The Geeks brought their Seoul Straight Edge to Austin at SXSW 2013.
If you could see this band perform with any other musical group, who would it be?
I’d love to see The Geeks play with Comeback Kid. The Geeks play a brand of youth crew hardcore mixed with the quasi-melodic vocal stylings of Andrew Neufeld that explode into scission-like screams. They threw breakdowns in all the right places, like Comeback Kid, and transfer to D-beats in a way that let the energy flow through their set. It was cool that the showcase was promoted as K-pop (The Geeks are from Seoul), but I had wished the crowd was of the punk rock variety, ’cause I was ready to get my mosh on.
If this band were a vegetable, what and why?
The Geeks would be spinach. Their musicianship wasn’t flowery in any way, but their sound hearty and nourishing, and retained just the right amount of sweet melody to power through. Usually, the guitarists (Jun and Gene) played identical power-chord riffs, which generated sonic fullness. Vocalist Ki emanated a friendly vibe, and thanked the crowd (expecting POP music) for their warm reaction to the music. At various points, he said, “Our music isn’t for everyone,” and explained that they’ve been doing The Geeks since 1999 simply because they love it and the music they play.
How did the environment/atmosphere impact the performance?
Unfortunately, as mentioned, the crowd was poised to hear K-pop last night. There were only a couple rockers in the audience, so the mosh pit I was praying for never manifested itself. Had the crowd been punk and hardcore kids, we would have blown the roof off with positive, youth crew–style dance moves. There were a lot of Korean people who partook in the camaraderie of the showcase. What was also inspiriting was the bonding that this hardcore punk band spurred—when Ki asked who the Koreans were, two punk girls (whom I perceived to be of African American descent) jokingly raised their hands; their enthusiasm for The Geeks really shone as they rocked back and forth during their songs.
What set the show apart from a typical set you might see in SLC?
The Geeks are self-proclaimed “Seoul straight edge.” Their implicit straight edge candor is something I miss about SLC—the fun, punk rock (as opposed to two-step hardcore) straight edge scene isn’t as strong as it was four or five years ago. I liked knowing that they are astute in their beliefs (playing since 1999), and were there to have fun with the crowd in a venue that serves alcohol, The Elysium, to look past differences and connect with their audience.
Was the show inside or outside? Was it day or night?
I entered The Elysium at dusk. The bar was dark and had great black-lighting. Although the crowd let me down, I was able to look past them and sense the genuiness that The Geeks offer, who got me pumped for the rest of my night.