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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Top 10 #looptheworld Shows So Far

No. 9

Lotus Bar Ios Farewell Show August 2015

Ios was a big part of the story so far. For two months I played a show every night on Ios at a restaurant called Harmony. Over that time I made countless new friends and came to feel very close with my Ios family. I didn’t start playing at Lotus bar until close to the end of my stay there. I chose to have the Ios farewell show at Lotus Bar over Harmony as it was somewhere different after so many nights at Harmony but also because there was more space for a dance floor. I was nervous that I wouldn’t pull the crowd I hoped for for a successful farewell party. I shouldn’t have been. Everyone that had made an impression on me on that crazy little island made it down and made me feel so very loved and appreciated. I miss those crazy cats.

< Show No.10    |    Show No.8 >

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Gig Profile: Spiritual Caipirinha, Camden UK

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.

Spiritual2This 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.

Raf
Rafael Pesce the owner of the bar. Good bloke.

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.

Gig Location: 4 Ferdinand St, Camden, London, United Kingdom
Venue Contact: Rafael via the Spiritual Facebook page
Pay: 30 to 50 Pounds
Capacity: Approx 50

 

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.

Gig Profile: Chopper’s Aussie Bar and Grill Koh Tao, Thailand.

I’m very blessed to be doing what I’m doing. Traveling the world sharing my music and making a living doing so. In an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same thing, I’ve decided to start writing up the details of the venues that support my art – and my wallet – as I go. This will be the first ever #looptheworld Gig Profile and where better to start than at Chopper’s Bar on Koh Tao in Thailand.

choppers 3I first started performing at Chopper’s back in 2013 just 2 weeks after buying my loop station. One might say it was my international debut. It’s a crazy gig. Hot, sweaty, full throttle Thailand madness. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday they hold a pub crawl on the island and I’m the entertainment for the hour and a half they spend at Choppers. It’s the biggest bar crawl in S.E Asia boasting an impressive 180 max capacity and regularly sells out. The gig starts at 9pm and consists of 2 sets. The fist set I play to a bar of seated patrons enjoying a meal and their first drinks for the evening. This is a great opportunity to share my original music and warm up to what happens next….

At 10pm the pub crawlers arrive – 180 drunken maniacs. choppers 1They squeeze into the already busy bar and quickly fill the dance floor. 5 minutes into the second set they are dancing on the tables and having the time of their life. The gig is very demanding. The second set is long, hot and sweaty. By the time I finish I’m absolutely exhausted. A few weeks on Koh Tao and you’ll be more gig fit than you’ve ever been. I often loose weight on Koh Tao despite the efforts of the Banyan Bar staff and their Sunday roast. The combination of Thai food, hot weather and Chopper’s marathon gigs trims off the winter belly better than any diet the internet is trying to sell you. Jeff, Chopper’s Bar Owner, will offer you up to 4 shows a week. If you back that up with some shows at the other bars on the island as I do you can easily end up playing 7 nights a week.

A professional photographer shoots every pub crawl so you are likely to get a few good shots. I love playing Chopper’s but I wouldn’t suggest it to those that aren’t prepared to work hard in the hottest gig environment you are likely to encounter. If it does sound like something you’d be into feel free to contact me for more information. Alternatively get in contact with Jeffrey Glenn and send him a video of you performing live. You’ll need a pretty decent repertoire of high energy, up tempo cover material. That said, you can get away with playing your original material -particularly in the first set.

Location: Sairee town, Koh Tao, Thailand.
Gig contact: jeff@chopperskohtao.com
Pay: 2000-3000 Thai Baht (Solo) 3000-5000 Thai Baht (Duo)
Gig season: All year round (high season Dec-Feb and July)
PA:  FOH – 4 x JBL 15″ passive speaker boxes (250-1000 watt)
Foldback – 2 x JBL 10″ passive speaker boxes (250 – 600 watt)
Sure SM58 Microphones
12 Channel Mixing desk
Stereo Graphic EQ (FOH  and Fold back)
No sound man so experience in running a PA helps.

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.

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.

Guest Blogger: Searching for John Stamos in Ios – Chris Penner

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Mike and Chris looking for John Stamos in Athens.

Each month we have a guest blogger write an article for the #looptheworld Letterbox. This month we have the wonderful words of Chris Penner. We first met Chris at one of my shows at Harmony on the island of Ios, Greece. We instantly got along really well, as I often do with Canadians. After we’d hung out a few times, Hannah and I agreed he would be the perfect candidate for our guest blogger this month. He confirmed that with his enthusiastic response when we asked if he’d be interested. Thank you so much for your words Chris. I hope you all enjoy this colourful perspective of the beautiful island of Ios.

image02For those highly unfortunate souls who are unfamiliar with John Stamos, he is an actor who portrayed Uncle Jesse in the 90’s blockbuster television show Full House, alongside the Olsen Twins and Bob Saget; however, more importantly John Stamos is the most handsome Greek man of all time.  Even before I wrote this I did a quick google search on the Greek god and one of the first articles was “John Stamos still has amazing hair and side burns”! Have Mercy!!

On June 8th this year my close friend Michael Budd and I decided we would venture to Greece in the hopes of finding this “ómorfo ándra” (beautiful man). It was less of a hunt considering we had jobs lined up on the island of Ios to teach watersports for Mylopotas Watersports on Mylopotas beach, so much repetition in that sentence, my English teacher would be so proud.  So! We spent two nights searching the bars in Athens, knowing full well he lives in the U.S.A., we hopped on the ferry to Ios, with an Irish guy named George who we’d convinced to join us, and started our summer in Ios.

As a very sheltered Canadian from outside Toronto, whose travel experience includes all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica and Mexico with my family, the move was a bit of a culture shock.  Not in any dramatic fashion because Ios is still a tourist destination, it’s not like we were shitting in pots or practicing Ainu Bear Worship, it was the little things.  The pace was much slower than Toronto, which should go without saying, and in no offence to Greece, but we realized once we were on the island that we were on Greek time.  Meaning if we sat down for dinner expect to wait a bit longer, if you’re told something will arrive in 5 minutes, expect it to be a about 15. This concept wasn’t very difficult to grasp considering the beauty of this island, you can sit, relax, tan, soak in the majesty of what is Ios and colour me surprised, I learned to love it. Furthermore what really shocked me were the showers.  Never in my life did I think I would yearn for a showerhead. For those in Canada reading this you’re probably thinking “Cant wait for hockey season to start” but after that you’re thinking “what do you mean lusting for a shower head?”.  While I was using the washroom in the first place Mike and I stayed at, I asked where the showerhead was, not realizing it was stuck to a hose in front of me.  If you’re lucky the water is hot but you have to spray your body, soap up then hose it all down like you’re getting rid of all your change at a cheap car wash.  But that is the extent of my displeasure.

“I’m Living in Paradise” This is a sentence I repeat to myself everyday.  I say this to myself on the walk down to work from the village, when times get a bit frustrating at work and mostly when I see the sun set on this island and I truly believe that. I have never been to a better place in the world.  It’s sunny everyday, the temperature is perfect, there are never any clouds, and it’s acceptable to drink every night.  But beyond the weather and the acceptance of alcoholism are the people.  Before I left I had my very tight group of friends that I was content with, more than content to be honest, I never considered travelling and as much I love meeting new Canadians I was a bit apprehensive of experiencing new cultures and people.  Will it be difficult? What are they going to think of me? Will we get along? Will they be rude or closed minded? Which turned out to be the complete opposite and my absolute favorite part of travelling, besides the late night wakeboarding, sunset cruises, smashing drinks and skinny-dipping as the sunsets over the Mediterranean.  I had met so many wonderful people, friends I will have for life, which I believe is the greatest part of travelling. Opening up to stranger and discovering what it is they love, what are their struggles, their future plans and experiences is like food for the soul.  Finding common interest with a person born on opposite sides of the world is exhilarating and I’ve fallen completely in love with it. Which brings me to Simon Wright and Hannah Blake.

July 2008, Molson Amphitheater with Mark Hubner was the first time I saw Dave Matthews Band live. February 2010, Dan Hammonds basement with Sam Statham I watched Sidney Crosby score the golden goal for Canada to win the Olympic gold medal and June 2015 at Harmony restaurant with Mitch Bolton and Mike Budd, I saw Simon Wright play for the very first time. There are moments in your life that are burned into your memory with a cattle prong and watching Simon perform was certainly one of them.  I am a music lover and a live music fanatic and there aren’t many words in my limited vocabulary to describe how I felt that night: Shocked, awed, amazed, blown away and chills.  At one point during his performance he did a remix of the Game of Thrones theme song and being a GOT nerd I could barely contain the little girl scream I wanted to release. I kept it totally cool and just looked across the table at Mike showing him the hairs that were standing up on my arm and he returned the same gesture.  I had never experienced a looping machine before and to be honest I wasn’t really paying attention during the first song until I thought there were about 6 people on stage only to glance over and to my great surprise there was just one dude. It was incredible! After meeting Simon and Hannah and discovering that their spirits and personalities outshined his talent was mind blowing.  Here are two incredible people, talent and kindness taller than the CN Tower (had to get a Canada reference in here somewhere) and so down to earth. I feel extremely lucky to have seen Simon perform his music and extremely privileged to call them my friends!

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering “what happened to George who you convinced to come to Ios with you?” as you should be! Well, George got a 600Euro ticket and had to go home after 3 weeks, I miss him but Ios got the best of him as it does of many people.  I myself have felt at times that the island is beating me, which is nearly impossible cause I’m a 6’5 man stuck in a 5’8 frame.  Thankfully I’ve met the best people in the world to share my first summer abroad with and I enjoy everyday a little bit more than the previous, meaning to say everyday is the best day of my life on Ios!!
Thanks for reading,

Sincerely Chris Penner
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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.