Tuesday, 9 October 2007
Silom's Breaks Bar
Clubbing in Silom is hard to get enthused about. It's a torpid scene at best. There’s the wishy-washy house of Silom Soi 4’s Moroccan grotto-like Tapas, or the vapid hip-hop of Luminous (a joyous den that’s seemingly ignorant to the joys of Grandmaster Flash or Pharoahe Monch or any other hip-hop luminary). Delve into the sweaty armpit of neon sin, Patpong, there’s Soi 1’s Twilo – louche haunt of the 1am temptress, sleazy merry-go-round of shouty hip-pop covers – or the minimal techno beats of the diminutive Funky Dojo’s which straddles it. None inspire me, most agitate.
However, in Silom's less than flourishing foothills, up a rarely beaten path known as Soi 2/1, hides an untamed beast which refuses to be cowed into commercial submission, and which registers narely a blip on the radar of Patpong’s predatory off-duty hookers and their grievous prey. Its name is Breaks Bar. And while diminutive in club size and status, it’s a fucking giant judging by the pleasing rumbling sound we found emanating from its dimly lit belly on Saturday night.
The night was called Light Low Down – a 'Britpop, rock, punk, alter and breakbeat' affair the flyer informed, helmed by DJs with anonymous names like Oaky, Mix, and the slightly better EroticBoy. With a dearth of light and an excess of kids in trendy shirts it felt like a dinghy London house party. But in a good way - minus the inane chattering pillheads and people snorting lines of K off every available horizontal surface. When not waving their hands or hugging friends, everyone was jumping around like bad-tempered two-year olds during a dizzy spell.
The DJ – don't know his name but he new his music, how to cut records and wore a yellow cap – was verging on sublime, throwing at us an assured, hyperactive, and above all fun set that touched on every just about contemporary music reference point worth referring to: electro, hip-hop, breakbeat, garage rock, slices of 90s pop. Ok, so 45 seconds of Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m too Sexy’ was just plain wrong, but so many gems (Chemical Brothers 'Salmon Song', Simian, Daft Punk, Justice, many more) meant all was more than forgiven. My friend succinctly summed up the concensus: “I’d go back every weekend if I knew he was playing”.
With rows of lopsided 12” covers hanging off the walls, Breaks Bar is clearly a space crafted by aficionados, for aficionados. Good for them. The problem with most clubs in Bangkok is their mentality. They pander to the sonic simplicity of the masses - no, they pander to their idea of what they think is the sonic simplicity of the masses (even the tastes of the musical philistine are more sophisticated than clubs give them credit for). They drop the element of surprise, reducing DJs to posturing human jukeboxes who rather than deserving of our respect and applause deserve only repeated short sharp jabs to the eyes with blunt chopsticks. For those sick with this musical malaise, who fancy cocking a proverbial finger at Bangkok’s insipid clubbing establishment, or who just plain and simple like good filthy dance music: