Are you a fan of South Korean music? Whether you are into K-pop or Korean indie (K-indie), chances are that you are interested in experiencing a live performance or buying merchandise to support your favourite artists and groups! This article aims to help our readers do just that! Read on for more information about venues and stores to watch a live gig/concert or buy music-related goods.
Venues for Kpop
Music shows (various)
There are several different music shows broadcast regularly in South Korea including Inkigayo, M!Countdown and Simply K-pop. A big plus is that tickets are free to those who apply online and are picked as part of a lucky draw. Be warned that the process is somewhat complicated! M!Countdown is probably the easiest one to navigate because there is no registration required and the process is on a first-come, first-served basis. Get to the second floor studio at the CJ E&M Center (Sangam) early!
The CJ E&M Center. © Inspire Me Korea. 21.05.2017.
If you ever visit the mall located at the Yeouido International Finance Center in Seoul – there are sometimes Hallyu events hosted here.
There is currently a ‘SMTOWN THEATRE EVENT’ where you can watch 3 shows including a live concert for 33,000 Korean Won. Check the official homepage for further information.
Check out the SMTOWN theatre! © Inspire Me Korea. 21.05.2017
K-live (hologram performance)
If trying to get to see a live Kpop show sounds too difficult, you can always opt for something different by visiting the ‘world’s first dedicated K-pop hologram performance hall’! You can experience a hologram K-pop concert there.
Venues for live K-indie music
K-indie encompasses so many genres including punk, jazz, rock, classical, electronica and more! These shows are smaller than Kpop ones so you get a different experience. Hongdae is famous for being a hub for live K-indie so it is definitely an area to check out if you are interested in K-indie music!
Here are some of the places you can go to watch a live performance!
Local indie bands play at FF in Hongdae at weekends until midnight. Admission is around 10,000 Korean won.
A good place to enjoy live jazz performances! Boogie Woogie is in Itaewon. One artist that we think has lots of potential, Choyoung, gigs there 🙂 Read our interview and music article if you haven’t already done so!
Choyoung performing at Boogie Woogie © Choyoung. 16.04.2017. 초영_Choyoung official site.
Many indie musicians (including those we have featured in our K-SPOTLIGHT series!) say they perform at Club Freebird, which is one of the oldest clubs in Hongdae for live music.
A glimpse into a live performance at Freebird © Club Freebird. 28.04.2017. Club Freebird Facebook.
This is a small club in Hongdae that doubles as a live concert venue, though only takes in 50-100 people for shows from ska and ska-punk bands. The ambience is laid back and allows enjoyment of the music without worrying about wild crowds. You can even watch some performances for free.
Club Steel Face
A small club (in Mapo gu, Seoul) where a variety of bands of different genres play. There is no stage, so the performers stand close to the audience and there are normally no more than 100 people there. It was opened by the vocalist and bassist of the band PATiENTS.
Jazz Club Evans
This venue in Seoul is known for its jazz music, but is generally busy so you should get there early to guarantee yourself a seat.
The stage at Jazz Club Evans © Credit 한동령. 08.05.2017. Jazz Club Evans Facebook.
Jebidabang in Seoul that caught our eye because we spotted that singer-songwriter Kwak Pureunhaneul is playing there on 27th May 2017. You may remember her from SuperstarK7.
Now onto buying CDs and other music-related items! Here are a list of stores.
Where to buy K-indie merchandise
This can be a tricky one because K-indie groups don’t have marketing teams to help them with distribution and suchlike. But we have a few recommendations to help you support local music in Korea!
Located in Donggyodong, Seoul, this little record shop stocks a lot of different CDs including those from Western artists. We are sure you can get a lot of bulk CD shopping done here!
Gimbab records storefront © Time Out Seoul. 08.05.2015. Time Out Seoul website.
Also located in Seoul (Yonsei-ro), this shop is a great place to buy indie music. They also have an online store if you can’t get there in person.
Vinyl & Plastic store (Hyundai Card)
You can find this store in Itaewon, where you can browse for music (CDs and vinyl) or relax in the café. This is an impressive building; it has 3 floors so chances are you will find something that you like!
If you are struggling to get to a physical store, YesAsia’s online website stock some CDs from indie artists and ship internationally, so you can also buy your K-indie CDs there!
Where to buy K-pop merchandise
K-pop items are much easier to find – we’ve put together a few suggestions here for our IMK readers!
There are several of these stores located in South Korea, where you can buy Kpop albums and related items, stationery, gifts and souvenirs.
Buy your SM artist merchandise and albums from the official SM TOWN store!
Buy your SM merchandise from SMTOWN COEX artium! © Inspire Me Korea. 21.05.2017
20 SPACE: The Mint Universe (Cube)
Cube Entertainment have a cafe on level 1 of their building in Seongsu where you can also purchase some goods related to their artists.
20 SPACE: The Mint Universe Café © Cube Entertainment. 21.05.2017. Cube Entertainment website.
Located in Myeong-dong, this is a well-known store that sells Kpop items as well as CDs.