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Phuket Music Scene: Rocking around the island

I’ve had a busy few months as I’ve tried to get around as many live music venues as possible post-lockdown, not always easy as my wife and designated driver doesn’t like Classic Rock or Blues music as much as I do.

By Andy Tong Dee

Saturday 26 February 2022, 02:00PM

Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you what I think will be my personal favourite live music hangouts so far in 2022. I think it’s only fair to include Mrs Tong Dee’s opinion in case your partner doesn’t share the same tastes in live music as you, too! I can award five stars and so can my wife, so we can come out with an overall winner. The venue is to be judged on music (three stars), food (two stars) and restrooms (one star).

First up is the Hippie Road Bar, Patong. Situated halfway between the Bangla Rd and the Hard Rock Café, it’s ideally placed to catch passing trade. The music is uncompromising Classic Rock, in the main supplied by the house band and fantastic vocals of Karl Bauer from Dortmund, Germany. If you want to cover Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Deep Purple songs, you really need a vocalist who can not only cope with the standard of singing required, but do it for three hours. Karl can do it and he does it well! Food and the restrooms are fine… er, for me… 

Score: Andy Tong Dee – Five / Mrs Tong Dee – Zero
(No way she was going in to eat or check out the restrooms with Karl screaming and “all that loud, horrible noise!”)

Next, we come to The Dibuka in Dibuk Rd, Phuket Town. This is a classy, upmarket restaurant which is perfect for that romantic night out. Here you’ll hear quality bands playing Thai pop songs, which, it might surprise you, I happen to like. You’ll also get Thai trios (acoustic guitar, mini-drums, singer shaking an egg) and duos of a high standard. No problem getting Mrs Tong Dee to go in here. Volume, low. Food, terrific. Rest rooms, pristine.

Score: Andy Tong Dee – Four / Mrs Tong Dee – Five
(How I miss those overdriven guitars!)

Finally, Coconut Live, Rawai. You’ll find this popular venue at the south end of the Rawai beach road. They put on a wide variety of music here, so you can choose what you want to hear by the night you go. Bands include The Moody Band and Gypsy Sun (Blues/Classic Rock), Eurasia PK (Thai and Western Pop) and The Naughties (Rock/Pop). There are also musicians playing acoustic romantic ballads and Thai songs some nights. No problem getting my wife in here if I get the right night then… Volume level, low/medium. Food, fantastic. Restrooms, immaculate.

Score: Andy Tong Dee – Five / Mrs Tong Dee – Four
(She’s not quite as keen as me on Blues and Classic Rock.)

So there we have it – it’s a draw between Coconut Live and The Dibuka! It all came down in the end to musical taste. As any married couple knows, compromise is everything in a successful relationship. Rock music is usually preferred by men, romantic ballads by women. 

So you’ll most likely find me and the wife in the Coconut Live on Tuesday nights in 2022 watching the excellent Eurasia PK – a very happy medium!

Andy Tong Dee is a local expat, musician and live music enthusiast. You can read his blog at www.phuketmusicscene.com

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