6th Kimchibilly Night at DGBD in Hongdae

Who knew there was a rockabilly subculture alive in Seoul?  I’m finding out that there are a lot of things here that I did not anticipate.  Saturday night was Kimchibilly Night at Club DGBD in Hongdae, apparently #6.  The night consisted of slap bass, pompadours and slicked back hair, creepers, leather, tattoos and good music.  Four bands played: Rusty Belle, Gentle Slicks, BZBZ and the headlining Rocktigers.  It was something I would expect to see at Dante’s back home.  I swear I saw Elvis.

This was my first time in Hongdae.  It’s the neighborhood by Hongik University and a major nightlife hub in the city.  Live music venues, hip-hop clubs, dance clubs, tons of bars and restaurants.  Not very easy to navigate for the first time because there are so many establishments crammed into this area, and every online map you look at highlights different places, and says that everything is right next to everything, and there are several little alleys and twists and turns. Lots of people were out on a Saturday night.  I even saw a fight in the street as I was jumping in to my cab, some Korean dude ripping his shirt off to expose his scrawny torso as his friends hold him back from attacking his enemy.  Ah, college towns.

DGBD is a small live music venue.  Bright blue neon sign out front, you enter and immediately go underground.  At first you are on a small walkway with a rail above the stage and floor, then you go down a staircase into the back of main floor.  1 bar, 1 bartender, although the line was never really that long.  I even sat at the bar for the first half of the night and was able to get drinks super quick.  5,000 won for a Cass as well as for a Jack on the rocks.  10,000 won cover, but you get a free drink ticket.  Pretty reasonable.  There was a mix of Koreans and expats at the show, quite a few ladies that prefer ladies, and everyone was friendly and having a good time.


Rusty Belle was on when I got there.  Slap bass, guitar, 3 saxophones which is awesome, drums and singer.   Kind of rowdy, screaming and jumping around the stage.

Next was The Gentle Slicks, self proclaimed rock n’ roll romantic performance team.  Slap bass, drums, guitar and singer.  Bass player has tattoos all over his neck and tons of eye make-up.  Lead singer thinks he’s Elvis.

Next was the special guest, BZBZ.  Bluegrass straight out of Appalachia is especially not what I thought I would be seeing here in Korea, and it was awesome.  Slap bass, mandolin and harmonica, guitar and a female singer.  All four musicians sang and harmonized.

And last was the headliner, Rocktigers, fronted by the sexy Velvet Geena. They brought the most energy out of any of the bands all night, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of jumping and dancing.  Not sure what I could compare them to back home, maybe a Korean No Doubt, but flavored with rockabilly, not ska or dancehall.

Even though I was really enjoying myself, I left a little bit early.  It was pretty late and I am fighting off another cold (working around kids is not good for the immune system).  I wanted to see the neighborhood later in the night, and I had to figure out where to get a cab, which ended up being available everywhere.  Here is my first cab ride in Korea.   I think that was Bon Jovi on the radio.

I’ll be doing my best to return to more Kimchibilly Nights in the future.

Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com


~ by ripcitytoseoul on May 24, 2009.

2 Responses to “6th Kimchibilly Night at DGBD in Hongdae”

  1. WOW! Those video’s are way cool! I’m glad that you are having fun!

  2. Hey thanks for the review of the shows! Did you make it Kimchibilly 7? That was last weekend. The next one is Aug 1st. The time is not set yet, but please come on by! Stop by the sound board and say ‘Hi!!”

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