Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Gong of the Pong

I’m late for the show I curse myself walking up the three flights of stairs.

Walls decorated with lucid graffiti, a black cat shimmies past, and that dubious odor bringing back inner-city memories of the council flat kind. There's an elevator leading up to where the Black Pagoda stands predatory above Pat Pong Two - but - we got no time to wait - through two industrial doors, towards the band who are launching into a familiar number:

Waiting for my Man.

The crowd are young, old, hipster, mobster, industrial, New Age, Asian, Pan Asian, Western, and alien. Go-go dancers mingle between the crooks and trannies in the crowd....

Matthew Ficsher and his Band launch into The Velvet Underground’s Waiting for my Man. 

I complemented Gary Boyle after this, their final song, and told him I dug his skillful rendition of John Cale’s sarcastic bass line from the debut banana record. “I just listened to the live double album a couple of days ago,” he smiled.

Of course Boyle is testing me - every schoolboy knows Doug Yule bothered the four strings on that live record.  John Cale left the group and stuck around in New York.

And who could blame him?  - Performing to strippers and Drag Queens at Andy Warhol’s Factory or middle road obscurity playing in an empty basketball court in Utah?

Which would you chose?

John Cale chose the dirty gritty gender bending underground, and tonight, ladies and gentleman, so have we.

Next on stage Murder Bizkitz

The four piece play a hybrid of death metal guitar, with punk sneer and snatches of melody that have the dancing girls, well, dancing. Singer Amy Anthrax works the stage well, and the band are tight and full of beans.

This is all looking promising...    

The fresh-faced singer for Penny Time looks pretty much at home in the The Black Pagoda. And so he should, the band have some tunes. The crowd are lifted, the dancers explore their options and the night whirls on to the rhythm of the Rickenbacker.

Progressive indie outfit Count the Thief are next on stage and blast through a flawless set, the crowd are liking it, we have the sense we're at an event. Singer Danny jokes with the crowd between songs as the night accelerates forward.

Degaruda are what the people have been waiting for. The band are playing another farewell gig in the city soon, and you'd be foolish not to catch them. Intricate guitar work, complex melodies, this is an intelligent, accomplished band performing at a top level and the perfect headline act for The Gong of the Pong.

Bar Manager and entrepreneur Joe Delaney has pulled off what might be a first for Bangkok - progressive live local bands performing back to back in a red light gentleman's club.      

It may be a new direction for Bangkok, but back in Europe it's wondrously old hat. The Beatles left their Merseyside stomping grounds to play a two year stint of gigs in German strip clubs.

Haven’t times changed?

Or have they?

The Beat Goes On ...

Next up at the Gong of the Pong is the Beatles Versus The Stones.
Check the page here for DETAILS