Music in Gogo Bars
Of course nobody goes into a gogo bar to listen to music, which is probably just as well otherwise I'm sure that most places would be empty when you hear how bad it is. Bar owners, it seems, are forever moaning about the lack of punters, the reasons are many and varied and I know that some decent music alone is not going to have customers flocking back, but I really believe that it goes a long way towards creating an atmosphere in which people want to stay a little longer whether they realize it or not. I'm not even sure what you would call the sort of music that's played in the majority of today’s gogos other than shite. Somebody here recently described it as "car alarm" music, which I thought summed it up pretty well. I guess it's called techno disco, or something like that, made up by someone on a computer that hasn't been near a musical instrument. Often made even worse by some Thai DJ who thinks he's in a nightclub full of teens and twenty-somethings, stopping and starting the "music" so he can shout something into a microphone.
I would say that the average punter in a gogo bar is white and middle aged-ish and, while I realize that people’s musical tastes vary greatly, I feel sure that this type of music is not what your average punter wants to hear. The people who want to listen to this stuff are in the night clubs of Bangkok or at a Full Moon party on the beach.
Has any bar owner ever sat and listened to this dreadful racket? Have any of them ever asked a customer what they think of it? I've never met anyone who likes it. The girls certainly hate it. If there are complaints about the girls being un-interested or un-friendly could this just be playing a part in that? If I had this stuff pounding into my brain night after night for seven hours at a time I'd be feeling un-friendly to say the least. You only have to put on some Isaan classic in a bar to see how the place lights up and every girl is dancing whether she's on stage or not. While I'm not suggesting that every bar should just be playing Mor-lam, or whatever, it demonstrates how much happier everyone seems when there is a change from what has become the relentless norm.
I recently spent the time it took to sink a beer at Spanky’s in Nana Plaza. Nice looking girls, terrible DJ, awful music, I couldn't get out quick enough. And I'm not just picking on Spanky's as most places seem to be the same.
These days, along with many others, I prefer to sit at an outside bar where the music is less offensive, have a few beers, have fun with the girls and watch the world go by. Years ago I always thought that I would love to have my birthday in a gogo bar. In November I was there to celebrate and chose an outside bar instead and had a very enjoyable evening.
I also recently spent time in Cactus Bar on Soi Cowboy. Of course, some might be cruel and say, you don't go in there to look at the girls, but the music was some of the best I've ever heard in a go-go bar. It was like stepping back in time admittedly but I spent longer in there than I did at Spanky's. Yes it was fairly empty but a little place like that is always going to struggle anyway I would think.
If only places like Cactus and Spanky's could meet somewhere in the middle musically, I'm sure that the punters would be happier and just as importantly so would the girls.
Maybe I will just be dismissed as a miserable old git, it wouldn't be the first time, but I really believe that this awful music does more to drive people away than draw them in. Stick, I would be interested in your thoughts and what other punters think. And I would be very interested in the thoughts of any bar owners on the subject. Do they, for instance, play any part at all in choosing the music or just leave it to someone who they assume knows what’s best? What we end up with, I'm sure, is what the DJ imagines is what people want or, more likely, what he wants.
With the range of ages of punters in the bars so wide, it's always going to be hard to please everyone.
While I am with you that many bars play a genre of music that I cannot identify, and absolutely do not enjoy, one part I think you got totally wrong is what the girls think of it. Most girls like modern music. They recognise it, it's easier to dance to, and as it is new, they, as young people, are predisposed to liking it. While I agree that the music at Cactus is better than most places, the girls generally hate older music!
Ultimately it's about what works on the balance sheet. I can tell you (and you would have seen this with your own eyes, anyway), Spanky's, which plays modern music, is one of the most successful bars out there – and has been consistently so for about 5 years. Cactus, on the other hand, does ok, but I'd suggest that part of its popularity is due to the following of the food night which has a great following.
There are other bars with music that may be more to your liking so you might wish to explore more. Try Safari in Patpong, Sexy Night in Nana Plaza and some of the smaller (single shophouse) bars in Cowboy. Dollhouse in Soi Cowboy currently plays older music early in the night also.