By Kevin Cain
Pattaya is renowned for being the entertainment capital of Thailand, it has a plethora of venues, live acts, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and hosts many music and sporting events.Major acts regularly visit the seaside resort and perform in the dozens of live music venues that feature live bands every day of the week. There is also a growing swell of local Pattaya artists and bands that regularly can be seen performing around town.
Pattaya hosts some of the best music events in the whole of Thailand and internationally recognised artists and DJs regularly attend to entertain local residents and bring many visitors to town.Events such as The Pattaya International Music Festival, Wonderfruit, Maya, Warp, Silverlake Music Festival, Sunset Beach, and New Year’s Countdown have elevated Pattaya’s reputation as one of Asia’s top live music events venues..
Along with these show stopping festivals and events, Pattaya is also renowned for a thriving local music scene. Any night of the week venues across the city play host to the sounds of rock, EDM, blues, soul, jazz, classical, reggae, pop, traditional Thai and just about any other genre.Bands and artists that can regularly be heard around town include, Helmut & Friends, Snowman, The Blues Machine, Barry Upton, and many many others.
Although Walking Street is a major place to find live music during the week other venues dotted all around the city vie for punters. Regular venues that host live entertainment are, The Living Bar, Hemmingways, Noir, Differ, Rolling Live, The Stones House, The Cave, The Venue, Candy Shop, Hard Rock Cafe, Hopf Brew House and many of the resort hotels that grace the city.
Helmut & Friends
Currently playing every Thursday night down at Hemmingway’s bar in Jomtien are Helmut & Friends, who are a four piece cover band led by guitarist / vocalist Helmut Schachtner. The line up changes occasionally but members have played in the States, Europe or Asia. This highly popular Pattaya band play a range of styles from Soul, RnB, Pop, Rock, Blues, Jazz and Top 40 hits.They also play regular theme nights across town such as Best of Diva’s, 70s Disco Nights, Best of Soul, Blues Nights, Guitar Heroes etc. etc.
Snowman has been rocking rocking clubs and stages all over the world with his brilliant Blues guitar. He made his Pattaya music reputation as one of the key figures of the Blues Factory and Mood Blues Cafe.He is currently playing at weekends with his band the Blues Machine with vocalist Jowel at the Havana Bar at the Holiday Inn.
Probably the best known figure on the Pattaya Music Scene is Barry Upton, and he can regularly be heard at Secrets, Soi 14, Walking street on Friday nights..One time member of Brotherhood of Man, Barry is also famous for his involvement with the band Steps and wrote the hit, “5-6-7-8” which became a tune that was played worldwide.. You can also expect to see Barry performing at grand opening nights and large events, with his 70s, 80s covers and own compositions.
Pattaya is also well known for special “one-nighters” for a myriad of occasions. One such night is “Souled Out” which a speciality Northern and Modern Soul night hosted by a group of aficionados of the great music genre.The recent gigs have been taking place at the Access Inn, and many fans of Northern and new devotees to the scene make the night a great success. The event regularly raises well needed money for local charities in Pattaya, and entrance admittance includes free flow drinks.
Scooters Bars in Soi 6 , LK Metro and Soi Buakhao regularly hold themed nights at their venues. These include Motown, Sca, Northern, Disco, Mod, and Retro, occasionally if you are lucky there are also live bands playing. At the time of writing Brian Thomas & The Power are performing live at the Soi 6 venue with their own brand of Soul and Motown.
Another good venue for live music is the Lion Pub - mostly a sports bar it also serves food and often hosts live bands. You will need to visit their Facebook page or website to find out updated details of who is appearing and when.
Thai live venues, os which there are many include Thai bars and clubs throughout the city, and each night regularly Thai and Filipino bands perform. The music can range from current Thai pop covers to rock or even Thai country music. Laid out almost like a German bierkeller with long wooden shared tables these venues are great fun and encourage audience participation.
If you want an authentic Thai country cultural musical evening, watch out for the touring outdoor Issan concerts that are held sporadically through the year. If you have never been up-country or experienced an Issan concert then you are in for a treat. It is a cornucopia of throbbing Thai music complete with numerous guest vocalists performing on stage with raunchy dancers gyrating to the rhythms. These events are one big party and of course alcohol is imbibed in great quantities.
Classical music has also made its mark on Pattaya with Eelswamp probably the most glamorous and authentic venue is specifically for classical performances. The 70 sqm room is designed and dedicated to chamber music and is a highly intimate venue. Recent performances have been by Helene Tysman on piano with a Bach recital. And Graf Mouja on violin performing the Tsaye Six by Eugene Tsaye.
The Chocolate Factory down in Pratumnak regularly has classical performances, and those who like a touch of opera can pop down to the Hopf Brew House on Beach Road to see Lorenzo perform popular operatic arias.
Because of the diverse nature of the people who both live and visit Pattaya, just about every genre of music known to man can be heard in the city. Pattaya truly is a musical destination , and residents are fortunate to have such alternatives to enjoy every day of the week.