With a wealth of experience in Sri Lanka’s music scene, Tim Claessen, events manager for Ozo Hotel, brings international and local DJs and bands to entertain the crowds from sunset onwards at Ozo’s rooftop bar, ON 14.
Sharing the stage with DJ Yazz, the night I played was a Cuban-Latin themed night. And somehow, my country-rock-blues-reggae stylin’ (what I like to call, Roc-blu-gae-try) fitted into the spins he was decking.
I’ve played over 150 gigs over three continents and by far the sound at Ozo has been the best. And I’m not just saying that cause it made me sound like Jarred Letho hitting the high notes. I don’t know much about sound systems (I don’t even know where to plug in the guitar jack most of the time) but I do know when the system is amazing.
And what makes it better is the music that emits from it. Having arrived in the morning I was privy to listen to the collection put together by Tim, who DJ’s retro funk and disco on Friday nights on the rooftop (and happens to be my favourite music to dance to).
For the remainder of the day I was happy to just chill and enjoy the enigmatic chill-out session of a light funk-acid style to bring in the sunset as Yazz set up on the decks.
Employees of the US embassy was celebrating an occasion and a group of Aussies made up most of the crowd for the night along with a large table of Sri Lankans who were in the mood to party.
With cocktails being produced left-right-and-centre, the crowd was a buzz as January’s full moon rose up high. A light breeze tap-danced a rippling rhythm on the water of the infinity pool as the waves of the Indian Ocean below lapped at the beach, as though serenading like Romeo to Juliet, the roof-top people.
A place can be of the highest regard or a shit-hole in the middle of a slum. It doesn’t matter its location. It’s the music and the crowd that is drawn to it. Something that Tim and his team have achieved to the highest possible standard as I witnessed that Thursday eve.
ON 14 is open to all, meaning you don’t have to be a patron of the hotel. Next time you’re in Sri Lanka’s capital city, even if you’re sorted for accommodation, come to Ozo’s rooftop bar. It’ll be a night you’ll forever remember, if not for the scene, then most definitely for the music.