After living in Thailand for a while, you might discover that live music in Bangkok is slightly lacking in variety. There’s plenty of Thai pop music and mediocre cover bands to see, but it takes a little extra effort to search out other live music genres in Bangkok. Don’t get me wrong, a bit of chilled out Thai pop music can be quite nice, but sometimes you just want to mix it up a bit with other varieties of live music.
Here are a couple of the best live music venues I’ve found in Bangkok – I’ve tried to cover a range of different music genres for different tastes.
Best Live Music In Bangkok
1: The Rock Pub – Rock tunes and alternative music
You can find some really good live bands at the Rock Pub. Furnished in the style of a rock-style Castle, this Bangkok venue has some great resident bands such as the Green Day cover band St Jimmy. The best bands that play at the Rock Pub seem to be the most under-appreciated in Bangkok though, and it’s the not-so-rockin’ bands that seem to draw in the bigger Thai crowds. Sometimes I wonder if the pumped up crowds headbanging to some of the soppy so-called rock bands are actually taking the piss or not. The pub is still definitely worth a visit for fans of punk, grunge and heavy metal… most of the time anyway.
The casual Saxophone Pub is a highly popular live music jazz pub frequented by both expats and Thai locals of all ages. This buzzing live music venue is nearly always busy, with lively atmosphere. The Saxophone Pub tends to play primarily energetic swing jazz and blues, and has a cozy, traditional pub atmosphere – a casual pub to simply enjoy good music.
Another jazz bar in Bangkok, the Iron Fairies is a less casual and more dressed up alternative to the Saxophone Pub. It’s a little more expensive compared to the Saxophone Pub and has a more quirky, unique atmosphere. Again, you’ll find cover bands of swing jazz playing at the Iron Fairies on an interesting stage which is separated on it’s own floor; singers energetically perform from the gothic-industrial spiral staircase that connects it to the bar floor. If you’d prefer a jazz bar with a younger crowd and more sophisticated ‘wine bar’-edge, then check out the Iron Fairies live music venue in Bangkok.
4 The Raintree – Authentic Thai folk music
The Raintree is a lesser-known Bangkok live music venue, popular with Thai locals of all ages. If you are keen to listen to some authentic Thai folk and country music then this is the place to go. The Raintree Pub has a rustic atmosphere reflective of its country style, complete with buffalo horns and driftwood furnishings. Not to mention that it has cheap beer on tap…
Tawandeng is another lesser-known Bangkok live music venue, highly popular with both local Thais and expats in the know. In fact, despite it’s huge size, Tawandeng Brewery is so popular that you often need to book ahead for a table. With a massive stage and gigantic seating area, this music venue seems to be a place for special nights out and celebrations. A visit to Tawandeng Brewery provides an authentic insight into modern Thai entertainment of cabaret style shows, magic acts and pop performances.
6 The Overtone – Live Indie music for the younger crowd
Apparently the Overtone has recently been renamed to Mello Yello and has taken on a main jazz theme since my last visit. However whenever I have been to watch live music in the past, the Overtone has mainly played live popular acoustic Indie music and modern spins on classic hit cover songs. The venue is situated along the RCA, a popular nightlife road among young Thais and students, so the bar is ideal for those looking for a younger atmosphere. It may be worth checking out the Mello Yello Facebook page to see exactly what bands are playing, as I think they cover a wide range of live music genres.