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.

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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.

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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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Gig Profile: Serenity Bar Koh Tao, Thailand

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.

Serenity5For 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.Serenity13

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.

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Gig Location: 3/8 Moo 2 Ban Ko Tao, Chumphon, Thailand
Venue Contact: Brunno Tavarez via the Serenity Facebook page
Pay: 1000 to 1500 Baht
Capacity: Approx 50

Ios not iOS… Damn auto correct!

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. I love my job. Lately I’ve noticed a number of posts while scrolling through social media, they are often worded differently but the main idea is the same. They posed the question; If money was no issue, what would you do with your life?

I can honestly say that I’d still be doing this.

I’m lucky enough to be financially supported by my vocation. At times is does get a little economically stressful but I think those moments are shared by even those that have a lot of money. Being able to pay my own way, and that of my partner, is only a small part of the satisfaction I get from my work. When we first arrived on Ios, a small island in Greece, we were met by a smiling Greek man named Nikolas. He drove us into town and put us in a very large room for a discounted price as he was aware that I was on the island to play music. Within hours I was being greeted by business owners and staff that had heard that I was coming. Hannah and I almost never paid full price for anything from then on. We were treated as part of the Ios family before they had even heard me play. There were a handful of people on the island that had heard me play before my arrival and they quickly spread my reputation among the Ios crew. Many of them made the effort to come check out this “loop guy” and by the time I finished my first week of shows I was being recognized on the street as if I’d lived there my whole life. Next we were offered a house by a couple of lovely Swedish brothers, Nikolas and Lars. They were leaving the island for six weeks so had an empty apartment. The rent was much cheaper than even the staff quarters and we had a lot more space, a beautiful view and a kitchen. Hannah cooked me some delicious meals. It was so good to have a little home cooking again, it had been a few months.

There are a lot of perks that come with the job but the best of all is the way people open up to me after they witness a show. I’ve spoken about it in depth with my father as he was also a performing artist and has shared many of the same experiences. It’s as if people become your friend while you are on stage, they bond with me quite closely while I’m completely unaware. By the time I get off stage they address me as if they have known me for years. I do perform with all of my heart and soul and I guess my song writing and story telling do give a lot of insight to my personality but it’s more than that. People love music. It’s like a drug and I’m the dealer. We met so many lovely people on this island. They all treated us with such kindness and respect. There are too many to write about here but check out this month’s installment of “The Beautiful People We Meet” by Hannah or Chris Penner’s guest blogger piece “Searching For John Stamos” if you’d like to be introduced to a few of them. I’ll miss them but I believe that, at least for some of them, it won’t be the last time we meet.

My main gig on Ios, Harmony.
My main gig on Ios, Harmony.

My main gig on Ios was a popular Mexican restaurant on the headland of Mylopolos Beach named Harmony. It’s owned by a bubbly, blonde, mid thirties, Australian woman named Kathleen that has turned her love for travel and adventure into a business venture. Every season, which lasts from May till September, her and her cute little one year old son Jax make their way back to the other side of the world and continue living the dream. Most nights were quite busy with a great vibe. It was the place to be after beach time and before town kicks off. They had a great team in the kitchen pumping out massive servings of delicious Mexican food. My two favorite blokes on the island Red and Omar manning the bar and a bunch of gorgeous Australian, Irish and Greek girls running the floor that would always have a smile and an ass wiggle for me every time I played that song they like, but it was a seated dinner crowd so I missed a dance floor for most of the time I was there. In fact the one time I finally got that dance floor I’d been craving was the last gig I ever did on that crazy little island at a bar called Lotus. It really was a lovely night. All the crew that we had become close with, well at least the ones that didn’t have to work that night, came down. (Actually one guy that was supposed to work, pulled a sickie so he could come… champion!) Including, once they had closed up, all the staff from down at Harmony. Lotus is an Absinthe bar so as you’d imagine the drinks were flowing and we also had a little help with party inspiration from Mandy, if you know what I mean. It was a magic night and such a perfect way to say goodbye to the island. I started playing Lotus half way through my stay but my hectic schedule at Harmony meant I was only available one night a week. Lotus is owned by a young Greek/German fella named Nikolas and his mother who is one of the rare people that live on the island permanently. I really enjoy Lotus. Every night after I finished my gig at Harmony you could find me down there groovin’ along to Snello’s mixes, having a yarn with Nicko or playing Shut The Box with Lulah and Chris. Poppy would always greet me with a smile and a kiss (both cheeks, we are in Europe now, I must remember) and Antonis would whip up the perfect Espresso Martini.

Ios is a crazy place. I’m a night life kinda guy but this night life was next level. Most of the bars and clubs on the island don’t even open before midnight. The biggest ones don’t open till 3 am and they go all night winding it up around 10 am. The crew that live and work here for the season are all quite youthful, they need to be. They work hard all day and party hard all night. A decent nights sleep is not high on their agenda. I only have to work for 3 hours a day but I still found it difficult to time my siesta right so I didn’t end up walking around glassy eyed and unable to finish a single thought. A lot of the nights kind of blur into one after a while but the 17th of July I remember well as it was the only night I had off the entire time I was on Ios. 41 shows in 42 days. For the past 7 years or so I’ve been performing about 120-150 shows a year. This year I I will well and truely beat that. Last night I played the 85th show of the #looptheworld tour, in three weeks time I’ll be clocking up my 100th. If i keep this up it’ll be about 250 shows by the end of the year. I’m looking forward to Switzerland, I only have to work three nights a week there. I’m craving a few quiet nights in with a pizza and a movie.

The train ride from Milan, Italy to Lucerne, Switzerland. Postcard perfect.
The train ride from Milan, Italy to Lucerne, Switzerland. Postcard perfect.

I’m writing this while sitting on a train traveling from Milan, Italy to Lucerne, Switzerland. The locomotive is slowly winding it’s way up into the Swiss alps along side a river that has carved a pass through the towering mountains over millions of years. The scenery is breath taking. Unfortunately Hannah is not with me as she lost her passport and needs to go to Athens to get an emergency replacement. She’ll catch up in a couple of days. I’m being picked up in Lucerne by Andrew and Corinne, a lovely couple that I met with Hannah in Thailand. Not only did they book me a bunch of shows but they are also putting us up in their wonderful home. I’m tiered after the transit and missing Hannah’s company but deep in my soul, I am so very happy.

Did I mention that I love my job?

Hannah tells me she always wanted one of these maps.
Hannah tells me she always wanted one of these maps.