Perhaps the best way to shed the skin of an old year and step into a new one is on the dance floor.
Here’s a selection of Seoul’s prime countdown fiestas.
Top pick: Steve Aoki
Most know him as the long-tressed brother of model sister Devon Aoki and as the son of the Benihana goliath, the late Rocky Aoki. They also know him as the CEO who moonlights as a DJ by night and runs Dim Mak Records (the label that released artists from Diplo and MSTRKRFT) by day.
Steve Aoki made the top of the list, not just because of his pedigree or because he pours complimentary vodka down the gullets of partygoers, but because he mashes a wicked mix.
Just pop on over to his MySpace page (myspace.com/steveaoki) for a sample of his remixes and addictive beats.
Joining him at the party, which is running under the moniker Milk 2010 NYE, is New York producer and rapper Pete Rock (real name Peter Phillips). Known for his jazz-hip hop sound, he landed on the scene in the early 1990s as one half of the act Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, before going solo.
Never far from his “partner in crime,” Steve Aoki, the Cobrasnake (photographer Mark Hunter) will be snapping pics at the three-stage venue so those who miss out can check out the madness at thecobrasnake.com later.
Runner-up: Designer Drugs
Hailing from New York, this electro duo (Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Paul Nelson) may not rack up the awards or star power of some of the acts playing into 2010, but that doesn’t matter.
Their music is solid.
For the partygoer who wants something a little bit rougher and harder, new tracks off Designer Drugs MySpace site (myspace.com/designerdrugsclubmusic) will inspire some serious head-banging and fist-pumping action on the dance floor.
Described by a press release as “just poor boys who love helicopters and pop banger music,” their original stuff is as good as their remixes, though their “LITTLE BOOTS Meddle” manages to fuse an ’80s-style sound with a throbbing backbeat, easily making it a top track to bust a move to.
Third place: Busy P
Pedro Winter, head of French label Ed Banger, has received a lot of press for his stellar career as the former manager of the iconic Parisian duo Daft Punk and for unearthing hot talent like French DJ duo Justice, but he also mixes his own tracks under the moniker Busy P.
Some classic tracks of his include the oft-played “Chop Suey.” If only they would play the music video version at the event. There’s nothing like a man wearing a violet-colored wig and a blue tube top to get a party going.
Partygoers can catch his flair at the One&Only party at Mansion near Hongik University.
Hardstyle pick: Showtek
Dutch brothers Wouter Janssen and Sjoerd Janssen of Showtek are the go-to act for fans of hardstyle (something like a cross between hardcore and hardtrance music).
Producing the kind of tracks that might induce some aggressive head-nodding to keep up with those uber-fast beats, the Janssens live up to their reputations as a top hard dance act.
Joining them is actor Kim Min-jun. Known for his roles in dramas like “Damo” and “Lovers in Praha,” the thespian is making his musical debut as DJ Vesper MJ at Club Volume.
Old favorite Fantastic Plastic Machine is back and will be performing at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Theatre. The solo project of Japanese native Tomoyuki Tanaka, FPM straddles everything from bossanova to techno to hip hop.
Japanese DJ Daishi Dance, reportedly a co-producer of BIGBANG’s “Haru Haru,” will be joining FPM at the Walkerhill Theater.
At Club Eden, Japanese actor Asano Tadanobu and radio DJ Bryan Burton-Lewis will be performing.
Milk 2010 New Year’s Eve Party
Set-up like an indoor festival, this three-stage party will be taking place at Samsung-dong’s Grand Intercontinental Hotel Grand Ballroom on Dec. 31 and will feature Steve Aoki and Pete Rock. Tickets purchased by Dec. 30 cost 55,000 won and cost 65,000 won at the door. For more information visit www.milkfestival.com. Call (02) 798-2584 to make table reservations.
Designer Drugs will be performing at the WooBar at W Seoul-Walkerhill on Dec. 31. Tickets cost 60,000 won in advance and 70,000 won at the door. For more information call (02) 2022-0333.
Busy P will be performing at the One&Only Party at Mansion near Hongik University on Dec. 31. Tickets cost 50,000 won in advance and 60,000 won at the door. For more information visit www.5oundation.com or call (02) 3444-9989.
Heineken Party: Toast to the World
Showtek and Vesper MJ will be performing at Club Volume (reportedly DJ Mag Top 100 Club #29) in Itaewon on Dec. 31. The event’s main sponsor is Heineken. Tickets cost 30,000 won in advance and 40,000 won at the door. For more information visit www.clubvolume.com or call (02) 1544-2635.
FEVER vol. 5 – FPM, Daishi Dance
Fantastic Plastic Machine and Daishi Dance will be performing at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Theater on Dec. 31. Tickets cost 44,000 won in advance and 55,000 won at the door. For more information call (02) 450-6543.
Eden New Year Eve Party
Asano Tadanobu and Bryan Burton-Lewis will be performing at Club Eden. Tickets cost 40,000 won. Club Eden is located on the basement floor of the Ritz Carlton in Kangnam. For more information call (02) 6447-0042 or visit www.eden-club.co.kr
By Jean Oh