- Low-key Music Venue with a Variety of Acts -
By Micky Miranda
It had been a long time since my girlfriend had been out on a Friday night. However, having recently quit her job (which required her to work Saturday mornings, thus preventing her from enjoying her Friday nights), she was due for a good evening. The move 'Taken 3' was out in theaters, but that just didn't seem too attractive.
I asked her to check if there were any live music acts that night. Something low key and in Hongdae. Apart from Freebird, I didn't really know any live music spots where we could see some local talent.
She discovered a place called Evans Lounge in Hapjeong. They were hosting an acoustic night. It started at 8:00, so we hustled on over after picking up some takoyaki and sweet potato fries at Hongdae's street food street.
If you have never been to Hapjeon, it is a more posh/chic area than Hongdae. It is slightly pricier, but much calmer and more polished than Hongdae.
Anyways, we got to Evans Lounge a little before 8:00 and after paying 22,000 won for the both of us, walked through the door and down the stairs. The vibe was very low key. There were candles at each table.
I ordered 2 San Miguels while she found us seats. We found seats on the left side, near the front. After we settled among the cozy cushion, the waitress brought our drinks, and we waited for the show to begin. Because the venue was at only 40% of its capacity, there was plenty of room to stretch out and chill.
At around 8:05, a woman glided onto stage holding a coffee mug. She wore anoversized sweater, imittion Uggs, and maroon pants. Although the outfit doesn't sound like much, she certainly had a presence.
She introduced herself as 유발이의 소풍. The lights were dimmed, and when a spotlight shone on the piano, the crowd grew silent. She spoke to the audience with an extremely soft voice, and then prepared herself at the piano. The grand piano sounded marvelous. The acoustics of the venue were great (very fitting since it was an acoustics night).
Between each song, she talked to the audience in Korean. She mainly spoke of the inspirations or anecdotes that were related to each song. At one point, she began a French series: four songs for which she played the piano and sang in French. The last song was a cover of a Pink Martini track: Sympathique. She ended by playing a few of her own songs.
After a short break, 5 Korean men (ages 25-40) came onstage singing a Korean song. They were an acapella outfit called "Exit". Their 5th and youngest member's specialty was beatboxing. After the 1st song, the group introduced themselves, and we were told the beatbox specialist wore an interesting special neck microphone.
The group sang quite a few covers while mixing in English, Korean, and surprisingly Spanish. They told us that they were popular amongst foreigners on YouTube. Their soprano (highest singer) was quite impressive. His vocal range allowed him to hit notes as high as many female singers. Their dialogue with the audience was great. Although I couldn't understand all the Korean, I could feel the chemistry in the air.
They sang some Korean and English songs and threw in some coordinated dance moves. They told us that the big music/tour companies would only let them perform live on the big stage once they've lost weight. They then performed one of their own songs, which was about not eating fried chicken and ramen after 11:00 p.m....for health reasons, obviously.
After singing their last song, they attempted to leave the stage. However, they were convinced to come back on after the audience kept shouting, "Encore!" After they performed the encore, everyone was satisfied and the place emptied out.
The whole night was a pleasant surprise. It was refreshing hearing some local artists. It was clear that they put time and effort into their craft. For 11,000 won, I was more than entertained. It was just a great night. Not having had any expectations made it even better.
Unfortunately, by writing this blog post, I've already possibly set the bar for you on what to expect at Evans Lounge. Regardless, I'd recommend checking the place out. Find out what time acts begin each night and head their with an open mind ready for anything. If you're not familiar with the band, don't bother trying to familiarize yourself with them beforehand. Just go. You never know what you may end up liking.
Evans Lounge regularly hosts musical acts throughout the week. Check out the lineup at their website. Or call them. all the information is in Korean, though, so either know the language yourself or have someone with you who can help translate.
How To Get There:
-From Hapjeong Station (Line 6, Line 2), walk out of exit 6. Walk straight for 80 meters. Take a left, then walk stright for another 50 meters. Turn right, then walk straight for 400 meters. Take a left at Dongmak-ro 9gil. Walk stright for 50 meters, and Evans Lounge will be on your left. (See map below.)
Enjoy the Show