Review: K-Rock Showcase with Dead Buttons, Max Raptor, DTSQ and We Are The Night @ The Forge (London, 25th May 2016)

As a warm-up show for the K-MUSIC FESTIVAL, happening September 2016, the Korean Cultural Centre in the UK (KCCUK) and the Korean Creative Contents Agency (KOCCA) have brought three South-Korean rock bands to The Forge, in Camden, on Wednesday 25th May.

The most notorious South-Korean musical export might be K-Pop, those catchy pop tunes danced along by skilled young idols, but there is much more to the contemporary Korean popular music scene, and the K-Rock showcase was indeed a means to show it and defy the stereotypes.

The line-up saw three bands, DTSQ, We Are The Night and Dead Buttons, rotate on the stage, alongside Max Raptor, the only British act of the night, who performed the same kind of punk-rock that DTSQ and Dead Buttons represented.

DTSQ, a three-man band, were the first to perform. They played a raw punk rock, infused with electronic sounds and psychedelia, with an energy that engaged the whole crowd – at some point, guitarist Su-Hyun Kim jumped off the stage and played a riff in the midst of the audience that captured the attention of the whole venue.

They were followed by We Are The Night, a band that favoured modern electronic instruments over raw guitars and powerful drums. Their music is an electro-pop that invites you to dance and lose yourself in the catchy beats.

Punk rock returned then to the stage, with Max Raptor first, and with Dead Buttons later, the two headliners of the night. It was surprising to see how a duo (Dead Buttons are the guitarist and vocalist Ji-Hyun Hong, and the drummer and vocalist Kang-Hee Lee), could make such an energetic music. With only two instruments, they rock the stage and blew the audience’s minds.

There were many Koreans in the audience, but also people from all over the world. The Forge reconfirmed itself as a venue which is able to attract a diverse audience, and provide a very diverse event programme.