The fifth edition of Zandari Festa – Korea’s largest music showcase festival – took place from September 30, 2016 to October 3, 2016 in Seoul’s Hongdae area. The event featured performances from more than 160 acts from 19 different countries. Scottish party machine Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 were one of the groups that traveled to Seoul to play at Zandari Festa 2016. Colonel John Thomas McMustard recorded the band’s adventures for us with an exclusive tour diary for Hello Asia!
Myself and the Dijancer did a project on the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games when we were at primary school, and my Uncle Joe is the only guy I know that has been to North and South Korea, but I have to admit that I never thought about going to Korea and probably had a lot of unfounded ideas of what Korea and Seoul were like. What I discovered was a friendly, forward- thinking country, embracing music and culture from all over the world with its own technology, music and ways of thinking truly creating a Korean wave of culture that is one of the best kept secrets in Asia.
The people aren’t frightened of their nuclear neighbour; I think there’s a feeling that they are brothers that will be united again one day. Regardless of this, the people in Seoul are just too busy enjoying life in a truly 24-hour city that never sleeps, parties hard, and is at the cutting edge of technology, music and design. Seoul well and truly has soul.
I’d like to think we got offered this trip as we bet Korean band Dead Buttons at table football in Liverpool, but the truth is Dalse (the main man for Zandari) was one of the 50 people there to see us open the mainstage at Liverpool Sound City this year providing a wee lesson in always doing your best and performing to your optimum no matter how small the crowd. You never know who is watching you!
Friday, September 30, 2016
We touched down in Seoul after an epic journey. I can sleep anywhere but some of the guys had no sleep, including big Moags, our drummer, who also has a hernia to contend with. The big man can be grumpy at the best of times; during the flight he apparently considered sleeping in the aisle of the plane as he was in that much pain. That’s dedication for you and the big man’s bravery sums up how much we wanted to perform in Korea. We got the train to Hongdae to stay at the Pencil Guesthouse, which would be our home for the next few days. The reconnaissance party which had set off a full 24 hours earlier only got there 4 hours ahead of us after a delay in Amsterdam due to a dodgy landing. They looked comparatively fresh considering this. KLM had even tweeted the Dijancer their apologies. I like big businesses using our pseudonyms. There’s not enough of that in the world.
We adjourned to the rooftop garden, had a carryout, and made plans to wear our kilts and go to the Zandari Festa opening party. Big Moags wasn’t happy about kilting it on the first night, but the true Scotsman relief he would have got must have been nice after 15 hours of economy class confinement. We arrived at the opening party and turned a few heads. It was a free bar and we watched some cracking Korean acts knock it out the Ji Sung Park. We went to a cracking rock club after and watched more Korean bands. It was the first time I’d seen synchronised dance moves to a rock band and I knew immediately we had a good chance of getting our crowd participation across when we played.
We walked home through the Hongdae area, which I believe is filled with mainly under 30s. People were out in parks drinking, young lovers kissing and holding hands, a lovely vibe where you can even sit outside a 7/11 and have a drink, and it probably keeps the under 16s away from asking you to buy them a carryout. People were in restaurants eating Korean barbecue or as the Koreans call it – barbecue – to all times in the morning or night. We were still all on Greenwich Mean Time so the 24-hour culture meant we didn’t look out of place stoating about eating loads of street food. The food was out of this world – tasty, spicy and delicious. Our usually reserved trumpet player Kirstin Badges was the most rock ‘n’ roll that night, enjoying all the delights Seoul had to offer and needing put to bed the earliest at 6 a.m. This is a city for insomniacs. Okay, time for four hours of sleep.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
The next day we got up and most of us explored the area and went to Club Steel Face to watch a cracking Slovenian band called I Wear Experiment followed by lovely experimental Korean outfit Ahndayoung. After, we again adjourned to the rooftop gardens, where we made fast friends with She Drew the Gun, mainly based in Liverpool, and worthy winners of Glastonbury‘s emerging talent competition. They were kind enough to come to our showcase gig in the MUV Hall later in the night. We all then went on a trek to the Kangol store where artists could get a free pair of trainers. I should have asked for a Reni hat because, as I suspected, they don’t do size 11s in Korea. I just picked my partner Donna’s size instead. You can’t laugh at a free present. I bought my son John a DC comic in Korean and went for my first Korean barbecue with a friend of a friend, Eddie from Helensborough, who can speak the language, but didn’t know how to interpret ‘Cross the Road,’ so I sacked him as my translator but rehired him as my spirit guide as he dispelled a lot of myths and generally made me feel more comfortable about my attempts to use the language and not offend people. I changed into my Mustard suit and headed back to MUV Hall. En route, we watched one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands around – Wasted Johnny’s. Angie, their Korean lead singer, personifies rock ‘n’ roll, with a carefree attitude, lack of confinement, bags of confidence and great stage presence. Before we played, the excellent band Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio had a massive crowd who all seemed to disappear as soon as they finished. It’s that horrible feeling you get when it’s your party and you’re frightened no one will show up. We needn’t have worried as by the time we took to the stage we had a big crowd which seemed to get bigger because apparently people just like to hang about outside until they hear something they like. The gig was great. The crowd went mental despite the language barrier, and our friend Mark’s local girlfriend translated ‘Cross the Road’ for us and they crossed the road. The question everyone back home asked me before I went was, ‘Aye, but do you think you’ll be able to get them to cross the road?’ Well, they did that and more, with spontaneous chanting and dancing. ‘Dance Off’ was the song that brought it alive. That’s the song where the audience become the stars and despite some trepidation, Angie from Wasted Johnny’s started getting down and one by one everyone had their moment on the dance floor, and by the time it was finished the crowd were rabid. Thirteen of us had travelled to Korea and our onstage party carried down and back up onto the stage all night, with a cosmopolitan mix of people and some of the Koreans even borrowing our disco ball helmets.
We had stage invaders, and people of all nationalities high fiving to the beat. It was beautiful and everything we had set out to do. We walked off stage buzzing. We then went to support our friends Sugarmen from Liverpool at the British Night showcase as well as She Drew the Gun, Coquin Migale and I Set the Sea on Fire – all really varied bands – but all dynamite and doing what they do in a fresh way. We met Jenny from Sol Flare and her friend Anis who had been at our gig and hit it off with them. Just on a flying visit they were cramming as much Korean culture as they could, including going to a dog cafe where you get to pet loads of dogs whilst having a cup of tea.
The Dijon 5 by this time were well on our way and headed to the after, after party. It was in our favourite Korean pub Strange Fruit and was something else. Dave Pichilingi – Liverpool Sound City’s main man – played one of the best DJ sets of all time. I got a little carried away when he played The Doors and Colin our keyboard player and Inflatable Ginger Party Vortex walked through the door I threw myself off of the table like my ICW brother DCT the international sex hero and ironically accidentally body slammed Colin through the front door, completely breaking it off its hinges. Colin was absolutely fine, jubilant, but the door on the other hand was a write off. I’ve since apologised to the club owner and offered to pay for it. Luckily he is a fan of the Mustard and is even talking about putting the door up on his wall with a plaque. It was a wild night, to say the least. We also discovered the Korean national drink soju, which has a similarity to vodka, but with a buck-fast type buzz. Our mate Mark refused to drink it that night as he was due to meet his potential in-laws two days later, this gives you an idea of the strength and potential for wildness soju brings to the party. Dave played a six-hour set of tune after tune, from the Beastie Boys to the Happy Mondays. It was glorious! We’ve asked Dave to come up to Glasgow on the 23rd December for our ABC gig and spin a few tunes. Some of the guys went to a local park where folks were still out jamming and enjoying themselves with some hip- hop artists doing their thing. The stamina the Koreans have put some hardened Glasgow party people to shame. It was an 8 a.m. bedtime that morning, the door was smashed, we were all smashed, but we planned to do some sightseeing the same/next day. Some of the guys attempted to get a taxi to the jimjilbang, an amazing communal Korean sauna that is the ultimate in relaxation and destressing. But at this time in the morning no taxi was stopping for any yellow clad Dijoners.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
I got up feeling highly rough but dragged myself out the digs. It was the first and only day of rain, but it was a welcome part of my hangover cure. We went to Deoksugung Palace, which was nice and peaceful, but not very action packed. We reenacted ‘Singing in the Rain’ and did some filming for our song ‘Cross the Road.’ I was getting some right funny looks with my disco ball helmet on! We went to City Hall where we looked at some amazing building designs and were treated to a choir singing. We all met back up and we discovered Full Fathom Five, one of our singers, had some bad bites and taken a reaction to them so she went between a couple of hospitals. The staff there had never seen anything like it. She was well looked after, and the fire brigade even at one point took her to a hospital as they could see she was too weak to travel – true international chivalry. We were meant to take it easy as we had more sightseeing to do and then we were playing the closing party the next day. We went to the French Night showcase and seen a dynamite two piece band called KO KO MO. As we are the Dijon 5, we even got invited back to the French after party and walked there with Danish journalist Mika who had a massive knowledge of Scottish bands and was amazed that I’d played football with Stuart from Belle & Sebastian. When we got to the bar the Stone Roses were blasting from the speakers and we made friends with the band J & The 9’s and Frank from Ooberfuse. We attempted to get an early night getting up the road at 4 a.m., but found the rest of the band partying hard in our trombone player Vanilla Johnson’s room. The soju was flowing which meant another 7 a.m. bedtime, and it was too late to trick our minds into changing time zones.
Monday, October 3, 2016
Honey Grain went down to check out the Korean Hendrix with a keytar, Blue Turtle Land, who were by all accounts sensational. A few of us including DJ5 and Bobby Snoobin decided to climb to the top of Seoul Tower as climbing up a big hill when you’re hungover is always a guaranteed cure. Chinley Biggins and Jurassic Ant had made it to the jimjilbang and got a cracking massage of an old boy and spent the day trying out all the different saunas and ways of relaxing – definitely something I want to try next time I’m over.
We all got kilted up again for our final gig. The kings of Korean indie Crying Nut played before us, again big shoes to fill, as they were one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen. We looked out into an even bigger crowd than first time, and playing the closing party to all our new friends, along with loads of new Korean fans and people from all over the world was incredible. The noise levels nearly topped our biggest festival gig at Belladrum this year. The crowd gave the Peace, Love & Mustard signs and danced themselves into ecstasy. We all came off stage speechless at the reaction we’d got, just making noises to each other and shaking our heads in disbelief. If the first gig was an achievement, the second gig was Dijon triumph. We had a set list, but from the word ‘go’ we knew we had to go all out high energy and the crowd responded with a symbiosis that we probably thought we would only get from a Scottish crowd, they even chanted us on for an encore, which we’re not massively into, but it felt right that night. Only one song to finish on after the ‘Golden Girls’ theme died down. ‘The International Sex Hero Is Coming to the Rescue.’ I thought we’d depleted all our energy, but I’ve never jumped as high in all my life!
Cue after party 2 at Strange Fruit where we were met with a broken door and a warm welcome. Dave got some DJing going and was amazing, but with a drum kit set up, drummer after drummer ruined his vibe, and then a bass, a guitar and a keytar arrived and it was time for a different vibe. All the international bands wanted to jam with each other, and our own Badges McNair played trumpet improvising and riffing with a saxophonist from Europe while a drummer from Madagascar layered down a beat and two Koreans got their funky keyboards playing. I’d tried to get big Moags up to drum along to Dave’s set as he knows the songs off by heart, so when I got the peer pressure to sing I had to step up. We’ve got a PFunk inspired new song ‘There’s Nothing Funkier Than Funk’ and I even got a sing-song going. It was an awe-inspiring jam to be involved with and it didn’t end there. Members of other bands passed instruments about and kept the party going well into the next day. It was the epitome of what music should always be about, people coming together and speaking that international language to each other. No differences, just a coming together to make something good. We can’t thank Dalse, Patrick and all the Zandari Festa people enough. We’ve all came back slightly different, in a good way. Seoul we’llll be back, but forget Gangam style – Hongdae is the way!
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Time to go home. Moags and Fathom got a cuddle from some raccoons in a raccoon cafe. No Cyril Sneer in sight. Me, Inflatable and Dj5 headed down to the river, took in some history and chilled, even getting a wee ukulele jam. Then it was homeward bound for 13 burst Dijoners. Mortimer Chester Winthorpe the 3rd Marquis of Denmark has already sourced some soju in the SeeWoo at Possil. My cousin’s research is second to none. We did a lot of filming, so keep your eyes peeled for a mini Dijon in Seoul documentary.
The fifth edition of Zandari Festa – Korea’s largest music showcase festival – took place from September 30, 2016 – October 3, 2016 in Seoul’s Hongdae area. The event featured performances from more than 160 bands from 19 different countries.