Part 4: Live Music in Hongdae


12 Freebird

This Hongdae institution pulls in smaller international acts and great regular bands like the reggae group Seoul Steady Rockers, fronted by the most beautiful singer in the world.

Another regular at Freebird is Yamagata Tweakster, a true eccentric.

This one-man electro act is all the cooler in such a conformist society. Yamagata Tweakster is often to be found cooking noodles and feeding them to the audience as part of his dance routine, which goes just fine with his spacey beats – he and Babylon Zoo have a lot in common.

Last seen in a sweaty white suit, DJing to himself on top of Namsan mountain, Yamagata Tweakster is a Korean maverick who it would be a shame to miss.

If there are a few different acts on one night, entry normally costs 10,000 W, but more often than not it’s free. Some nights it is dead, other times it is the only place to be – just go and see, especially in summer when the owner can sometimes be found cooking sausages for everyone on the outdoor terrace. Freebird is a great place for meeting new people, especially cool Koreans with great English. After you have been there a few times, you will start to know the crowd. Enjoy!

13 Yogiga Expression Gallery

This small venue hosts live music mixed with performance art, on the last Sunday of every month. There’s no cover, and the crowd and performers are internationally based, by which I mean they’re English teachers. No shame in that. From naked dancers to repetitive synth, it’s all taken ridiculously seriously, but once in a while there will be some sweet little flute band who just blow you away, transporting your dull Sunday to one full of hopes and dreams.

The convenience store just next door is practically a part of Yogiga, with the arty crowd taking long breaks to drink makgeolli and smoke cigarettes outside. This is a great way to meet people if you are new in town – a bunch of welcoming folk often grab dinner together afterwards, and if you stick around to chat, they will surely invite you along.

Here is a map of Hongdae marked with all the joints mentioned. Enjoy:

map of Hongdae hand-drawn

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