Top Band 2

After watching Episode 3 of Top Band 2, I was kind of bummed out even though it was friendly enough to explain the round format (triple tournament, top choice and each band performing 1 song of choice and 1 cover) and list the bands that have advanced so far: Transfixion, Daybreak, Magna Fall, Rose Motel, Yery Band, Peter Pan Complex, Metallatem+, Ash Gray, Javo Island, HarryBigButton, Super Kidd, Hakdong Station Exit no. 8, Exit no. 4, Black Dog, and Siberian Husky.

In the last episode, the heated contest among Pia, Number One Korean and Fantastic Drugstore ended without a winner. The judges acknowledge that all three bands delivered impressive performances, making it difficult for the panel to decide. In the end, they settled on Pia. Pia responded: We had planned to reveal ourselves little by little but realized that we will have to show everything, our full-spectrum every time we perform. We will do our best so that the judges won’t have to regret their choice. Neither Number One Korean nor Fantastic Drugstore was given a Top Choice. I was bummed out.

Group 12: Electric Eels, Nemesis, and Romantic Punch. Romantic Punch’s rendition of “Purple Rain” engaged the panel very much. Kim Do-gyun: Top Band 2 explodes with Romantic Punch. Yoo: I’m proud of you! Kim Kyung-ho: I am a fan also. I like your unity and the vocal’s flawless falsetto transitions and consistent tone. Shin: You showed a true rock star attitude. I’m going to be your fan. The panel was mesmerized once again when Nemesis took the stage with “Versailles’ Rose.” Yoo, who had stood up after Romantic Punch’s performance in awe, got up from his chair again. He commended Nemesis for their attractive combination of consistent, hard, heavy sound with a certain mellowness in vocal. Electric Eels played “송곳니” (Canine Tooth). Although the judges’ comments were not aired, Electric Eels, whose music was different from the those of the two preceding bands, delivered an enjoyable sound. The panel was 2:2 with Nemesis and Romantic Punch, both of whom exerted strong stage presence. Nemesis advanced, but Yoo Top Choiced Romantic Punch.

Group 13: The Koxx, Hlin, and Fellas. The Koxx performed first “Take On Me” by A-Ha. Hlin covered “삐에로는 우릴 보고 웃지,” a very recognizable Kpop song. Fellas, an R&B band, covered Sistar’s “Ma Boy” and boasted a charming blend of varying vocal tones. The panel thought that The Koxx’s performance was not up to par with the band’s reputation. Fellas is the winner of the group, but Shin, knowing what The Koxx is capable of, gave them a Top Choice.

Group 14: Au Revoir Michelle, Frieda Kahlo, and Chiva Sound. Chiva Sound covered Shin Joong-hyun’s “Beauty.” (I am probably the only one who thinks the vocal sounds off pitch.) Au Revoir Michelle covered Kim Chu-ja’s “님은 먼곳에,” which Yoo revealed has been most unique in the audition. Yoo: Initially, I just couldn’t imagine how you were going to play out this sound, but once you hit the chorus, I was instantly hooked. It was a tremendous experience, but I am also led to believe that you will need to work with songs with strong melodies.” Frieda Kahlo is a long-time band. Top Band 2 dubbed them as “first generation indie.” In a brief interview, Frieda Kahlo shared that being a band in Korea is a difficult mission, but they are glad for the chance to play music and see other bands on Top Band. Frieda Kahlo covered legendary “너무 아픈 사랑은 사랑이 아니었음을.” Shin just loved Frieda Kahlo for their orthodoxy. The other three agreed but believed that Au Revoir Michelle was stronger. The judges experienced some tension. In the end, Au Revoir Michelle is the winner. Shin, however, told Frieda Kahlo: If I am left with a Top Choice by the end of the day, then I will use it on you. Your performance and music today greatly inspired me today. Frieda Kahlo responded kudos for Sinawi.

Group 15: Ynot, Gostwind, and Clumsy. Ynot, a veteran band with a lively and fun performance of “Why Not,” advanced. But we never got to see the performances of Gostwind and Clumsy. Top Band 2 inserted captions to inform us that Gostwind is a Korean traditional music fusion band and Clumsy is a band with refreshing melodies. I was bummed out.

Group 16: 4Hz, The Quip, and Wiretap in My Ear. Wiretap in My Ear did “Slave” and advanced. Similar to the previous group, no videos of The Equip and 4Hz were aired. I was bummed out again.

Group 17: Monni, Sad Legend, and Humpbacks. Monni’s daily life consists of gathering in the the studio for practice every morning. Monni is a popular band whose member Kim Shin-ui was invited to be on the judging panel in season 1. Sad Legend’s version of “Eleanor Rigby” drew positive feedback from Shin. Monni’s “The Blower’s Daughter” showed fine balance and consistency according to the panel. Humpbacks’ “Plastic” sounded cool (to me), but Kim Kyung-ho said that the tempo was a bit too monotonous. Monni advanced.

Group 18: 탈밴드, Black Bag, and Thizt. 탈밴드 is a older band whose singer performed for the Eighth US Army when he was in his twenties. He has a very high pitch voice that reminded me of Jackson Five. Their song was “Love Song.” Next up was Black Bag who had to pull out of season 1 due to an injury. They performed an original song called “White One.” Thizt was last. They performed 2NE1’s “Go Away.” (I thought that the guy in white looked nervous.) Kim Do-gyun liked Thizt’s young energy. But it is Black Bag who advances. Kim Kyung-ho Top Choiced 탈밴드.

Preview of next week: It’s the last set of performances for this round. Yoo refuses to judge!

The four judges are respectable musicians whose works are significant to K-pop and its listeners. They have trained ears, know better and care about Korean band music. I am probably just bummed that the bands that I had wanted to see more of on Top Band were dropped and that four teams’ performances were dismissed. That is probably why I am tempted to think this season may not bring us bands like J-Power, Latte Latte and 시크. Peter Pan Complex had said that they liked how Top Band was not Rock Band. There are Rose Motel, Fellas and Javo Island, but these bands put on entertaining shows. The video auditions and stage performance – would it be too remiss or convenient to think that certain genres or professional bands have an advantage in live performances. Although I respect the judges and the creators of the show for participating in and producing Top Band, I wish there were more judges who make different kinds of music to guide ordinary viewers like me.