South Korea is famous the world over for its music, though perhaps not the best of it reaches across the seas. But behind the plasticized K-pop stars and their vapid dance rhythms, there is a nation of live music that deserves to be heard. Punk, jazz, rock, classical, electronica—all of it is well represented in Seoul, and usually, it’s great. Bands here don’t practice by playing gigs—they learn their stuff behind closed doors, and then they go out onstage. Because of that discipline, upon visiting any of these venues, you’ll witness some of the tightest and most technically proficient independent music out there.
Dave Hazzan reads, writes, and drinks in Ilsan, South Korea.