There is a complex algorithm in my head which determines what shows I go to in the event of multiple shows on one night... like tonight for instance. It's Friday the 21st of March – for the very first time I am feeling the complete mind mash confusion of what shows to cover. First off there's Degaruda, Matthew Fisher and the Fishes, TSOS and Slang Boogie from Japan at Fatty's. In the algorithm, if Degaruda and Fishes are playing at Fatty's, I can't miss the show – it would be like missing you're mother's birthday or the New York Giants versus the Dallas Cowboys in a home game in what used to be known as Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. It's pretty simple, you just don't miss the game (provided you have the $400 to buy the ticket from !@#$!@#$ scalper on ebay). This is a free show with home team advantage. The algorithm works. It's a no-brainer. But alas, another show emerges clouding my clarity and rare decisiveness.
Flashback to a few weeks ago...
I'm lounging on the living sofa of Danny Bull's condo at Monterrey Place Condo near the Queen Sirikit MRT. Danny has masterminded a new project called “In the Living Room”, a web channel featuring acoustic performances by Bangkok musicians in his make-shift living room studio. I am a production assistant and specialize in emptying the fridge of unwanted craft beer and Vietnamese food – I can also wobble a camera and bust out a paradiddle on aluminum pots. While discussing scheduling, Danny mentions “the busy next week” and I soon learn he has scheduled a show with his new band Tapestry as well as Make Like a Tree from the Ukraine at Jam Cafe...the 21st of March! That date sets off the alarm bell and a quick look at my Facebook event calendar reveals the conflict. “Dude, Degaruda and the Fishes are playing Fatty's that night – I can't miss it – it's like a family reunion.” The mood dims. I could sense my friend's excitement for his event and realized I'd have to balance my time between the two shows.... somehow. The algorithm says: In event of two equally awesome shows, go to both – rent helicopter and consult Pok, Grand Poobah of Panda Records, to learn how he moves with ninja-like swiftness from one gig to another in a single night.
On the one hand, Fatty's is a place I've watched in wonder from conception; Degaruda are a band I've championed as one of the gems of the Bangkok underground community from the get-go; and I had a brief stint as the Fishes drummer until I found another calling (and a promising young drummer named Iman Ismail was discovered). But on the other hand, Danny is a tour de force of skills, talent and expertise that is only beginning to surface and I pleased to be helping out. Make Like a Tree sounds really exciting from what I have heard and read of the music. Expect to see a lot of improvisation by notable Bangkok musicians. And the final irony of the situation is that our other “In the Living Room” collaborator, videographer Pablo Ramirez, was in talks with Degaruda to appear on “In the Living Room” so my own emotions on these two shows are totally in a state of discombobulation. I will never be able to satisfy my desire to be in two places simultaneously tonight.
If I could ask Jesus for one miracle, I'd ask for the gift of multiplicity so that I might appear at Fattys and Jam cafe to support all my friends. I should add Ben Edwards of Plastic Section and Basement Tape has been added to the lineup for Jam making the show even more difficult to miss. The plan: I'll be starting the night off at Jam to support my bros there, take some photos and ruminate on what looks to be a night of bohemian dreams for “In the Living Room” @ Jam. Then with a Jedi mind trick, I open a portal to Asoke-Dindaeng and catch some rock n roll madness. If anyone has a helicopter to rent, let me know.
A side note: the truth is there are more than just to shows tonight! EESE is happening at Stereo Bar and Stylish Nonsense and Sticky Rice are playing late sets. This is interesting because Pookster might be making an appearance at Jam. There is also a Philippines hurricane relief show featuring John Bailey and Marlene of The Sangsom Massacre... there's a big Panda Records party happening this Saturday in Khon Kaen and I'm gravitating towards the 6+hours on a bus to see the likes of The Sticky Rice, Triggs and the Longest Day and Stylish Nonsense in a setting other than Bangkok. Isaan here we come (?).... LOL... I'm at Villa in Ari and run into Matt Smith aka Jimmy Livewire of promotion outfit, Popscene and Brit pop band, The Standards, straight off the plane from SXSW in Austin, Texas. We chat about The Standards time in the USA and about the music scene in general. There's so many shows happening. It's frustrating in ways I have already described but we all agree, for the Bangkok music scene to take full flight having several quality shows going on is a good thing. This city is cracking open and you can just breathe the music in the air.
The following list is by no means complete. I can't tell you where to go, I can just say, go to one of them and participate in the growing Bangkok art and music community.
Friday March 21st
Rebuild Bantayan BBQ
Experimental Electronic Southeast
Degaruda, Matthew and the Fishes, TSOS, Slang Boogie @ Fattys
Acoustic session @ Jam Cafe with Make Like a Tree, Tapestry and Ben Edwards