Local promoters such as Super Color Super and the guys behind Korea Gig Guide work hard to bring music acts to Korea like CocoRosie and Liars, but they also try to help support local Korean bands as well. The issue with gaining exposure as an up and coming band when promoters are always looking to gain the extra buck with bigger acts is nothing new and it makes these local promoters essential. In a city like Daegu where the live music scene is slim (but still there), I want nothing more than to keep these promoters' shows live and running. Most recently, the Liars show caused great controversy resulting in the show being cancelled in both Seoul and Busan.
Straight from the Super Color Super website comes the following message:
Important news for everyone, a bit of death by commitee. KMRB, the Korea Media Rating Board, http://www.kmrb.or.kr/ contacted SuperColorSuper’s lead manager this afternoon that to put on the show will result in prison time and serious fines- in light of the show has been properly reviewed by this censorship board. The Liars’ were fully prepared to perform and did everything properly, this is no way reflects upon them. The blockade comes from down to us by way of government. Our co-promoter had heard a few days together that someone (not sure which) was set to interfere with our shows now since our grassroots/DIY work had been gathering support, and we had been researching everything we could to be locked and loaded. We didn’t expect this though. Unless there is a way found to make the process easier, this might mean some drastic changes in concerts in Korea.
We’ve gotten Media Rating Board approval for shows in the past when they were possible, but for most venues they are impossible to get because of zoning classicications- places that constantly run shows are not eligible venues for this board, as they are not licensed in the exact way. There are a handful of governement-acceptable place in Seoul, and they are nil in Busan, Daegu.
So why is this coming about now, in the midst of years of regular unapproved shows? When asking the board why they were only shutting down Liars’, they confirmed they knew of many other unlicensed shows happening the same night as Liars, but were only asking us to stop at the behest of a company who called them.
Now, what does this have to do with MGMT and why I won't be going? Well, MGMT tickets are going for 99,000w (~$90) WITH no opening band. This is ludicrous! When MGMT played in Toronto tickets were $40. I've also seen them play live at Lollapalooza 2010, and I wish I stayed for the entire set of Wolfmother instead. As much as I would like to see music from back home in Korea, I wouldn't pay more than 60,000w to see them, and for a show with no opening act. I also don't want to participate in feeding these bigger promoters for a show that won't last longer than an hour, which takes away from the integrity of the local promoters. At least they try to support music in Korea, and I have the ability to hopefully see these bands come to Daegu.
Just for the record, I have nothing against MGMT. I think they're an amazing group and I do love their music. This post is more of an awareness about the situation of what's going on with local music and my own personal protest. If you were to give me a choice between only seeing International (to Korea) music in large venues and paying an arm and a leg, or see local music in small venues, hands down I would chose only seeing local music. I just don't want this choice to be taken away from me at all.
Sites I use for music:
SUPER C۞L۞R SUPER
Korea Gig Guide
Daegu Live (facebook group)