Posted on May 10, 2014
Rock and Roll is an incredibly diverse genre of music. Even with the exponential growth in its ever expanding number of sub-genres, a defined musical category can rarely ever satisfyingly describe the sonic subtleties each unique band possesses. But occasionally a band comes along that so precisely matches a specific musical genus; you might as well put it in the band’s name. Enter Rock ’N’ Roll Radio.
The four piece band, whose recent meteoric rise is a testament to their expert musicianship and professional commitment to their craft, fully encompass the Rock and Roll pathos. The only thing missing is the occasionally intolerable, occasionally hilarious swagger that often comes with the territory. These are the nicest guys you could ever meet, but don’t let that fool you. They are Rockers with a capital “R”.
My first experience with RNRR was catching the end of their very last song as I joined some friends for a show at Bbang. The Powwow music manager at the time, Kang Jeongim (Flowing), had highly recommended the band as an act we should try to book in the nearest possible future. I kicked myself for being late and missing the band, but I completely trusted her sound judgment. So we went ahead and asked them if they would be kind enough to grace Powwow with a musical performance. Fortunately for us, they agreed and we set the date.
If anyone reading this ever went to a Powwow show, they might remember one very distinct feature that set us apart from many of the other independent venues in Seoul; namely our amazingly sparse audience numbers. Sometimes I wanted to advertise that you could come to Powwow and have your very own private show of your favorite band. But regardless of the size of the audience, the bands that played there always did so with great passion and vigor.
When RNRR, who were already breaking through to the next level of success in the Korean Indie scene, showed up, we might have had six or seven people in the audience, at least half of them highly intoxicated. As the band set up, I was a little nervous as the inebriated spectators were getting a bit wilder than at the average non-harcore/punk show in a Hongdae venue. When they launched into their set, however, the previously distracted audience, no matter the amount of alcohol intake, was enraptured by the sound.
It was pure, unadulterated, glorious Rock and Roll! By the time the band got to one of their most popular songs, the brilliant anthem “Shut Up and Dance”, the entire audience, all six of them, had done just that. At one point they even joined the band onstage in a communal and festive atmosphere which, along with lots and lots of fog, helped obscure the emptiness of the room. It was without a doubt one of my favorite memories at Powwow.
Every other time I was able to see RNRR, the audience was larger and the band was even better than their previous stellar performances. Their success is extremely well earned and could not happen to a better group of guys. With the upcoming release of their first recorded album, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio are poised to take their unapologetic Rock creed to an even wider audience. But the memory of these four professional musicians rocking out with no frills or gimmicks to an audience of six in some silly DIY basement venue with broken lights and weekly floods will always stay with me as the true definition of Rock and Roll.
Written By: Alex Ameter Translated by: SungHyun Park