Before we jump in. Let me say this is far from perfect but if you wait for perfection or divine inspiration you will be waiting an eternity. A week ago I thought it would be cool to do a Year In Review in 12 photos. After considering how economical I'd have to be with that, I decided to tally all the shows, interviews, and music media related stuff from 2014. There was an enormous amount of information to go through.
Many of these shows are but blurs in my memory - the only thing there to remind me they ever occurred is the event in iPhoto. Yes, there were many times when I was a camera lens without a brain. This entire exercise could be a total failure but at least for me it will serve as my memories for a time when I may no longer remember this time of my life.
The year 2014 started off with Stone Free Music Festival 3 in Kanchanaburi. It started on Friday night and ended Sunday afternoon. By the end you really felt like you had been transported to another world – one that you would miss and perhaps never return. If there was only one event this past year that galvanized my commitment to a career in music, it was Stone Free. My body came back to Bangkok but my soul was left there in a tent on the slope of a rocky hill behind the Fatty's makeshift diner. The southern drawl of legendary Sir Larry Hill Jr. chats away all night long (with whom I have no idea.) On the first night of the festival, a bearded man appears out of the shadows: Are you famous blogger, Dave Crimaldi, The Rock Philosopher? It is Pablo Ramirez – he is doing his Ph.D on underground music in Thailand and we become instant friends and collaborators. Stone Free is easily the best time of my life. This festival rendered me absolutely useless as an educator. Stone Free 4 is not happening I am sad to report. Some once-in-a-lifetime things are only meant to be once in a lifetime... when I got home I eventually pitched my tent in my bedroom just to relive the experience... You can read my blog post on Stone Free here.
Popscene hosts a show at Cosmic Cafe featuring Count the Thief, Deadtown Trash, Unicorn Domination and the Brit-pop champions, The Standards. At one point, Aaron of Deadtown pulls his bass off and hands it to me while I have a beer in one hand and a camera in the other. Beer falls to floor. Play something. The tattooed bassist of the up-and-coming Deadtown then fiddles with his effects pedals and opportunity knocks for me and my fingers pluck on the E-string, John Paul Jones' bass line for “Dazed and Confused.” The only other things in my repertoire would be “Wild Thing”, and “Louie, Louie.” Thanks Aaron!
February 15 - Degaruda CD Party @ Harmonica
It's the Degaruda CD release party. Sometime earlier, Dino asked me to write a press release for the band on the occasion of the CD release. The show has the band performing the entire new album with The Sangsom Massacre and Plastic Section opening. Put and Iman go crowdsurfing. Van gives aire drummer, Ginn Sentaro his sticks to play on a song or two (Ginn-san had been on the stage taking photos) – some of these photos end up in a Degaruda article in Contented.cc. Afterwards I go with the Degaruda gang to a Japanese restaurant at Asoke. Van tells me how much he loved my press release and offers a sexual favor. This is why you become a rock journalist although it would be better it this was coming from the opposite sex.
February 21 – V64 Art Studio Anniversary
Count the Thief are playing a show at V64 Art Studio far, far away. Superhans and my friend Paul Wilkinson (Wilkie) are performing as well. Paul is actually one of the reasons Count the Thief exist today: the trio formed out of Wilkie's attempt to form a cover band and I was originally playing drums at the first practice. Once Toby picked up the sticks and got behind the kit I knew he had the heart for it and I was meant to do something else. Anyway the night of the gig, I pick Paul up in Ari – he has lost his enthusiasm for the show but we manage to get into a a taxi. At one point he wants to turn the car around and go home because of the traffic: We're going to the show even if it takes 3 hours and I have to pay the taxi. Wilkie's a great songwriter and singer – it would be tragic to let him escape so easily when he's been looking forward to this for a while. Count the Thief play a sloppy, drunken set which features Toby scolding Danny D. and “Lef” on stage: That was my favorite song you fuckers. This band could rival The Brian Jonestown Massacre if the fighting got out of hand. I am not sure anyone noticed. Superhans save the night doing at least one encore. I meet artist and musician, Joe Delaney, who resides at Brownstone Studio on this night as well.
March 1 – Camillian Charity Concert @ Cloud 47
Degaruda, Dr. Blues and the Groove Junkies, Panic Station, Plastic Section, Sangsom Massacre, Wasabi Bytes, Unicorn Domination, Count the Thief
This is the Camillian Hospital Charity show. Despite many challenges, they pulled it off and the bands had a great time in a flashy venue they'd probably never be invited back to. During Degaruda, Plastic Section's Put Wednesday Suksriwan rushes the stage and leaps on the drum set manned by Ginn-san (aire) subbing for Van. It feels like a minor victory to see my friends playing in such a nice place and doing everything to fuck it up. While in the toilet, I hear an unmistakable voice on the PA system. Jeezus, is that fucking Larry? I walk outside and see Larry rambling on the microphone. Hilarious. My friend Andrew was there for a bit irritated about drink prices. “It's one hundred baht for water!? Fuck this, I'm going to 7-11!”
“Can you get me something?” I ask.
“FUCK YOU!” is the response with two middle fingers. He storms out of the room. Andrew explains later he goes psycho when he is dehydrated.
March 8 – Keep on the Grass @ Pak Chong
It's the Keep on the Grass folk music festival in Pak Chong. I hop on a bus to Pak Chong not knowing exactly where the fest is located. I take shelter in a coffee shop and consider I may be spending the night in a hotel in town rather than camping at the festival. Some frantic messages to Danny Bull who is also going to the festival but driving a rental truck. Great! He and his party find me and we drive around in the dark for quite a bit of time before finding the resort where the festival is taking place. It is quite a beautiful setting but by the time we arrive I have a few beers, listen to some music, pitch my tent and go to sleep. In the morning, it's so hot we all pack our stuff and leave before the sun melts our skin off.
March 14 – Fatty's
This is a show called Ohmygodwhatthefuckisthisshit if my memory seres me. It features aire, LowFat and Deadtown Trash. A lasting memory of the night is Sano-san of LowFat crowdsurfing. This is perhaps the first recorded instance of crowdsurfing at Fatty's and begins a good run of off the wall punk rock happening at the little dive bar with a heart of golden cholesterol.
March 16 – Harmonica
The Sticky Rice perform with Wednesday. It's a great show on Sunday night of all things. Put is drunk and asks me to catch him if he falls off stage. Pookster does some amazing acrobatics jumping on his keyboard, jumping off, playing his keyboard behind his head. It's like watching a shaman possessed by demons.
March 21 – JAM
Danny Bull puts on a show at Jam with Ben Edwards, his ensemble group Tapestry and visiting performer Make Like a Tree. We end up shooting Make Like a Tree for Danny's “In the Living Room” show two days later. Ben does a rare solo set on acoustic guitar. There is another show happening at Fatty's that night with the Fishes and Degaruda, but we can't be in two places at once.
March 28 – Popscene @ Rehab
Degaruda, The Sticky Rice and The Sangsom Massacre
This was the night where John from Massacre was pulling Top's guitar pedals away from him while he was performing with Degaruda.
Degaruda, Deadtown Trash, Demon Sugar
Demon Sugar - where did they go? Ben eventually joins Deadtown Trash and Iman continues on with The Fishes.
April 15 - In the Living Room: Matthew Fischer (ft. Jeff O.) "Things"
April 19 – Hemingway's
Degaruda and Monomania
Hemingway's has super sweet lighting although it's static. Got great photos of Degaruda which I ended up using for the Contented.cc articles. It's not easy to get a shot of the Dega monster as they move around wildly. I chat with the Monomanie guys – although I have seen them perform before I am surprised how young they are – they always seemed much older in the past.
April 22 - In the Living Room: Count the Thief - "Genesee Jones"
April 25 – Popscene @ Cosmic Cafe
The Standards, Degaruda, Deadtown Trash
Everyone is becoming aware that Deadtown Trash are a force to be reckoned with. Deadtown bassist, Aaron von Rock, and I had mutual friends of friends that connected us via Facebook. I recall some correspondence. One night he rolled up with Keith (drums) at a Harmonica show in 2013. This was before Deadtown Trash came together as a 4-piece and they were looking for a singer. They were fans of Degaruda (isn't everyone?) and for many of the foreign bands Degaruda was/is the golden standard of musicianship and live performance. It is a testament to Deadtown Trash that they would start playing shows with Degaruda and converting fans to their music.
April 29 – Moonstar Studio
Explosions in the Sky with Desktop Error – what fantastic lighting! Danny Bull and Toby from Count the Thief disappear backstage trying to get the band to “In the Living Room” session.
April 29 - In the Living Room: Make Like a Tree - Passing By
May 4 – Jam
Sticky Rice, Wednesday, Panic Station
I get a call from the coordinator of a school I interviewed (poorly) at – I didn't get the job. Probably, best thing for us all. It puts a bit of a dark heavy blanket on my mood.
May 6 – Fatty's
Degaruda play an acoustic set. That never happened before and may never happen again. Where this the recording go? I interview Deadtown Trash outside Fatty's.
May 6 - In the Living Room: Ben Edwards (Plastic Section) - "The Cars That Ate Bangkok"
May 9 – Mahidol Salaya Campus
Today I meet with Monomania at Salaya Campus of Mahidol University where they met. Ken, the bassist, does much of the talking. They are very sweet kids. After chatting a cafe near the music college we do some photos.
May 10-11 –Noise Market @ Museum Siam
It's Noise Market. Probably the second highlight of the year after Stone Free. There are great performances by aire, Degaruda, Philosopher Brothers, Naked Astronaught, TSOS, Plastic Section, Basement Tape. Fishes got rained out shortly into their set and many took to shelter inside one of the buildings of the museum where gear was being stored overnight. I captured Degaruda's set on my Nikon – it starts off pretty normal and then the band starts “Slumber Party” and Pok pogos to the front of the performance area and then everyone is bouncing up and down. Aire play a stellar set and at the end the exhausted drummer, Ginn Sentaro, wais the audience from his drum throne. My camera batter was dead – you just had to be there. TSOS played and everyone went crazy – later Oogy, the drummer, will tell me they were sloppy. After a two day festival who knows? Basement Tape perform and during the beginning of their hit song “I Can't Take It” drummer, Put Suksriwan, steps away from the drums and gives his sticks to Golf, the drummer of Hariguem Zaboy. Golf Plays drums while Put encourages the audience to their feet. Some of my photos got used in the Contented article on Basement Tape later on. Hariguem Zaboy began their set very late (maybe 1 AM) Monday morning. I was spent after two days of partiying.
May 13 - In the Living Room: Yong (Chladni Chandi) - "Brahma Brahma"
May 15 – Rehab
Popdub, Happy Band, aire, Kinetics
I stayed long enough for popdub and aire. Aire were awesome.
May 16 – 17 – Fatty Fest 2 @ Fatty's
It's Fatty Fest 2. Two days of music which is a blur. It's my first time seeing The Ladz. Many new bands for me appearing tonight like Fathers of Medicine, Mother Superior.
May 18 – Brownstone
Joe Delaney pulls off a one day festival at Brownstone Studio. After 2 days of Fatty fest, I am exhausted. The bands played well. The Sticky Rice went on very late. I am newly unemployed so this doesn't really matter.
May 23 - Interview with Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle
May 26 - Interview with Kinetics in Pinklao
Very underrated band of excellent musicians.
May 30 - Contented - I give a few of my photos to Contented magazine in Singapore to use in their feature on Basement Tape.
May 31 – Harmonica – aire CD party
Low Fat, Stylish Nonsense, Kinetics, Eico, Neuter Lover, Wednesday
The aire CD party may have been one of the most crowded shows I have ever seen at Harmonica. Inside the small venue, it was packed with people and the heat was unbearable. As expected aire played there heart out. Afterwards, I essentially walked back to Fatty's from the MRT Asoke as the martial law meant there were few taxis on the road. I considered the fact I might not ever be as awesome as anything the way Ginn Sentaro was awesome at drums. It was quite depressing. I got over it. See video clip here.
June 14 – Immortal
Marc Savlov wants to meet at Immortal for John Bailey's metal core band The Fallen Versus Fate. TFVF were one of the first bands I interviewed – I didn't know what I was doing then and I still don't. I am a fan of their first EP.
June 17 – Harmonica
Deerhoof with Plastic Section and Hariguem Zaboy opening. This is a real treat despite a steep 1000 baht ticket price. Seeing a band the caliber of Deerhoof in a small venue the size of a shoebox is pretty special. It was far from sold out and I am sure Put Wednesday took a bloodbath but such is life when you are promoting this kind of music in Bangkok. I am glad I went and I am glad I paid the door. This is the last show I photographer at Harmonica. The next show saw was the Harmonica farewell party where I didn't have my camera. Read blog post here.
June 19 - Contented reprints my post on top must see music documentaries.
June 20 – Popscene @ Cosmic Cafe
Matthew Fischer and the Fishes are opening for a Popscene show, Cloud Nothings at Cosmic. Fishes do a great set. Cloud Nothings were infectiously poppy at times but it was a good time. Kyoto Protocol from Kuala Lumpur were competent. The show wasn't as well-attended as you would expect but I thin it was World Cup time.
June 28 – KIS
Fishes play AMCHAM. AfterwardsI think we go to RCA for Cloud Behind, Kinetics, and Hope the Flower at Rehab.
July 4 – Fatty's
This was one of those times where I needed to decide what was most important to me and what I would sacrifice for it. To make a long story short I decided covering music was most important and that Fatty's 4th of July as well as upcoming Hariguem Zaboy CD party could not be missed no matter the price. I devise the idea to let all the drummers use the Brady and maybe someone will buy it. Van breaks the bass drum head during “Slumber Party” and Marc Savlov falls and breaks a few ribs in the pit. I meet Andrew Wright (Underground Retro Blog) and he becomes the one and only other writer for the site. Click link to Fatty's 4th of July.
July 9 – Harmonica
It is Hariguem Zaboy's CD party. I did a question and answer with singer/ songwriter/ guitarist, Jar. I am finding the Q and A's much more effective than doing live interviews. Harmonica has been turned upside down for the event. The stage has been moved to a more feng shui friendly place away from the door where the bar used to be. Drinks are sold outside. All the vinyl record covers are gone? JD from Zoo has done an amazing job with lighting the little underground shoebox that is about to close its doors. Note to all venue owners: Make sure the lighting of your performance area is awesome! This ensures anyone with a smartphone gets a decent shot. People post these to social media and it's free publicity and marketing for your venue and show.
July 12 - Addiction recovery specialist and author of "Dead Drunk" Paul Garrigan prints a Q & A with me on Bangkok music. Later on be counsels Pete Doherty of The Libertines. Click here.
July 24 – Fatty's
Gede Robi, Degaruda, Rocket Science.
It's a special Thursday night show with Gede Robi from Indonesia's Navicula. I am treading water financially and trying to sell my drum gear to anyone. People are interested until they hear the price. Yeah Brady's are not cheap. One of the photos of Gede Robi ends up in Ben Edwards CMJ report on Bangkok.
July 26 – Fatty's
LowFat is one of those bands I never have to worry too much about. You'll get the goods. Their lives shows are legendary and the polite and reserved singer, Sano-san, storms around the room like a tornado.
Marc Savlov and Krit from Pistols 99 put on a punk show at Fatty's that was a lot of fun.
August 3 - Makkassan Airlink
Cat t-shirt – I saw Yellow Fang - love them. Missed Aire set the night before. Also performing are Greasy Cafe and Modern Dog - not much of a fan of pop music.
August 7 - Contented repurposes various stuff I have on Deadtown Trash as well as the Richard Chambers video.
August 9 – 1979 Vinyls and Unknown Pleasures
Basement Tape and Triggs play a how at 1979 Vinyls and Unknown Pleasures. The shop is on a rooftop which gives it a mildly Bohemian feel. Uz from Colorcode has a copy of Basement Tape's new album on vinyl. Also this night, the bassist for Yellow Fang shows up and jams. Andrew Wright and Allan are there. Py from Fungjai is there but I didn't know him at the time. Later on I become friends with Tippamet one of the owners of 1979 as well.
August 22 – Fatty's
TSOS, Carnivola, Botox, Black 'Sciety
This band Carnivola are fucking insane.
Mark Bolam hooks me up with a front row ticket to see the master Dave Weckl with Oz Noy. This is fantastic because I can't afford these tickets otherwise. Stone Free 3 cost 1500 baht total! Weckl rules. My friend Benny has an interview which I am a bit envious of.
September 12 – Bangkok Betty
Deadtown Trash, Sangsom Massacre, The Layers
It's a weird venue for a rock and roll show but it kinda works. Deadtown Trash are in fine form. I would not have been at the show were I not rehearsing with Deadtown for the AC/DC Tribute night Ed Rudy is doing.
September 19 – Nana Hotel
Ray Weiss of the Brooklyn NYC is in town recording his new Le Rug album. I met him on craigslist looking for musicians. By the time I showed up at Dynamic Studio he was already done recording. I am very excited to meet Ray and introduce him to Gary Boyle who ends up making a video for him. “Dudley” got premiered on Stereogum. Listen to my podcast with Ray here.
September 23 - Interview with Krit of Pistols 99
AC/DC Tribute show. Originally, Deadtown Trash and I were going to do a pretty standard version of “Night Prowler.” I was getting the count for the drum fill wrong in the beginning and was relieved one night when Aaron started singing like Fred Schneider from the B-52s and we threw out the standard “Night Prowler” and did it as an upbeat, campy B-52s song. I was excited to play with Deadtown Trash for this one song. As well, I got to sit in on a few rehearsals and see how the band works together. It's also nice to be playing with my old friend Ben Cleary.
October 9 – Play Yard
Monomania has a great CD party – the place is well-packed. I think I first saw the band play a show a Fatty's. There is this feeling of living through history... of seeing bands in their infancy or adolescence growing into professional musicians. I think if Monomania started singing songs in English they could be a break out band for Bangkok in an album or two.
October 14 – EQ Studio
The Sangsom Massacre photo shoot
Niall has asked me to come down and take some photos for the new Verses of Vice album. It is an honor to provide photos for The Massacre plus there will be plenty of beer at the shoot. They have the distinction of being one of the very first interviews and posts I'd ever done on a local band. I remember when I met them at EQ studio in 2013 I was nervously taking notes and doodling in my notebook – what was I writing? Nothing. I was just scribbling. It was with the Massacre that I began seeing the potential in covering underground music – no one else is doing it so why not start? People say we don't have a scene? But I beg to differ. We can show the world (and are) that Bangkok has a music scene. It may not be big. Venues open and then close. But we're on the map.
October 21 - Razorcake publishes Bangkok scene report.
October 31 – Fatty's Halloween
Deadtown Trash, The Ladz, Stylish Nonsense, and Triggs and the Longest Day are scheduled to play. Deadtown cancels because Brit is sick. I consider staying home due to my financial situation but go anyway. I taxi to Fatty's, get out across the street and run into Pong from Triggs walking up the bridge staircase with his guitar gear. We do not know this yet but Triggs will have the distinction of being the last band to play a show at Fatty's as of this time. I have never understood people's love for Triggs and the Longest Day. Both Matthew Fischer and Ben Edwards consider Triggs one of their favorite Bangkok bands. After seeing them play on this night, I finally GOT IT. Panda Records crew in the house! They are notorious drinkers. Immediately after Stylish Nonsense's set (love the dresses guys!) my camera battery went dead. Triggs blow the roof of place. The Ladz did pretty well too but more on that later. The police arrive after Triggs set and Matthew is telling people to go home. I see the police outside with my own eyes and leave the building, wait by the market and watch what they will do. Pong and Nat from Triggs spot me: What are you doing? Watching the police. It's Ok – they just want 2000 baht and then will leave. I hop into a taxi with the boys, we stop for several bottles of Leo beer and arrive at Golf's house (Golf + Hariguem Zaboy drummer) where the rest of the Triggs/ Hariguem Zaboy/ Panda crew are hanging out. Inside someone says: Be quiet, Golf's mother is sleeping.
Sangsom Massacre CD Party – Pistols 99, The Ginkz, Count the Thief, The Layers, Chasing Ghosts, The Sangsom Massacre
This is my first time seeing the Massacre's new EP. Niall gives me a copy – it's a work of art and there are my photos from the shoot! There is also a nice thank you to everyone including me and the legendary yoga master and life coach, Nathaniel Try. I really can't say how nice it is for someone to say thank you.
November 8 – 9 – Museum Siam
It's Noise Market. I am selling beer out of the cooler at the Fatty's area. That doesn't last very long as Kae has told me festival organizers came over while I was watching Lowfat and told her to stop selling beer. This is the debut of the Deadtown Trash EP. Aaron and Keith give me an EP and T-shirt. My photo of them at Bangkok Betty is used for the CD art. While still fun, this Noise Market feels much different then previous Noise Markets. There are a lot of new bands playing which at first seems a bit of a shock to the system but seems fair after realizing this really is a place for new music to get some exposure. I do miss not having performances by Degaruda and aire. Their last Noise Market performances were epic.
November 14 – Jam
The Ladz, Panic Station, Fathers of Medicine, Celebities Owls
I am broke and Dhyon has kindly hired me to take some photos of the show. Ever since the Halloween show, I have gotten to know The Ladz a bit. My reaction to them is a complete turn around then what it was when I first saw them in May at Fatty Fest. Back in May they suffered from a few things: one, going on very late night and two having one of the most unimaginative names you could ever conceive. Their music did have sole polish on it. Pablo attests to the competence of the band. Matthew attests they are genuine and sincere. If there was ever a case of a band being ignored for the wrong reasons and then getting great word of mouth, then this is the band. I enjoy the show at Jam and the free bar Dhyon is treating me to although I wish I could have more control over lighting. Afterwards, we pile into a taxi and go to Det 5.
November 15 – Hemingway's
Peter Driscoll and the Cruisers invite Matthew Fischer and the Fishes to perform. This is interesting because not long before the Fishes appeared to break up and now a week later they are doing a show together minus Tim on keys. Vivek, guitarist, of the Cruisers buys me drink in exchange for photos. He's a pretty good guitarist and the band are actually quite good and professional. The Fishes play a bittersweet set – Tulip and Spike waltz around the room. The lighting at Hemingway's make for great photos as I have said before. Great photos get use for bands press and marketing material. In other words, it's a good idea to visit the Safari Bar even if you aren't playing there because you get good photos. Peter's photos come out really good and I hear he likes them.
November 19 – Centrepoint Studio, Bring Me The Horizon
My pal and fellow drummer Benny White works for the production company and get me a free ticket for the show. This is not my kind of music really but they put on an excellent show. Benny knows I am broke and is buying me beer from the Singha counter. Afterwards, we drink beer in the 7-11 parking lot, talk about life and the music industry. Being a obsessive music history geek, listening to Benny's stories of the music business are like gold leafs for me. I kinda think a podcast featuring music business professionals would be enlightening.
November 21 – Det 5
I am over at Fatty's having drinks and decide to head to Det 5. It's Panic Station, The Ladz, Fathers of Medicine, and Mothers Superior. I miss Mothers Superior set – it would be interesting to hear them because the last time I saw them perform they were playing with the amplifiers set to 10 at Fatty Fest 2014. Chris, the drummer, also used my Brady when Matthew recorded them at Fatty's. Panic Station play a tight set and Jim and Tommie Duncan are into it. I chat with Jerome of both Mothers Superior and Fathers of Medicine – he's also a photographer and it's nice to chat about the craft of photography... something I am still learning about.
November 22 – Det 5
Bob has hired me to photograph Jungle Aid. Camp Krusty are performing with my old friend Andy. There's a funny story how I met Andy but it doesn't go here. Det 5 has potential as a venue in the Sukhumvit area.
November 26 - CMJ publishes Ben Edwards' Bangkok scene report.
November 28 – Voice Space
I go to see Monomania and Inspirative for the Big Boom Box TV Show on Voice TV. By the time i arrive, I have missed Monomania – Getsunova are on – not my thing really. I see Josh Barker and Immilyn. Inspirative play a good set. The lighting is fantastic – you expect good lighting at a television station.
November 29 – Makkasan MRT
It's Slow Fest. I am here to see Basement Tape and Part Time Musicians. The Rogue beer from Beervana is so cheap I am pretty buzzed by time Basement Tape hit the stage. Ben and Put buy me Rogues selling at discounted prices. I run into Pablo and Victor (TSOS) – about a second after I lose my True Religion jacket which sucks because I was gonna hock it for money.
It's a Plastic Section photo shoot at Ben's condo. Pok can't make it so it's just Ben and Put on the roof. We joke about photoshopping Pok into the photo.
December 5 – Adam's house, Nakhon Pathom
Sometime in the afternoon, Adam and I start chatting on FB messenger. A few hours later I am at The Ladz practice at Adam's house in Nakhon Pathom just down the road from Mahidol Salaya. I am here to do a podcast and get the scoop on this 4-piece rock band who dub themselves “habit-forming rock and roll.” We get trashed. Adam shaves off his all the hair off his head, beard and all. Still have to edit it all. That night I share a spare room with Mikey the drummer. The Ladz are quite an anomaly for Bangkok and mart to be moving on back to the UK to make a career in music.
December 6 – Zoo
Philosopher Brothers are playing a show with a band called Superunknow and Yong from Chladni Chandi. I don't make it out to Zoo much but great lighting and ambience. Very good sets all around. Tommy Hanson has lent me his DSLR which I have been trying out since The Ladz.
December 11 – Play Yard
Jimmy Livewire at Popscene aka Matt Smith is giving me a free pass for TONSTARTSSBANDHT. Aside from having a weird name that no one knows how to pronounce the photo for the event flyer has the two brothers in an embrace. It could be a gay electronica band for all anyone knows. I listen to the music though and it is amazing. I arrive at the show and immediately notice, there is hardly anyone there. TONSTARTSSBANDHT was easily the best performance I'd seen all year and yet there were so few people at the show. My camera dies two shots into TONSTARTSSBANDHT but Stuie Matthew is on hand taking photos. He tells me later Matt is probably going to pack it in and return to the UK. Since my involvement in the music scene, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Matt's show promotion enterprise, Popscene. The promoter has brought Thee Oh Sees, Cloud Nothings, Cold Cave, King Khan and BBQ Show, Dead Elvis, Turtle Giant to Bangkok over the years. No doubt, Popscene has been an important part of the underground music ecosystem. These shows have created lasting memories and many a local Bangkok band have had the chance to share the stage with visiting bands from overseas. These shows would never have happened without someone doing the production work required to make it happen. There is probably more room for discussion about promoting events at a later time. Check out Stuie's photos from the show here.
December 13 – Grass Tone Music Festival @ Korat
Back at Noise Market in November, I run into Van of both aire and Degaruda. He invites me to occupy the one spare seat in the aire rental truck to Grass Tone Music Festival in Korat. I notify Todd Taylor at Razorcake in Los Angeles my next column will be a weekend in the life of aire and Degaruda. That is due on January 9. Tick tock, tick tock.
December 20 – Hemingway's
The Kenny Aronoff Brady snare finally sells and I have no excuses not to go see Degaruda at Hemingway's. Adam's (The Ladz) other band Stratosfear are also playing as is Gede Robi of Indonesia's Navicula. This is the easiest venue to get to and the lighting is great. Drink specials that night too. I was a happy camper and ducked out quickly after Degaruda's set.
December 21 – Check Inn 99
Warren from Mother Funky has hired me to video his band at the Check inn 99 Jazz Fest. I showed him my Thee Oh Sees video from Popscene @Cosmic Cafe more as a warning than as a portfolio. I don't normally cover jazz or blues for that matter but that will change.
What a year 2014 was: we lost two venues, Harmonica and Cosmic Cafe as well the promoter, Matt Smith announced the end of Popscene. Bands were born, bands retired. Fatty's was forced to put a halt to live music. Still, 2015 looks promising so far although on New Year's Day I paid for 50 baht worth of sausage with a 500 baht that looked a lot like a 50b to me!
If you would like to learn more about a particular month from the year I urge you to click on the respective month in the column on the right-hand side and see what is there. It's New Year's Eve and I am finished. Thank you everyone for the support and inspiration. Without you, none of this could exist.
Special thanks to all the editors and writers I worked with including Kane Cunico at Contented, Todd Taylor at Razorcake, Eric D. at CMJ, the Underground Retro blogger Andrew Wright, and Ben Edwards (Plastic Section) for the awesome CMJ piece.
We reached a lot of people in 2014 and will continue to do so in 2015.