If one was to only to read the loony con right blogs and even some of the press about Indonesia then it may be logical for one to assume that Indonesia is a hotbed of Islamic Radicals and nutters. It is also virtually impossible for any rational person to suggest that the Government has is paying anything but lip service to the basic and fundamental rights to Indonesian minority religious and ethnic groups……BUT……
That said, as a music lover I doubt there is a country in the world with as a diverse, active and accessible music scene as Indonesia. I have just returned from a lengthy work related trip throughout Java (primarily Jakarta and Surabaya) and had once again more than enough choices to slate my diverse tastes in live music. One of the great things about Indonesia is there is no stigma on at what age one should be indulging in the live music arena. Indonesian music crowds are some of the friendliest and safest in the world (although crowd control and facility safety leaves at bit to be desired). Of course, your author is still young, vital and driven but hardly likely to be confused for a callow youth as they say, so the fact that one can still indulge in one’s passions live and sweaty is a bonus.
With very little effort, an oigal could be found indulging in Indonesian Jazz, sweet, dirty and one must say full-on sex laden rock, some traditional and not so traditional Dangdut. In venues ranging from five star to a place on the wharves of Surabaya aka an Indonesian rave. Refreshments ranged from over-priced, imported booze to places where an inordinate amount of water was consumed in a veil of very sweet scented fog.
If you really are interested in Indonesian Music then I suggest visit MADROTTER (http://madrotter-treasure-hunt.blogspot.com) for the technical details. If you just want to get into it and get down, dirty and sexy then just ask around. Generally very safe (although don’t take a fat wallet) and great fun. Try and avoid expatriate laden bars of Jalan Jaksa etc for advice unless you are looking for purely cover bands and flesh pits. At the risk of sounding arrogant, the generally speaking the worst people to ask about Indonesia are expatriates in the first instance.
Anyway have fun in this land of music…I do