A recent Korean slang coined in one comedy TV series is “Hongdae disease,” referring to hipsters who hang out in Hongdae, listen to indie or underground hiphop and reject mainstream K-pop music. Whether you’re Korean or not, hipster or otherwise, Live Club Day is one event to check out if you’re a music fan. Hongdae offers a variety of venues and if you’re new to the neighborhood or just rekindling your love of going to shows, it can be difficult to know where to go. Live Club Day, which happens the last Friday of every month, makes it possible for you to access several venues with one pass and decide for yourself where you’d like to be a regular. In 2001, the hottest dance clubs in Hongdae (M1, NB, Underground and SSAB) joined forces to create Club Day, so that club-goers could visit all four clubs with just one pass. More clubs began to participate and the day grew into an iconic Hongdae event. Live clubs began their own Sound Day with similar rules, and eventually Club Day and Sound Day began to operate together. But as time passed, Club Day strayed from its original motto of bringing clubbers together and instead turned into a commercial and hedonistic disaster, resulting in its demise after 116 events.
But clubbers weren’t ready to say goodbye. In February 2015, Club Day was revived but with a stronger emphasis on live clubs. Now, you can enter 11 different live clubs (Gogos2, Lezhin Comics V-hall, Veloso, Evans Lounge, Club Evans, Club FF, Club Ta, Free Bird, Prism Hall, KT&G Sangsangmadang and CJ Culture Foundation) on one ticket to listen to rock, jazz, hip-hop, EDM and even crossover music. While you can reserve your ticket online, you must stand in line to get front row passes to see specific artists. Lines outside the venues start at 9am and even though the clubs still get overcrowded, the popularity of Live Club Day has waned since its inception. A year after its revival, I went for the first time to visit some of the live clubs. I wasn’t sure where to go but through Live Club Day I discovered various clubs. The ‘90s are still alive and well in the beat down live club buildings that are teeming with personality. (liveclubday.com, 02-334- 7191). Every last Fri of the month. 25,000 won, youth 15,000 won.
Four Live Club Meccas
Representing Hongdae’s indie clubs with its long history is this famous underground club, FF. Featuring an unrivaled line up in the previous years—that's included Guckkasten, Galaxy Express, Yellow Monsters, the Koxx, and DickPunks—Club FF takes the cake when it comes to live rock performances. But don't be surprised when the live performances are over and heavy flirtation begins, Club FF often has an all-you-can-drink hour that leads to a dance party.
Veloso opened its doors based on the simple love of listening to music. The club was first located on a second floor near the Hongdae parking lot where I stumbledin thinking it was a coffee shop but was pleasantly surprised to find a live club. Now it has moved to a bigger location named, Veloso Season 2. It’s a great spot to grab a beer and lose yourself inthe music.
Legendary Hongdae indie live club Free Bird reopened in 2014 in a larger and more colorful space with high ceilings The club hosts about 100 live performances every month and special parties every week. Free Bird only hosted rock and indie events but at Big Bird you can enjoy a more varied selection of artists.
For the last decade, Club Evans has served as home to Seoul’s jazz musicians as a promoter of young and innovative jazz artists. To facilitate their experimental scores, the club has its own recording studio and jazz academy. Jazz aficionados and novices can go and enjoy some great music in this laid back setting.