button Swinging Popsicle @ Baekam Art Hall, Seoul (26th Jan. '08)

Music Makes The Perfect Gift

Swinging Popsicle
      Formed in 2002, Pastel Music is a Seoul-based independent record label. Releasing discs by top-notch homegrown talent along with licensing material from foreign acclaimed underground acts for domestic consumption, their hard work was recognized in 2006 when they were selected Best Label at the 2006 Korean Popular Music Awards.

      Building, and more importantly maintaining, a successful indie imprint has never been easy and in an iPod-driven era it's become even more difficult. With this in mind, Pastel Music rightfully wanted to celebrate their fifth anniversary in style. Renting the spacious Baekam Art Hall for the entire weekend, they presented three separate bills of delectable Korean and foreign music. Tokyo's Swinging Popsicle were given the honour of headlining the second night's festivities.

      After the disco-inspired electro-pop stylings of Casker and a predominantly acoustic set from American folk duo Swan Dive, Swinging Popsicle appeared shortly after 9:30 p.m. Opening with more of a rock-driven number, they soon had the near capacity crowd clapping along to the track.

Swinging Popsicle      Usually a trio, they performed as a quintet with a drummer and Steve Laity from Tokyo's Guitar Vader helping flesh out their sound in the soft-seated theatre. Despite the extra musicians, it was clear that vocalist Mineko Fujishima was the star of the show. Standing centre stage with the rest of the band positioned behind her, her fantastic, powerful vocals filled the venue. The remarkable sound inside the room ensured that she could be heard clearly by all. Singing over a bed of catchy pop-rock, she swayed along to the music and shook a small shaker before strapping on an acoustic guitar three songs in.

      The other two core members of the group, guitarist Osamu Shimada and bassist Hironobu Hirata, looked almost like twins. Dressed in white sneakers, jeans, and 3/4 length baseball t-shirts, their flying hair hid both their faces as they bounced around to the band's radio-friendly material. Guessing from the cheers that greeted each new number, many in attendance would have been happy to dance with Shimada and Hirata if not for the theatre's seats.

      Speaking in short, simple Korean between songs, Fujishima had to consult notes that were perched on a lyric stand beside her when it was time to make a longer speech to introduce a guest Korean vocalist. Her efforts were praised by all. One spectator even called out "Kawaii" (Japanese for "cute"), which allowed everyone in Baekam Art Hall, both on stage and off, to share a laugh together.

      Formed in 1995 and having been releasing music since 1997, Swinging Popsicle had no shortage of material to draw from. Focusing on selections from their fourth full-length, last year's Go On, Fujishima, Shimada, Hirata, and the extra musicians didn't use a flashy stage show or gimmicks to win people over. Instead, they wowed them by simply playing a stellar set of well-written pop songs.

At the back of the stage was a huge banner for Pastel's fifth anniversary. Under the label's name was the quote "we will be together". After Swinging Popsicle's excellent performance tonight, there will be a whole lot of people who will want to be together with them next time they tour in Seoul.

report by shawn and photo by Eshe
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buttonMag files : Swinging Popsicle

buttonMusic Makes The Perfect Gift (08/01/26 @ Baekam Art Hall, Seoul) : review by shawn, photos by Eshe

The official site

Swinging Popsicle


check 'em? --> My Space / iTunes

The latest album

Swinging Popsicle
"Go on"
(国内盤 / KR import / iTunes)

Find your favorites

previous works

Swinging Popsicle

(国内盤 / iTunes)

"Pastel Music 5th anniversary compilation - We Will Be Together [5CDset]" (KR import)
"楽園主義 Swinging of eden" (国内盤)
"Orange, Change , Wild Sweet" (KR import)
"Jewel Of Japan[compilation]" (KR import)
"Change e.p" (国内盤)
"Fennec!" (国内盤)
"サテツの塔 [Maxi]" (国内盤)
"remember [Maxi]" (国内盤)
"Heaven [Maxi]" (国内盤)
"Swinging Popsicle" (国内盤)
"I Love Your Smile [Maxi]" (国内盤)
"Joy of Living [Maxi]" (国内盤)
"Sunny Silent Park e.p " (国内盤)

check the albums?

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