Myanmar Consolidated Media
Education feature story
60th Anniversary of Indonesia~Myanmar

Punk bands adopt DIY approach to gigs

By Nuam Bawi
February 21 - 27, 2011

Darko, vocalist and guitarist for punk band Side Effect, plays at a concert on February 12 at Club 369 in downtown Yangon. Concert organisers often focus on big bands, forcing the smaller ones to organise their own shows.

SEVEN years ago punk band Side Effect switched on their amps and picked up their guitars for the first time. But the road to fame is tough, especially in Yangon, where even securing gigs is a major hurdle.

“Although we put the band together and started creating music in 2004, we’ve barely had the chance to perform at big concerts. We normally only get the chance to perform twice a year,” said vocalist and guitarist Darko.

To solve this problem, the band has resorted to organising its own gigs, the most recent of which was held on February 12 at Club 369 in downtown Yangon.

“Our band hasn’t had many offers to perform at concerts, perhaps organisers don’t like our music. So we started thinking about ways to show-off our music to people and came up with the idea of holding smaller events,” said the 28-year-old.

“It’s also a good way to figure out what kind of response we’ll get from the audience and we can see our real fans too,” he added.

Also on the billing for the 369 gig were punk supremos Big Bag.

“It doesn’t matter whether the event is big or small, what’s important is the quality,” said Han Htoo Lwin, otherwise known as Kyar Pauk, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the Big Bag.

Although the band is more accustomed to playing large gigs at Kandawgyi Park and Mya Yeik Nyo, Han Htoo Lwin says that smaller gigs offer musicians a greater freedom to experiment.

“It’s only as part of this kind of event that what we can do whatever we want. At our gigs we can’t do that because we’ve taken money from the audience whether directly or indirectly, so we have more of a responsibility to give back our best,” he said.