November 26 2014

November 26, 2014

Special report… Special report…Special report… Special report… Special report… Special report …

Gili Trawangan the party island.

Greetings live music fans and welcome to this very tropical edition of Music Matters here in your local Bali Advertiser. This issue it was my birthday, and for better or worse I turned 30 so being the adventurous party animal I am, myself and a few good friends went on a party pilgrimage to the hedonist’s playground known as Gili T.

The Island is accessible by Helicopter by the super rich and by fast boat from Padang Bai for the rest of us mere mortals. Small and unassuming Gili T is literally paradise, palm trees white sandy beaches and plenty of bars offering various crazy drinks, competitions, tickets to the moon in terms of mushroom shakes, and of course some pretty decent bands and live music.

The party started way back in Kuta with a visit to Cow Bar a great place to listen to what ever music takes your fancy, the landlord is friendly and allows you to pick whatever music you want and play it on his computer. After a night out here and no sleep, at 7 am bleary eyed we boarded the shuttle which took us to the ferry terminal at Padang Bai. I have never left Bali and explored other areas of Indonesia before especially its islands so this was a true adventure.The first glimpse of Gili T confirmed my thoughts this place truly was a party Island as soon as we landed you could hear thumping techno through the trees and bars playing all sorts of compilation CD’s from the 80’s 90’s and today.I can honestly say in that first 5 minutes just stepping off onto the beach I heard a wider range of music than I hear in a month in Bali.

Upon finding our resort we hired a bike (which apart from horse and cart) truly is the only mode of transportation on the island. The island (which takes about an hour to completely cycle round) houses many secrets and dark mysteries. On the road we came across one such mystery a completely abandoned bar complete with a DJ booth and a full size stage, the venue was just sitting there empty, and after some inquiries I found out had been for 3 years! The reason was people believed the area to be cursed. The story goes that on the clubs opening night the place was packed and people were dancing enjoying themselves but about half way through the evening the DJ owner just keeled over and died, the autopsy showed his heart just stopped, for no reason! This was just the latest in a long line of Gili T folklore about this area, all along the road we found abandoned houses and businesses.

Right so back to business after a bit of a cycle we went to the appropriately named Sunset Bar and had a few drinks as the sun went down, the bar had a cool layout and was perfect for that laid back house music you expect on an island like Gili T. After this we found ourselves in what must be the smallest reggae bar in all the world, literally a hut on the side of the road made of driftwood, the guys in there were giving out mushroom shakes and herbal cigarettes and were as high as they come, they played mostly Bob Marley songs on a Jemb’e (a kind of makeshift drum) and worn guitar but were despite the obvious intoxication not half bad.

Anyway back to music, so we rode/ fell into town and came across a bar called Sama Sama but it really wasn’t as the name suggested. The band were exceptional, and the venue really looked after them by providing a massive stage, and a completely enclosed glass box area for the drummer much like Santa Fe in Bali. (Which I have talked about previously).

The band were really excellent and entertainers to the last man, playing with passion and entertaining the crowd, they played mainly rock covers, and did a blistering rendition of Guns and roses ‘Night Train.’ They were obviously trying to be different and shake the stigma that most bands have hereof playing the same songs every other band does. They really showed their talent by instead of opting for the usual they went the distance and chose something completely different but by the same band. On the second set they asked for ‘guest’ singers. What with it being my birthday I took to the stage and sung an Offspring classic ‘Gotta keep em separated’ it seemed to go down quite well and we continued our evening.

Gili T is pretty much like Bali in terms of the house music scene, what I mean by this is its everywhere, one night we wound up in a place called Blue Marlin which really had some excellent DJ’s and played not only house music, but had thumping techno to boot. The Blue Marlin had an excellent vibe, and the DJ really knew what he was doing. I was on the dance floor soaking wet, partly sweat but mostly water as I had just had to dive into a swimming pool to retrieve a pushbike (long story that should be told in the pub). The Marlin was a great place to party, but to be honest with the music scene in Gili T as good as it is anywhere is great for that on this party island paradise.

Other bars I enjoyed and would recommend were Rudi’s which had a massive stage and dance area, and Trawangan bar which has excellent DJ sets and trays of 10 (slightly watered down)vodka red bull for 140,000 RP! All I can say about Gili T is go! The place really had an excellent and very eclectic selection of live music and definitely lives up to its reputation.

If you enjoyed this article or have any questions, concerns, or if indeed you are the illusive Chris Curtis please don’t hesitate to drop me a line, here to the Bali Advertiser, or alternatively to my direct email address

Copyright © 2014 Tobias J Brown
You can read all past articles of Music Matters at