Last weekend seemed to be a weekend of ~firsts~ for me, most of them coming from my trip to Prism Live Hall in Hongdae to see the mixtape showcase of underground-hip hop crew daenamhyup. Let it just be said that I appreciate almost all styles and genres of music, though I have a deep rooted affection for shouty-Japanese rock music, and also Korean hip hop. Or hep hap, as it is sometimes so cruelly translated from the rather shitty hangeul – and yes, that translation does provide endless hours of entertainment even now. All sorted there? Yep, good. Ok.
Disclaiming that this isn’t really in anyway a proper ~review~.
I found out about the showcase via a couple of the crew members tweets and the hiphopplaya website. I was actually looking for club nights to go to, and found this instead. All I remember thinking when I first saw the poster was ‘Ohhh! Artists I like!!’ ‘Oooh!!! Hongdae!! Super close!!!’ ‘I MUST GO.’ … Though finding someone to go with proved quite a struggle, since a lot of my close friends don’t like hip hop music and weren’t prepared to pay to see something they generally weren’t going to like. Thankfully, it just so happened that my friends visiting from Singapore were totally up for it. Score!
The event took place at Prism Live Hall, in Hongdae, which is about a three minute walk straight from exit 3 of Hapjeong station. It’s a small venue, I’d guess it holds about 300 or so people at maximum capacity, which is great for this sort of event. Not too large to disappoint a small turnout, but not too small that you’re only playing to people you know. In England, I’ve enjoyed the live’s I’ve been to at the smaller venues much more than those at the larger ones. It feels more intimate, though I do love a good concert regardless of where it’s held.
I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be any tickets left, as not having a working Korean phone number meant I couldn’t reserve tickets online and I wasn’t entirely sure how popular the event would be. It turned out all my worrying was in vain, as the very lovely people at the desk assured me there were tickets, and promptly took our names (and our money), gave us numbers and said the event didn’t start till 7 – we arrived at around 6:20.
In England, when I queue for gigs, I tend to get annoyed by some concert-goers clear lack of respect for a queue. Aka, queue-jumping is common and it drives me insane. In Korea, however, the numbers we were given at the ticket desk were actually our numbers in the line position – so no queue jumpers!!
The concert itself was so much better, so much more than I had been expecting. I mean, I thought it would be good, I’ve listened to the tracks this crew creates since they formed themselves, through the luck of a naver search, but I wasn’t really prepared for how engaging it would be.
The showcase started off with the introduction of the dj, who freestyled for a bit until the opening act was ready and all the technical hitches had been resolved. (Somewhere along the lines, someone miscalculated the number of mics…) The venue was nearly at capacity, everyone was ready to begin.
Sik-k opened the show a little nervously, but soon got right into the swing of things. After his set, the DNH boys came on. Their show was literally the most engaging gig I’ve ever been to. There were sweet MC moments where they thanked the audience for coming, asking if we’d listened to the mixtape and being really surprised-yet-happy when everyone attending said they had. We, the audience, were also asked which tracks we wanted them to do, and the crew cycled through excuses until we said they one they wanted to perform. Their charisma when rapping was so high-level they had the whole crowd, and the bunch of too-cool-for-this-when-people-are-watching boys standing next to me jumping and dancing on cue.
This experience has certainly made me want to try going to more smaller shows while I’m over here, which will probably become incredibly expensive, but as my seniors have told me countless times, this Year Abroad is what you make of it – you get out as much as you put in. So what’s the harm in investing a little, haha.
I’ve added a couple of my favourite photos that I took from the showcase. The boys were moving around so much they were so hard to photograph.