A small trip out of Pattaya down Siam Country club road takes you to The Venue one of Pattaya’s premier Rock ’n’ Roll Pubs. The Night we went was a great Double Bill of Pop’s Pattaya All Stars (A Super Group of local Thai Musicians, The Crème de la Crème if you like) then in a Mid Set, we had the Band of Smiles which is Pop’s Pattaya All Stars with the addition of The Marriage made in Rock’n’Roll Heaven of Rick and Harpic Bryant.
Walking through the Door we were warmly welcomed by the Clubs Manageress Saruda Mokarat and were shown to a fine bunch of tables at the side of the Stage. With Pop already rockin’ away leading his All Stars through their paces. Warming up nicely they opened with a couple of Instrumentals until breaking into Gary Moore’s Still Got the Blues. This really set the mood. The ever vigilant Pop noticed one patron wearing a Vintage UFO T-Shirt so next up we got Doctor Doctor. Needless to say the UFO T-shirt was then leaping about all over the club. Ae the lead throat for Pop’s Pattaya All Stars is a real talent and can turn his hand to any form of music, but really excels on the out and out Rockers.
The Band kept on Rockin’ until it came time to change the bands Banner and become Band of Smiles. Opening with Nutbush City Limits which segued into The Riverboat Song they were up and flying. Harpic has developed into one of the finest Singers, a real joy to hear and watch. Husband Rick drives away at the Rhythm Guitar plus playing the odd solo when he can fit it in. But this gives the Band that extra powerful drive, allowing Pop to let rip on guitar. Rick’s presence also leaves space for the other Musicians on stage to shine as well. With Big T thrashing out the beat on the Drums, Au driving the Band along on Bass, Toto the Magician of the keyboards weaving his spells. What you are listening to is genuinely down and dirty Rock Music. The Band not only play brilliantly, but they put on a show too, with constant movement on stage and shapes being thrown at every opportunity. The Band of Smiles Set came to its conclusion with a raucous version of Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll with Harpic and Pop bringing the House down. The Crowd wanted more and finally got what they wanted with Harpic taking center stage for a solo version of Mercedes Benz (Shut your eyes for a second and you could be at the Royal Albert Hall listening to Janis Joplin).
By no means finished, this brought Pop’s Pattaya All Stars back on the stage. Not wishing to be up staged, they came out with a point to prove, which they accomplished in dramatic style. Tearing into the heavier end of their material with the likes of Uriah Heep, Motorhead and Golden Earring they literally had the audience in the palm of their hands. After several Rockers, things were brought to a conclusion by a simply stunning version of Comfortably Numb with Pop’s guitar solo at the end faultless. But still the crowd would not let them go, and we got some Chuck Berry to send us on our way.
‘The Venue’ is a great evening out and Pop’s Pattaya All Stars play Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday. You have to be a bit lucky to catch the whole of the Band of Smiles. So if your out that way and have a few Rock ’n’ Roll Bones in your body, head for The Venue……..you will not be disappointed.
Full Set List:
Pop’s Pattaya All Stars
Instrumental warm up
Still Got the Blues for You (Gary Moore)
Easy Living (Uriah Heep)
All Right Now (Free)
Mr. Crowley (Ozzy Osbourne)
Band of Smiles
Nutbush City Limits/The Riverboat Song (Ike and Tina Turner)Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey) Substitute (The Who)
One Way Or Another (Blondie)
Fortunate Son (Originally by Credence Clearwater Revival but this was definitely the Dead Daisies version)
Tush (ZZ Top)
Rock’n’Roll (Led Zeppelin)
Mercedes Benz (Janis Joplin)
Pop’s Pattaya All Stars
Radar Love (Golden Earring)
Gypsy (Uriah Heep)
Ace Of Spades (Motorhead)
Comfortable Numb (Pink Floyd
Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry)
Written by Hells Bells and Mott the Dog.