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Hanoi rocks with ShadyLanes at Sidewalk closing party

One of the capital’s newest bands talk about playing in the city

Stephanie Lilly

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ShadyLanes band, keeping it real

Hanoi- based band, ShadyLanes recently played at the closing down party of renowned expat hangout Sidewalk, a venue known for its many events, philosophy forums, drag shows and live music. At the end of the night Chào sat down with ShadyLanes (Rowan, Gabe, and Dan) to talk about their experience and perspective on the music scene in Hanoi.

How did ShadyLanes form?

Gabe: “ShadyLanes formed in the same way friends are made: you can’t really explain it. It just sort of happens. Put a bunch of musicians in a small area like Tay Ho and there’s bound to be noise made. In a more literal sense – it started with a simple question: ‘Looking for musicians: who wants to jam?’”

Do you find it difficult to get gigs in Hanoi?

Dan: “Since we started, the response has been really positive. We have been super lucky with booking gigs. Every show we play we seem to get booked for at least two more gigs as a result.”

Are the attendees of most shows foreigners or locals?

Dan: “Most of the shows we have played so far have been a mix; it can skew either way slightly more or less depending on the venue.”

What are your thoughts on the music scene in Hanoi? Is it quite big for original bands?

Rowan: “Hanoi certainly has a diverse and zealous music scene, while at the same time having a few niche and underground scenes. There is no shortage of musical talent and people spend a lot of time mastering their craft and showcasing this at various venues around the city. What I really enjoy about the scene in Hanoi is that the majority of the people going to watch shows seem to be genuinely passionate about music and are interested to watch the bands purely for the music. The energy is undeniable in this place and it is evident through the reciprocation you get – whether it’s playing at an open-mic night at an intimate venue or playing to a full house at a bigger venue.”

ShadyLanes rocking out

What were your thoughts on the Sidewalk closing party?

Rowan: “Sidewalk’s closing party was absolutely mental. The energy was out of this world and the crowd gave it horns! Huong (owner of Sidewalk) once again did a stellar job at putting this event together. It was fantastic to see such a great turnout for their closing event.”

What is it like working with a group of foreigners from different parts of the world?

Dan: “It’s great; we all bring something different to the table. All of us have been involved in our home country’s music scenes and played in different styles of bands. It’s made for quite a cool sound that spans rock, pop, reggae and funk. The banter is good too.”

ShadyLane Dan, with a fan

Do you think it is easier or more difficult to practice and perform in Hanoi versus your home country?

Dan: “It is so much easier here; the scene is awesome, there are heaps of practice spaces and venues and, most importantly, a great community of people that are in to live music and support it.” 

What do you think makes the music scene unique in Hanoi?

Gabe: “Hanoi itself is unique. Everybody who travels here will tell you this. It’s not only in the buildings or the people, but in the energy. There’s an essence of this unique energy in the music here too. Also, Hanoi is an expat hub – there are expats from all over the world living here. This means that most bands consist of members from different countries who bring their own unique styles. ShadyLanes for example has South Africans, an Australian and a New Zealander – all three of these countries differ in the style of music produced. But in Hanoi, all these styles are mashed together to form a new, mixed and unique style. My point being, Hanoi is unique, our situation in Hanoi is unique, therefore our music ultimately will be unique.”

ShadyLanes Facebook and Instagram: @shadylanes.band

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