5 Acts to See at Zandari Festa 2016

The fifth edition of Korea’s premier showcase festival Zandari Festa kicks off today, September 30. I have yet to make up my mind about what to see, but luckily it’s not until tomorrow that the official showcases start leaving an extra day to figure it out. In case anybody else is in the same situation, or just wants some tips on bands to check out, here are some of the bands I will make sure to see for the first time.

Say Sue Me

October 1, 13:00 @ Steel Face
October 1, 19:00 @ Club Ta

I should’ve caught Say Sue Me already at Zandari Festa last year, but in the end couldn’t make it. This year there are two chances as Say Sue Me will also be playing as part of the DoIndie Introducing stages. Surf rock from the beach city of Busan. Say Sue Me’s EP Big Summer Night was one of my favorite releases from last year so now I have no excuse not to make it.

Drinking Boys and Girls Choir

October 2, 17:00 @ Gogos 2

Drinking Boys and Girls Choir first caught my attention with their contribution to the Club Heavy 20th Anniversary compilation. Eye-catching name, very catchy punk rock. I’d thought my chances of seeing this Daegu band live were rather slim, but it seems I’ll get lucky in just a couple of days.

You Are Amanda

October 2, 17:00 @ Steel Face Rooftop

I had somehow managed to miss out on You Are Amanda until I spotted the name in this year’s Zandari line-up. The band’s debut EP from June offers great guitar pop with songs that keep popping up in my head long after I’ve stopped listening. Named wildcard at the Hello Rookie auditions for August, You Are Amanda should be well worth checking out.

The March Kings

October 2, 19:00 @ Steel Face

I’d been vaguely familiar with The March Kings thanks to various Korea-based blogs, but it was only after they signed with Electric Muse and released second full-length album Spring Will Come that I realized what I’d been missing out on. Great melodies that stick. Great opportunity to check out this Daegu based band.


October 3, 20:00 @ Steel Face

Responsible for what is still the best release of 2016 there’s no way I can miss PAKK this year. I’ve seen PAKK leader Kim Daeinn live numerous times as part of Apollo 18 and have never once been disappointed. I’m expecting the same from PAKK and their psychedelically tinged explosive rock. This performance alone would have been reason enough for me to attend Zandari Festa.

Additional Recommendations

The above is just a very small sample of bands I think will be worth checking out at Zandari Festa this weekend. There are many more bands I’ve never seen before that I hope I’ll get around to catching, and even more bands I’ve seen before and would like to see again. From the latter category, below is a selection of bands I have seen live before and can personally vouch for as being amazing live bands not to miss–scheduling conflicts be damned.

October 1

17:00 – DTSQ: One of my best discoveries at Zandari Festa 2015.
17:00 – Theatre8: Incredibly entertaining with great audience support.
18:00 – Unchained: Caught them last year and was thoroughly amazed.
19:00 – 57: So much awesomeness from just 2 people. A joy to watch.
19:00 – Noeazy: One of the technically strongest Korean metalcore bands.
21:00 – Goonam: I once went to London twice in 1 week to see them…
21:00 – Hollow Jan: Even more fantastic live than on record.
21:00 – Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon: Lovely and seductive also in person.

October 2

18:00 – Wings of the ISANG: Most memorable showcase for me last year.
20:00 – Vassline: Consistently awesome for as long as I’ve known them.
21:00 – Asian Chairshot: Great songs that turn incredibly strong live.
21:00 – National Pigeon Unity: I could never get enough of NPU.

October 3

20:00 – Danpyunsun and the Sailors: Both intriguing and amusing.
21:00 – Crying Nut: The most fun-packed performance of last year.
21:00 – Galaxy Express: The epitome of Korean rock’n’roll.
21:00 – Hellivsion: Improvised jamming sessions that always impress.
21:00 – Tierpark: Fascinating. Simple as that.

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