Walking After You


high-energy korean rock chicks strut their stuff at high octane show at brown sugar jar

Never once have I refused to watch a group of all-Korean rock chicks thrash things out on guitar, and I am not about to start now. Newly-formed all-female underground Korean rock outfit Walking After You played at Brown Sugar Jar last month (October 23) as part of their first Asian tour. Not to be confused with the Foo Fighters song of the same name, the band has been making waves on Asian social media since their formation in September last year.

Consisting of vocalist Haein, guitarist Jia, keyboardist Sunny, and percussionist Azzang, the band was formed from two separate acts; Rubber Duckie and Swingz, after deciding to merge following their collaboration during the, fun sounding, sixth annual Girls’ Rock Festival in Seoul last year .

“After playing together at the festival, we could not help but work together more. Our styles were so different but worked so well together. This resulted in us merging the two bands. It has been interesting to write songs which incorporate all of our styles, and I can’t wait to see what happens in future songwriting sessions,” says vocalist Haein after being asked about the band’s formation.

Intrigued and excited to finally witness a performance from an Asian band whose entire repertoire was not ripped from the end credits of Titanic, I’m happy to say that not a single ballad was harmed during this gig.

Intrigued and excited to finally witness a performance from an Asian band whose entire repertoire was not ripped from the end credits of Titanic, I’m happy to say that not a single ballad was harmed during this gig.

Brown Sugar Jar is a swish venue suffering from poor attendance, and so it was with this gig. The venue was so sufficiently tough to find, it took this reviewer three separate cabs to find the it. All this was quite unfortunate as the show-womanship on offer was clearly meant for far larger crowds. High-energy music and a fierce stage presence are somewhat lost if the audience is near-absent, which it was.

As far as live sound goes, the venue is decent but the guitars, keyboard and vocals could have worked better alongside the shrill cymbals in a venue that lacks noise dampening. These criticisms aside, the band went straight into the first single off of their debut album Unleash, entitled Burn. The song set the tone for the evening: catchy guitar hooks, bright vocal melodies, keyboard parts either made songs more atmospheric or, on occasion, added too much to the stripped sound of the rest of the band, and the drums, though perfectly in time were way too loud. Nevertheless they pulled off an energetic show with the venue’s lighting really highlighting the big feel of the band.

The band gets a lot of attention for being representatives of women in rock, and there’s no doubt being a female rocker can be a daunting task. Throughout rock ‘n roll’s short history, stages have long been dominated by males, while bands with female members are often forced to exploit their sexuality in a brilliant or tragic marketing ploy, depending on whose side you are on.

1115_music-review2Although in their 20s, the band members all have serious musical pedigree, which gives them a tautness and edge, which makes them sound like they have been together for years. As the end of the set drew near, vocalist Haein drew closer to the crowd, acknowledging that the show was extra-intimate due to the small numbers. This helped them gather enough noise out of the crowd, and instead of walking off the stage and waiting for the crowd to bring them back on stage, they all collapsed to the ground as their last song from their set played out. Beginning their encore softly on the drums to work the crowd, they eventually built a roaring outro, showcasing each of these rock-chicks individual skills as they allowed space in the song for separate solos.

Afterwards, the band chilled out at their merchandise table, selling albums and talking to fans. “We are so lucky to be able to play our music for a living. We put our all into every show, regardless of attendance and we are thankful that people are coming to our shows and enjoying themselves. This is our first Asian tour, hopefully in the future we will get the chance to return and play more shows in Dongguan,” said guitarist Jia. If, and it is a big if, Brown Sugar Jar manages to get the crowds in, then it just might have the potential to be one of the most banging rock venues in town.