Shark Attack on Hua Hin Beach!
Making my way along the soi that runs between the Hilton and Sofitel hotels, with haste in my step, towards the beach where the Saturday night headlining band at the Hua Hin Jazz Festival were just about due to take the stage, I was much surprised to find what seemed like thousands of folk, for the most part Thais, streaming away from the sand and hampering my progress.
I’d been Driving Hard from Bangkok to avoid the rush, only to spend a Lonely Afternoon, Down on the Street, Streetwalking. I’d browsed the street market stalls but still the Time Stretch did not ease. Desperate, I picked out a selection of CDs of those artists performing over the weekend only to find later they were not the real McCoy. I wouldn’t have minded so much but bootleg copies at original prices! That’s not on. Trust those pirate marketeers to take advantage. Disappointing that despite all Boy Wonder’s efforts to curtail corruption the provincial authorities would turn a blind eye to such brazen activity, more so as the peddlers were right outside, instead of inside, the local nick.
The Jazz Festival is an annual pilgrimage for me; it’s eight out of eight and I’ll be back next year and the year after. Indeed, any concert — to my mind there are never enough in Thailand — and I’m there, and if its rock ’n’ roll expect to find me front and centre, up against the stage.
My jazz weekend was supposed to have kicked off last night. But a last-minute change, work, it’s always work, scuppered my plans. But whatever afternoon blues I’d had on the journey today from thinking about what I’d missed on last night’s menu were soon swept away once I hit Hua Hin. Just being there — soaking up the atmosphere, meeting some guys I knew and sharing a jar or three of amber nectar, and thinking of even better to come on the beach.
I looked at my watch. 22.20 hrs. My mates and I were now behind schedule, and possibly might miss the start thanks to the human-tidal congestion surging off the beach, but then when does a concert ever kick off on cue?
As we reached the point in the path where it bottlenecks for those last hundred or so metres to the beach we found others also anxious to reach the venue. It was tough going and as we pushed and wormed our way through the departing masses, Easier Said than Done, I began to wonder. I mean, with a lack of music belting out, coupled with a stack of people bolting out, it crossed my mind that perhaps the band was a no-show and that these folk leaving the beach early knew something I didn’t. Nevertheless I shoved on, and eventually stepping onto the fine silky-soft sands made my way to the line of security scrutinisers with their little torches flashing over the new arrivals, necessary when Dark Is the Night though more for posing than real effect as the beach stalls offered plenty of light. And still I wondered, more nervously now. What if the delay was because of a last-minute change? Perhaps Blondie were the new line-up, I mused, looking waterwards and muttering to myself, ‘the tide is high’.
Then the first chords of a familiar number floated over my head and I knew. Shakatak were on stage. So why were so many Thais leaving. Ah! Of course!! The emcee, with his tell-tale Thai accent, must have called upon the audience to give a rapturous welcome to the star attraction: ‘Everybody, please welcome the one and only . . . Shark Attack!!!’ to which the crowd, already concerned by the rising tide lapping at their ankles, must have taken to their heels as one and headed for higher ground.
Such a pity they had no staying power for they missed a fabulous concert by the best of all the bands I have experienced at Hua Hin, but at least the faithful and the soon-to-be-converted were entranced by the sensational sounds, stage presence and sheer exuberance of the incomparable Shakatak. By the end, including a much appreciated encore, I felt, as I’m sure did the majority amongst the large crowd on the ever-decreasing sands of Hua Hin, Emotionally Blue. To say it was an Out of This World performance might be overstating reality a tad but, nevertheless, it was truly a concert to remember. I only wish Shakatak were still playing now and that I were still spellbound. What am I talking about? I am still spellbound and, make no mistake, hear them once and you are a fan for life.
Fifty or so genuine albums to search out and buy, I’d better get cracking!
I am chronically busy with all sorts of shit going on so no comments on some submissions. Sorry about this.