed the button.

Anna: I like this faster version of Kang San-eh’s classic. They seem to do better than the first project group, but also picked a style of music that does a somewhat better job of masking differences than The 2080 managed. Still, a victim to the impossibility of the whole project band idea.

Kevin: I would have liked to hear more of this performance. At least this was much better than what The 2080 put together. I’m not too familiar with the original song, but this sounds quite nice from what I heard.


Four Brothers – Balloons (TVXQ cover)

Nobody pushed the button.

Anna: Branded “Korea’s Beatles” by the show. From what little we heard I thought this sounded pretty good, but it seems the coaches are all waiting for some of the other bands coming up. A pity as we didn’t get to see any of them during the audition episodes either.

Kevin: Again, they cut this performance way too short. I have mixed feelings about the vocals and their obvious Beatles-vibe, but I enjoyed the performance nonetheless. Although it feels a bit too different from the original in terms of arrangement. I don’t know if that’s just me, but if I wasn’t familiar with the lyrics I might not have realized this was a cover of “Balloons”. Not sure if that’s a bad or good thing.


What A Circus – 보이네 (Nami cover)

Rose Motel and Shin Dae Chul pushed the button. What A Circus picked Rose Motel as coach.

Anna: I’m somewhat torn when it comes to “visual” bands. Sure it can be great fun, but isn’t it also partially done as a gimmick to distract from their musical proficiency? Regardless What A Circus manage to get Shin Dae Chul laughing. The song choice makes me think these men would be better of performing at company parties for other men their age. But it might just be that I don’t really appreciate their style of music. The second band to pick Rose Motel over Shin Dae Chul. And here I was thinking Shin Dae Chul would be everybody’s first choice.

Kevin: This came off as very cringe-worthy and downright childish. I’m not really against this type of music, but when these old men try to act cute, it just feels off. Like overly gimmicky in order to distract from the song itself, especially with that awkward leg dance. Sure, Oriental Showcus also had dancing, but at least they didn’t make it over-exaggerated and kept it synced, unlike this.  It was fun at times, but overall, the best way I can describe this is “corny”.


3POP – 어떤이의 꿈 (Bom Yeo-reum Gaeul Kyeo-ul cover)

Shin Dae Chul pushed the button.

Anna: With just 3 members it must be all that much easier to agree on arrangements and work together as a project band. It seems they’ve found a good place to meet with their music, their strengths working together rather than competing for attention. Not my style of music, but if this can reach this level after just a week of working together I’m very curious to see what more they can do given some time.

Kevin: This is really laid-back yet groovy. It’s like the instruments compliment each other and create a really smooth atmosphere, especially with that great bass sound. I love how they’re all on the same level musically and make something great out of their shared efforts. I have a feeling they can continue to go even further as a band if they keep working together like this.


Notension – 기다림 (Yi Sung Yol cover)

Yoon Il Sang pushed the button.

Anna: I’m liking this so very much, but suspect that a large part of it is just transferring my feelings for the original as this wasn’t all that different. Had Yoon Il Sang not realized that he couldn’t pick any more bands after this?

Kevin: Regardless of how similar this is to the original, they did a great job and I’m digging it. Quite emotional singing, soaring guitar notes and a somber piano. There’s not much to complain about.


Asian Chairshot – 해야 (Magma cover)

Shin Dae Chul pushed the button.

Anna: Solid choice! I do prefer their own song with the same, but this is also a good way to showcase what they’re capable of besides the style they already showed during the audition. Would have been fun to see them take on something that was more pop rather than just starting with what is already a rock classic, but they did make it their own regardless. So glad they get to have Shin Dae Chul as coach!

Kevin: Asian Chairshot continues to impress me as usual. I absolutely adore the vocals and distorted guitar here. This gave me goosebumps, to be honest. I still think these guys have a great chance to hit it big with this show. Admittedly, this would have been a good chance for them to cover a pop song, but I guess they didn’t want to stray away from their heavier roots, which is understandable. Shin Dae Chul is a perfect choice for them.


Wasted Johnny’s – Honey (JYP cover)

Rose Motel pushed the button.

Anna: Is this really what Wasted Johnny’s sound like? I think I’ve seen them live once and found that way more impressive than I do this. But then of course this is TV. And not my kind of music (what’s up with all the blues influences nowadays?). Happy we’ll get to see more of them on the show though.

Kevin: They did a good job, but it’s not really anything special. I don’t really care much for these blues bands, but there’s no denying they’re entertaining. It’s just run-of-the-mill blues with basic grooves. That high note at the end was really nice though.


Dead Buttons – 한동안 뜸 했었지 (Love & Peace cover)

Nobody pushed the button.

Anna: This is considerably softer than what I’ve come to expect from Dead Buttons. Ah, but after a while it changes! Now this is more like what I had expected! They finish with 75 seconds to go and continue to play a bit of their own “Witch” until time runs out. As Rose Motel points out, the 2 styles were very different. Unfortunately they came off ill-prepared. I had expected Shin Dae Chul to bite on Dead Buttons, but that was considering their usual style. That he didn’t push the button is a loss both for Dead Buttons and Top Band 3.

Kevin: I’m glad they went for a more upbeat rock approach this time. The two members’ vocals sounded really well together. This was extremely catchy and much more memorable than before. It’s indeed a shame that they’re gone after such great effort. It’s kind of sad seeing them try to convince the coaches with their “Witch” performance with no buttons pushed. They left me wanting more so I’m gonna miss them for the rest of the show.


Band 그래서 – 이건 너무 하잖아요 (Kim Jung Mi cover)

All coaches pushed the button. Band 그래서 picked Shin Dae Chul as coach.

Kevin: It’s nice to see them take inspiration from 70’s psychedelic rock. Sounds quite nice, very hippie-esque. They have a lot of energy and passion. Highly enjoyed this performance. It was actually kind of emotional when all of the coaches pressed the button. That must have meant a lot to the band.

Anna: Before I can comment on the band, let me just say how ridiculous it is to save this one, last performance to another episode. Unlike Kevin I’m not really feeling this one. Although more energetic than the original it doesn’t quite manage to convince me. Wow, the coaches were all eating this up though! I didn’t realize they even had the possibility to replace either of their choices this far. Good thing for the other bands that Band 그래서 decided to go with Shin Dae Chul.




Rose Motel Shin Dae Chul Yoon Il Sang
A’Z bus
What A Circus
Wasted Johnny’s
Asian Chairshot
Band 그래서
Oriental Showcus


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