I’d like to take this moment in the midst of all the Zandari Festa coverage to harken back to a piece of magic I saw the week before the renowned festival began. You all remember my friend who introduced me to IGLoo BaY, right? Well, that same night I’d already had plans to see a band called GoryMurgy. So she tagged along. Needless to say neither of us were quite expecting what happened.
Club FF in my estimation is probably the most well-attended venue in Hongdae. If not, it’s certainly one of the most popular. It seems every night there are at least three local bands and artists taking to the small stage. This Friday night was no exception. On the roster there were five bands set to hit the stage. Our quartet of rock stars, in fact, found themselves part of a battle of the bands with one known as Sark. Needless to say it was quite an eventful evening.
When my friend and I find our seats, A-fuzz (a band you all know by know I have a huge music crush on) was already on the stage. Gotta say, it’s not an easy thing following those ladies. Once they finish with a stage, it’s complete in shambles and anyone with the brass ones to come on after them already deserves respect. Or at least a round of applause for their unfortunate luck.
Knowing all this, I was still very hopeful for the lads of GoryMurgy. They’re all Brits either by birth or by virtue of the many paths life sends us to traverse. With this cross-continental experience comes a common expertise in the nuances of British rock. GoryMurgy is a product of the legacy of the Beatles and brashness of Oasis — erring more toward the Brothers Gallagher than the arguable kings of the so-called British Invasion.
When they begin their set it’s with a bit of self-deprecation and a wry sense of humor. Then, oh then. The sound that came from that band sweeps through that small space like a fog. A smoke meant to infect the audience surreptitiously. A sound that simultaneously avoids direct notice and insists upon itself. Yeah… if it sounds like I’m having a hard time describing just how infectious their music is it’s because…. Well, hell, it’s because I am!
Honestly, GoryMurgy is a band that must be seen to be believed. While it’s not indefinable as far as genre, overall aural aesthetic, there’s something really indescribable about the feelings the bring out in their audience. While between songs they have the sort of dry humor that makes someone like me chuckle, a humility that speaks to their newness on the scene, their performance style is cocky as all hell.
They all know they’ve got something that’s both reminiscent and completely unique. You know where they come from as far as their style. However, in the midst of mostly punk bands (and a smattering of true blues-rock and experimental funk) they are an anomaly. It’s hard-cut rock with a subtle softness at the edges.
And yes, I can’t deny they have the same sound profile of Oasis — smooth and emotional when they need to appeal to a wide public, hardcore when they need to release the remnant violence from all the in fighting. But, again, how could they not? We can’t deny that there have been two bands that defined the extremes of British music (to the point that the influence reached across the pond).
From two very different eras in music, The Beatles and Oasis both gave people a glimpse at the scope of what British rockers could do. With the onset of grunge and more emotional pop-rock, it’s no wonder GoryMurgy reminds me so much of something from my childhood.
Guitarist Kim Kimin has a surprising prettiness to him. No, I’m not talking about what most have come to see as the inherent “prettiness” of boys in bands from South Korea. There is something genuinely gentle about him. His vocal has a forlorn quality about it that naturally breaks hearts, despite having a power that comes straight from the gut.
Lead guitarist Tommy Powell has one of the strongest presences on stage I’ve ever seen. He’s born to be in front, that’s for damn sure. Even his attempts at Korean are bold, fearless. The combination of both guitarist/vocalists’ personalities and performance styles brings the sound together in a surprising way. The epitome of yin and yang — all parts of one whole. Red wine with a piss and vinegar chaser.
It’s easy to fall into them. The band makes it easy. The audience is at once comforted by the familiarity of the band and confused about what to do with their energy. At the end of their performance, I leave feeling as if I’ve discovered something brand-new that I’ve heard before. Again… I know I’m not making this any easier. But as I said… they must be seen to be believed. Trust me, it’s an experience worth having if you get a chance to.