A heavy wooden door is held ajar, announcing a stairwell that’s poorly lit. It feels like I’m scaling the stairs at Ding Dong Lounge back in Melbourne. Rather, it’s House of Music in Thamel, Kathmandu. This is a live music venue and, just like Ding Dong, is dedicated to Nepal’s upcoming musos and underground artists. Luckily for this live music junkie, it’s across the road from my hotel.
House of Music hosts many bands. Tonight, it’s open night. The bar is lined with expats and locals alike, all sipping longnecks of Everest beer and bantering over the sounds coming from the open floor. Framed prints of music royalty, past and present, cover the walls like wallpaper and dim lights are dotted around the room.
The three members of The Boyz Next Door are seated where a stage could be and they’re sitting comfortably for a night of acoustic tracks. They’ve chosen a set-list of covers, emulating Adele and other pop heroes in between sipping half-drunk jugs of amber ale. These guys – two guitarists and a vocalist – are sensual in their approach and passionate in their vocals. The vocalist is wearing bells around his ankles and faint jingles can be heard as he beats out a rhythm from a wooden box he’s sitting on.
In some countries like Australia, some bands heavily segregate themselves from one other through image and genre. Here at House of Music, this band transcends Nepali bands’ love of and admiration for music no matter what the genre. There is open-mindedness here, a venue where artists wearing grungy jeans and flowing hair can belt out Adele to a mass of 30-something pub goers and punters and gain respect. No attitude and conformity can be found here.
When in Kathmandu, go and check out House of Music. Amrit Marg, Thamel, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal. Phone + (977) 985 105 0166.