There is a significant difference between various Thai rock bands that appear at entertainment venues around Hua Hin and Cha-Am and the ‘real thing’. To Western ears many sound repetitive; with one song much the same as the last or an ordinary cover of some all too familiar songs (heard Hotel California lately?). Some have synthesised ‘help’; it’s always disappointing when the lead guitar break happens without the on stage guitarist playing a note.
However this is not only a Thai phenomenon with bands worldwide ‘cheating’ in a variety of ways.
Amongst foreigners in Thailand, there is generally little knowledge or appreciation about what’s on offer at the serious end of the Thai rock industry. If you like rock music and get the chance, you definitely should visit a concert of one of the more famous Thai rock bands, they’re good!
The latest of these concerts in the Region was on 28th September at the Rama VI Army Centre and the band? – The legendary Asanee-Wasan, a very real Thai rock band, live on stage. Our thanks for access to the concert from the Cha-Am Municipality Mayor’s Office (Khun Beer) and the Singha Corporation (Khun Tik).
This was a HUGE Event with over 10,000 attending. Apart from the reputation and fan base of the band, having an open venue mid-way between Hua Hin and Cha-Am and a rain free day/night also made a difference. The crowd attending a recent Carabao concert in Cha-Am was probably one third the size. Unfortunately that was a wet day and may not have been promoted to the full extent in Hua Hin. This time with the cooperation of the promoters, Hua Hin & Cha-Am Today was able to let our readers know in advance about the Asanee – Wasan concert in our September issue. Maybe that helped?
Thai rock concerts seem to have a reputation for crowd disruption which, similarly to the Carabao concert, the promoters, the Singha Corporation now have under control; another reason for non-Thais to ‘tune-in’. A warm night, the crowd tightly packed, but an atmosphere of excitement and no ‘agro’.
This band recorded their first album in 1986 and has undertaken world tours in the past including venues in Singapore, Los Angeles, London, New York, Sydney and a number of cities in India. The band is fronted by brothers Asanee “Pom” and Wasan “Toe” Chotikul.
The younger brother Khun ‘Toe’ took a lesser role in this performance. His orientation towards more ‘gentle’ and acoustic sounds was evident with his older brother, the rocker of the two, leading the way in the concert. We were treated to a wild drum solo with everyone else taking a short break as the drummer carried on to energetically ‘rev up’ the crowd. It’s hard work being a drummer in this band! The band also featured two lady backing singers, adding to the depth of the sound. We are told that one is of Italian origin, but that is unconfirmed.
Asanee-Wasan plays a fairly commercial though distinctive, ‘soft rock’ style of music, not at the blues or heavy metal end of the spectrum. It’s easy listening and for those who don’t understand the Thai lyrics it doesn’t really matter. However we noticed the ‘peace sign’ on the ‘Les Paul’ Gibson guitar wielded by Khun ‘Pom’ so maybe there is an element of a political message somewhere.
The very few ‘falang’ in attendance were clearly enjoying the concert as well as the Thai fans. The occasional scream of appreciation from the young ladies in the crowd often greeted the opening chords and riffs for those familiar with the band’s hits.
To get a taste, here’s a you tube link you may enjoy:
Next time there is a real concert near you, we’ll try to let you know; check it out!
FOOTNOTE: Yes, plectrums (‘picks’) were thrown into the crowd as a trademark of an Asanee – Wasan performance, but nowhere near me!