Jisan Valley Rock Festival 2010 - Play like there is no tomorrow
Jang Ki-ha of band Jang Ki-ha and Faces said, "Everyone, enjoy Jisan Rock Valley Festival and get rid of everything that makes you feel bad and miserable... I cannot say that. It's not like the sadness is going to disappear if I say that, right?" Yes, when this time passes, the students will go back to schools, workers to offices and we will be returning to deadline hell again. Ha... the oh-so-clever Jang Ki-ha!
When you eat in a rush, you end up suffering from indigestion. The performance by Kingston Rudieska, who performed with light skankings rather than intense slams, was one that provided a certain amount of warm-up time for people who got out of Seoul and blindly jumped into the festival to enjoy 'rock music.' The band members, who perfectly suited the phrase 'just returning from a Southeastern Asia tour' and were clad in dress suits that looked neat but a little corny, walked lightly onto the stage swinging both of their arms. It took less than five minutes before their 'ska party' infected the audience. Although there were people who spread their mats under a shaded hill, saying "I am a fan but I can't go up to front of the stage because it is too hot," one cannot dare criticize them. Whether they were out on the front of the stage or far away and sprawled out on a mat, anyone could stamp their feet to the rhythm of 'koong-jjak, koong-jjak,' put their arm around the person next to them and enjoy the rich performance created by the nine musicians. In between his singing parts, the band's vocal Choi Chul-wook put in the adlib phrase 'good-' and responded to the audiences' body movements. The reason that the grass lawn, which was filled with Kingston Rudieska and the audiences' dance routine, looked brighter than ever was not because it was three in the afternoon with the sun blazing down but because of Kingston Rudieska's unique, cheerful melody and the joyous dancing that went well with it. Shoulders slowly began to move up and down.
The audience had escaped the real world for a little while, but Jang Ki-ha brought them back to bittersweet reality with his snappy way of talking. He was cool and chic even during rehearsal. The audience, who swarmed around the front of the stage thirty minutes before the band's performance, let out a cheer at every remark and hand movement by Jang Ki-ha and Faces as they touched their guitars and adjusted subtle volumes of sound. But all that came back from Jang was the reply, "Pretend like you haven't seen this because this is not a real performance," which was as dry and dull as the lyrics he recites. It reached a peak when he was singing the song "Cheap Coffee." The sight of Jang lying sprawled out on the stage, instead of on the 'soggy vinyl mat where your sole sticks and comes off,' and looking at the sky as he sings the song with no expression on his face was easily more charming than a pop idol's eye-smile which melts a woman's heart. Oh, how the audience obediently put down their mobile phones and camcorders when he told them to, as he performed new songs "I Watched TV" and "Don't Speak Harshly," that "We will let you hear it better on the album later, so please refrain from shooting videos now." Is Jang Ki-ha, who became even more slim thanks to his no-alcohol diet, truly a man of devilishness?
The seats became more and more hot that one could not feel at all the cool evening wind, and what densely filled up the space was the soaking smell of sweat. By watching how one deals with his sweat, which pours down like rain, you can tell who is a newbie or a veteran at a rock festival. If one has a handkerchief wrapped around his neck or fans himself with his two hands, he is a newbie. If one has prepared a 1.5 liter plastic bottle of water rather than a small 500 milliliter bottle, he is an average attendee. And if one uses a water gun not for a waterfight but as mini-shower, he is a master. The 1.5 liter water bottle in one's hand gradually gets emptied. As an attendee with a water pistol shoots his gun towards the sky every now and then, the people around him endlessly stick out their necks towards the water as if they are patients waiting for the water of life. Then there comes a moment when you are no longer able to discern whether it is sweat or water. But, of course, that is not important to audiences who run around and play around like there is no tomorrow and until all their strength is gone.
As the night deepens, more stage lights are turned on and more intense become the shoutings by musicians and slams by the audience. In particular, when Mutemath does a roll-over in front of the keyboard and jumps into the audience seats despite resistance by the bodyguards, it was a sort of a fan service for the audience who, after more than a 30-minute delay due to soundcheck and stage set-up, waited around and kept shouting 'Mutemath.' The drummer even broke his drumsticks while playing the drums, but he just took out new sticks and continued performing, showing no sign whatsoever of embarrassment or surprise. But cooler than this drummer, no, cool to the point of being stolid, was the Pet Shop Boys who were the headliner of the day. The Pet Shop Boys just performed in front of the microphone with no facial expression as if they could not see people who had been lying around on the grass all day and suddenly got up. Or those who came running out to the front of the stage barefoot nor those who jumped up and down while screaming till their throats go hoarse. But that indifference stimulated the audience and made them run amok even more. When the long-awaited "Go West" flowed out, the audience softly put down their sanity on the grass lawn, raised their index fingers and cried out 'Ohoh ohohohohoh-.' Simply put, everyone was crazy.
The moment my eyes went from the musician up on the stage to my reporter's notebook in hand, it was back to reality again. The voices of people who were leaving the stages were as hoarse as they could be while some were even limping their legs from excessive jumping. But for this one day, the legs, which had always been placed neatly under the desk in a school or office, and the eyes, which had been looking at blackboards and computer screens, were able to roll around on grass fields and look at the clear sunny sky as much as they wanted to. Like Jang Ki-ha said, "sadness was not going to disappear" just because he tells the audience to get rid of it. But just for the fact that people were able to put down the sadness in a corner of their hearts for a little while, isn't the power of Jisan and rock music truly enormous?
Reporter : Lee Ga-on
Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@
Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@ , Jang Kyung-Jin three@
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