MacBeth’s Acoustic Night at The Balcony

posted by / News / June 4, 2008

“I don’t know if I’ve ever said this in my life,” says surfing’s biggest mouthpiece, Peter King, “but could somebody please turn my volume down.” Playing as a duo called The Ever After, King (formerly of the Machado/Slater band, The Surfers) is warming up the mic for a night of acoustic jams at Rizal Tanjung’s restaurant, Un’s, in the happening heart of downtown Kuta.

Everybody’s here, and it’s crowded (but in a good way, yeah). Pro surfers like Betet, Mike Losness, and Daniel Jones are mixing it up with Bali’s constant cadre of photogs, filmers and industry gurus. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Bali is the new North Shore. And the season is officially under way.

“There’s so many talented surfer/musicians passing through Bali these days,” say MacBeth’s Tim Russo, one of the event’s founders, “we just thought this was a great opportunity to play a few low-key acoustic shows up at Rizal’s restaurant. Who knows, maybe someday we can release an album of The Balcony Sessions — there’s already been some pretty magic moments.”

Did he say low key? Ummm, yeah. Maybe that was the last event. The Balcony is small. A nice little open-air ledge attached to Un’s Hotel in the churning guts of bustling Kuta. Great food. Friendly vibe. And there’s no doubt that just about every pro surfer and his caddie have sucked down a few of their famous frozen margaritas (the proof is all over the walls). So, when word got out the visiting surfer/musicians Timmy Curran, Jon {{{Swift}}} and Rob Machado would be joining in for the unannounced acoustic open mic night…well, who would miss that?

Not us. And not nobody else neither, seems like.

But hold on. Let’s not forget the local boys. Bali is home to a rising generation of talented artists, and we’re not just talking about the surfers. From the rockabilly jams of Jerinx (check out his band Superman is Dead sometime) to the Bali-Elvis goodtime rock-n-roll of Marcelo, a full crew of local musicians were on hand to fire up the mic.

As the visiting surfers began to trade in on the stage, the paparazzi pressed forward. Country soul Jon Swift struggled a bit against an unruly audience — Bali’s such a small community, people were feeling plenty social — but clearly his new material is meant for a lonely country road (or at least a good pair of headphones). “Should I commit a cardinal sin and play a really quiet song right now?” Jon asked at one point. Nobody answered. Jon sinned.

Then Rob Machado joined in and even he had to laugh at the overwhelming volume of the crowd’s enthusiastic socializing. Like, why did you all come here? Go to the club already?

OK, sorry to vent. Some of us wanted to actually hear the music. But you can’t blame everyone for having fun. And if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.


Tim Curran, Rob Machado & Jon Swift

But the crowd finally did quiet down and listen as Timmy Curran took the stage, soft-belting out a few of his classics and even trying out a new song or two. Jon and Rob joined Timmy on the stage and the evening finally began to come together in that magic-y sorta way, climaxing in a laugh-filled, good-timey rendition of Rob’s own “Nothing’s Happening” from the Shelter soundtrack (complete with an impromptu saxophone jam — hey, why not?).

Yeah, that’s what we came here for.

The micophones finally toppled over and the crowd spilled into the streets as a new crew of Bali rockers picked it back up and banged out some ragged Social D, some Bad Religion, a little Bowie… all was right in Kuta again.

Big thanks to Rizal Tanjung and MacBeth for hosting a rocking evening. And look out for future acoustic nights at The Balcony — or, actually, please don’t, just look for the forthcoming Best of the Balcony CD…dreaming its way towards iTunes.

The Indo season has finally, officially begun, and it sounds like music.

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