Bangkok 100 Rock Festival

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Lakeside Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok 100 Rock Festival Reviews

Isabetlog Isabetlog
18 reviews
Putting the IT in Britpop Feb 19, 2006
For us deprived Filipinos, it’s a rare opportunity to catch any one of our favorite bands live in concert since we’re often ignored when they’re off touring Southeast Asia. How the organizers of the Bangkok 100 Rock Festival pulled off cramming seven international bands to play over one February weekend was an amazing feat. Except for Belgian outfit dEUS, the bill practically screamed British Invasion. And I don’t mean the scraps of the current industry they decided to send off to entertain their little brown brothers for two nights. We’re talking big time – Snow Patrol, The Futureheads, Maximo Park, Ian Brown, Franz Ferdinand. If that’s not enough, the Festival also got the nods of Placebo and Oasis to headline. How’s that for absolute madness?

So imagine the thrill of not just being able to watch them perform, but to spend some alone time with these bundles of fangirl joy in hotel rooms and lobbies, ogling and drooling at them in the guise of official business. Unfortunately, not all were available for interviews. Maximo Park was difficult since they had limited interview slots, and of the lot of them, Ian Brown wasn’t doing any promotional activities. Quite a let down since he was the one artist I wanted to, I had to, meet the most. Why was the former Rose-In-Chief being so difficult? He’s already there.

Come show time, however, the Mancunian legend more than made up for his media absence. By regularly cheering on the crowd in their native Thai, doing his trademark monkey dance, mixing in his solo stuff with tributes to the Beatles and Bob Marley and reclaiming Stone Roses classics like Waterfall and She Bangs the Drums, Ian Brown delivered class and showmanship. He owned the crowd all throughout his set and even in a hot pink Adidas tracksuit, the King Monkey was truly a winner.

Great Scots Franz Ferdinand followed up with a super-fantastische feet-stomping performance. They did say they wanted to “write songs to make girls dance,” and they weren’t kidding. Alex and company were all over the place, leaping off the drums and shaking their bits and pieces. It was only during "Eleanor Put Your Boots On" and "Fade Together" that the crowd were given some breathing time from all the bouncing. Theirs was definitely the most adrenalin-pumped set of the evening, which is more than can be said of Oasis.

Oasis may have been the most anticipated band, but doubtfully the most exciting. At the press conference earlier that day, the Gallaghers carried a languorous attitude about them. They weren’t exactly misbehaving, but it seemed they were fighting real hard to control themselves and not let their rudeness and arrogance jump out of their skins. But it was in the air. And was in their performance. There were brilliant crowd-pleasing classics like "Morning Glory," "Champagne Supernova," "Wonderwall" (which unsurprisingly became massive karaoke moments), stuff off "Don’t Believe The Truth" – "Layla," "Let There Be Love," a cover version of the Who’s "My Generation" and loads more. Fantastic songs, all of them. But their overall presence seemed like a body without a soul, the life snuffed out with only a life support system sustaining it. It was really heartbreaking to see one of the world’s biggest bands play such a disappointing and lifeless set and yet be content with it. As their set came to a close with songs like Don’t Look Back In Anger, it was hard to ignore the irony of it all resounding in the night.

The second evening was kicked off by the Futureheads with a highly energetic set, giving us optimistic samples of their (then) coming album. Uh-oh-oh, uh-oh-oh!

One of the bands that have been receiving numerous accolades from just about everyone and their neighbor’s dentists is Maximo Park. Watching them that night, it was plain to see. It wasn’t just their songs, but the vigour with which they played them out on stage. And though not everyone was familiar with them, they succeeded in getting the entire audience to bounce, bounce, bounce.

Turning down the energy meter a bit after two dynamic performances were Irish-Scottish ladsSnow Patrol, whose heartfelt performance continued to draw in the crowd. Unlike the Gallaghers who didn’t address the audience until after their 4th song, Gary Lightbody and company constantly verbalized their gratitude. Even the blind could tell they were really digging the scene.

And finally, the only guys off the Britpop category, Placebo. By this time, the crowd had thinned out but the band showed no signs of surrendering. On the contrary, they played on with as much enthusiasm as they probably would have any other sold-out venue. Both Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal made good use of the stage, maximizing every inch while trying to get as close to the fans as possible, their guitars in mid-air a welcome threat to the people in front. The boys remained gracious rockers to the end, giving it their best despite missing a fraction of the punters from the previous night.

And so goes the Bangkok 100 Rock Festival 2006. When will an event like this ever happen in Manila? So it wasn’t the perfect ending for a non-Placebo fan, I must admit. But I’m not complaining. I spent a weekend watching an all-star line-up, interviewing most of them, and goofing off at the press pit. It couldn’t have been more satiating.

Oh, and I did meet Ian Brown.

Thanks heaps to the British Council, EMI, MCA Universal, Sony-BMG and Warner Music.

- PULP Magazine, June-July 2006
Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody
Franz Ferdinand
FF's Alex & Nick
Ian Brown
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