The Flight touches down in Bangkok and it feels like we`ve been in the sky for weeks. The bus takes me to Khao San Road where there is no accommodation booked but hopes are high. It`s the late evening and no matter what day of the week it is on Khao San Road – It`s Party night!!!!
The place is crazy and busseling. I have a massive amount of gear to lug but eventually I manage to check into a place to stay for 350 baht (about 7 pounds) and get only a couple of hours sleep before checking out and looking for another place. One that doesn`t stink of piss being my main aim. I find another place on the same stretch that is cheaper and nicer and I pay a little extra to keep my valuables locked away in the cupboard behind reception. Word is stronger than rumor that in Bangkok your belongings are not safe in your room. At first I feel very nervous as you simply do not know who to trust and everyone is trying to sell you something.
The next day it is my first show of the Thailand stint (and at this point my only booking). I play support to a nice band called the Standards. I know one member from gigs ten years back in the UK. He was in a band back then called Igloo who were something very special and experimental. The Standards are a very different animal mixing traditional UK Indie with a bit more grit and modern keys and synth. They played a blinder of a set. Unfortunately my gig felt a little like it fell by the wayside. Just simply one of those shows I`d rather forget. However is did open up a couple of doors. The VJ for the evening (a lovely French guy called Gabriel) introduced me to another venue who agreed to have me play in exchange for housing me. The place was an ultra cool art gallery called Chez Lodin + Toot Yung Gallery. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=125187560852695&ref=ts
It had live music at the weekends and agreed to put on a folk night. Then I serched around for a bunch of other places to check out. I found myself getting 3 auditions lined up for one night. They went as such:
Audition 1 – I play one song (Time & Places) then get stopped.
Venue Owner: I`m sorry you have to play covers only.
Myself: OK in which case I`m finished. I only play my own material.
Venue Owner: Ok, Then I`d like to hear more.
Myself: It`d be a pleasure
So I proceed to play a couple more tunes. (Initiate and Map of Shibuya). He then comes up and offers me a daily spot of playing for 1 and a half hours for a guaranteed fee. Suddenly I had gone from having no work and no money to having a place to stay and guaranteed pay for the next week and a half. Over the following 9 days in Bangkok I played 14 times. It was mental!!!
Anyway the following 2 auditions turned out to be a joke as one place told me I could only play if I sung all my songs in Thai (for real). And the other place wanted me only if I could play the days I was already booked for. so that was that. No worries.
All the regular residency shows went off without hiccup. The place is a bussling crazy vibe and I was playing on the street. Which when you close your eyes is like a soundtrack to madness (Or maybe that`s just the sound inside my brain). The shows at the gallery were a complete pleasure with the support groups being lovely and the stage being shared with an awesome multi instrumentalist called JD. A honest and true musician who is both respectful and inventive.
My final show before departing from Bangkok was a epic show at a nightclub called Bed. The stage was shared with many awesome and free thinking musicians and poets with instruments ranging from traditional Thai acoustic instruments to modern electronic machines what I have never seen the like of before. What a crazy way to end my stint in a city.
A true pleasure!!!
Next stop is Chiang Mai. Now I am not a fan of cliff hangers. But things get kinda messed up there. Watch this space for the next exciting installment
*Q generic Stu`s blog Theme tune* Sit Boo Boo Sit