This is not Steve Aoki. Everybody just thinks he is…

Angry Asian Man:

What happens when an Asian dude rocking some long hair, a beard and sunglasses walks around a music festival? He gets mistaken for Steve Aoki. A lot.

Jarrad Seng is a photographer who works in the music industry. He is Asian and rocks long hair, and thus has been mistaken for popular electronic musician Steve Aoki on a regular basis for the past five years. On the street, at festivals, in bars, etc. So he affixed a beard to his face and brought a camera along to see what happened while he walked around the Australian music festival Stereosonic, where Aoki was headlining.

This funny video chronicles one man’s three-hour walk … as fake Steve Aoki:

Jarrad notes that he feels a bit bad about the “hundreds of selfies” he took with people who thought he was Steve. So… if you were at Stereosonic in Perth, and you were one of the many happy festivalgoers who took a photo with “Steve Aoki,” Jarrad says sorry. “I owe you guys a beer or two.

See more of Jarrad Seng’s work at his website.

Deal with it, headbangers… Babymetal is here.

Babymetal perform during the first day of the 2014 Heavy Montreal festival.

Babymetal perform during the first day of the 2014 Heavy Montreal festival.


On Saturday, Aug. 9, more than 40,000 people descended upon Montreal‘s Parc Jean-Drapeau for the first day of Heavy Montreal, North America’s biggest heavy metal festival. The main draw was headliner Metallica; respected veterans in Anthrax, Voivod and Overkill; and upstarts like Municipal Waste and Protest the Hero featured on the eclectic undercard. Early in the day though, it was a performance by a trio who performed a confounding, surreal fusion of bubbly Japanese pop and edgy heavy metal that attracted the crowd’s attention.

The metal scene loves to wring its hands over anything that upsets the status quo, and Babymetal have been especially polarizing in 2014. After all, co-opting metal music and juxtaposing it with J-pop melodies and Japanese “idol” fashion, choreography, and marketing will do that. The cries of foul have been predictable, skeptics up in arms about the act’s seeming lack of sincerity, its “corporate” approach, its prefab quality. It’s a common complaint in an era when the mainstream side of heavy metal is stuck between the nostalgic and the milquetoast. The best-selling metal acts of the past 12 months are a hodgepodge of old-school heroes (Black Sabbath), late-’90s holdovers (Korn, Godsmack), younger bands that pander to the lowest common denominator (Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch) and the odd mild bright spot (Volbeat). It’s as if post-millennial mainstream metal doesn’t know where to go next. There’s little galvanizing the entire metal scene anymore: The older metal crowd has its favorites, the kids have theirs, the underground carries on and never the twain shall meet. The fact that the sudden notoriety of this shrewdly marketed trio of teenaged Japanese singers has brought people together in a combination of excitement, confusion and revulsion is not a bad thing at all.

What Babymetal’s naysayers tend to forget is that heavy metal is no stranger to contrivance and gimmickry. Some of the most popular heavy metal albums ever released were awfully contrived, whether the carefully honed sleaze of Mötley Crüe’s Shout at the Devil and Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, Metallica’s made-for-the-masses Black Album and Def Leppard’s similarly intended Pyromania, or the calculated cathartic sounds of Pantera’sVulgar Display of Power and Korn’s Follow the Leader. Even today’s extreme metal is laden with gimmicks; just look at the cartoonish Satanism of Watain and the Viking shtick of Amon Amarth. Heavy metal is as much about contrivance as it is about substance, and often its best bands have been able to skillfully combine the two. What makes metal so uniquely charming is that the bands and their audiences buy into those contrivances and gimmicks fully, without irony.

Babymetal doesn’t hide its contrivances at all. A product of the Japanese pop idol stable Sakura Gakuin and the vision of producer and longtime metal fan Key “Kobametal” Kobayashi, the project embraces metal’s most enduring and endearing tenets — fantasy, escapism, theatrics, bombast and sheer volume — and that solid, skillfully played metal foundation cleverly grounds a wildly eclectic sound that incorporates elements from trance to synth-pop, to dubstep, to reggae, to J-pop at its most manic and overtly “cute.” It’s also brilliantly self-referential, the group’s manga-style fantasy storyline involving some wonderful parodies of metal’s “Big Four” of Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth. Speaking toMetal Hammer magazine, Kobayashi eloquently explained the method to his madness:


As a longtime metal fan, I always used to say ‘That’s not real metal so I’m not listening to it!’ I’m a metal purist too, to be honest. But I realized that the scene isn’t really getting any bigger. All the old-school metal bands are still around and there’s still a fanbase, but it’s all getting smaller. So to bring Japanese metal around the world, it has to be something different and original. It’s like sushi! Sushi came from Japan and people had never eaten it before, and now everyone eats sushi all over the world.


A good number of those people singing Babymetal’s praises are old enough to remember when heavy metal was contrived and awesome because of it. Jeff Walker of death metal legends Carcass has been effusive in his praise, and Metallica are reportedly fans. In the metal media, veteran writers like Metal Hammer‘s Dom Lawson, Metal Rules‘ JP Wood and Metalsucks‘ Vince Neilstein have all gotten on board. Not all old-schoolers have gravitated to the squeaky voices of 16 year-old Su-Metal and 15 year-olds Moametal, and Yuimetal, but those who have recognize that undeniable element of fun that somehow has become lost over the years in a sea of equally contrived darkness, hostility and antisocial sentiment. The bearded dude in the patch vest might not want to admit it, but in metal, it’s okay to smile once in a while.

The broad appeal of Babymetal’s stylistic free-for-all to younger audiences is key. Having never known a world without the Internet, where every form of music is easily accessible in seconds, the millennial generation doesn’t give a damn about genre boundaries whatsoever, and that ultimately could fuel metal’s next sea change. With much of the genre recycling formulas, clichés, and tropes in ouroboros-like fashion, metal is poised to head in two opposite directions at once, splitting between becoming a strictly traditionalist genre, or completely embracing non-traditional styles of music and instrumentation. The latter is happening more and more, above ground and below: Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu incorporates krautrock elements into its black metal sound. Tristan Shone’s Author & Punisher creates otherworldly industrial metal using his clever inventions. Deafheaven scored a crossover hit in 2014 by meshing searing black metal with contemplative shoegaze. Enter Shikari has attracted a large youth audience with its blend of metalcore and electronic music.

The traditional side of metal, whose myriad subgenres are separated by strict limitations, will always flourish, but metal’s future evolution lies beyond those self-imposed walls. While Babymetal’s shelf life remains to be seen — their swift success is also an apt reflection of contemporary pop music’s highly ephemeral quality — its emblematic of a mindset in metal that will only become more common in the years to come. This is only the beginning.

Many in the big crowd that Saturday afternoon in Montreal were mostly curious about what Babymetal would be like, how this music could be pulled off live. The feeling of uncertainty was palpable as the backing band, clad in robes and kabuki-style facepaint, strode onstage, followed by the three pixie singers. Clad in matching schoolgirl/warrior outfits that serve as an apt visual representation of that J-pop/metal hybrid, the trio’s playful yet badass choreography felt awkward initially. Like any band that emphasizes the more theatrical side of the music, it’s best experienced in a setting more controlled than an open-air festival. Plus there were a couple technical glitches, and poor Yuimetal was smacked when Su-Metal’s thrown fox mask boomeranged into her face, but the three young women didn’t miss a beat, remaining in character while the crack supporting musicians played some scorching music accentuated by backing tracks.

Before long the band and singers, the music and choreography, started to coalesce, and the crowd had bought into the gimmick of it all, jumping, raising fists, singing along to hit singles “Megitsune” and “Gimme Chocolate!!” In an inspired tongue-in-cheek moment, an accompanying video implored the mosh pit to stage a “wall of death“, stating wryly, “If you show true courage, we will show true metal.”

The crowd divided in two, the mellow intro to “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” started, and as soon as the speed metal riffs kicked in, both sides of the crowd sprinted into each other, bodies flying, thrashing, dancing. Only unlike a Lamb of God or Slipknot show, the aggression wasn’t negative, but a reflection of pure joy. Everyone had a smile on his or her face as a fire hose shot plumes of water high in the air, cooling off the euphoric throng.

We are!” shouted the girls.

BABYMETAL!” replied the crowd in unison.

We are!


Sriracha-themed eletronic dance music festival hits Bay Area this Labor Day Weekend


Another electronic dance music festival has just been announced, and it will be Sriracha-themed. As first reported by, the music lineup for the festival has not yet been announced, but Molly-addled fans are already imagining how awesome it will be to have the spicy sauce in their mouths while they bounce and bop to the bass. They must be grateful that Rooster Sauce is back after production was temporarily halted earlier this year.

In what may very well be the first ‘foodie’ rave, the event, the Electronic Sriracha Festival will take place will take place Labor Day weekend, on Saturday, August 30th at St. James Park in San Jose, California. The official site doesn’t have many details, but says the fest will take up two city blocks and offer three stages of music, four bars, and “120 Sriracha-infused dishes.”

Drinks will also reportedly be on sale for $6, but the mind-blowing experience will require a ticket.



The website for the festival says that it will announce all music acts Monday, July 21st at 9 a.m. Until then, you can sign up for pre-sale and start preparing your taste buds and rave outfits.

And as the folks at joked, the ‘best part’ of the rave is that “You can replace Molly with Sriracha, because we both know they have basically the same effect on the mind and body.” All we know is, Steve Aoki (fingers crossed!!) and sriracha sounds like the PERFECT combination to us.


2014 New York Korean Music Festival


performance [that] can reach heights of drama and profundities of emotion known only to the greatest of world performing arts.” (New York Times)

Five of Korea’s finest musicians perform in a festival of traditional music, from the sophisticated virtuosity of the solo improvisation of sanjo to the deeply soulful bardic pansori.



2014 Korean Music Festival Events at Asia Society

2014 New York Korean Music Festival – Sanjo 
April 11, 2014
8:00 pm

Sanjo — Korean improvisational instrumental music — features stark and haunting “scattered melodies,” which employ a gradually increased tempo, elastic rhythms, and intense snaps of power.

Pre-performance lecture at 7:00 pm



2014 New York Korean Music Festival – Pansori
April 12, 2014
8:00 pm

Pansori is a powerful solo sung storytelling form. This evening features a rare performance by a male maestro of the form, Lim Hyeun-bin, who tells an epic tale of sacrifice and love through the soulful sung narrative.

Pre-performance lecture at 7:00 pm

Korean Music Symposium
April 11, 2014
2:00 – 5:00 pm

The Korean Music symposium will feature talks on traditional Korean music by scholars and ethnomusicologists, preceding two evenings of performance (free).


Check out this link:

 2014 New York Korean Music Festival


Third person, Sandy Thuy Le, dies after SXSW collisions

Angry Asian Man: 

If you’ve been following the tragic news out of Austin, then you’ve heard about the suspected drunken driver who plowed through a crowd outside a nightclub at the South By Southwest music festival last week, killing two and injuring twenty-two others. A third victim died from her injuries this morning.

26-year-old Sandy Thuy Le had been on life support in critical condition since the accident occurred. She was with a group of friends standing outside The Mohawk nightclub last Thursday when she was hit by a car that crashed through a barricade. 27-year-old Jamie West and 35-year-old Steven Craenmehr were killed that night.

A  family spokesperson said Le’s family was by her side at the hospital in Austin when she died Monday morning.

Stuart Gates, Le’s brother-in-law, described her as a “free spirit” — quirky, fun and always smiling.

According to Gates, Le’s family lives in Pass Christian, Mississippi, and her funeral will be held in her home state in the next few days. Gates also said Le’s family has been through a lot in recent years, first losing their home in Hurricane Katrina, then their shrimping business was financially hurt by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens is accused of driving drunk, fleeing from police and intentionally driving into a crowd of festivalgoers. Six people remain hospitalized, including one in critical condition.

I got this passed along to me on behalf of Gracie Nguyen, who was seriously hurt in the crash, suffering fractures to her skull, left leg and right knee. She is currently recovering in the ICU and will be out of work until further notice. Loved ones have created a YouCaring fundraiser to help Gracie pay for her medical expenses. Your donations are greatly appreciated.


12 Reasons Lijiang Is The Prettiest City On Earth

Lijiang is a city in China’s southwestern Yunnan Province. According to social media, every other college grad in China dreams of quitting their jobs to become an innkeeper here.

Lijiang is a city in China's southwestern Yunnan Province. According to social media, every other college grad in China dreams of quitting their jobs to become an innkeeper here.

Hang around Chinese social media long enough and you’ll hear about China’s ‘Four New Yuppie Fads’.

But dreaming of moving to Lijiang is about the same order of twee as wanting to open a bookstore in Portland. Tell that to your friends in China and they’ll say, “sure, right.”

Hang around Chinese social media long enough and you'll hear about China's 'Four New Yuppie Fads'.

So why do young Chinese professionals want to quit their jobs and retire in Lijiang?

So why do young Chinese professionals want to quit their jobs and retire in Lijiang?

1. First of all: compared to the coastal cities, Lijiang’s relatively small, uncluttered and clean (the metro area has 1.2 million people).

First of all: compared to the coastal cities, Lijiang's relatively small, uncluttered and clean (the metro area has 1.2 million people).

2. Yulong Snow Mountain’s glaciers are just a few dozen miles outside of the city.

Yulong Snow Mountain's glaciers are just a few dozen miles outside of the city.

3. Scene walks thread around the city.

Scene walks thread around the city.

4. And there’s charming historic architecture aplenty.

Lijiang was an important trading post for the Silk Road, and the old city section is a World Heritage site.

5. Southwestern Chinese (Yunnanese) Chinese cuisine is also severely underrated.

6. There’s surprisingly decently nightlife and bars, since it’s consistently one of the most popular vacation spots for young people.

It can apparently feel Venice-ish and over-toured during high travel season, but every idyllic historic city is at risk of that sort of artifice.

There's surprisingly decently nightlife and bars, since it's consistently one of the most popular vacation spots for young people.

7. There’s a laid back music festival there.

8. People hang out near canals and drink in the middle of the day.

9. The city’s near pristine forests, lakes and other outdoor options.

The city's near pristine forests, lakes and other outdoor options.

10. It has its own unique culture.

Most of China’s Naxi ethnic minority call Lijiang home, though their relationship with the Han majority is complicated of course.

It has its own unique culture.

11. The air’s clean and the weather’s always sunny.

The air's clean and the weather's always sunny.

12. And true to its reputation among young travelers, it’s a city of inns and small hideaways.

(But avoid the repeated souvenir shops everywhere.)

And true to its reputation among young travelers, it's a city of inns and small hideaways.

This skyline is why every college grad in China wants to move here:

This skyline is why every college grad in China wants to move here:

Check out this link: