Saharial reports from the Yoon Band’s gig at The Peel, Kingston, 6 June 2008
Arriving at 5.30pm, Y.B. (Yoon Band) was almost instantly swamped by the dozen or so Korean youngsters that had been lurking for a while, and amiably chatted to them whilst posing for photos and signing autographs. I chatted briefly to Lee from Steranko, one of the support acts, who knew Yoon Do Hyun from the days he had been in Korea. His band had been banned from Korea now since the Couch incident where the singer had stripped entirely during a performance. Lee’s performance is frenetic and involves shirt removal and swearing, probably why they found themselves no longer welcome in a Korea suddenly sensitive to rock bands misbehaving.
From Y.B., the first I approached was Jin, the drummer, whose mohican is easy to spot and looks pretty cool. His English is not so bad, so we had a small chat about where I bought the CD I wanted him to sign, and how I know Y.B. He was kind enough to poke the lead guitarist in the back for me to get him to sign my CD. I then was lucky enough to meet the bassist who, with assistance from some of the Korean fans also expressed curiosity about me and why I was there. He was, I think, amazed and pleased that someone English was there for the YB rather than Steranko which was his initial assumption. “This give me hope” he said and wished me the best in enjoying the gig, and he really gave me the impression it was something that he wanted very much.
The venue itself was not a large one, but it was perfect for the number of people and to create that cosy intimate vibe that is so necessary for a good rock gig. By the time the YB came on the crowd was, for the most part, Korean and already very hyper and excited to be this close to their favourite band. After kicking off with ‘Cigarette Girl’ and following up with ‘My Hollywood’ and ‘It Burns’, it was clear to see the energy and passion that the band performs with. The crowd responded in like-minded enthusiasm, as they jumped in time to the beat, waving arms and cameras and screaming out lyrics and encouragement.
Calmer moments were provided by the harmonica solo and classic ballads such as ‘Sarang II’ (a favourite of mine), and ‘Na reul BoNaeGo’ and, with a request to turn the lights off, we are left just with his voice, a break from the flashing cameras and waving phones. The beat picks up again once more of course and, with interludes of us singing back to him and demanding an encore, the evening seems to draw to a close far faster than I liked.
It was after Lee from Steranko had joined them on stage (above) that everything went more than just a little bit crajee. Lee, whose energy hadn’t decreased since his earlier set leapt and bounded about the stage and joined in with enthusiasm to the songs. A further set with the rest of Lee’s band led to some serious crowd surfing by himself and then – on his pushed insistence – Yoon DoHyun himself. It all went better than I had thought, with DoHyun being carried round the floor with enthusiasm, but at one point he vanished and my only thought was …omg…they dropped Yoon DoHyun!!!
After his safe return to the stage, a cover of ‘Light My Fire’ was begun and Lee pulled a girl from the front row onto the stage – an event that signalled about a half dozen or more other Koreans and a fan or two of Steranko to join them. DoHyun looked like he was going to be bowled over at one point due to the fact at least three gals hurled them selves at him and hugged him!
They shook hands with everyone who reached out as they left the stage finally and the bassist (above) gave mine an extra squeeze. I beamed at him and gave him the thumbs up, which seemed to please him immensely, but not as much as it did me who was quite touched he should seem care so much that I enjoyed the gig. It pretty much sums up the feel of the evening, that this was a band who was happy to be performing and close to their fans. It’s been a long time since I went to any gig at all, but I would highly recommend Y.B. and I hope they don’t leave it too long before they return to London.
I am keen to see how their set goes down at the Dano Festival on Sunday (tomorrow) – Trafalgar Square being a much larger venue. They should be on at about 5pm, but for those who didn’t make the gig, I would recommend this album off YesAsia.