The first show of the #looptheworld adventure. Of course this one was going to be memorable. Seeing off all our friends in Melbourne town, jamming with my band, the excitement of what’s to come and the after party till 7am the next day. A big thank you to Jonno and Straight Jacket Productions for the first of many #looptheworld TV productions, Mikey Chan on guitar, Shane Evans on Drums, Richy Rose on bass, the Birmingham Hotel for hosting and all of my friends and family that made it down. I miss you all so much.
Saying goodbye to Koh Tao is bitter sweet. It’s so sad to leave that magical little island but every time I do i put on a farewell show that fills my heart with tropical warmth that will last the longest of winters. Koh Tao is hot! All the time. So standard attire is thongs (flip flops for those of you from the northern hemisphere), shorts and a singlet. This show I wanted to give the island a more authentic version of the Simon Wright show so I dressed up in my typical stage wear. Jeans, a collared shirt, a tie and a waist coat. Woooo weee did I sweat it out. By the end of the set I’d shed a few layers of clothing and replaced them with the love of my island friends. I play fishbowl a lot while I’m on the island, 2 to 3 times a week, but this one was by far my favourite.
Of course the multi award winning Byron Bay Blues Festival is going to make the top 10. I earned a spot on the Blues Fest stage after once again becoming a finalist in the Blues Over Byron Busking competition. Although I didn’t win the competition, I was chosen as a wildcard to perform on the Apra stage. I’d played the festival twice before. Once with my band “The Wright Brothers” back in 2007 and once more recently with my band “The Simon Wright Band” however this was the first time I’d graced the stage there as a solo loop artist.
I grew up in Byron and attended the Blues Fest since I was a young man. In fact my father Dave Wright was the first ever act to play the Blues Fest way back in 1991. The acts that I’ve witness there over the years have been a huge inspiration to me. I’m still yet to play one of the main stages but that’s a dream I haven’t given up on yet….. maybe next year.
This makes the no.2 spot for a few reasons but the main one is because it was such a surprise. While on Koh Tao in Feb 2015 I met a guy named Yannick while playing a show at Fishbowl Beach Bar. He told me that he helps run a venue in Switzerland and he’d try he’s best to book a show there. Once we arrived in Switzerland later that year I got in contact with him. At first we were unable to lock down a date as everything was booked up. Then out of nowhere he contacted me and said they had an opening. It was last minute, a Thursday night, I was an unknown in Switzerland and we had little time to promote so both Yannick and I were expecting a small turn out. To both of our surprise we were far from correct. By the end of my first set the room was full. The audience was super attentive and respectful. The lighting and sound were very professional. I had a great dance floor happening. It was buzzing!
After the show and due to it’s success the venue very generously upped my pay. They also gave me a great room for the night, a delicious meal for both Hannah and I and showed us so much respect. I can’t wait to get back!
What a great night! I’d been on the island almost 2 months by this point. It was also the 6th time I’d visited Koh Tao. Every time I leave I put on a farewell gig and every time it is such a beautiful night but this one takes the top spot! One thing that is disappointing about Koh Tao is the lack of decent audio production. Choppers and Fishbowl have a PA that is more than enough to do the job but at the same time it’s nothing special. For my big finale I wanted the island to see me at my best. Playing my original material through a big PA. A proper Simon Wright concert. I asked the boys down at Banyan if we could get a special rig in for the event. At first they were a little unsure. Particularly when the quote came back for what I was after. I mentioned to the boys that if they didn’t want to spend the money, I would. Of course being the supportive legends that they are they said “No, we’ve got it”. After all the fuss I was super nervous that we would not pull the numbers to make the boys outlay profitable. I should never have worried. We ran the night like a small festival with music on from 6pm till after 1am. Opening the night was my good friend and go to guitar tech on the island Andy Stock. After Andy another good friend and fellow global adventurer Ricardo Gonzalez, then a sneaky set by a last minute random before I jumped on stage for my solo set. Already the night was cooking but what came next was the icing on the cake. My good friend and amazing loop musician Andy V (of Dub Fx) who had been on the island for a couple of weeks performing with me was next to play a solo set. He got the sub woofers doing their job and brought in the party end of the evening. Andy then invited me back on stage to take out the evening with a improvised Drum and Bass set. The vibe at the bar was electric, the turn out was enormous, the drinks flowed freely and the love was felt throughout. One of my favourite shows ever!
Thank you Koh Tao, thank you Banyan, thank you Andy V, Ricardo and Andy Stock, thank you everyone who came out. A night to remember! Let’s hope there are many more to come!
It’s been a long time coming but it’s time to lay down what I’ve been working on. In January 2017 I will be hitting Tree Top studios in Victoria, Australia to record my debut studio loop album. I’m super excited to announce that producing the album will be the studio owner and one of the worlds most recognisable loop artists, Ben Stanford (A.k.a DubFx).
Ultimately it will be a hip hop album but I’ll be breaking it up with my signature blues, reggae and soul influences. I hope to compile what I’ve learnt not only as a looper but as a song writer, musician and independent artist over the past 10 years. Up until now I have not released a full length album and the EPs that have been released, due to a hand full of reasons, have fallen short of what I’d hoped for. This time I plan on going the whole hog. Spending the money and taking the time.
I’ll be calling on the talents and experience of not only DubFx but also some of the amazing artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with over my career to help develop both new material and a few old classics. If there are any songs you’d love to hear on the album please feel free to make suggestions.
The project in it’s entirety feels a little overwhelming right now but over the next 6 months I’ll be chipping away at it bit by bit. I hope you guys are excited as I am.
This will be the seventh instalment of the #looptheworldGig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.
The Beachie as it’s known by the locals, or if you’ve been around long enough, The Top Pub. Also famously known as Paul Hogan and John “Strop” Cornell’s pub. One of my favourites! Not just because of the view of the ocean, or the size of the stage, or the quality of the lights and PA, or the professionalism of the sound man, or the generous rider, or the great pay, or the big crowds, but because it’s in my home town and it carries so many memories. I used to go to the Beach Hotel when I was a young boy to see my father perform. Back then it was a fibro shack, not the $65 million award winning beach side beer palace that it is today. The venue holds an impressive 2000 people and over the summer months it is often a full house. I’ve been lucky enough a few times to play to capacity crowd there with my band The Eclective. Memorable moments. The stage has been known to host impressive international acts. Everything from The Wailers to members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Unfortunately since Cornell sold it a few years back the entertainment budget has taken a cut. Some of the headlining international acts have been replaced by DJ nights, but with music still happening seven nights a week there are still plenty of opportunities to get on that stage.
The type of crowd you can expect is varied. Backpackers and locals, stags and hens, young and old. One thing they all hold in common is that they are there for a good time. Melancholic singer songwriters will unlikely get a look in, they are more after anything you’d put on at the hight of your house party. Funk, rock, disco, up beat reggae and dance. Anything they can stomp their feet and shake their hair to. It’s going to be a bit more difficult to book a gig here than most of the other venues in my Gig Profiles. Almost every musician that has stepped foot in the place has dreamed of playing a show on the Beachie stage. You are going to need a decent enough presence on social media, a website, an album and some high quality videos. Glen Ward, or “Goobs” as he’s know affectionately by his work colleges back in his home town of Melbourne, is the man you’ll need to talk to. He is also the professional sound man I mentioned earlier. He’s very busy, so don’t be offended if your emails receive no reply. Be persistent but not a pest. The pay is going to vary a lot from the solo Sunday afternoon acts to the headline touring artists on a Saturday night. Don’t be afraid to ask for top dollar but don’t overprice yourself. Like I said the competition to get in is fierce. Once you do get in, if you impress the boss, it will be easier to get in next time and you can always negotiate the price again. You’ll need to lock the show with about 4 months notice as they book well in advance. If you are finding it difficult to get Glen’s attention, there is always the open mic on Tuesdays where you can get a spot to show him what you’ve got.
Playing the Beach Hotel was always a high point on my east coast Australian tours. While writing up this Gig Profile I’m getting excited about the next time I’m back in Oz, back home in Byron, playing music for my family and friends on that impressive stage.
Gig Location: Johnson St, Byron Bay, Australia Venue Contact: Glenn ward via email glenn[at]beachhotel.com.au
Pay: $300 – $10,000
Capacity: 2000 cap
This will be the sixth instalment of the #looptheworldGig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.
This is the first gig I ever played in Europe. In 2015 while on Koh Tao in Thailand I bumped into an old friend of mine Scott Frost. We used to work in a kitchen together when we were teenagers. Since then he’s gone on to be a chef all over the world. Before landing in Thailand and buying himself his own restaurant on Koh Tao he had spent a season on the island of Ios in Greece cooking in the Harmony kitchen. He introduced me to Kathleen, the owner of Harmony and luckily for me she was in the process of booking her artists for the 2015 season. After a short conversation online she booked me 6 nights a week for two months over July and August.
The gig doesn’t pay a lot but the small and steady income was enough to sustain me quite comfortably. Living expenses are minimal on Ios. Those of us that work on the island receive a few perks in the way of “locals prices” in almost all the bars, a few eateries and even some of the islands adventure activities. In my case I even managed to score a great deal on some accommodation. I was travelling with my partner Hannah so opted to avoid the staff accommodation. But if you don’t mind living in close quarters with your work mates then the staff accom is a cheap option that is always available.
One of the best parts of living and playing on Ios is the feeling of belonging to the community of young, fun loving staff that stay for the season. Within days you’ll be welcomed into the family as if you’ve been there for years. I must warn you though, these guys know how to party, or more to the point, drink! The daily routine on Ios usually consists of waking up late morning, probably hung over, hitting the beach for a few hours then making your way up to Harmony for the “Staffie” meal. At about 7pm most of the island staff head home for a early evening siesta before hitting the town at midnight and drinking till the early hours. Your social life will love you for it but your liver will probably have a different opinion.
Harmony is a popular spot for the seasonal staff. The food is amazing! Generous servings of Mexican inspired meals, cocktails, live music, backgammon and giant Jenga. What more could you want? Town doesn’t really warm up until about midnight and Harmony has managed to slot in as the place to go out, before you go out. The restaurant is positioned on a headland looking over Mylopotas beach with a beautiful view. The warm evenings make for great out door dinning. Million dollar yachts are moored out the front and inflated bananas covered in screaming tourists pulled by speed boats often fly by. The PA is delightful for the size of the venue. A nice big sub woofer and several FOH speakers distributed among the restaurant will mean you get a decent sound. You’ll need to do your own mix. If you are not familiar with running a PA the other musicians and Luke in the kitchen will give you a hand figuring it out. Each night there are two shifts for the musicians. The first 6-9pm and the second 9-12am. You will share the roster with 3 or 4 other musicians so if you ever drink a little too much the night before or get run down by the infamous Ios cough someone is always there to cover you as long as you return the favour. The patrons are there to eat and must be seated to be served. Almost every night it’s full but it is firstly a restaurant so don’t expect an energetic dance floor. That doesn’t mean you won’t get tables full of excited diners getting involved. They are mostly after popular covers but once you get the crowd on side there is more than enough space to perform your original material. I managed to move a decent amount of CDs, to the point that I sold out. Make sure you bring enough, the extra income goes a long way. To get the gig you need to talk with the boss Kathleen. She will want to see a video of you performing live to see how you interact with your audience. It’s best to apply for this gig between February and May before the season begins. The season goes from May to September. I suggest staying at least a month to really get into the swing of the island life.
Best of luck. It really is a great way to spend a European summer.
This will be the fifth instalment of the #looptheworld Gig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.
This is only the second time I’ve come to the UK but already I have played at Spiritual Caipirinha five times. It’s a great gig for starting out in the competitive London music scene. I’ve found that London’s music scene is very healthy, with literally thousands of acts and venues, it can be a little overwhelming at first. I’ve also found it to be super competitive. The fight for the spot on the best stage in town drives the performance fee right down. Most places are offering you payment in “opportunity to promote yourself” or “a couple of free drinks”. Most musicians find this situation extremely frustrating but in a city where everyone is trying to get that break, if you don’t do it, someone else will. There is a lot of talent in London town, a lot of money too, but to get your hands on any of it is going to be an uphill battle. The gig at Spiritual is not going to bag you a fortune but at least they are paying a little and giving you an opportunity to get in front of an audience that is there to appreciate music. I’ve landed some great opportunities thanks to the music community that is Spiritual Caipirinha.
The owner, Raf, is a super chill bloke from Brazil that loves his music (he plays himself) and has created the space as much for his own enjoyment as it is for his customers. He also runs a record label out of the bar called Spiritual Records. They often film and record live sessions and Raf helps book and promote the small roster he has collected from acts that have performed there.
It’s only a small bar, holds maybe 50 max, but that means creating a vibe is almost instantaneous. The punters are there for the music and a decent Caipirinha (the house specialty). They do host bands, although I wouldn’t suggest booking a full band there as the stage is very small. Solos and Duos are much more suited. The PA is nice and you’ll be provided with a sound man. Every night but Mondays have live music with an open mic on Tuesdays. Every night it’s a full house. Typically there are three acts per night, giving each artist 45 mins to strut their stuff. The performers are always of high quality, hand picked by the boss himself. He’s usually after the blues, roots and folk side of the musical spectrum but is willing to give anything good a go.
Camden is a very happening area, Amy Winehouse territory, a great place to be seen. There are hundreds of happening night spots, a great market and colourful buskers all day and night. If you are in the London area I highly suggest spending some time there. And while you’re at it, drop in to Spiritual Caipirinha and say hi to Raf and the gang for me.
This will be the fourth installment of the #looptheworld Gig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.
For those of you that are keeping up with the story, you’ll know that I’m in Thailand at the moment. Tonight, and every Tuesday through February I am playing at a beautiful little sunset bar looking over the west coast of the island Koh Tao called Serenity. Of all the shows I play here this is by far the most chilled. The show starts at 6 pm just before sunset and finishes around 8.30pm. The clientele are there to take in the view as the sun sets over the Thai gulf, drink a few Mojitos and listen to some music. It doesn’t take much for the bar to fill up. About 30 people draped out across hammocks and beanbags and there is not much space left. Serenity is located at the top of a steep hill in between the tourist center Sairee Beach and the main port of Mae Haad. Even on a scooter it can be quite difficult making the climb. On foot you’ll definitely get the heart rate up and a sweat on. You really enjoy that first Mojito and the view when you do make it up. The remote location does have it’s advantages. Joints are often passed around the patrons and the noise of the main road is replaced with frogs and geckos singing the sun down.
The pay is not as good as the other shows I do on the island. I use the show as a contrast to my gigs at Fishbowl and Choppers. Somewhere I can relax, not have to worry about entertaining the drunken masses and just play some music. It’s a great place to showcase your music, the way you’d like to play it. Original material is not only accepted but encouraged and Bruno the owner reminds me every time to “Please, play from the heart and play what you want.” The PA there is small but nice. With a little effort you can get it sounding great. It’s easy enough to get a gig at Serenity. You wont need to impress Bruno too much with websites and demo videos. Just drop him a line via the Serenity facebook page and I’m sure he’ll give you a go. If it works out well, he’ll give you a bunch more spots.
Depending on the weather today we may end up filming a clip. Honestly the view is superb and playing while the sun sets makes for some beautiful light. The perfect location for a live film clip. If I don’t do it tonight, I’ll do it next week. And when I do, I’ll post it here. In the mean time here are some gorgeous photos of a show I did there back in February last year by the beautiful Alena Chulkova.