Zandari Fest: Opening Party & Day 1

I’m home, recovered from jet lag, and finally able to recall what happened on my trip to Korea. We’ll keep the RnS posts limited to all the awesome live music I saw though – and maybe a short guide on where I was able to find live music!

But for now – here’s the first taste of Seoul’s Zandari Festa.

For the press folks, we started things out Friday night after registering. There was an opening party played by a few of the great bands scheduled to take part of the festival. I was a little late, as I’d been attending another function I was invited to, but I made it in time to watch National Pigeon Unity rock the stage, and get the crowd ready for the upcoming chaos and insanity of the weekend.

First artist I had the extreme pleasure of seeing was National Pigeon Unity.I had just run across Hongdae from another gig to make it in time for most of their set. I knew I wasn’t going to get to see their showcase, so it was extremely important for me to see them on Friday. I will say, for a two-man band, these boys know how to make some noise. There is definitely something magnetic about their energy on stage that pulls even the most casual listener in. I had a friend tag along and she became an instant fan, definitely not something that most artists can do.


Next up for the opening party was UK band Sugarmen, who I stayed for about half of the set, before being pulled away for another event that night. (Most of my trip was like this – so busy!)


[10/1/16] Day 1 of Zandari Festa started out with a bang and my first artist of the night was the last song of band 57’s set over at Club Steelface. (I’ll admit, I got really sick on Saturday and missed a few bands earlier on in the day…) And sadly, I don’t have much to say other than the club was packed to the brim for 57, which means they’ve got a great local fanbase. I was forced to stand literally in the doorway for them. (I think they only let me in because I was press, because it was too full otherwise!)


Up next at Club Steelface was Diealright. The kick ass band led by power vocalist Song-Hwa rocked the club and had people grooving right along. If you recall, Diealright was on our list of bands not to miss at Zandari Festa – and we sure were right. If you have the chance to see them perform live, you’d better not miss it, because the band plays with so much angst and emotion that you kind of end up wanting to punch someone and dance at the same time.


Next, I finally made it over to the venue I was most excited to visit – KT&G Sangsangmadang. It’s one of the most elaborate venues, and has such great lighting and is clean and has so much space! I was super excited to finally see 구남과여라이딩스텔라 (aka Goonam.) I missed them when they came to SXSW in 2013, so I was super excited to finally witness their epic blend of psychedelic funk & electro-rock. They blend the genres seamlessly and keep the audience dancing.


For me, however the scene-stealer is definitely keyboardist, Na-Un and her ridiculously infectious smile. She was having fun, so I was having fun (despite the long day of feeling sick).

Like I said – scene-stealer!

I was pretty much exhausted after this point, so I hung out with friends for a minute at French Night, but I won’t report on it – I didn’t stay long.

For a festival as new as Zandari, I was impressed on my first night to see the crowds out for all these different bands. You could tell that there was a good mix of their regular crowds, as well as folks like me who had come out to Seoul to explore new music. And explore we did!

Stay tuned for Day 2.



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