Vietnamese punk band to tour Seoul, Busan
In what might be a first, a Vietnamese hardcore punk band is coming to Korea this weekend for two shows.
The band name is the Vietnamese word for quail balut, a popular street food, when spelled properly. But without the little accents on the vowels, as would be printed in this newspaper, Cut Lon has cruder meanings.
The Hanoi-based band plays thrash and hardcore punk, but it is so much more than that. The Unite Asia punk news website called it “your new favorite band” and said “this band has done everything right.”
The four-member group has certainly gained attention for its music videos, in which members wear knitted Pikachu masks.
“The Pikachu costume is funny — we love wearing it on stage, although it’s really hot and uncomfortable,” said Sot, the band’s guitarist. “In the beginning, we just wanted to have fun and wear something stupid. But then as we started writing music, the Pikachu costume really fit in with the songs.”
Fitting with their hilarious, playful image, their lyrics are described as written through the eyes of a sevenyear-old. “For our generation, we’ve witnessed many changes in society. There are things we’re familiar with when we are kids, but then they just simply vanish. There’re also things that are outdated but still persist — like trash wagons, propaganda, painted advertisements. These things we took for granted at seven years old, when we’re grown up enough, they become quite funny and silly. That’s why we write about our world through the eyes of a kid’s naive point of view but with a sarcastic tone.”
Hardcore and punk are relatively new in Vietnam, having about 10 years of history by Sot’s count.
“Hanoi and Saigon are the two main cities that have the biggest scenes,” Sot said. “Normally in Hanoi, a good show will drive in 100 kids, while in Saigon it can be up to 150-200. In Hanoi, the scene is rather small where everybody knows each other. There are kids from high school, but the most active members are now 30 years old or more, which is pretty old. It is really hard to have new listeners, not to speak of instrument players.”
Sot himself is 32, working as a graphic designer, and has been playing the guitar since high school. He’s been in a handful of local metal and hardcore bands already, including Proportions, Off The Skylines, Nuranium and Epione.
As his scene develops and grows, he says it’s becoming easier for bands to tour abroad and for foreign bands to come to Vietnam. He can name four Korean bands that have played in Vietnam: Turn for Our, Day of Mourning, End These Days and 13 Steps.
“Vietnam’s scene has a good connection with Korea’s scene,” he said. “Personally I always try to meet people from the scene wherever I travel; these bring good friendships and connections where we can help each other in the future.”
On Friday they’re at Club Realize in Busan, and on Saturday they’re playing in Seendosi in downtown Seoul. The other bands include Duoxini, 13 Steps, Korose, Gumiho and Turn for Our, and the show costs 15,000 won.
Members of Cut Lon pose in Pikachu costumes.