Sometimes you enjoy an event but don’t know what to say about it. Rock music is not one of my own core competencies. I know when a band enthuses me, but if asked to describe the style or genre, or to compare the musicians with other, possibly Western, reference points I’m usually at a loss. I just don’t have the background.
When it came to Patients and Idiotape at Rich Mix recently there was nothing identifiably Korean about their music other than (in the case of Patients) the language of the lyrics. Patients is a band who has performed in London and elsewhere in the UK a number of times and is thus something of a known quantity. It’s always good to hear some familiar tracks played live, no matter how many times you might have encountered them on YouTube. Thus Patients’ familiar track 18세기 – which is almost their theme tune – immediately energised the crowd when it came round with its feel-good riffs.
But a couple of their latest tracks were also exciting to hear, with one of them apparently getting its first public performance. This is a band that is very entertaining to watch, particularly the bassist / vocalist Jo Sumin as he leaps energetically around the stage, gel causing his hair to stand in spikes like a cartoon character. The set was hugely fun.
But when Idiotape came on stage… wow. It’s hard to comprehend how what appeared to be a random collection of boxes and wires, knobs and dials, can be so thrilling to listen to. Part of the excitement was generated by the hyperactive drummer, arms flailing energetically, given extra motion by the strobe lighting. But most of the excitement was in the physical, visceral sensation of your insides turning to jelly with the pounding, pulsating beat. The floor was throbbing, the concrete bar was throbbing, the whole building seemed to be vibrating to the exhilarating sound. You just didn’t want it to stop.
Patients and Idiotape were at the Rich Mix on 27 September as part of the 2016 K-Music festival.