I travelled from Tokyo to South Korea yesterday, but frankly, when I went to play at the open mic at a bar called “The Local,” in Haebangchon – a 20 minute walk from my hotel in Itaewon – I felt almost like I was back in Canada.
The Haebangchon neighborhood has recently grown up as another popular place for foreigners, thanks partly to its cheap rents, apparently. It’s defintely more downmarket than Itaewon. But when I heard about The Local and its open mic on Wednesdays, I was delighted. And not let down.
The open mic is run by a Canadian, Patrick, and owned by his girlfriend. It is a tiny, cosy, cool place that has become a magnet to the local foreign bands and musicians, and a lot of them turned up last night. In the room, either playing, or as spectators, there were at least four Canadians, including one from New Brunswick and two from Newfoundland. There were Americans, English, and others. Oh, and yes, Koreans too.
Like a lot of small bar situations, the open mic was a success because everyone is one on top of the other – as it were – and you cannot escape the music. I liked the decorations in the bar too, old photos of Dylan, the Doors, a few LPs pinned up on the wall.
Just generally a nice vibe and great open mic. You actually get to play for half an hour! Thanks to Yvon Malenfant for telling me about this place. Yvon, from Canada, was there to play too, and he lent me his cool guitar since my pick up doesn’t work, as I mentioned yesterday.
Gotta run to catch a shuttle and so will add more videos tomorrow, but must make due with the few I put up now….