My name is Sarah and I am new to Thailand. The culture, food, people, traffic have all been excitingly overwhelming, but I have loved exploring this unique city of Chiang Mai. I decided to check out some of the local music performances going on last night and was able to find the Chiang Mai local band Mild performing at Warm Up Cafe. I grabbed a friend and we headed out for the night.
We arrived at Warm Up Cafe and were in awe of the venue. This Café, as you all know, is not really a café, but a very large eclectic bar/restaurant/club. You first walk past the guards where you show them your ID, next to an open air smoking area decorated with a two life-sized, naked statues of a man and a woman next to a small stall selling cigarettes and another stall selling popcorn. Past the smoking area is the sit down restaurant where one could hear local musicians perform original works in Thai but also acoustic covers of Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus or Love Yourself by Justin Bieber. Beyond the candle lit tables is the club area where we could enjoy either more live rock ‘n’ roll style music or electronic DJ beats. In four hours, we listened to five bands and one DJ. There was always music and the Cafe was never dull.
As the night went on, more people started to arrive in anticipation of Mild and were getting anxious to meet them. At round 10:30pm, a staff member brought us over to the band’s table where we met Pae, the lead vocalist for the band, and together we made our way to the smoking area in the front area of the cafe.
Pae shared with us how the band was started, almost ten years ago. The group formed back in their high school days and started to play as a band, he confessed, as a way to “get girls.” They were also originally a house band for Warm Up Cafe and Pae said that performing here tonight felt like coming home. The pop band came to a turning point when they participated in the “Panasonic Star Challenge Music Competition” and won first place in the band category back in 2008. After this victory, they started to take this opportunity more seriously, practiced more, and eventually got more and more recognition for their music. They just got back from a concert in Japan, recently performed in Sydney, Australia, and will be having a new album coming out next year.
What impressed me most about this band was that all the original members are still performing together. No one split off or quit, they remain together. When I asked Pae how they managed this, his response was a simple, “Friendship first.” A feeling later adamantly agreed to by Khun the bassist, and Pae, the saxophonist with the confusingly same name.
The feeling of appreciation for one another and fans that adoringly asked for photos climaxed during their performance. As we stood listening to the band and surrounded by Mild fans in the club area, no one shoved or pushed to get closer to the band. The two already seemed like good friends as all sang the words with love and enthusiasm.
Mild will continue to perform across Northern Thailand over the next coming weeks. Their next performance is in Chiang Rai and I highly recommend that if you cannot make it to the concert, definitely find their music online.