In a very old alley in an ancient city, arching around other tiny ancient arterial ways, framed by wires and fuse boxes, dripping palms and bougainvillea stands the coolest club this side of the Mekong, the Hanoi Social Club. Damn it…let’s not quibble…it’s the coolest club the other side of the Mekong too.
The young people in Hanoi appear (like David Attenborough ogling breathlessly through a magnifying glass at a crested newt) to have closely studied the ways and mores, the habits and habitats and the dreams and aspirations of the hipsters of the West.
This city is crammed full of cool little joints with retro everything, black and white photos and bold primary coloured murals, mismatched lounge furniture, songbirds, soundtracks always low key and, you guessed it, cool…oh so very cool.
But the Hanoi Social Club takes the Vegan, Flour-Free, carob and chia seed cake. Delicious food styled to the western palate, outrageously good coffee
and an entirely hip little music scene all of its own. A tiny music scene, in fact, the world famous Tiny Music Club.
We wandered in there on a Tuesday night in Hanoi, little knowing what to expect, but this being Hanoi, (a city which has blown our socks off sideways so very often that wearing socks seems pointless) we wandered in, as we say, wide eyed and sockless.
Met a very nice medico from Chile called Jose who is surfing his way around the world and together we caught a wave up to the fourth floor where this was the scene upon which the wave broke.
Coming up through the foam and gripping our ice cold Hanoi lagers we looked on as the MC , Stanford from NYC, warmed us up with a few tunes and a bit of the rapping sort of thing. Nice fellow with a lovely delicate voice.
After Stanford, (a Chilean expat, Felipe Salas Sandoval, a remarkable performer, looping melodies and finger clicks, sublime riffs, click tracks and a soaring voice that started in the sub basement, took you by the hand, raced up the outside of the building to the penthouse, leapt off the balcony and soared into the stars.
Oh Hanoi you wanton hussy, you’ve done it again !