Shows: September to mid-May.

Posted in Music on May 15th, 2014 by byronkho

Since September, I’ve seen: Avicii, Above & Beyond, Alesso, Knife Party, Martin Solveig, Benny Benassi, Tiesto, David Guetta, Bassnectar, Madeon, Bingo Players, Sander van Doorn, Hardwell, Madeon, Queens of the Stone Age, Calvin Harris, Deadmaus, Empire of the Sun, Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Public Enemy, Solange, ASAP Rocky, Nero, Wolfgang Gartner, Emeli Sande, Haim, Alunageorge, Rudimental, Jesse Rose, Mord Fustang, Baam Bada, the Meta, Umer Piracha, Kaskade, CHVRCHES, Pretty Lights, MGMT, Little Green Cars, Gareth Emery, Madeon, Ghost Beach, Robin Thicke, Vampire Weekend, Avett Brothers, Manufactured Superstars, Icona Pop, Sky Ferreira, the Knocks, Sirah, K Flay, Icona Pop, KT Tunstall, Brian Lopez, Atoms for Peace, Sebastian Ingrosso, St. Lucia, Two Door Cinema Club, Morning Parade, Biffy Clyro, Aijia, Clara C, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, David Ramirez, Ellie Holcomb, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rimbo Wong (the Curtis student I help sponsor!), Song Dogs, Jessie Ware, Mikky Ekko, Val de Val, Ross Bellenoit, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Mount Moriah, Pine Barons, Paramore, Metric, hellogoodbye, Matrimony, the Falls, Foxes, Night Panther, Ivan & Alyosha, the Wild Feathers, Tin Horses, the Wayside Shakeup, the Smith Westerns, Lucy Stone, Roscoe Bandana, Mo Lowda & the Humble, Ali Wadsworth, Brown Sugar, Former Belle, Zoe Keating, twentyonepilots, Switchfoot, New Politics, MS MR, Perseverance Jazz Band, A Great Big World, Secret Someones, Phosphorescent, Sea Wolf, West Philadelphia Orchestra, Honey Watts, Little Silver, Mesiko, Ellie Goulding, the Last Band in Illyria, Black Horse Motel, Spirit & Dust, Reed Turner Band, Conway, Dead Professional, Oldermost, Nicole Atkins, Arc Iris, Davey Horne, Okkervil River, Typhoon, London Grammar, HAERTS, Moon Taxi, Revivalists, Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society, Nickel Creek, Carsie Blanton, Eli Conley, the Gallerist, Secret Sisters, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Willie Watson (formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show), David Tanner & Honky Tonk-o-rama, Thelma and the Sleaze, River City Tanlines, Francesca Battistelli, Jim Ed Brown, Riders in the Sky, Connie Smith, Jeannie Seely, Larry Gatlin, Carson Peters, Charlie Daniels Band, Vince Moreno, JP Harris and the Tough Choices, Cooper and the Jam, The Cordovas, Steve Gorman and Audley Freed of the Black Crowes, Tennis, HAIM and Carrie Underwood.

In the next few months, I’ll (likely) be seeing: Foo Fighters, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys, Beck, the Lumineers, Band of Horses, Pretty Lights, Weezer, Broken Bells, Band of Horses, Young the Gian, Childish Gambino, Tegan and Sara, Big Gigantic, Girl Talk, Cage the Elephant, Portugal the Man, Grouplove, Local Natives, Ziggy Marley, Iron & Wine, Sleigh Bells, Jake Bugg, Amos Lee, Third Eye Blind, City and Colour, Chance the Rapper, Kaiser Chiefs, A-Trak, the Airborne Toxic Event, Phantogram, Washed Out, Tune-Yards, Walk Off the Earth, the White Panda, American Authors, Martin Garrix, Cash Cash, G-Eazy, A Great Big World, RAC, Lucius, Smallpools, Bleachers, the Mowglis, NoNoNo, Kodaline, White Denim, Asaf Avidan, Cherub, Sir Sly, Aer, Johnnyswim, Vic Mensa, San Fermin, Geographer, Courtney Barnett, the Colourist, Wild Cub, Dan Croll, Shakey Graves, Goldroom, Wild Child, Little Comets, Magic Man, Boy & Bear, Royal Teeth, the Ceremonies, Gregory Alan Isakov, Bad Things, Andrew Belle, Basic Vacation, Hunter Hunted, Misterwives, Vance Joy, X Ambassadors, the Unlikely Candidates, Bronze Radio Return, Little Daylight, Kongos, Saints of Valory, Holychild, Parade of Lights, Son Lux, Salva, Gemini Club, Step Rockets, the Griswolds, Sleeper Agent, John & Jacob, Pigpen Theatre Co, the Weeks, High Highs, Caroline Glaser, Lily Mae, Courrier, Cruiser, New Sweden, Mean Lady, Christian Porter, Stop Light Observations, Breach the Summit, F. Stokes, Nothing, the Tontons, DRGN KING, Cakes da Killa, Denitia and Sene, Charliered, Downtown Club, Mike Taylor, Weekend, Khari Mateen, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, the Head And The Heart, Bear Hands, Die Antwoord, First Aid Kit, Willy Mason, jj Grey & Mofro, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Last Chance, Diana Lawrence, PHOX, Trails & Ways, Flume, Janis Ian, Shemekia Copeland, Tempest, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Lone Bellow, Sarah Jarosz, Loudon Wainwright III, JohnnySwim, Rebirth Brass Band, Kwesi K, Hot Club Of Cowtown, Old Man Luedeke, Steep Canyon Rangers, Dhaka Braka, Natalie McMaster, the Oh Hellos and NEEDTOBREATHE.

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Posted in Music on May 14th, 2014 by byronkho

Playing a gig at World Cafe Live Downstairs on July 16! Thanks to Jeffrey Barg, and looking forward to working with Gary Kurnov, David Kurnov, Jesse R. Tendler, Sarah Levine McClelland, Eric Johnson and Laura Boyce again! We’ll be doing Bard-inspired songs from Love’s Labours Lost: A New Musical (Shakespeare in Central Park 2013); Wars & Whores: The Henry IV Musical (Fringe 2011, WXPN Folk Show, I was in it.); Shakespeare in Clark Park’s The Tempest, whose composer – Sean Hoots, lead singer of Philadelphia folk band Hoots & Hellmouth – will be joining us onstage; plus much more, and we’ll be joined by many more talented actors and musicians. Buy your tickets early!

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Posted in Music on May 14th, 2014 by byronkho

Besides the shows this weekend: jammed along with an Australian singer to some Sam Smith tunes, serenaded some French and Brazilian girls during an impromptu late night open mic at the Nashville Downtown Hostel, hung out with a Cambodian breakdancer, and met Kat, this Nashville Yelper and R&B singer!

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Cooper and the Jam.

Posted in Music on May 12th, 2014 by byronkho

After watching 12 bands play everything from honky-tonk to Southern rock to indie singer-songwriter tunes over the course of a busy Saturday, I was like what else? Bam – next act at the 5 Spot in East Nashville: Cooper and the Jam. Powerhouse voice, crazy brass band and incredible stage presence. SO MUCH GOOD MUSIC.

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Nickel Creek at the Tower Theater.

Posted in Music on May 2nd, 2014 by byronkho

Nickel Creek! Pretty glad they’re back together – Chris and Sean’s dueling mandolin/guitar is so much fun to hear! I’d argue they sound better live than on recordings; definitely true for Destination and This Side. Here’s a few recordings I made. The video blows but I made them for the sound.

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Flume & Chet Faker.

Posted in Music on April 16th, 2014 by byronkho

Aussie electronica collabo and some slick moves on the streets at night. Watch out bro: tryna dance and get robbed be kinda bad.

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Reed Turner.

Posted in Music on April 11th, 2014 by byronkho

Hosted a house concert with Reed Turner and band. Just one number from an amazing set:


A-Z of Dance.

Posted in Music on April 10th, 2014 by byronkho

Yo so where’s the linedance, waltz and foxtrot??? Incomplete! Also, didn’t realize that my attempts at “finger tutting” were actually a real dance thing… vogue hands yeah!!… and (re)discovery of an ancient lost dance routine: Northern soul originates in Manchester, UK’s 1960s mod scene with its emphasis on fast Motown numbers with heavy beats (thus Northern soul, duh)… last seen in Duffy’s 2008 video for “Mercy” (a song just remade by South Korea’s Girls Generation, with, sadly, no North Korean soul.)

Random but mildly associated dance gripe: how did Penn’s Spring Fling this year nab David Guetta (and those damn 2012ers nabbed Tiesto!)? All we got in my day was Black Eyed Peas… grumble grumble grumble (ok so I was taking the worst year haha). More grumbles: I’m sure the Emergency room at Penn Hospital is gonna be working wayyy overtime this weekend. And somebody will have to have swallowed a pair of glowsticks. Right?

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Korean pop music!

Posted in Music on April 8th, 2014 by byronkho

Here are a couple of the big Korean numbers from 2013 that I like. And yes, I do include some K-Pop among the rock and hiphop and indie stuff.

1) Galaxy Express – Horongbul. If you like garage rock… you’ll like this. Lead comes from Mogwai, and most of the rest are former punk rockers. Legit. OK so this one is from 2012. Bite me.

2) 2PM – A.D.T.O.Y. This boy band is not particularly cloying and they do have some pretty neat R&B/hiphop flow. They’re excessively sculpted and a little less… er… “ggotminam” than most other boy bands (translate: still beefcake) but that’s South Korean pop music for you.

3) Glen Check – Young Generation. These guys are a guitar and bass/synth duo that do some killer synth-rock; they come off as an indie New Wave version of Justice or Cut Copy, and somewhat like my buddy SHOOK from the Netherlands.

4) KARA – Damaged Lady. KARA hasn’t been doing well lately, but is one of the Korean girl groups doing straight electropop that I can still listen to without thinking that they’re recycling songs that Britney Spears might have thrown away.

5) Zion T & Gaeko – Babay. Zion T has got some weird style – something between Jamiroquai and Prince – but he’s got clear producing skills. Good to see those Koreans are into the funk too.

6) Nell – Ocean of Light. This indie rock band does some really chill ethereal numbers, but their subject matter is usually really gloomy. Play on!

7) Love X Stereo – Soul City. What a great synth/electronic rock band. They’ve got cred as former sk8 punk rockers but it’s their tight instrumentals, mellow hooks and Annie’s soothing, hopeful voice that makes me turn this one on again and again.

8) Yoon Mi-Rae, Tiger JK, CHOPS – Turn It Up. Video’s pretty good too.

A little ramble on Korean pop music, Asian MCs and dance movies.

So Julianne Hough, who starred as Ariel Moore in Footloose, is currently touring in “MOVE,” a dance production (hitting Philadelphia in June!) she’s putting on with sibling Derek Hough, who is known (as she is) for his work on Dancing with the Stars. Derek happens to be in another dance movie hitting US theaters in 2 weeks – one which I assumed would be part of the Step Up franchise when I first heard of it, but actually isn’t. This particular movie, “Make Your Move” (don’t you have another word to use, Houghs?), is interesting because it’s a joint production with South Korea, stars K-Pop star BoA and features a soundtrack that includes music from the biggest K-Pop stars, including Girls Generation, f(x) and a member of EXO. Lorde – yes, that Lorde – happens to really like Lee Hi, a K-Pop ingenue hot off the reality music show circuit who is the same age as her and is crazy popular right now (…perhaps they have things in common). She also happens to love two of the biggest K-Pop groups, Girls Generation and 2NE1… and 2NE1, along with hit Korean rapper G-Dragon, just appeared on the new Skrillex/Diplo release, “Dirty Vibe.”

Missy Elliot, who has been busy working with Eve and Faith Evans (where have they been for the last few years?) and newcomer Kat Dahlia, not only got a Grammy nomination for her collabo with Kelly Rowland in 2013, but made it to Complex Magazine’s 50 Best Songs of 2013 with her G-Dragon Collabo, “NiLiria.” “NiLiria” was exciting for me not because it was a good song – actually, I think it’s rather ehhh – but because it was another stepping stone to having global Asian hiphop icons. There aren’t any that have made it to the big time here in the States: one of the first big Chinese American MCs, Jin – who flew high with the Ruff Ryderz for a while in the early 00s – tried to jump that barrier directly and fizzled (and he had the best chance of making it!), and instead had to release a Cantonese-language rap album in Hong Kong. This served the dual purpose of giving him a viable career in Asia, while also lending “US rap” authenticity to the Hong Kong rap scene. Tiger JK and Yoon Mi-Rae (who got some mad shoutouts from Rakaa of Dilated Peoples when they worked together), one of the hottest couple duos in K-Pop, frequently collaborate with Asian-American MCs (language barriers not a problem, as Yoon Mi-Rae is actually a transplant from this side of the pond): Dumbfoundead, Roscoe Umali and Illmind come to mind. In fact, they just finished working with CHOPS, a Philly-based producer who just wrapped up a Kickstarter-funded “Asian MCs” project that hopes to raise awareness around the world of the mad skills of Asian hiphop artists.

FYI, “Hallyu” or the “Korean Wave” refers to South Korea’s greatly expanding cultural influence over the last decade and a half; Korean music is one half of the pie, but the other is Korean dramas, which are popular in China, India, Latin America, the Middle East and other large population enclaves around the world. And the U.S. – thus its early appearance on Hulu to the confusion of many but delight for a few but growing number.

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Game of Thrones, smooth jazz style.

Posted in Music on April 7th, 2014 by byronkho

GoT is back, and this music is on repeat in my private elevator.

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