As the New Year's Eve hangover recedes, we're faced with the full spectrum of 2013 and all the possibilities it holds. Judging from some promising developments over the past 12 months, things are looking bright for the Bangkok party and social scene for 2013. Here, Gatecrasher makes some predictions.
Some promising developments from new organisers such as Supersweet, Have You Heard and the World May Never Know, brought indie acts like Black Lips, Beach Fossils, Summer Camp, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Asobi Seksu. Also, new organisers Godung (a GMM Grammy derivative) have pushed big-name local acts such as Hugo and Abuse the Youth, and will host The Vaccines from the UK (Jan 14). Dudesweet says they will start booking more gigs too this year, after success with the Citizens! gig last month. Since small-scale indie gigs have proven to break even for organisers expect more this year. Yesssss.
We lost the Fat Festival, which was held for the last time this year and will be missed by the indie scene.
Big names came through as predicted, including Elton John and Sting, who didn't sell out but was great. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds drew yawns. Lady Gaga created more hysteria than profits in May, so we're guessing this modest and inconsistent spattering of big-name billings will continue.
BIG NAME DJS
Party crews such as Champion Sound have done their bit in bringing A-list acts through the city such as Skrillex and A-Track, among countless others. They have announced minimal electro diva Sven Vath for next month (Feb 15) - great news.
Retox Sessions chimed in some big names including LMFAO and Afrojack at Together Festival earlier in the year. They have Snoop Dogg and Justice coming for the same show in a couple of weeks too (Jan 19).
Culture One rolled out again in Nov to some big names, including Dash Berlin and 808 State, but the jump in ticket prices kept some away; and Bitec is still Bitec.
Also, global party brand Sensation dropped by with big success, hopefully drawing more global attention to the city. But we fear it might have been a flash in the pan for now.
The key to a good live music and DJ scene is indeed good venues. Sonic arrived earlier in the year to offer the best live set up around - air con, space, good PA, reasonably central in Ekamai, not too expensive.
While we lost underground music venue Cafe Democ earlier in the year, it was replaced with a Silom Plaza incarnation, which is closer but in a bit of a shopping mall.
Meanwhile, Suk Soi 11 continues to throng with new venues such as Levels, Apoteka bar and after-hours den Bash, following quieter watering den The Alchemist earlier in the year. They're all obvious, but very central.
The staple diet of the party scene that keeps things going is indeed the regular crew nights - bless them. We're guessing more of the same goodness this year.
Local and regular crews Dudesweet, Trasher and Club Soma should all continue to fill in the gaps.
The Sunday party scene should be ignited this year after the big success of Kolour Sunday events. St. Regis are hosting one now too - watch out for others.
Glow has begun hosting small but intimate parties popular with expats such as With Love, who do well to bring international names on a less-commercial stage, alongside other local DJ parties.
Duck & Noodle are welcome newcomers pushing things in different directions with good new venues - boats, Patpong - and a fresh crowd, showing much imagination and promise.
The best and eccentric offering comes from Mr ZudRangMa Records - Maft Sai - who still throws down the Paradise Bangkok and Isan Dancehall events, which are still fun.
MULTI-DAY MUSIC FESTIVALS
The festival scene has continued to develop. The problem has been exposure, but staples such as Big Mountain and the smaller Stone Free events continue on their winning ways. Perhaps it's time for a big name to headline a weekend festival here.
We need to follow events elsewhere in the region, such as Singapore Laneway Music Festival that will return again soon (Jan 26), and Future Music in Kuala Lumpur (Mar 15-16).
So this year is set to build on the foundations laid in 2012. Bangkok, Gatecrasher salutes you.
About the author
- Writer: Richard Mcleish