Many people come to Thailand to visit other kinds of bars (go-go), the beaches, go diving, hiking and are not aware of all the great live music that is available in most cities all over the country. There are many Expats living in Thailand so there is also quite a large community of Western style bars and pubs that offer some great live music.
What kind of Music to Look For
There are Blues, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Thai, Folk, Easy Listening, Funk, Country, and live music shows were you can even catch an Elvis impersonator if you’re into that. Of course if you are in Bangkok as it is a huge International city you are going to have more choice for different clubs and variety of music but there are still some great places to check out in cities like Pattaya, Chaing Mai, and towns in Phuket, and Koh Samui. They are all the major tourists areas so you still get a good cross section of music usually more in their high seasons when places can afford to pay the musicians, which varies from place to place.
The quality of music and bands vary depending on the style of music. There are many musicians that come and go pasting through while on vacation or they come each year to live in their countries winter months and end up jamming or gigging while they are here, so if you get lucky you can unexpectedly catch and hear some great players in a little club in some smaller place like Chaing Mai or Koh Samui. There are local Thai traditional musicians to check out and Thai cover bands doing mostly pop rock. There are also quite a few bands from the Philippines that play mostly American Top 40 covers as well as Jazz style in some resorts and bars. Solo artists or duo’s are common as a lot of places are not that big. You don’t see many musicians busting on the street like in North America and Europe as it is frowned upon as it is consider a form of begging.
The Places to Find Live Music
The best is to check the Internet listings for live shows especially in Bangkok as there are so much live music to see but the problem there is trying to find the place. Doing a search also works in some smaller areas but they tend not to change the listings on their sites and sometimes the club or bar does not even exist anymore or the band information is from a few years ago. For these types of smaller towns you would be better to check out information on the local forums on the net for that particular area and of course word of mouth with other folks of the places you are staying at. Pattya City would be the second largest place after Bangkok for good live music in Thailand as it is only a short 3 or so hour drive and a lot of musicians can get there easy. There are also some local magazines but a lot are also out of date but a good reference point and the larger clubs are usually still there. Up in Chaing Mai in the North there are some real cool clubs near the river, again just search “goggle” for that.
If you find any decent Live Music feel free to post it at Live Music Thailand and let us all know, see you there!