Gig Profile: Old Man’s Canggu, Bali

This will be the eighth 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.

Old Man’s is a well known drinking hole in Canggu. A place to be seen and the place to go on a Wednesday night. There is plenty of bar space and large beer garden looking out over Batu Balong surf break. Canggu is known for being a little more expensive than other parts of the island but you can still get a decent meal for less than 80k IDR ($8 AUD). Bintang, Indonesia’s most popular local brew will set you back 25k IDR ($2.50 AUD), which is pretty typical in the area. Happy hour is 5-6pm where drinks are two for one.

oldman3

The gig itself starts at 7pm on Thursday nights, which is known as the acoustic night. You’ll share the show with a DJ who plays from 6pm, then again in your break and after you finish. You’re expected to play 2 x 1 hour sets with a  hour break in between. You’ll be provided with an in house sound man who will set up and run the PA for you. He is a very friendly fellow and will be happy to answer questions and help out however he can. If you are touring with a band then you’ll want to ask for the Friday night. The gig is slightly later and always has a great turn out.

The PA is made up of 2 x 15″ FOH speakers as well as a couple of subs and a 15″ foldback speaker. Your under a roof but it is an outdoor venue so sound issues should be minimal. They also don’t seem to have sound limits so you can turn it up which is always nice. Additional to the main PA the signal will be sent through the in-house system with small speakers situated through out the establishment meaning you can be heard everywhere. Mic’s and stands are also provided so just bring your instrument.

oldman2
Wednesdays at Old Man’s is always a party!

The clientele are young surfers from all over the world but there is definitely a higher percentage of Australians. Ripped and tanned, half naked young lads and ladies fresh off the beach fill the bar from sunset onward. They are more than keen to hear some live tunes and I found them to be very supportive and attentive. If you keep the second set up beat you’ll be sure to get a dance floor vibing. I was even encouraged to play some more original music which is always a pleasure.

To perform in Indo you are going to need a work permit. They take it very seriously and if you are seen to be breaking the rules you’ll not only get yourself in trouble but the bar as well. Not to worry though, securing the paperwork is very simple and can be done after arrival if you don’t come prepared. I got mine sorted at www.BaliExpatServices.com It only took one quick visit and a one off payment. Cost depends on how long you are staying and it’s best to have as many gigs booked as possible before getting it done as they like to know where and when you’ll be playing. That’s not to say you can’t pick up extra shows on the side.

I suggest staying for at least a month to give yourself time to cover the costs of visa, flights and living. If you back this up with a few other gigs in the area, you can live quite comfortably in island paradise. The longer you stay, the more likely you can save some coin. I rent a scooter for transport which will set you back about 50-60k a day or if you rent it monthly about 40k a day (just over 1 million IDR a month or $100 AUD). Alternatively, if your not so comfortable on a bike, you can employ a driver for a little more money that will pick you up by request. Accommodation varies but I got a lovely room with hot water, air con and wifi for 3.5 million ($350 AUD) per month at a place called Janur  Kuning. About a five minute ride from Old Man’s.

Location: Gig contact: Sean Cosgrove Via Old Man’s Facebook or his personal profile
Pay: 1 million IDR (Solo) 3–4 Million IDR (Band)
Gig season: All year round (high season Jan-Feb and July)
Max Capacity: Approx 1000
In-house PA and soundman.

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Top 10 #looptheworld Shows So Far

This was a difficult list to compile. Almost every show I have played since the #looptheworld adventure began has been memorable for one reason or another. Special mention has to go to Choppers Bar, Koh Tao. Those hot, sweaty nights with the Koh Tao Pub Crawl made up a huge amount of the memories that the tour has brought me so far. Every night at Choppers was another crazy party. So too were all of my performances at Harmony, Ios. However, this here list is about those single shows that stood out. The shows that warmed my heart and kept me on a high for days after getting off stage. Those shows that reward me more than financial gain. The shows I’ll remember long after my career is over. The shows I’ll look back on and smile.

No. 10

Surfers Paradise Live Festival May 2015

A festival stage definitely helps to make the top 10 list. A big crowd, a great PA, a professional sound man, the whole kit and caboodle. This was also the last show before we took #looptheworld international. On a more personal note; Surfers Paradise Live Festival was special because my family was there. My mum, my little sister Megan and my adorable little nephew Malakai. It was also the first time my newborn nephew had left the house since his birth. I’m very proud of this fact. It will be a story I tell him when he’s older. I hope one day he takes up the musical adventure that has brought me so much satisfaction.

Show No.9 >

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Gig Profile: Fishbowl Beach Bar Koh Tao, Thailand.

This is the second 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.

Fishbowl Beach Bar is the epitome of gigging in paradise. It’s on a tropical island. The stage sits less than 10 meters from the shore line. The gig starts minutes after the sun sets over the Thai gulf and these sunsets are the most amazing I’ve ever seen on all of my travels. I really doesn’t get much more picturesque than this.

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Sunset from Fishbowl. Photo Credit: Edan Chapman Photography

Recently they have replaced the PA which was a delightful surprise. They now sport a 20″ sub woofer with 4 x 15″ front of house speakers and a single 15″ foldback cab. With the help of the in-house sound man Nanda you should get a pretty decent sound. The clientele are there to have a drink by the beach and listen to some live music before the night kicks into drunken Thailand madness so you can expect at least a good portion of the audience to be attentive and supportive. I use the gig as a back up with the Choppers gig (Chopper’s Gig Profile) to fill my schedule. Between the two of them you can be playing 6 nights a week and earning a living that will support a life style of tropical indulgence. The owners Andy and Nando (not to be confused with Nanda the sound man) are both stand up blokes. As long as you are not a drop kick you will get along with them really well. The show they are after is one that will slowly wind up the crowd till the DJ starts at 11.30pm. First set you can get away with a few slower songs, even some originals but in an effort to fit in with the Thailand madness i suggest that you keep the energy high. Second set it’s important to start really pumping up the vibe. Again you can get away with original material as long as it has a heavy groove that they can bounce along to.

VIDEO: Simon Wright Live Looping at Fishbowl Beach Bar June 2015

I suggest spending at least a couple of weeks on the island to help cover the costs of getting there. You’ll need at least 3 hours of relevant up tempo songs in your repertoire. I find the more funky stuff works better than the rocky stuff. If you think this is something you might be into feel free to contact me for more information.  Alternatively you can contact Andy or Nando through the Fishbowl Facebook page. They will want to see a video of you performing live, the quality of the camera is not important, they just want to see how you interact with your audience and hear your voice and musicianship.

Fishbowl bar
Fishbowl Beach Bar from the water. Photo Credit: Edan Chapman

Location: Sairee town, Koh Tao, Thailand.
Gig contact: Andy or Nando via Fishbowl Beach Bar Facebook Page
Pay: 1500 – 2500 Thai Baht (Solo) 3000 – 4000 Thai Baht (Duo)
Gig season: All year round (high season Dec-Feb and July)
Max Capacity: Approx 180
In-house PA and soundman.

Amwell Garden Jam – Videos

Of all of the countries we have visited so far England was by far the most difficult. Arriving in London was a bit of a shock to the bank account and the gigs were less frequent and often for less money. This didn’t stop us from having a great time.

On our first night in London we visited the Spiritual Caipirinha Bar in Camden after it had been recommended by two of my musician friends, Grim Fawlkner and Tara Minton. It was an open mic night so I jumped up and played a few tracks. Straight after me there was a young guy named Daniel Greenwood that got up and sang a few beautiful pop folk songs. Afterwards we got chatting and he invited me down to play a showcase for a local musician collective called Amwell. I was flattered and graciously accepted.

I didn’t really know what to expect. Daniel gave me an address and told me to rock up mid afternoon.  When we got there we were greeted by the owner of the house and the co-founder of Amwell, Roy. He took us through the little London terrace and out into his cosy inner city backyard where Daniel was setting up a small stage beneath the kitchen window. We then spent the afternoon listening to a bunch of amazing local acts, drinking cider and eating Roy’s famous home made pizza. As the sun began setting Daniel invited me up to perform for everyone. It was a beautiful afternoon and a true pleasure to play for such an appreciative group. Paolo the  videographer was there to catch all the action.

A few weeks later Roy sent me a copy of what they filmed. I think it came up really well. Thanks Daniel, Roy, Paolo and all the gang at Amwell Collective. I look forward to doing it all again when I get back in March.

NEW VIDEO: Let’s Stay Together/You Don’t Know – Live Loop Mash Up

I love Koh Tao. I have since the first day I set foot on that rock in the middle of the Thai Gulf. There is magic there. Until you experience it you will never know it. I’ve traveled there many times now over the past 4 years. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to share with my close friends from back home. It was only February this year that I finally got to share it with Hannah, and like me, she fell in love with the place as soon as we landed at Mae Haad Pier. This June though, when Hannah and I were half way through our Koh Tao leg of #looptheworld we were visited by a bunch of our good friends from back home. Shout out’s to Jonno, Edan, Danielle, Mikey, Anton, Mick, Anthea, Dave, Casey and Hayley. So good to share Turtle Island with you all.

Not only did I get to share the magic of holidaying on Koh Tao with my friends but also a little of the creative side. Casey and I  did a couple of shows together. One at Banyan and one at Choppers. They  both went down in Koh Tao history. Mikey and I did a couple of shows together at Fishbowl. One was shut down early by the most epic of tropical storms which Edan Chapman Photgraphy was patient enough to get the million dollar shot of. But one of my favourite collaborations on the island is this one right here.

On the 11 June 2015, Jonno, Edan and Andy Stock (a guitarist friend that lives on Koh Tao) came together at Fishbowl Beach Bar with as many cameras as we could muster up including 5 x GoPro’s and 2 x Cannon DSLRs and shot this clip. Jonno later edited together the 40+ Gigabytes of footage for Straight Jacket Productions and now we have a Koh Tao memory that will last forever and that we can share with all of you.

The song is a mash up between Al Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together” and the hip hop verses from my own track “You Don’t Know” from my 2009 EP SW&theE. I love Al Green, I was lucky enough back in 2011 to see him live in Melbourne at the Palace Theater in St Kilda with my good mate and fellow loop warrior Andy V. The show was everything I expected and more from the living legend. Andy and I used to play this song years ago jamming in Melbourne town and last year we recorded a version on our EP Live on Koh Tao which you can download free here. That version happened to be recorded live at Fishbowl almost exactly one year before this one.

I hope you enjoy and please help me out by commenting, liking and sharing. The success of my #looptheworld adventure depends on the support of you guys. Thanks so much for watching.
Si x

What time is it?….. Who Cares. Koh Tao.

I should have written this weeks ago. It’s not that I’ve been avoiding it or even putting it off, actually I’ve been looking forward to it. There is an explanation to my laziness but only those that have spent a bit of time on a tropical island will truly understand. Hannah and I have come to refer to this phenomenon as Island time. Tomorrow doesn’t actually mean tomorrow on Koh Tao, it more accurately translates to eventually. The hands on a Koh Tao clock don’t point to specific hours of AM and PM but more a rough target at which we’ll aim. Those that refuse to give up their slave to the routine ways of the cities we live in find it extremely frustrating, but being frustrated will do nothing to change island time. It’s best to give in and let the island dictate your schedule. Today the island decided I’d write my blog post. So here it is.

My new Thailand band
My new Thailand band “Simon Wright and the Choppettes.”

We have been here on Koh Tao, a tiny little island in the middle of the Thai Gulf, for almost 6 weeks now and I have enjoyed every second of it, even the Thai belly, it’s like a constant reminder I’m on an adventure. It does make me worry occasionally when I’m on stage in the middle of a set and I get that turning feeling in my gut, but luckily, so far, I’ve not had to drop my guitar and make a b-line to the closest lavatory.

 This gig is mental. 3 nights a week I rock out to 300 sweaty, excited backpackers.
Choppers Aussie Bar and Grill. This gig is mental. 3 nights a week I rock out to 300 sweaty, excited backpackers.

My gigging schedule has been hectic. Easily the most busy I’ve ever been as a musician. I’m performing a three hour show every night except Fridays between two venues. 3 nights a week at Choppers Aussie Bar and Grill and 3 nights a week at Fishbow Beach Bar. I’ve also done the odd show at Banyan Bar and Maya Beach Club. It’s getting me fit. I’ve lost about 10kgs and I can now manage the hot, sweaty shows without the assistance of an M-150 or the need for a power nap post performance. Playing every night also does wonders for my progression as an artist and a looper. And though I am working hard, I love my job. It sends me to tropical islands and attracts me to beautiful people. It pays my way and supports my partner. It never boxes me in, rather it encourages me to push the boundaries. And it’s got to be one of the only occupations in the world that inspires the boss to buy you a shot when you’re doing a good job.

Tropical hang overs are like tropical storms, they come on hard and fast and no matter how many times you see one the intensity is always awe inspiring.
Tropical hang overs are like tropical storms, they come on hard and fast and no matter how many times you see one the intensity is always awe inspiring.

Which brings me too the drinking. Hang over management is a big part of Koh Tao life. If you are not careful you will end up with the worst hangover you’ve ever experienced. Tropical hang overs are like tropical storms, they come on hard and fast and no matter how many times you see one the intensity is always awe inspiring. The cheaply brewed Thai alcohol mixed with the humid, hot nights of sweating means hydration is a constant battle.

“One beer, one water”

These days I steer clear of the cheap Thai whiskeys and just stick to beer. “One beer, one water”. At first I get laughed at like I’m some kind of amateur but the tide turns when I bump into those that were laughing at the 7-11 at 3am and I’m still clear headed and walking straight while they are hunched over a bin throwing up the cheap buckets and late night street food. I can’t help myself but to remind them. “One beer, one water”.

Casey and Edan crash the stage at Banyans.
Casey and Edan crash the stage at Banyans.

One thing that has been so beautiful this month is the visits we have received from back home. A big shout out and thank you has to go to Danielle, Jonno, Mikey, Edan, Casey, Hayley, Dave, Mick and Anthea. It was so amazing sharing this little island with you all. I hope you fell in love with it as I have and it continues to be a destination for you all for many more years. Then from old friends to new friends.

Jonno, Danielle and Hannah.
Jonno, Danielle and Hannah.

I’ve met so many beautiful people on this island and formed some amazingly close bonds. I hope I can keep those relationships as close to my heart as they are now as we move on to the next leg of #looptheworld. Hannah and I will be back on the island in January we think. For those of you that will still be here I look forward to seeing you again. For those of you that will have left Tao, stay in touch. Maybe we’ll come visit you in your country.

We are three months in now and the idea of living life on the road still feels fresh and exciting. Sadly, on Thursday this week, I play my last show on Koh Tao. Friday we go to Bangkok, Saturday we Fly to Moscow, Sunday to Athens then a ferry out to the island of Ios where I start my Greek Island gigging schedule. 7 Nights a week this time, wow.

If you haven’t already please sign up to the #looptheworld Letterbox at http://www.thesimonwrightband.fanbridge.com and don’t forget to leave a comment or write us back.

Who's a good boy?
Who’s a good boy? Photos by Edan Chapman Photography.

Simon Wright – TV on the Radio

Live and Local BayFM and Byron Bay TV present:

On Sunday April 26th 2015 I had my first ever loop performance on live to air radio and Will Hayman from Byron Bay TV was there to catch it all. The performance took place during the Sunday midday show Live and Local with Al Stark on Bay FM 99.9 three weeks into my #looptheworld tour.

The playlist above has three videos:
She Told Me (BayFM Reloop)/Gather The Matter

This is actually two songs but ever since I started performing them and always grouped them together. Eventually I plan to have most of my set like that. The first track “She Told Me” I wrote while on stage once at the Birmingham Hotel on Smith st in Collingwood. I’d looped the start of the track and a woman approached me from the dance floor. I don’t think she quite understood the loop concept. She came up and started yelling “You need to sing!” The next words to come out of my mouth were the chorus “She told me that I need to sing, down here at the Birmingham”. I often appropriate this song to whatever venue I am playing at the time. This performance you’ll notice I sing  “She told me that I need to sing, on live and local BayFM”. It lends it’s self easily to those kinds of improvisations.
The second song is the bastard child of three songs I’ve written in the past. The guitar riff was originally the pre-chorus to a jazz/hip hop track I wrote last year named “Dream”. The chorus lyrics are from a song I played with the Eclective named “It’s On” and one of the verses is from a song I did with Direct Influence way back in the early days named “So Right”. I like the way they blend together. It changes key from Dm to Am but the “She Told Me” chorus lyrics still work and even though the beat is exactly the same, with all the syncopation in “Gather the Matter” it feels like there is a groove change.

Rockin’ Blues

I first wrote this song as a 1-4-5 upbeat swung rock n roll track but I was never really happy with where it sat so had never started performing it live. Then last year while I was on Koh Tao, Thailand with Andy V we began jamming a Ray Charles inspired groove at a bar called Fishbowl and the Lyrics found their home. You can hear the first time I ever played it here. It’s changed a little since then as I had to work on a way to play it with out the help of Andy V, but the general arrangement is still the same.

Music

This song has been with me a long time however I think this is the first loop performance recording of the track. I first wrote it in 2006 while playing with the Groove Collective in Byron Bay. It never made it to the studio until 2012 when I went in with The Simon Wright Band for “Live at 52”. That performance which you can see here, earned me a nomination for the Australian Independent Music Awards 2013, a position in the Victorian finals for the Telstra Road To Discovery and made the finals of the national Catapult Song Contest with names like Ash Grunwald and Dallas Frasca.
The basic idea of the song is a love song dedicated to the life long partner I’ve chosen in music. People often ask who is the girl I was writing about, but it’s no girl, it is music. Recently “Music” passed 10,000 views on youtube and is the first of my original songs to accomplish this milestone. You can purchase a copy along with the rest of “Live at 52” from http://www.simonwright.com.au

New Video – Rockin’ Blues Live at the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay. #looptheworld 2015

I first wrote the lyrics to this track to a 1 4 5 swing rock and roll style track but then appropriated them to a Ray Charles inspired rock n roll groove whilst jamming with my good mate Andy V during a gig in Thailand. The jam ended up making it to the “Live on Koh Tao” EP as the only entirely original tune. It’s very traditional stylistically. A simple groove, one chord the whole way through the track but I dig it. I think it’s my favourite loop track of mine so far.

I filmed this version at a gig in Byron Bay near the beginning of our #looptheworld tour on the 16th April 2015. It was a strange gig. After the week I’d just had leading up to the show I was expecting an impressive turn out. I’d just played the Bluesfest after winning a place in the Bluesfest Busking Comp. I then played a gig at the Rails, my first ever 3 hour solo loop show in Byron, to a large enthusiastic audience.  Unfortunately however, this gig was empty. Not empty but in a venue that holds over two thousand, forty or so feels empty. I guess with all the excitement of the Bluesfest the week before, another night of music was not a priority. That didn’t stop me from getting the most out of it. The PA is lovely to play through and Glen “Goobs” Ward the sound man does a great job at making me sound the best that I can. It was quite the contrast from back in the days of the Eclective where we had 8 people on stage and 2000 in the crowd but enjoyable none the less.

Rockin’ Blues
An original loop track by Simon Wright.
Recorded live at the Beach Hotel on the 16th April 2015.

My Baby likes it old school
Cos these days it ain’t the same
She needs that old school soul
and some rock n roll
Just to make it on through the day

She says she wants them Blues
That get me on my feet.
Some rockin blues,
that get me on my feet.

I said my pockets are all empty,
and my lunch box is much the same,
but you can bet when I get
a little rock in my roll
I save it up for a rainy day

I said I want them blues,
that get me on my feet,
Some rockin Blues,
that get me on my feet

Said there’s holes in my pockets
and there’s hole in my shoes
I ain’t got nothing but
singin’ them blues

Loops, the new age one man band

In November last year I bought myself a loop station. I’ve seen them used since I was a kid, but these days they seem to have gone to a whole new level. There is a new genre emerging in the solo scene. Loops. Check out DubFX and Bernhoft.
Basically a loop station is a fancy guitar pedal. It gives you the option of recording yourself on the fly then playing it back in a continuous loop. Meaning one artist can now accompany him/herself. Be it with bass lines, beatbox, vocal harmonies, sound effects, percussion, the possibilities are endless. Making these little tools powerful music makers. The pedal I’m currently trying to get my head around is the Boss RC-300. With so many variables it’s like learning a new instrument. And like learning a new instrument the results are so satisfying.

Here is a video of me performing a Fat Freddy’s track named Wandering Eye.
The track perfectly lends itself to the loops format as overall it is quite repetitive and at the same time it is such a brilliant song.

Over the coming weeks I will be recording more of these videos and posting them to our youtube page. Please subscribe to our channel and we’ll keep you informed as to when the next one is online.

http://www.youtube.com/thesimonwrightband

Monday Espy Residency For Feb and March

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The Espy is one of those places that is so set in stone in the Melbourne scene you almost couldn’t imagine one without it. It’s a place that all the young bands wanna play at, when they are old enough. I can still remember my first gig there. I thought I’d made it… till I played the show to a room of about 12 of my closest friends and family. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to experience many of the experiences the Espy has to offer and Monday nights is a good one. The PA is big, but it’s not turned up so loud you cant have a conversation. There is a good bunch of local and traveling crowd but not so many that you can’t get a beer. And there is good music on for free.

I’m gracing the stage every week for February and March. For the first three weeks its just me solo with my new loop pedal showin off a few new tricks, then every week after that I’ll be showcasing what the boys and I have been up to in the band.

Each week we will be joined on the bill by three other acoustic oriented acts playing original as well as reworked covers. First act is on at 7pm we go on stage at 10pm. Espy front bar St Kilda. Free Entry.

UPDATE: March 10th Monday’s Covered will be held in the Espy Basement.