Culture One @ Bangkok

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Text David Chin

There was something in the air that night, and no, it wasn’t just the questionable substances the farang were smoking. Culture One was a big hit with the budding scene in the city of smiles and we’re hearten to see our northern neighbour join the ranks of KL, Singapore and Jakarta when it comes to clubbing.

Touching down at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport, we knew as much about Bangkok’s club culture as we knew about astrophysics. Turns out the folks up north prefer their music live and rock rather than behind the decks, judging from the throbbing indie scene there. The irony is that our region’s first taste to dance music has roots in the infamous full-moon parties at Koh Phangan where backpacking revellers tripped out to psytrance. But since then, Thailand’s dance scene lulled while its local music took centre-stage. Today, Bangkok is slowly waking up to the restorative qualities of dance music with mushrooming clubs and the city’s own dedicated nightspot area, RCA.

So, the unprecedented success of Culture One, the country’s first outdoor dance music festival has spurred the local club scene-sters to hope for bigger and better things to come. While it would be unfair to draw comparisons to the 6-digit turnouts that grace the likes of Recharge Revelation and Zoukout, the 5-6 thousand-strong crowd was more than the organisers bargained for at a four-stage event. It was no surprise that the techno-heavy Amnesia, featuring Marco V, Brian Cross & Tony Varga, and trance-y Godskitchen, with John OO Fleming, AJ Gibson and Phangan favourite Sabaii Sabaii, were bursting at the seams while the more eclectic Main stage was a sprawling but sparse space. Of course, David Morales was the exception to the rule, superstar that he is, and the fact that he closed the night with a pulsating display of tight Balearic house mixes and a weepy farewell.

It was a joy to bear witness to a fresh and earnest event peopled by Thais and foreigners alike. The night sky was cloudless, the air cool and the grass manicured. Whether gyrating to the pulsating trance music or chilling out on the lawn with your bucket of Bacardi, Culture One will live on in our memories as our best Bangkok night without strippers, ever.

Culture One happened on 19 January at BITEC Bangna, Bangkok, baby. This report was published in the March 2008 issue of JUICE.

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