It was 9 pm. I was just getting off work from my one on one English lesson with Toan, a 22 year old Da Nang native with dreams to study in NYC. My good friend from back in the states was in town on a two week holiday. I get excited showing people around Da Nang. It was Wednesday evening, so I thought, “cool, we’ll head to Heaven, there’s live music every Wednesday.” Heaven is a cool place. It’s got that vibe that’s unique to Da Nang. You chill on bean bags and ratty couches, smoke your goods, and drink your Huda in a hella chill outdoor lot turned bar with a mix of local Vietnamese scene kids and the eclectic mix of expats.
I went straight from work and met John. As I rolled up on my purple Nouvo 5X I noticed a crowd significantly larger than any I’ve seen before at Heaven. The music was already kicking off. I dug the sound as I was parking the bike. Heaven was packed. The vibe was rad. The music was raw and real. Ska in very pure form. I’m no expert in this genre of music, but I could sense the authenticity immediately. I was into it. I shot back my first Huda, stood up, let lose, and joined the party. My timing was impeccable. As I stood they began playing my favorite song along this genre. That song was by a legendary English ska band The Specials, known as A Message to You Rudy. If you don’t know this song, I encourage you to Youtube it. Once again, I’m not a follower of Ska , but I do know a few gems. “Stop you’re messing around, better think of your future. This is my message to you , Rudy. ” This song perfectly exemplified the feeling on this random Vietnamese night.
I’ve never seen Heaven like this before. People were having a genuinely good time. Dance movings were popping that I never knew existed in Da Nang. The entire scene naturally brought a smile to your face. The band itself was an eight piece. That’s a huge band and a lot of sound for this small space. We were all up close and personal. A trombone, 2 saxs, a trumpet, keys, 2 guitars, bass, and a drummer made up the band that goes by the name Looney Tunes. The drummer appeared to be heart of the operation, but every other musician on stage carried their own and added to the sound. The rhythm guitarist was fire. She sang a few songs with a wonderful voice that wasn’t afraid to reveal its’ tough and raw attitude. I don’t know her name, but damn, I give her a ten out of ten.
You know the Toot’s and the Maytals? Pressure Drop? If not, Youtube that one too. They did an excellent high energy vibey cover of one of my favorite reggae songs. Needless to say, I’m an early fan of Looney Tunes. I don’t know the story behind this band. However, I do know they’re based in Da Nang. I do know that Da Nang has been missing a band like this. I do know that I’ll be attending another Looney Tunes gig very soon, and I do know I’m looking forward to it. Cheers!
Contributor: Cody Baldwin. Follow him on social media @codythyme