Posted on October 22, 2015


I was somewhat ill-prepared for Zandari Festa. I didn't decide to go until mid-Friday, since I only ever come to Korea on vacation and I was out to see bands I already knew and liked rather than searching out new names. Of course I couldn't miss personal favorites and objectively awesome bands like Vassline, Jambinai, Apollo 18 and Hollow Jan. But as luck would have it I did end up at several other showcases that also proved very well worth my time.


Technically I didn't actually see Jungles at Zandari Festa, but I did catch them at Skunk Hell after the Zandari opening party on Friday. My main reason for heading to Skunk Hell that very evening was to catch a few Zandari bands ahead of their official schedule. While I'm usually content with just listening to the music and enjoying the show, this 4-member all-female punk band hailing from Japan had me dreaming of being in a band too. Great fun, great energy, great music. They were so good I had to rush out to buy both t-shirt and CD after the show in spite of running very low on cash ahead of the weekend.


The first showcase I caught as part of the official Zandari Festa schedule was Noeazy's. This is a band I'd seen live several times before, but it must've been something like five years since the last time. During that time, not only has the band improved technically, but I had completely forgotten just how much I used to enjoy their shows. Even though there were only 10-20 people in attendance at SangSang Madang, the members gave it their all, also performing a new song. Metalcore at its best.


During 2015 DTSQ has surfaced as one of the bands to look out for. I had never actually gotten around to listening to their music myself prior to Zandari Festa, but in the weeks leading up to the festival I had seen their stickers pasted in all possible places, including in areas far away from Hongdae. I had to check them out for myself. The whole dance rock thing of recent years really isn't for me, but there was something about DTSQ that nonetheless had me thoroughly enjoying what I heard and saw. All the hype and attention prior to the festival appear to be well deserved.


Now this might seem like an odd "discovery", but until Zandari Festa this year I had never actually seen SmackSoft live. I didn't quite know what to expect and ended up completely blown away. The guitarist and drummer were both new in the band, but I would never have guessed from how well they played together. The showcase was very intense and numerous times I found myself amazed at just how good it all was. To make it all the more special they also played a song from their 2001 album. After the show Whang Bo Ryung said that she's usually wilder than that, since it was jazz venue and all, meaning I will most definitely have to check out SmackSoft again next time I have the chance.

Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans

So technically I didn't actually see Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans during Zandari Festa either, but I include them on this list anyway since I intended to do so (until NPU's showcase on the other side of Hongdae turned out to be 25 min delayed, that is). I consider Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans' debut album to be one of the best releases of 2014 and was very happy to catch them live a couple of weeks prior to this year's Zandari Festa. There's something about Jun Bum Sun's vocals that I just can't resist and this turned out to be even truer live. The songs I like so much when listening at home work just as well in a live format, and as an added bonus Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans also teased us with a much more rock-oriented song from the next album.

Article  : Anna Lindgren Lee (
Korean Translation  : 이윤지 (Yoonji Lee)


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