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Holy Moly concert series brings 4 punk bands to Haebangchon

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Psychedelic blues band Billy Carter / Courtesy of <a href='' target='_blank'>Kim Youngjun</a>
Psychedelic blues band Billy Carter / Courtesy of Kim Youngjun

Jamie Finn poses with a copy of Platform Magazine issue 5. / Courtesy of Jamie Finn
Jamie Finn poses with a copy of Platform Magazine issue 5. / Courtesy of Jamie Finn
By Jon Dunbar

What's so holy about Holy Moly?

Jamie Finn, organizer of the Holy Moly monthly concert series, admitted he was stumped when an online commenter confronted him with the question.

"Well, one of the singers at our next show is called Christmas. That's pretty holy," he told The Korea Times several days later.

Christmas, that paragon of holiness, is the frontwoman of Seoul punk band 18Fevers, which will be one of the four acts playing the second-ever Holy Moly gig this Saturday at The Studio HBC.

This edition of the show focuses on Seoul's punk scene, with the bill rounded out by all-girl band Rumkicks, psychedelic-blues-punk band Billy Carter and ska-punk veterans Lazybone.

Finn, the chief editor of local indie publication Platform Magazine as well as promoter of last year's multi-venue Block Party festival in Seoul's Haebangchon, began the concert series last month with the aim of bringing bigger, more established acts to the multicultural neighborhood.

Fevers / Courtesy of 18Fevers
Fevers / Courtesy of 18Fevers

Last month's premiere Holy Moly featured a jazzier, funkier lineup, with the nine-member Kim Oki Fucking Madness taking over the small basement venue, joined by funk trio Cadejo and indie-funk-pop band Hongbi.

"The first one was insane!" Finn reported. "We completely sold out The Studio and unfortunately had to turn some people away. The music was incredible and all three acts absolutely smashed it."

Kim Oki Fucking Madness plays the first Holy Moly show at The Studio HBC, Jan. 7. / Courtesy of <a href='' target='_blank'>Suki Park</a>
Kim Oki Fucking Madness plays the first Holy Moly show at The Studio HBC, Jan. 7. / Courtesy of Suki Park

He's already revealed that the third Holy Moly, to take place the first Saturday of next month, will be an "indie-based affair," with Gorymurgy, Pop Ents and Say Sue Me.

"I have all of them planned up to August," Finn revealed. "We want each Holy Moly to have a different flavor. While I'm an indie boy to the bone, I've always really loved punk music. Two of the bands playing this show, 18Fevers and Billy Carter, we have worked with before and love them. The other two, I've been dying to work with them for ages. I think it's a great lineup that has four very different takes on punk."

Rumkicks recently completed a tour of Indonesia, where an unfortunate incident on Jan. 8 made international headlines. While lead singer Yeawon was addressing the crowd about the unfair criticisms she has been subject to as a female musician, a member of the audience hurled a plastic cup filled with water at her head. The perpetrator was identified and fired from his band, according to NME.

"They seem to be a magnet for every small-minded, gatekeeping, misogynistic prick," Finn said. "In a way, I think people connect with Rumkicks in part because of the shit they go through. They're just themselves, unapologetically and uncompromisingly so, but all they get is shit for it. I think people identify with that."

A 13-second video of the incident has received 296,900 views on Twitter, as of Jan. 30. "There is a small silver lining though," Finn said. "I ― and a few other people I know ― first heard of this band because of the abuse they've gotten."

All-girl punk band Rumkicks / Courtesy of Rumkicks
All-girl punk band Rumkicks / Courtesy of Rumkicks

Finn, a Brit who goes by the DJ name Scouse Ramen, has been reporting on and promoting Korea's music scene since landing here in 2014. He started Platform Magazine in 2021, releasing issue 1 in September that year.

Platform is now up to issue 5, which was released last month in time for the first Holy Moly. The latest issue included an interview with a young Korean shaman, Finn's list of Korea's 10 best shoegaze bands, an interview with electronic duo Haepaary, and the first in a three-part series on the history of the Korean cinema industry.

Last September, he stepped up his activities by holding the first Block Party, an annual festival featuring 40 acts at five venues in Haebangchon and nearby Gyeongnidan.

"Block Party was incredible. I was so proud of what we did that day," he said. "The plan so far is to do another one this year. I can't tell you too much about it yet but we're hoping to make it a two-day event this year and include things other than music ― comedy, visual art, spoken word, drag and more!"

This month's Holy Moly falls on a busy weekend, with several other shows competing for not just audiences but also bands to play. Finn was happy to talk up the music festival Let There Be Love, Itaewon, which is happening on the same night as his own event as well as on Sunday.

Ska-punk band Lazybone / Courtesy of Lazybone
Ska-punk band Lazybone / Courtesy of Lazybone

The Itaewon area as well as nearby Haebangchon is continuing to suffer following the deadly crowd disaster that killed at least 158 last October, and consumers have yet to fully return to the area. Meanwhile, community leaders and event promoters like Finn hope to revive the local community by doing what they do best, with live events run responsibly.

"I think with the current context the area is doing as good as can be expected," Finn said. "The sad thing is that I feel like the area was really gaining momentum up until October. The atmosphere here still seems pretty electric during the weekends so I don't know, maybe it's not as dark as it seems."

The show starts this Saturday at 7 p.m. and tickets cost 30,000 won. Visit for more information or follow @holymoly.seoul on Instagram.


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