Bali bands have got it covered
BY CHRIS JOHNSON
Looking for live music while on holiday in Bali? No problem. The locals have found a formula that works for tourists.
On any given night, Bali hotspots are teeming with clubs, bars and restaurants hosting rock, pop and jazz bands all working hard to please their respective audiences.
And they do please. The vibe is always good at Bali haunts and the music is a big part of what makes the atmosphere so engaging.
But (and it’s not really a but), you will have to try exceptionally hard to find original music being performed.
If there is one thing that Bali bands is good at, it’s playing covers.
The beach bars in Kuta, the classier club scene in Seminyak, or the even more cultured venues away from the beaches in Ubud are all overflowing with cover bands.
It is only at the more obscure, less touristy, venues where you might get to hear an act playing something they created themselves. Those places are rare in Bali.
That’s fine though. You’re on holiday and familiar music in the form of classic rock ballads definitely helps to relax.
And Balinese musicians are good.
For a small island, there seems to be an abundance of highly talented instrumentalists and vocalists there. You will find the occasional token Aussie… but it’s mostly local Balinese or musicians from greater Indonesia who form the line-up of most local bands.
And they’re all pretty hot.
It is nothing out of the ordinary to see a local band invite requests and be able to perform anything that is asked of them – even if that means going from Black Sabbath to John Denver in a heartbeat.
Even jazz bands tend to play standards, albeit often reworked with endless improvisations and noodling – which is always a cool journey.
Another interesting thing about Bali bands is that they tend to interchange their members. So one night you might go along to a pub to watch a band called Magic Mushroom and the next night go to a different venue to watch an act called Rock@Fuel, only to recognise they have the same drummer, or bass player… or even lead singer.
That’s Bali (that’s also a lot of places, even in Australia), and that all adds to the fun.
So when next in Bali, freshen up on the lyrics to Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and all those other great rock acts whose heydays are long gone, and you will be right to start singing along at almost any live music venue.
And don’t forget the Oils, Chisel and Men at Work … because the Balinese always cater for Aussies.
Published: 21 Jan 2019