Greatest concert of the summer?
Circle Aug. 14 and 15 on the calendar. With acts like the Smashing Pumpkins, Tears for Fears, New Order, Foster the People and Gotye, Super!Sonic might turn out to be the biggest surprise of your summer. It’s just a short subway ride away.
The line-up is wide open and fan friendly, offering everything from new wave and synth to electronica jam and punk-influenced rock. Indeed, when Super!Sonic gets its groove on at Olympic Park in Seoul, some of the biggest bands over the past 30 years will be rocking the stage.
But it ain’t cheap. A single-day pass will run you 150,000 won and a two-day ticket costs 240,000 won. Passes are also being sold for each of the two stages — separated by only a short walk through Olympic Park — 77,000 won and 110,000 won apiece. No camping or three-hour bus required. That’s the price you pay for convenience.
Super!Sonic is an export of the Japanese festival Summer Sonic. After almost a decade of success across the East Sea, festival promoters’ heads are turned to Seoul and the international attention the peninsula is gaining by bringing in top tier acts.
If you haven’t been to Olympic Park in some time, you will notice some big changes. The home of the 1988 Olympic Summer Games underwent a major renovation in 2011. Would you like some culture with your rock n’ roll? Informational kiosks on Korean culture, odd sculptures and modern art make Super!Sonic and Olympic Park an interesting pairing.
The bands you know
Headlining the festival are British new wave artists Tears for Fears and synth rockers New Order. Both are veteran acts that originally came onto the scene in the 1980s with hits “Blue Monday” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
Also headlining are the Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan leads a revamped line-up on their newest tour.
The recently-released LP “Oceania” debuted on Billboard’s Top 10 and the Pumpkins will arrive in Seoul after gigs in the Philippines and Japan.
More recent arrivals will also be displaying their talents. Gotye, whose real name is Wouter De Backer, found fame with his tune “Somebody That I Used to Know.” That little ditty is closing in on 300 million YouTube views. But the songs you‘ve probably never heard are some of his better stuff.
With the success of their hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” Foster the People have put together an aggressive touring schedule to grow their fan base (and move beyond the aforementioned song).
This upbeat pop-rock band produces an excellent live show with unrelenting energy. Each song will have your foot tapping from beginning to end.
The bands you should get to know
Don’t miss Glen Check. Citing bands of the 70’s and 80’s as influences, these synth rockers have a sound that is part-Killers and part-MGMT. A rock band fused with electronica, they produce both dance and rock hits. We suggest “Disco Elevator.”
Another band flying under the radar is Idiotape. These electronic jammers feature a more clubby sound than you’re used to hearing at a rock festival.
They are new and young and out to prove themselves. Their 2011 performance at Global Gathering Korea earned them the label No. 1 Local Live Act — winning them international attention. In 2011, Idiotape were featured at the U.S.’s SXSW festival and Japan’s Summer Sonic. Look up “Even Floor.”
If you haven’t heard of the English indie rockers The Vaccines, get yourself onto YouTube immediately. They recently formed in 2010 and have already achieved moderate fame. Influenced by the 80’s New York punk scene, they have put together a familiar-but-original sound. With two albums to date and a shit-load of awards, they are just coming into their own. A recommended song is “Post Break-Up Sex.”
Super!Sonic has done an excellent job mixing familiar music and bands you’ll wish you had heard of sooner — all across a range of genres.
Two stages will separate rock fans from those more inclined to dance.
The Super Stage will showcase the Smashing Pumpkins on the first day and then New Order, Tears for Fears, Foster the People and The Vaccines on the second day. The Sonic Stage will have performances from the electronica and synth side. Day one will feature Idiotape and Soulwax, while day two will showcase Gotye.
A two-day urban music festival featuring some of the most popular touring bands in the world. What’s not to be excited about?
Click here for the festival website.