When Powwow announced the addition of the Thursday Concert Series to its creative space line-up, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Original music would still be accessible in Seoul. And better yet, we didn’t have to wait until Friday to watch it.
And then Powwow added Canada’s PS I LOVE YOU as the kickstarter to this mid-week series and well, we all nearly choked on our lukewarm pints of Cass.
Powwow isn’t just bringing new and innovative music to an area nowhere near exit 8 of Hongik University. Instead, they are hosting a community. A community encouraged to bring forth their own ideas and responses to music and art in Korea. Oh right, and they also managed to secure a band getting all kinds of noteworthy international praise which includes a spot on Spin’s Top 100 Guitarists of All Time.
Currently, PS I LOVE YOU may be one of the only bands actually deserving of the creative superlatives drowned on them by music critics and journalists. With guitarist Paul Sauliner and drummer Benjamin Nelson creating a sound so difficult to describe as anything other than “massive,” this band forces most writers to feverishly reach for their thesaurus and use up ever analogy in the vault.
And the adjectives become much more difficult to place after seeing them live.
Now, it is popular opinion that the best way to enjoy any live show is to be appropriately drunk while playfully putting your friends in headlocks. But, the night gets even better if you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by a crowd who is easy to forgive yourself and by default, your appropriately drunk friends in headlocks.
But other than instinctively reaching for your friend’s drink (or their head), PS I LOVE YOU’s sound can leave everyone a bit confused as to what to do with their hands. With a mix of organized noise, rhythmic guitar solos, and all-out thrash punk, the crowd went from fist-pumping, to hand-clapping, to sporadic dance moves, all before PS even finished their first song.
This cyclic hand routine continued throughout the set, with Saulnier and Nelson quickly covering most songs off their two releases.
Be it the mix of expats and locals, or the welcomed dialogue between Sauliner and the crowd any time he chose to switch his guitars, PS I LOVE YOU’s set felt more akin to watching your friends play in a rented basement, rather than paying 15,000W to see one of Canada’s strongest rock duos.
As the band finished their set, the parallels between PS I LOVE YOU’s sound and Pow Wow as a scene became uncanny. Unexpected, creative, welcoming, and slightly chaotic, this all becomes evident by the obvious sensation to just move your hands as quickly as possible.
This is a mixture which, on all accounts, could only mean good things for both the sound and the scene.
Words and pictures by Sarah Kloke of Where’s My Toothbrush.