The Bitan Music Fest

Photos by MJ Klein & Hui-chen (with FOOD PHOTOS)

Bitan Music Fest

The Blue Sky band was invited to play at the Bitan Music Fest on Sunday, March 15, 2009.  But, the story of the weekend begins with our friend Andres….

The next section is probably NSFW, so be sure you can view discreetly before continuing onto the rest of the article.

Bitan Music Fest

We went up to Taipei Saturday evening and met up with Andres, Olivia and Karen (right to left) for some “hot pot” fare, since the temperature dropped considerably that evening.  Olivia is really cute!

Bitan Music Fest

This is a shot of Hui-chen’s pot, featuring goat (not my favorite by any means).  I had some dental work done so I was only drinking beef soup with nothing in it.  But the soup was delicious.  Andres suggested this place and it was really good.

After dinner Hui-chen and I went over to Andres’ home and had a few drinks while talking with his father.  After watching an hour of Tremors 3 on TV, Andres suggested that we check out a bar in the area.

We walked about 5 minutes to a little dive that was full of cigarette smoke (I thought indoor smoking was banned in Taiwan recently)?  After we sat down the waitress informed us of an NT600 minimum order because there was going to be a “show” in a few minutes.

Bitan Music Fest

The show consisted of a female in a scanty costume doing some semi-lewd stuff with a male escort, before going on to doing other semi-lewd stuff with customers in the audience.

Bitan Music Fest

She literally climbed this guy after making him take off his shirt.  I think this is more than “semi-lewd” after all.

Bitan Music Fest

Then, in style worthy of a spread in The Real Taiwan, she went onto other customers and their friends.  Notice that she has a microphone.  She was asking compromising questions and so forth.

Yes, she came over to me of course.  I don’t blend.

She stuck the microphone in my face and I informed her that my wife was sitting across from me:

Bitan Music Fest

This is Hui-chen (seated, of course!) with the showgirl, who is striking a pose for the camera.  We all had a good laugh watching the show and we didn’t mind the minimum charge, really.  Not shown: Andres, off to the far right outside of the photo, laughing his ass off.

After that we went to our hotel.  The next morning, we had a rehearsal scheduled for 09:00 at The Blue Sky restaurant.

Bitan Music Fest

Remember, this is a new band and we’ve only had a couple of rehearsals.  I learned all these new songs (Thai songs) and we needed to polish some of them up a bit.  Only, these 2 guys were more than 2 hours late to the rehearsal because they decided to get cocked the night before.  This is Manoon (left) the drummer and Peter the other guitar player, as we prepared to depart to Bitan for the festival.  I think that Manoon is from the Mexican part of Thailand….

Bitan Music Fest

We arrived in Bitan about an hour before the show was supposed to begin.

Bitan Music Fest

A sizable crowd had formed, although I suspect it was more just to get out of the sun than to wait for the show to begin.

Bitan Music Fest

One thing that I liked is that they actually had a backstage area for the musicians.  Many shows I’ve done in Taiwan has no area like this.  Notice the newspapers on the table:

Thai Music Magazine Cover

No one was more surprised that I was to find my photo on the cover of this Thai-language music newspaper!  This photo was taken at the movie premier we played a few weeks ago.  RA and I signed a bunch of these covers.

Bitan Music Fest

While we did a sound check and prepared for the show, Hui-chen took a walk around with the camera and shot some of the sights at Bitan.  It’s a nice outdoor area with a lot of families taking in the wonderful sunshine.  It was such a beautiful day and quite a contrast from the evening before.

Bitan Music Fest

You can rent these little paddle boats and go out on the river.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

In the meantime, what do you think we were doing after sound check?  Drinking Sang Som of course!

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

I was originally told that Blue Sky would be starting at 16:00.  5 minutes before 15:00 I was informed that we would be performing in 5 minutes at 15:00 due to some scheduling issues that I don’t understand, since the schedule was published.  What I found interesting is that even the very songs we were going to play were published in a hand out program!  Anyway, the hosts hit the stage and did what they always do in Taiwan – talk too much.

Bitan Music Fest

Finally we hit the stage and lit up the first song.

Bitan Music Fest

Once again, I used the VOX amp and the Brian May guitar.  I had made some neck adjustments and also on the action, and it still didn’t seem quite right for some reason.  But it got me through the show and stayed in tune well.

I’m just going to show you the photos and add some comments on some of them.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Our friends Craig Ferguson and Selina (far left corner) were in attendance and taking photographs.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

It really was a perfect day for an outdoor concert.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Look carefully at the “waist” of my guitar, at the 2 small white patches (view the large photo here).  I had printed out the 12-song set list and taped it to an inconspicuous spot on the guitar.  Since these songs are Thai songs and I cannot read Thai, I couldn’t just write the names of the songs in Thai and read them later.  Also I didn’t have any translations of what the names were, except for one song.  So, based on how the songs sounded, the names of the artists, etc., I made nicknames for the songs and used those.  The promoter of the show is fascinated by the fact that I am able to perform with a Thai band in the first place.  But I explained that music is music and that is a universal language that we all understand.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Peter handled most of the solos as I tend to not copy guitar solos and prefer to play my own.  Many Thai songs have “theme” solos and he knows most of them so it only made sense for him to play them.  I did mostly free-style soloing.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

The afternoon sun was going down and at some point it was burning my left arm pretty well!  You can see my left arm is in the sun!

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Unlike other crowds, this one was rather subdued.  They did wave flags and a few people danced though.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

This is the other band that played that day.  I didn’t catch their name but they were supposed to open the show.  I thought they were pretty good.

Bitan Music Fest

This is the line for the free drinks.

Bitan Music Fest

After the second band played, we got back up on stage for 5 more songs.  By now, the sun was pretty far down.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

In the meantime, all those little boats were out on the river.

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Bitan Music Fest

Finally the show is over….

Bitan Music Fest

Our friends David Reid (center) and Poagao came down for the show.  I haven’t see either gentleman since the Taipei Photo Club a couple of months back.

Believe it or not, my gut is about 1/2 the size it was a few months ago.  Man, it’s photos like this that keep me working out and eating less!

Bitan Music Fest

Here is Superbaby Olivia, with her father Andres.

Bitan Music Fest

Olivia is getting around quite well these days!  Here she is trying to make the “V” Sign of Asian Photo Taking.  It’s going to take a little while longer before she’s a pro at it.

Bitan Music Fest

This is the last shot of the story.  Hui-chen, with RA (Ah-A) and Mr. Oath on the right.  We adjourned to the Blue Sky club for dinner (food photos in a later story) and had a really excellent conversation on Thai and Chinese grammar.  I learned a couple new Thai phrases for the next time I go back to Thailand.  It was the end of a good, long day.

Blue Sky is performing at Taoyuan Stadium on April 12th for the Thai New Year Festival.

Thanks for reading.  We hope you enjoyed this story, so be sure to leave us a rating.  We invite you to leave us comments too!

(Visited 243 times, 1 visits today)

20 comments

  1. great post! hui-chen did an excellent job with all the photos!
    it was great hanging out with you guys again. the show at the bar turned out to be better than expected, altho’ we could’ve certainly done without all the smoking in there. sorry we didn’t make the bitan show on time. hope to see you guys soon!

    andress last blog post..week 11, 2009

    1. Andres, it was fun hanging out with you guys too! the show at the bar was a real trip, and like you, i’m surprised that they allowed the smoking like they did. maybe we’ll see you at Song Kran (Thai New Year) in Taoyuan!

  2. Wow sorry to hear about the neck problems on the red special. When you are ready to sell that strat let me know.

    1. the neck is just an ongoing adjustment thing. the guitar plays very well in fact.

      until i get another guitar for backup i’ll have to keep the Strat, although i don’t like it very much.

  3. Cool post and good photos from Hui-chen. I still haven’t had a chance to get to the ones I shot.

    I think it was the last song you played in the first set, but when I heard the bass intro it reminded me of “3rd Stone From The Sun”. I thought we were going to be treated to MJ doing Jimi but it wasn’t to be.

    cfimagess last blog post..Full House @ Rock N Roll Circus

    1. i think HC did a great job, and thanks for saying so!

      that song is called “Thai Style” by Sek Loso. MJ was in no shape to be doing Jimi but sometime i would love to do a tribute tune to him. i’d have to use the Stratocaster of course! we’ll be looking forward to seeing your photos Craig.

      1. I’d love to hear you do Jimi.

        I think I’m going to blog my photos from the show on Friday. I’ve got the last band I shot on Saturday set to go on my site for Thursday, which means you guys will be Fridays post.

        I was actually so tired from the lack of sleep (Sat was a 15 hour shooting day) that I screwed up my settings at least three times, but I got a few usable shots.

        1. next time you come over to the house Craig, i’ll plug in the Strat for you and see what i can do with it….

          man that would be great to see our shots on your site on Friday! thanks very much for that. i’m sure that screwed up settings or not, you got some great shots.

          btw, i get my umbrella and stand tomorrow. it took a few days extra because the warehouse didn’t send the umbrella with the stand order.

  4. Hi MJ, its been a while that I commented here but believe me I am keeping an eye here. LOL the bar pics 😀 I ran into small blunder without reading your notice at the top but all is well. I guess the people who peeked onto my screen when I was watching your post enjoyed the eye candy 😛 Man how many more shows of yours I gonna miss 🙁 but you know whats keeping me busy these days so hope you don’t mind. Wish you good luck for the Taoyuan show. I know you gonna rock the crowd. Best wishes. Great photos by Hui-Chen btw

    Ashishs last blog post..Strawberries in Puli

    1. Ashish, glad you didn’t get into trouble there! yes i know you’re busy and with what projects and i understand. i do hope you can make it to Taoyuan stadium this year, and a bit earlier than last year! thanks and i’ll tell HC you appreciate her photo work.

  5. Jeez, from that picture it looks like I’m going to have to work on my gut as well.

    Nice to see you and hear your band finally, though.

    1. Poagao, i’ll cu in the gym! thanks for coming down. hope i can make it on the last day of the festival when when you guys are playing.

  6. That looked like a great day. I cannot believe Thai guys getting totally wasted before an important day, that just doesn’t happen 🙂

    Thais and times just don’t work. In my 4 years in Thailand the number of times a person has shown up at an agreed time I could count on one hand.

    That is what I like about music, it doesn’t matter what language you speak. A backpackers hostel a jam session can turn out to be something special. many times when travelling I would marvel at talented people who couldn’t speak to each other but could through music.

    It looked like a lovely place where you played at. An congratulations on teh Front Cover, hope you saved me one for when you guys tour Thailand 🙂

    The entertainment was interesting at the little dive, I too would have been really pissing myself laughing as well. Why didn’t she drag you to your feet?

    Bruntys last blog post..Still Walking the Walk, Isaan Thailand.

    1. we use the term “Thai time” to sum it up pretty well, Brunty.

      it was a fun day and my first time to that area called Bitan. i’d like to go back and ride the boats sometime. looks like a relaxing way to get some exercise.

      i myself have had some of those jam sessions with other travelers at places where i’ve stayed. quite enjoyable and i always learn something new from the other players. i’ll save you a newspaper for when i come back next time. Miss Noot might find it amusing!

      once i told the “entertainer” that my wife was there with me, she seemed to have lost all interest in trying to get me to do anything. she stuck the mic in my face and everyone in the whole place heard me say “my wife is here.” HC was sitting across from me and i think the entertainer thought she was with Andres who was sitting beside her.

      thanks Brunty.

  7. Was that a compliment? Hahah. Taiwanese Boner…

    I miss you bro. Miss the Sang Som and playing music. Taiwan was great in that way. I did notice you looked like you were slimming down in the photos too. Good work.

    Mexican part of Thailand. Hmmm. What? Tequilla or Sang Som?

    Johnny Zs last blog post..Getting Permission

    1. hey Johnny, we all miss you here in Taiwan too man! you’ll have to make it back for vacation soon! i’m working on my gut as well as the songs. hope to keep going on both! take care.

Comments are closed.