Why write a blog about cover bands?

Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila form a kind of golden triangle in South East Asia: pollution, traffic, entertainment, massage, clubs and all the other good stuff. There are others (let’s call them sub-triangles): Yangon, Ho Chi Minh and KL? Phnom Penh, Cebu and Hong Kong?

Anyway, if we dig a little deeper into the “entertainment” aspect we find “musical entertainment” which takes many forms. Technoclubs, lounge clubs, pub bands, hotel bands, karaoke clubs, live gigs to name a few.

As the title suggests, this blog is about the cover bands. I’ve never come across any bands playing original material for entertainment as you would in Europe or America. I’m not saying there aren’t any, in fact I’m sure there must be some. Band members are mainly expatriates from places like Canada, New Zealand, Colombia, U.S.. In fact Canadians predominate, especially French-speaking ones, I have no idea why.

The covers bands I am talking about play in the big hotels around the region: Grand Hyatt, Shangri-La, Le Meridien, Ritz Carlton, Hilton and others. Some are real bands that have been together for years. Others have been put together by agencies just for a particular gig.

It can be a bit of a murky business with dodgy practices abounding, and of course at the root of it is the desire of 5 star hotels to get guests into their clubs spending big money (ie considerably more than they are paying the bands). The guests are mainly visiting businessmen staying at or near the hotel in question, and women who, depending on the country or the bar, either trying to trap one of said businessmen for romantic purposes, or just enjoying a night out with friends / partners (and all points in between). A lot has already been written about that particular dynamic.

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