There aren’t many great Asian musicians that I would willingly listen to, unless it’s Hugh Keice, a Korean born singer-songwriter, who started his career after winning the Cyworld Music Award for Best Choice of May 2007 with his song ‘Winter Tree’. His clean voice and unique sound, which blends funk, blues and soul with a hint of folk, drew me into his musical world immediately. It’s like listening to John Mayer mixed with D’Angelo and Incubus, it’s the best music sandwich I could have asked for.
I was over the moon when Hugh decided to visit and perform in the UK again. The exclusive venue AAA in London kindly opened its doors to his band, however, before Hugh got on stage, there was another Korean artist performing on that night. It was Peterpan Complex. They debuted in 2002 as an indie rock band, however, after a three year break, they made their comeback in 2011 with a different, more electronic, sound. Their musical creativity blew me straight away. Their electronic music combined with the groovy 1980s and 1990s tunes were definitely refreshing and pleasant to my ears. With Jun JiHan, as their lead singer, the band created a great atmosphere and grabbed my attention by the throat, keeping me interested in their performance until the very end. Jun JiHan’s striking and strong vocals added a great note into the show. The vocal arrangements were brilliantly done and in tune! What amazed me the most was that each and every song had a different sound. There was no noticeable repetition in their music, which made the performance more engaging and flawless.
Peterpan Complex (Picture courtesy of http://sumgyeojingem.com/)
I wish I was fluent in Korean. I couldn’t sing along to Peterpan Complex’s songs and I ended up lip singing to whatever words I made up on the spot. It was a pitiful picture but I had to improvise somehow, right? After their impressive and entertaining gig it was time for Hugh to show off his talent. And surely he did a great job on stage! His music and voice was like soul food to me. I totally drifted away during his performance. Every song was perfectly carried out, without any vocal difficulties. Hugh’s show on that evening was impeccable. His high and low notes were well executed, however, having said that I would like him to use his falsetto more. I believe he is able to create a thin, yet bright sound that he could extend beyond his normal vocal range. I am glad that Hugh sings, mostly, in English, it means that I can enjoy his music even more.
I absolutely loved both of the acts. It’s a shame to see the guys playing in such a small venue. I would definitely like to see Hugh at the Jazz Cafe in Camden and Peterpan Complex at the Garage, where JiHan could show off his groovy moves. He moves like Jagger for sure! I think that Hugh Keice and Peterpan Complex deserve a much bigger fanbase here in the UK. The British music industry needs more musicians like them! Who knew that Korea have such talented artists over there. Have a listen to their music, it will rock your socks off!
Hugh Keice (Picture courtesy of http://sumgyeojingem.com/)
Written by Maggie Gogler.