Every weekend there are lots of great gigs in Hongdae. But the Shake Shop concert series is definitely one of the more unique events in the area. Created by Seoul-based bellydancer Eshe, Shake Shop mixes live indie music with bellydance. Since starting the event in February 2012, Eshe and her Navah troupe – which is comprised of expat and Korean shimmying beauties – have collaborated with nearly 50 different local bands playing everything from folk to hardcore as part of Shake Shop.
This month’s Shake Shop will take place on February 14. And after living in Seoul for seven years, Eshe will be moving back to her native Canada this spring, so Saturday’s concert will be the final Shake Shop show.
“Live music is like air for me,” says Eshe when talking about why doing Shake Shop for the past two years has been such an amazing experience. “If given the choice, I’d rather dance to any type of live music instead of my favorite recorded songs. Making the Shake Shop shows has been a lot of work, but it’s been so much fun. I just love that we get to work with live musicians. I don’t know any other dance studio that completely reworks their entire show every month – maybe doing that makes me a bit crazy.”
Seeing as how February 14 will be her last performance in Korea, Eshe has put together the biggest Shake Shop bill yet. The night will feature Galaxy Express, Apollo 18, Goonam, and …Whatever That Means. Garage rock trio Galaxy Express won “Musician of the Year” at the 2011 Korean Music Awards and have gigged overseas in nine countries. Post-hardcore and post-rock hybrid band Apollo 18 won “Rookie of the Year” at the 2010 Korean Music Awards and have performed in eight different countries.
Retro rockers Goonam and punk group …Whatever That Means have both completed several overseas tours with the latter having just returned from doing dates in Singapore and Malaysia. “… Whatever That Means played Shake Shop back in October 2013 and I’ve been trying to get them on another one of our lineups for a while,” shares Eshe. “I love their drive, their devotion to the music scene, their passion for helping others, their commitment to artistry, and of course their music. I’ve wanted to work with Goonam for a long time. I love their throwback style mixed with elements of Korean culture. We’re really honored to perform with them. Galaxy Express are the quintessential Korean rock band – all leather, swagger, and soju. They played Shake Shop in February 2014 and I really thought getting them to play once was like winning the lottery. I can’t believe lightning has struck twice and they are working with us again.”
She pauses to think before starting to talk about Saturday’s closing act, Apollo 18. “Apollo 18 are gifted artists and performers and are like family to me. Their music has been a soundtrack to my life. I starred in their 2009 music video for their track ‘Orbis’ and we’ve done a lot of special performances with that song together over the past several years. Dancing to ‘Orbis’ is the performance I’m most worried about at the last Shake Shop. I hope I can hold it emotionally together. All of Navah will join me onstage during that song. It will be my final love letter to Hongdae and I hope a fitting end to my blessed time here.”
And although Eshe will soon be leaving Korea, her experiences with dance and music here are something she promises she will remember forever.
“I could never have imagined how much Korea would change my life,” she says. “It has been a gift to live here. I will take the things I’ve learned with me wherever I go. I cannot thank the community here enough for supporting me, challenging me, and loving me.”
When: February 14, 7:30 pm Where: Club Freebird 2, Hongdae Price: W20,000 with one free drink
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