As KBS2 launched season 3 of band survival show Top Band, Indieful ROK launched the Top Band 3 commentary series. The autumn, however, saw the commentary series falling far behind so now it’s catch-up time. Today myself and Kevin have a look at the 6th episode, broadcast November 7th, focusing on the bands coached by Shin Dae Chul. If you want to watch the show yourself all episodes can be streamed from the official site
Day Trip to Chuncheon
Shin Dae Chul has handed out tickets for all of his band members to go on a bus trip to Sangsang Madang in Chuncheon, 8am on a Monday morning.
Anna: I love how the band members are awkwardly hugging Shin Dae Chul as they arrive. He seems like such a sweet man. I’ve heard that the Sangsang Madang location in Chuncheon is beautiful, but never made it there myself. Does seem very pretty there by the lake.
Kevin: They seemed to be getting along well during the bus drive. I how wonder how long it took in total though.
Chicken Galbi Challenge in Chuncheon
The bands compete for the right to distribute 20 servings of chicken galbi.
1 Round: Group Jump Rope
The bands compete to find who can skip the rope for the longest, 3 members at a time.
- Band So: 21 jumps
- 3POP: 10 jumps
- Asian Chairshot: 1 jump
- Apnea: 19 jumps
Anna: With an average [Korean] age of 34 (compared to 3POP’s 21.6) Asian Chairshot anyway do fairly well and look so sweet getting into it. Fun!
Kevin: Ah yes, they jump so gracefully. Playing the Pocari Sweat song while in slow-motion is a must during situations like these. Asian Chairshot put up a great fight. Good job to all the bands.
2 Round: Cockfight
The band members jump around on 1 leg, attempting to remain the last person standing inside the designated area. Winner: Apnea
Band Member Popularity Contest
On the bus ride to Chuncheon the band members have all gotten to vote for which member of another band they’d rather steal.
3: 3POP guitarist Ahn Jung Jae
2: Asian Chairshot vocalist Hwang Young Won
1: Apnea vocalist Ryu Hye Won
Anna: Hwang Young Won is Hongdae Venus? So sweet that Ahn Jung Jae picked Hwang Young Won, and then when Shin Dae Chul reads a reason why Hwang Young Won placed 2nd it’s Ahn Jung Jae who had written it. Top Band’s first couple for real!
Chicken Galbi Meal
Anna: I get so hungry watching this!
Kevin: That looks so delicious. It’s cute how they feed each other.
Talk with Shin Dae Chul
Shin Dae Chul has invited PIA drummer Hyesung, PIA FX maker SimZ, PIA vocalist Yohan, Peterpan Complex drummer Kim Kyungin, Toxic drummer Kim Seulong, HarryBigButton vocalist Lee Sungsoo, Gate Flowers vocalist Park Geun Hong, Romantic Punch vocalist Bae Inhyuk to help coach his new bands.
Anna: For a man that has accomplished so much, Shin Dae Chul seems awfully modest and friendly. I really like how he has invited members from the bands he coached in previous seasons to provide some extra perspective. Bae Inhyuk is apparently a fan of Asian Chairshot already.
Anna: I still haven’t listened up on Apnea so this is new to me. The vocals seem a bit weaker than I would expect. The bassist has so much energy and it’s great watching him, but it seems a bit misplaced when the rest of the band is so calm. Yohan doesn’t seem very impressed.
Kevin: This has somewhat of a gothic feel to it which I really like. The symphonic-esque keyboard sounds really good, though I was expecting a bit more from the vocals. Nice experimentation overall though.
Anna: As a band formed just to audition for Top Band 3, it seems the members of Band So have yet to write any songs of their own. I’m not all that familiar with the original, but can at least say that the cover is not for me. Shin Dae Chul points out that one of the guitarists is out of tune.
Kevin: I noticed that guitarist was out of tune and it kept bothering me. As for the vocals, now that I think about it, I get the feeling that she might be inspired by Yoko Ono, but is nowhere near as avant-garde or noisey. These screams don’t serve much of a purpose. I mean, I’m all for harsh vocals, especially in metal music, but I don’t think she’s pulling it off well. Other than that, the song was nothing special. Middle of the road.
3POP – Love Never Felt So Good (Michael Jackson cover)
Anna: Going all instrumental was a nice touch, but it sounds too much like the kind of music you would hear somebody play in the Stockholm subway an evening. Kim Seulong, who expressed extra interest in 3POP earlier, points out that this is an audition program for bands–not session players.
Kevin: That’s a great way to put it – they feel like session players and not a real band. Just three strangers who came together and started playing, not three friends who worked together for a long time. I know that’s the whole point, but that automatically gives them a less authentic vibe with no real connection, along with their lower age. The song was very “easy listening”, something that would fit perfectly in a coffee shop, but there’s not much else to it. At least they didn’t add vocals just for the sake of having vocals. Putting more focus on the instruments worked out in their favor.
Anna: Is something wrong with the acoustics? I know for a fact that Asian Chairshot are absolutely awesome when performing this song live, but too much is off during this performance. Yohan says it was rather scary; Hwang Young Won with his long hair counters that they were going for a The Ring feeling much to the amusement of Shin Dae Chul. Bae Inhyuk seems impressed that Hwan Young Won is so tall even while standing on stage with bare feets.
Kevin: I can see why Yohan would call it scary. Asian Chairshot is essentially the “darkest” band of this season, with Apnea perhaps being the runner-up in that regard. I just love this almost doom/sludge metal attitude they have, very heavy and bone-crushing sound. It certainly wasn’t as “clean” as other times they’ve performed this song, but they still did a favorable job.
Mission: Sing About Myself
Anna: Wow! I love the idea of the bands writing their own songs band on their respective band names, but what a tough challenge! To have the elimination based on brand new material. But then again that’s a way to make the competition more fair between Top Band project band 3POP and the others that actually auditioned as bands. Can’t say that I disapprove. And again I marvel at the genius of Shin Dae Chul.
Kevin: Self-titled songs are pretty common in K-pop, but this is very different. Writing a song named after your band must be a very in-depth, personal experience. Like they want something to represent the band, to show off what they can do. It’s a great idea.
Anna: They’ve got a good band name for a song title. I really like the intro and love Ryu Hye Won’s dress. This sounds really good to me! A little too heavy on the FX, perhaps, but the vocals compensate. Shin Dae Chul appears to approve as well.
Kevin: This is pretty much what I imagine with a name like “Apnea” – the usual grimey FX, grunge-y guitar/bass and somewhat gothic vocals. It sums up the band pretty nicely. There were also some really good moments for the drums. They should probably have tuned down on some of the FX though, but it worked fine in the long run. A job well done.
Anna: I really wish I could be more into this kind of retro rock, but this is not doing it for me. Another band name that makes for a good song title, but I suspect that there was never much meaning behind the band name to begin with.
Kevin: Pretty boring, actually. Not much to write home about. Don’t care much about the style they’re playing either. Seems like I’m pretty negative about Band So in general, but I can’t help it with what they’re doing. They won’t stand a chance.
3POP – 3POP
Anna: Now this I expect would be a rather difficult name to make a song from that makes sense. I had wish that they’d just repeat “Pop” 3 times instead of singing “3 Pop”. The style of rock is too…mature?…for me. As if they were a middle-aged band, or older, playing for an audience that doesn’t care for anything too exciting. Not at all for me, even though the members all did a good job with their respective instruments and they did manage to sound like a band.
Kevin: Very repetitive and featureless. The chorus felt like something a child could have written. This almost put me to sleep. Not because it was soothing or relaxing, but rather boring. I’ll give them credit for at least writing their own song, but it was below average to me. It wasn’t exciting though, that’s for sure.
Anna: It seems they have been practicing a lot. Or so they say, at least. They executed this really well. Not a new favorite song of theirs, but it does sound very Asian Chairshot. The best performance this episode, no doubt.
Kevin: This sounds like something you’d hear in a…cyberpunk western flick, if that makes sense? It would fit perfectly in some sort of intense chase scene with lots of explosions and maniacal laughter. That’s the kind of image I’m getting from hearing this. I agree, this was the best performance by a long shot. It feels like they put a lot of thought and effort into this.
Anna: I need Asian Chairshot to move on. And I cannot see any reason why they wouldn’t. After coming this far in such a short time it would be interesting to see if 3POP can improve further, but I’d rather see more of Apnea.
Kevin: It feels like we two are Asian Chairshot biased, but damn, they really are amazing. If they somehow end up losing, the show must be rigged.
The results were revealed in the beginning of episode 7.
- Asian Chairshot
- Band So