The Dublin Castle is one of the most beloved independent live music venues in London and has been helping create music history since 1979. Celebrated by many trendy and emerging artists as well as by outstanding bands, the Dublin Castle is still running thanks to hard work by its owners and promoters. After 1995, when Blur – and later on, Amy Winehouse – played their gigs at the venue, it has become the ‘music centre’ for many music goers and musicians. Concerts take place there from Wednesday to Saturday; some of them wonderful and some not so much, but it is always and in any case great fun to hang out in the Dublin Castle.
The latest gig that I went to watch there were the PATiENTS; they began their journey as musicians in 2005 in South Korea as a four piece band and became the leaders of the mid-naughties local underground punk scene. Now as a trio and with a new drummer, the band – since 2014 – has been flying from South Korea to Europe each May. This year is no different – the act played concerts in a handful of the UK cities, including London, and also in Spain.
PATiENTS hit the stage with the charismatic lead singer Sumin Jo, Hyuckjang Kwon on keyboards (there is no doubt that Kwon is a truly gifted keyboardist/pianist) and with Soowon Choi on drums. They kicked their performance off with Hybrid Future, which sounded as if thunder hit a rock with all its power; with the fast drum beat and a strong guitar riff, the band quickly swept the audience off their feet. Hybrid Future was followed by Sipalsegi and Spanking Jenny (I wonder who Jenny was and who she spanked!). I am still under the spell of Kwon’s talent; I really take a pleasure in listening to his keyboards playing along with the band’s music – the drums, the guitar and the keyboards blend very well. The fourth song they played was Bad Fingers, followed by one of their newest tracks, Space Call Girl; at this point, everyone was clapping and swirling around the floor. Game Boy Game Girl and – one of my favourite songs – Idiot vs Psycho came after; with the strong punk sound, the guys were in control of the crowd and everything else in their surroundings. I think the last and the newest song Drunken Happy City surprised me the most – it had very different feel to it, there was no hybrid-punk sound to it at all, and Kwon – for the very first time – sang for more than 5 seconds; fairly impressive! The more I listen to the PATiENTS, the more I think that it is Kwon that carries the band with his powerful keyboard/piano skills.
You have been touring the UK and Spain this year, how has that been going?
Sumin Jo: This is our 4th UK Tour and the first Spain tour. I have enjoyed and loved all UK tours since the first tour in 2014. I like the pleasant and cool music lovers in the UK. And Primavera Sound 2017 in Barcelona, Spain, was really fantastic. We performed twice during the festival – the night-time show was great and the day time performance was exciting, too. We met the nice musicians and crew from South Africa: Marley Bloo and Radio 123. We formed a new crew, ‘Kore-Africa’, in Barcelona and we will play together in Seoul and Cape Town – such fun days ahead of us! We did 6 shows in the UK and 2 shows in Spain in May. But we will be back in the UK again soon.
Hyuckjang Kwon: Very well! We toured many places in the UK. This year, we also went to Wales. It was my first visit to that part of the country. I was excited playing at the Focus Wales Festival; we had a good time. We met many new Welsh friends and have formed good relationships. After that, we went Spain to play at Primavera Festival – it’s a huge international music festival. We saw many legendary bands and new bands; also the festival staff was very friendly and professional – everything was perfectly set up for the musicians. And – as Sumin Jo previously said – we made new friends from South Africa, Radio 123 and Marley Bloo. They played such good music, I was impressed. Also, they are going to apply for Zandari Festival. I’m very excited to meet them again in Korea.
Soowon Choi: The audience in England and Spain was very good. The performance was exciting and the stage sound was excellent.
You played in one of the most loved independent live music venue in London, The Dublin Castle, how was it? How is it for you guys to play on the same stage as Muse (in 1995, as an unknown band at that time) and The Libertines?
Sumin Jo: We are lucky! We had a great time at the Dublin Castle. Now I know why the venue has such good history. The atmosphere and the loud sound were so nice and people from there were also lovely. Emile, the Dublin Castle’s Sound Engineer, was professional and on top of everything. I have so much respect for the great musicians who played at the Dublin Castle – Madness, the Libertines and Amy Winehouse and more. They all rock!
Hyuckjang Kwon: I didn’t know much about the place or who played in there. I only knew that Dublin Castle is a very historic music venue; and that it is a very nice place. Also the place has good gear and a great engineer. The sound engineer understood our sound during our sound check and he made sure that people could listen to every music detail in our sound. I really enjoyed that.
What’s your favourite moment from the tour?
Hyuckjang Kwon: Finding good restaurants! We failed most of the time. We succeeded once in Brighton, though. The food in Brighton was delicious, I didn’t expect that. I am happy when I can enjoy good food.
Sumin Jo: My favourite thing is touring and encountering new great and cool artists on the tour. They pump up my energy.
Written by Maggie Gogler
Edited by Sanja Struna
All photos © Wildblanket Photography
Video © Patients