I read somewhere that the music we enjoyed as teenagers stays with us forever, its genres and songs becoming the sound track of our lives. I grew up listening to punk, early Alice Cooper and the eccentric Scottish rocker Alex Harvey, so my favorite genre of music is still gritty Garage Rock and not Prog. So a band like the Black Keys will resonate with me, while Coldplay leaves me…well, cold! We’re rarely stuck entirely in our past.
I was in a bar in Khok Kloi recently, enjoying some excellent Thai music when the singer suddenly said, “The next one is for the Falang!” The band then launched off into Hotel California, first recorded by The Eagles in 1976. I have to admit I closed my eyes and groaned.
There were a few other westerners there, but all a lot younger than me. I was eighteen in 1976 and not an Eagles fan, and I have heard this song done to death for 11 years now. OK it’s a Thai country music bar, but if she really wanted to connect with today’s western tourist audience, she really should have chosen something more up-to-date like (at the very 1990s least) Shakira, Nirvana or The Stereophonics.
Western live music here is clearly frozen in the pre-1990s past. No one can argue with that. The sad thing is that no one seems to have any idea how to get out of the rut we’re in and few care much about doing so. If all the bands here play only songs written before 1990 (are there any that don’t?) that’s fine – there is then no competition except that from those more musically competent.
But then there is competition – younger tourists seem to be increasingly opting out of listening to live music here and going to bars with DJs. Time is not on the side of Phuket’s musicians.
But what if professional bands in Phuket suddenly started playing music written post-1990 like that by Bush, Elastica, Garbage, The Foo Fighters, The Killers and Taylor Swift and not stay frozen in the past with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and CCR?
That could really put the cat among the proverbial pigeons!
Happy Christmas everyone!