Friday 9 December 2016

Seoul - the Colonel Mustard Diaries

Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 have had an exceptional 2016. Their yellow movement philosophy is growing all the time, so are their live crowds. They are set to play a sold out ABC on 23rd December for their Yellow Xmas Party. Shame the Barrowland was already booked! 

One of many highlights for the band was an incredible trip to Seoul in Korea in October. Colonel John McMustard himself was kind enough to email me to see if I would be interested in publishing his tour diary. I was, and after reading it I certainly was!

For me this is a fantastic insight into how hard this band works, how seriously they take it, but also how much they place a huge emphasis on fun - for them, their fans, or to whoever comes to see them, wherever they play. They are a breath of fresh air - enjoy.

Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 
Seoul tour diary by Colonel John Thomas McMustard 

Myself and the Dijancer did a project on the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games when we were at Primary School and my Uncle Joe is the only guy I know that has been to North and South Korea, but I have to admit that I never thought about going to Korea and probably had a lot of unfounded ideas of what Korea and Seoul were like. 

What I discovered was a friendly , forward thinking country , embracing music and culture from all over the world with its own technology, music and ways of thinking truly, creating a Korean Wave of culture that is one of the best kept secrets in Asia. The people aren't frightened of their nuclear neighbour , I think there's a feeling that they are Brothers that will be united again one day, regardless of this the people in Seoul are just to busy enjoying life in a truly 24 hour city, that never sleeps, parties hard , and one at the cutting edge of technology , music and design. Seoul well and truly has soul. I'd like to think we got offered this trip as we bet Korean band  Dead Buttons at Table football in Liverpool, the truth is Dalse the mainman for Zandari was one of the 50 people there to see us open the mainstage at Soundcity, a wee lesson in always doing your best and performing to your optimum no matter how small the crowd, you never know who is watching you. 

day 1 - we touched down in Seoul, after an epic journey, I can sleep anywhere but some of the guys had no sleep, including big Moags our drummer who also has a hernia to contend with, the big man can be grumpy at the best of times; during the flight he apparently considered sleeping in the aisle of the plane, he was in that much pain. That's dedication for you and the big mans bravery sums up how much we wanted to perform in Korea. 

We got the train to Hongdae University to stay at the Pencil guesthouse which would be our home for the next few days. The reconnaissance party which had set off a full 24 hours earlier only got there 4 hours ahead of us after a delay in Amsterdam due to a dodgy landing, they looked comparatively fresh considering this. KLM had even tweeted the Dijancer, their apologies. I like big businesses using our pseudonyms. There's not enough of that in the world. We adjourned to the rooftop garden had a carryout and made plans to wear our kilts and go to the ZandariFesta opening party. Big Moags wasn't happy about kilting it on the first night, but the true Scotsman relief he would have got must have been a relief after 15 hours of economy class confinement. We turned up at the opening party and turned a few heads , it was a free bar and we watched some cracking Korean acts knock it out the Ji Sung Park. 

We went to a cracking rock club after and watched more Korean bands, it was the first time I'd seen synchronised dance moves to a rock band and I knew immediately we had a good chance of getting our crowd participation across when we played. We walked home through the Hongdae area which I believe is mainly under 30's, people were out in parks drinking, young lovers kissing and holding hands, a lovely vibe , where you can even sit outside a 7/11 and have a drink, probably keeps the under 16's away from asking you to buy them a carryout. People were in restaurants eating Korean barbecues or as the the Koreans call them barbecues, to all times in the morning or night. We were still all on Greenwich Mean Time so the 24 hour culture meant we didn't look out of place stoating about eating loads of street food. The food was out of this world , tasty , spicy and delicious. Our usually reserved trumpet player Kirstin Badges was the most Rock N Roll that night, enjoying all the delights Seoul had to offer and needing put to bed the earliest at 6am. This is a city for insomniacs. Time for 4 hours sleep. 

Day 2 - the next day we got up and most of us went a dos. We explored the area and went to club Steelface to watch a cracking Slovenian band I Wear Experiment followed by lovely experimental Korean outfit Ahndayoung, we again adjourned to the rooftop gardens, where we made fast friends with She Drew The Gun, mainly based in Liverpool, worthy winners of Glastonbury emerging talent competition. I'm looking forward to seeing them play my hometown of Glasgow on Thu 27th Oct in the Hug and Pint and they were kind enough to come to our showcase gig in the MUV hall that night. 

We all then went a trek across to the Kangol store where artists could get a free pair of trainers. I should have asked for a Reni hat, because as I suspected they don't do size 11's in Korea. I just picked my partner Donnas size instead. You can't laugh at a free present. I bought my son John a DC comic in Korean and went for my first Korean barbecue with a friend of a friend Eddie from Helensborough who can speak the language , but didn't know how to interpret Cross The Road, I sacked him as my translator but rehired him as my spirit guide as he dispelled a lot of myths and generally made me feel more comfortable about my attempts to use the language and not offend people. 

I changed into my mustard suit and headed back to club MUV , enroute we watched one of the best Rock N Roll bands about Wasted Johnnys, Anji their Korean lead singer personifies rock n roll, with a carefree, lack of confinement , bags of confidence and great stage presence. A lot for us to live up to. where we we were due to play our showcase. Before we played the excellent band Rock N Roll Radio had a massive crowd , who all seemed to disappear as soon as they finished. It's that horrible feeling you get when its your party and you're frightened no one will show up. We needn't have worried, by the time we took to the stage we had a big crowd , which seemed to get bigger, people just like to hang about outside until they hear something they like. 

The gig was great. The crowd went mental , despite the language barrier , our friend Marks local girlfriend translated Cross The Road for us and they crossed the road. The question everyone back home asked me before I went- aye , but do you think you'll be able to get them to cross the road? They did that and more , with spontaneous chanting and dancing. Dance Off was the song that brought it alive. That's the song where the audience become the stars and despite some trepidation, Anji from wasted Johnnys started getting down and one by one everyone had their moment on the dance floor, by the time it was finished the crowd were rabid. 

13 of us had travelled to Korea and our onstage party carried down and back up onto the stage all night, with a cosmopolitan mix of people and some of the Koreans even borrowing our discoball helmets. We had stage invaders , people of all nationalities high 5ing to the beat. It was beautiful and everything we had set out to do. We walked off stage buzzing. We then went to support our friends Sugarmen from Liverpool at the British Night as well as She Drew The Gun , Coquin Migale and I Set The Sea On Fire , all really varied bands , but all dynamite and doing what they do in a fresh way. 

We met Jenny from Sol Flare and her friend Anis who had been at our gig and hit it off with them , just on a flying visit they were cramming as much Korean culture as they could including going to a dog cafe , where you get to pet loads of dogs whilst having a cup of tea. The Dijon 5 by this time were well on our way and headed to the after ,after party in our favourite Korean pub Strange Fruit was something else. Dave Pichilingi Liverpool Soundcity mainman played one of the best DJ sets of all time. I got a little carried away when he played the Doors and Colin our keyboard player and Inflatable Ginger Party Vortex walked through the door I threw myself off of the table like my ICW brother DCT the international sex hero and ironically accidentally body slammed Colin through the front door, completely breaking it off its hinges. Colin was absolutely fine , jubilant, the door on the other hand was a write off. I've since apologised to the club owner and offered to pay for it.   Luckily he is a fan of the mustard and is even talking about putting the door up on his wall with a plaque. It was a wild night, to say the least. 

We also discovered the Korean national drink Soju, which has a similarity to vodka , but with a Buckfast type buzz, our mate Mark refused to drink it that night as he was due to meet his potential in laws 2 days later, this gives you an idea of the strength and potential for wildness the Soju brings to the party. Dave played a 6 hour set of tune after tune, from the Beastie Boys to the Happy Mondays. It was glorious! 

We've asked Dave to come up to Glasgow on the 23rd December for our ABC gig and spin a few tunes.  Some of the guys went to a local park where folk were still out jamming and enjoying themselves , with some hiphop artists doing their thing, the stamina the Koreans have, put some hardened Glasgow party people to shame. It was an 8am bedtime that morning, the door was smashed, we were all smashed, but we planned to do some sightseeing the same/next day. Some of the guys attempted to get a taxi to the Jimjilbang an amazing communal Korean Sauna that is the ultimate in relaxation and destressing, most Koreans go once a month, at this time in the morning no taxi was stopping for any yellow clad Dijoners.

Day 3- I got up feeling highly rough dragged myself out the digs. It was the first and only day of rain, but it was a welcome part of my hangover cure. We went to Dongdaemun palace , which was nice and peaceful , but not very action packed. We reenacted singing in the rain and did some filming for our song Cross The Road. I was getting some right funny looks with my discoball helmet on, we went to the City Hall where we looked at some amazing building designs and were treated to a choir singing. 

We all met back up and we discovered Full Fathom Five one of our singers had some bad bites and taken a reaction to the same and went between a couple of hospitals. The staff there had never seen anything like it. She was well looked after and the fire brigade even at one point took her to a hospital as they could see she was to weak to travel. True international chivalry. We were meant to take it easy as we had more sightseeing to do and then we were playing the closing party the next day. 

We went to French night and seen a dynamite 2 piece band called KO KO MO, as we are the Dijon 5 we even got invited back to the French after party, we walked there with Danish journalist Mika who had a massive knowledge of Scottish bands and was amazed that I'd played football with Stuart from Belle and Sebastian. When we got to the bar the Stone Roses were blasting from the speakers , we made friends with a couple of folk. The band J and The 9's and Frank from Ooberfuse, we attempted to get an early night , getting up the road at 4am, but found the rest of the band partying hard in Vanilla Johnson our trombone players room. The Soju was flowing. Another 7am bedtime, it was to late to trick our minds into changing time zones. 

Day 4- up again. Honey Grain went down to check out the Korean Hendrix with a Keytar Blue Turtle Land, who were by all accounts sensational. A few of us including DJ5 and Bobby Snoobin decided to climb to the top of the Seoul Tower, climbing up a big hill when you're hungover is always a guaranteed cure! Chinley Biggins and Jurassic Ant had made it to the Jimjilbang and got a cracking massage of an old boy and spent the day trying out all the different saunas and ways of relaxing. Definitely something I want to try next time I'm over. 

We all got kilted up again for our final gig. The kings of Korean indie Crying Nut played before us, again big shoes to fill, one of the tightest bands I've ever seen. We looked out into an even bigger crowd than first time, playing the closing party to  all our new friends were there, along with loads of new Korean fans and people from all over the world was incredible. The noise levels nearly topped our biggest festival gig at Belladrum this year. The crowd gave the Peace, Love and Mustard signs and danced themselves into ecstasy. We all came off stage speechless at the reaction we'd got, just making noises to each other. Shaking our heads in disbelief, if the first gig was an achievement, the second gig was Dijon triumph. We had a set list , but from the word go we knew we had to go all out high energy and the crowd responded with a symbiosis that we probably thought we would only get from a Scottish crowd, they even chanted us on for an encore, which we're not massively into , but it felt right that night. Only one song to finish on after the Golden Girls theme died down. The International Sex Hero Is Coming To The Rescue. I thought we'd depleted all our energy , but I've never jumped as high in all my life. 

Cue After party 2 at strange fruit, broken door and a warm welcome. Dave got some DJing going and was amazing, but with a drum kit set up, drummer after drummer ruined his vibe, and then a bass a guitar and a Keytar arrived and it was time for a different vibe, all the international bands wanted to jam with each other, our own Badges McNair played trumpet, improvising and riffing with a saxophonist from Europe while a drummer from Madsgascar layered down a beat and 2 Koreans got their funky keyboards playing. I'd tried to get big Moags up to drum along to Daves set as he knows they songs off by heart, so when I got the peer pressure to sing I had to step up. We've got a PFunk inspired new song There's Nothing Funkier Than Funk. I even got a singsong going. It was an awe inspiring jam to be involved with and it didn't end there, members of other bands passed instruments about and kept the party going well into the next day. It was the epitome of what music should always be about , people coming together and speaking that international language to each other. No differences , just a coming together to make something good. We can't thank Dalse , Patrick and all the Zandari Festa people enough. We've all came back slightly different , in a good way. Seoul we'll be back, but forget gangham style , Hongdae is the way!

Day 5- time to go home. Moags and fathom got a cuddle from some Raccoons in a Racoon cafe. No Cyril Sneer  in sight. Me inflatable and Dj5 headed down to the river, took in some history and chilled, even getting a wee ukelele jam. Homeward bound. 13 burst Dijoners. Mortimer Chester Winthorpe the 3rd Marquis of Denmark has already sourced some Soju in the SeeWoo at Possil. My cousins research is 2nd to none. We did a lot of filming , so keep your eyes peeled for a mini Dijon in Seoul documentary.  

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