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The Leng Pleng Gig Guide comes out on a Thursday or Friday of every week

Gig Guide - Week Starting Thursday the 28th of March, 2013


This week the Kingdom of Wonder welcomes the crazy professionalism of international act Dr. Eggs. The tour is in support of a new album called T.I.N.N.S. This album came out 7 years after the band's first album called Peep Show, but the basic elements of the Dr. Eggs experience are still there – angular synths, driving bass, aggro guitar and complex rhythms all topped by infectious melodies, slick raps and highly personal lyrics.

The band is starting its tour in Cambodia. They play their first gig on Friday at Equinox and play Sharkys on Saturday night. After that they move to Siem Reap where they will play at the X-Bar After Cambodia the band will move on to also play in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, the USA and more.

Joul Jacquin has been the the creative force behind Dr. Eggs for the past 15 years. He has delivered hundreds of high energy performances to charged up audiences across Europe, Asia and the USA. Leng Pleng was fortunate to catch Joul for an interview over this past week. Below you can see the interview and some totally great videos from the band.

From what I read, the band originated in France but now emanates from Hong Kong. Can you confirm this and also tell me what is the short summary of the band's history.
Yes, we originated 8 years ago at the time of our first album. We have been touring like hell since then with all the original members. We started pretty young, at high school. Last year we probably played about 180 shows. The rest of the band wanted to stop playing at that point  - except for me of course. As I am writing most of the music, I thought it was OK to continue in my side. I went to Hong Kong for a vacation and I never came back. Now I play Dr. Eggs with some good friends. Most of the time it is the same group of people.

The bio says that the current tour will cover Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Singapore, and the USA. Can you tell us where the tour has taken you so far and how has it been going?
Cambodia is the first “outside” gig of the year for DR.EGGS. Last year we toured Japan, Taiwan, the USA and France (with the original line up actually – a one time reunion after 8 years!). We are talking now about Singapore, Nepal, China (of course), hopefully Russia and then back to France.
There's always a certain amount of humour in everything you do and you cover a lot of the musical landscape from electronic to punk to rock to rap to reggae and more I expect. The band also seems to have a relatively fluid line-up. What can the Cambodian audience expect for the forthcoming gigs?
We are putting up a show with different artists on DR.EGGS. For this line up we have Simon from Sushi Robot. He is usually an Electro-DJ and plays bass for different hardcore bands in Hong Kong . He will spline some of his tunes in the DR.EGGS sets that we........

This week Durian will move their funkadellic ensemble to the FCC PHnom penh rooftop - cool. Also this week look for Tango & Snatch at the Show Box on Friday night, Brett Creswell & James at The Village on Saturday night and Scott Alan Knost at Molly Malones in Siem Reap early next week. Also, RingTail start a new series of gigs at the Dim Sum Emperors - right near Phsar Thmei - on Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoon RJ Marshall and Ziad Samman will playing a Sunday Sundowner Session at The Blitz Bar because Rubies are hosting a private function. This is all in addition to a great series of igs at both MetaHouse and The Village.

Tomorrow look for a special edition Leng Pleng article that we will post written by DJ Sequence entitled The Underground Club scene in Phnom Penh. Totally cool!

From Ted and I here in the back streets of Phnom Penh, have a great weekend, be cool with each other and see you around the traps. Here's this week's gig guide.

Latest Gigs
Thursday  28-Mar-2013
  • 7:30 PM ~ No Forever at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Flo Trallala AND Greg Lavander at MetaHouse
Friday  29-Mar-2013
  • 5:00 PM ~ Cambodia Cuisine Festival at Olympic Stadium
  • 7:00 PM ~ Tango & Snatch at The Show Box
  • 8:30 PM ~ The Sonhador AND Bossa Nova at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Andy Freak at MetaHouse
  • 9:00 PM ~ Dr. Eggs * at Equinox
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Fumes at Paddy Rice
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ AshleyBaby at The RiverHouse Lounge
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Lazy Drunks AND Scott Bywater at Sharkys
  • 10:00 PM ~ DJ Gang AND DJ Rob Little at Pontoon
Saturday  30-Mar-2013
  • 6:00 PM ~ Sistar AND Tahiti at Koh Pich
  • 8:00 PM ~ Brett Creswell AND James at The Village
  • 8:30 PM ~ Durian Funk Band at The FCC Phnom Penh
  • 9:00 PM ~ Tiny Toones at Equinox
  • 9:00 PM ~ Tango & Snatch AND Dr. Eggs * at Sharkys
  • 9:00 PM ~ Dr. Wah Wah, Warren Daly, Shine On AND Dina Chhan at MetaHouse
  • 10:00 PM ~ DJ Illest at Pontoon
Sunday  31-Mar-2013
  • 6:00 PM ~ RJ Marshall AND Ziad Samman at The Blitz Bar
Monday  1-Apr-2013
  • 7:30 PM ~ RNA + Friends at The Village
  • 8:00 PM ~ Carrousel at MetaHouse
  • 9:00 PM ~ Scott Allan Knost * at Molly Malones in Siem Reap
  • 9:00 PM ~ Dr. Eggs * at The X-Bar in Siem Reap
Tuesday  2-Apr-2013
  • 8:00 PM ~ Scott Allan Knost * at Molly Malones in Siem Reap
Wednesday  3-Apr-2013
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Rhiannon Johnson Quartet at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ Ringtail at The Cavern
Coming Up
  • Kheltica at The FCC Phnom Penh, Le Jardin 
  • Kin at The FCC Phnom Penh, The Doors 
  • Steve Sax at The FCC Phnom Penh
  • DJ Jimmy Salsa at The FCC Phnom Penh
  • Na Zdrovoie at Equinox\
  • Holiday In Cambodia at Equinox
  • Jaworski 7 at Equinox, Sharkys
  • Durian Funk Band at Equinox
  • Lewis Pragasam at The Village
  • DJ Star, Meas Soksophear and DJ B-Boy Peanut at Tabu Club

Gig Guide - Week Starting Thursday the 21st of March, 2013


Another totally huge guide of smokin' gigs. Firstly I'd like to zoom through some of the special-slash-unique gigs on in this week's guide and then I will fill you in on a few pieces of news from the local scene. I haven't done this the past few weeks due to the appearance of articles from guest writers.

No less than 32 gigs on this week, starting with five quality gigs on tonight (Thursday). If you are in the vicinity of Street 360 then you will be able to catch three gigs from neighbouring venues - Scott Bywater at the Baitong Bar & Restaurant, the Rhiannon Johnson Quartet at the Village and Diego Dimarques at Le Jardin. Cool! Near Wat Phnom you will be able to enjoy a great Brazillian selection from Phil & Ritchy and Toma Willen. Also very cool!

Friday sees a selection of at least 10 gigs. The totally special Klezbodians will be extolling the wonderful virtues of Yiddish dance music at the Opera Cafe. This is a really cool new venue near the corner of Streets 13 and 178 - diametrically opposite the National Museum. Should be a great gig with a totally danceable atmosphere. A brand new ensemble takes to the stage at Paddy Rice on this same night. It is a band called RNA & Friends and will feature the beautiful Princess Soma Norodom as the MC for the night. Cool! That same night make sure to catch English acoustic-guitar singer/songwriter Joe Wrigley at the Memphis Pub. Smokin'!

The last time the Cambodian Space Project played Equinox there was an unavoidable power outage. That gig was really starting to pounce and bounce just as the lights went out, so the fact that the band is playing there again this Friday night should see the place absolutely packed - especially since this os one of the last time the band will be playing in Cambodia for quite a while. The band will be heading off to Australia for some touring and recording next week.

This weeks special write-up by DJ Sequence about the local underground DJ scene has been moved to next week but that should not distract you from the fact that the performer will bounce the airwaves off the walls of MetaHouse together with DJ Tonle Dub and DJ Kaotek on Friday. The write-up last week from Dave of Sharkys gave you a good idea of what the music scene is like from the Sharky stage. This week the venue features two bands - Two Shots & a Chaser play a great set of rock-a-billy and rock classics on Friday night and is billed as "The loudest acoustic guitars in CAmbodia... Its Martin Vs Hagstrom in a fight to the deaf!". On Saturday night he classic contemporary rock covers from the Lazy Drunks will fill the huge Sharky venue.

Saturday during the day sees two special gigs. The first is at 10:00AM and is a performance by Bloco Malagasy - an all female drum troupe from Madagascar. Some of you may have seen them play last weekend. They are on a tour of Cambodia and are playing at various venues around the country - including two gigs in Sihanoukville. On Saturday afternoon there is a very special day organized by Mith Samlanh. It is an afternoon of acoustic music and features a great variety some of the countries top live music performers. Later that same day you will be able to catch Dub Addiction as they make their performing debut at the FCC Phnom Penh. Definitely a gig with a difference for this venue and with a roof top bar and a huge dance area and with the approaching hot season - this could be a totally happening gig. Another gig to look for on Saturday is the Khmer metal-rock ensemble which is AntiFate. They will play at the ShowBox and are a totally well rehearsed and professional Cambodian band with a great selection of heavier and not so heavy original rock tunes and covers.

Music fans in around the country should get ready for a series of gigs emanating from Siem Reap. The burgeoning music scene in Siem Reap is producing a growing number of happening venues and totally smokin' bands. Three of the bands are looking at making a tour of the major urban centres around the country in the near future. This includes a new Khmer 60s rock - western-fusion band called At Panha, a Russian Ska band named Na Zdorovie and band playing contemporary rock covers known as The Siemreapers. This is so super cool I just cannot think of good enough superlatives. Here is a taste of the Russian Ska band.

The tunes from Jerby Santos and the guys from Jaworski 7 can sometimes be heard floating across the Tonle Sap to Phnom Penh central from the Chroy Changva peninsular. Here is a sample of what you might hear.

Also next week DJ Mark Coles will broadcast the premiere of 2 new songs from Krom along with an interview with Krom composer and guitarist Christopher Minko. The songs are “She’s Seven Years Old” and “The Wire” and can be hooked into digitally through www.mixcloud.com. Cool.

Also next week look for the totally outrageous and happening international band emanating from France via Hong Kong - Dr. Eggs. We will be featuring an interview with the bands creative force - the amicable and implacable Joul Jacquin. Super cool!

From Ted and I here in the back streets of Phnom Penh, have a great weekend, be cool with each other and see you around the traps. Here's this week's gig guide.
Latest Gigs

Thursday 21-Mar-2013
  • 6:00 PM ~ Diego Dimarques at Le Jardin
  • 7:30 PM ~ Scott Bywater at The Baitong Restaurant & Bar
  • 8:30 PM ~ The Rhiannon Johnson Quartet at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ Ritchy & Phil and Toma Willen at The Doors
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Khmootsy at MetaHouse
Friday 22-Mar-2013
  • 6:30 PM ~ French-German Caberet at The Institut Francais du Cambodge
  • 7:00 PM ~ Lee Bong Gyo *, Bruno Schell, Celine Bacque, David Lim and Eric Ellul at The Java Cafe & Gallery
  • 9:00 PM ~ Ritchy & Phil at The Bouchon Bar
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Cambodian Space Project at Equinox
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Klezbodians at The Opera Cafe
  • 9:00 PM ~ RNA + Friends at Paddy Rice
  • 9:00 PM ~ Two Shots and a Chaser at Sharkys
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Tonle Dub, DJ Sequence and DJ Kaotek at MetaHouse
  • 10:00 PM ~ Joe Wrigley at The Memphis Pub
Saturday 23-Mar-2013
  • 10:00 AM ~ Bloco Malagasy * at The Institut Francais du Cambodge
  • 2:00 PM ~ The Fumes, Kheltica, Pou Klaing, Diego Dimarques, Euan Gray, Kok Thlok, Bloco Malagasy *, Nen Tum The and Mayors of Simpleton at The Mith Samlanh Center
  • 8:30 PM ~ Dub Addiction at The FCC Phnom Penh
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Lazy Drunks at Sharkys
  • 9:00 PM ~ Bunni at MetaHouse
  • 9:00 PM ~ Dr. Wah Wah, Warren Daly, Shine On and Dina Chhan at MetaHouse
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Anti-Fate at The Show Box
  • 9:00 PM ~ RJ Marshall and Joe Wrigley at Equinox
  • 10:00 PM ~ The Cambodian Space Project at La Croisette
Sunday 24-Mar-2013
  • 9:00 PM ~ Vialka and Cédric Carles at MetaHouse
Monday 25-Mar-2013
  • 6:30 PM ~ Bloco Malagasy * at M�Lop Tapang in Sihanouk Ville
Tuesday 26-Mar-2013
  • 5:30 PM ~ Ritchy & Phil, Toma Willen and Seb Adnot at Dim Sum Emperors
  • 6:30 PM ~ Bloco Malagasy * at Otres Beach in Sihanouk Ville
  • 7:30 PM ~ Thunder & ST-Town at The Village
  • 8:00 PM ~ At Robiep, Bloco Malagasy *, DJ Degun and Rock & All at At Bhor in Sihanouk Ville
Wednesday 27-Mar-2013
  • 8:30 PM ~ Amanda Bloom at The Village
Coming Up
  • Dr. Eggs * at Equinox , The X-Bar in Siem Reap 
  • Durian Funk Band at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Scott Allan Knost * at Molly Malones in Siem Reap , Molly Malones in Siem Reap 
  • Kheltica at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Tango & Snatch and Dr. Eggs * at Sharkys 
  • Sistar and Tahiti at Koh Pich 
  • Kin at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Steve Sax at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • DJ Jimmy Salsa at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Lady and the Tramp at The Village 
  • Brett Creswell and James at The Village 
  • Na Zdrovoie at Equinox 
  • Tiny Toones and Tiny Toones at Equinox , Equinox 
  • Dr. Wah Wah, Warren Daly, Shine On and Dina Chhan at MetaHouse 

Gig Guide - Starting Thursday the 14th of March, 2013

This weeks gig-guide wrap has been written by the unapologeticly Punk manager of one of Phnom Penh's best known rock & roll venue's - Dave Punk from Sharkys.

Rock & Roll Cambodia - A Brief History of the Evolution of Expat Rock & Roll Music in Cambodia

By Dave Punk, Music Manager, Sharky Bar

Sharky Bar opened its doors way back in 1995 and was labeled one of Indo-China's biggest rock & roll bars and the first expat rock bar in Cambodia. Eighteen years on and Sharkys still leads the way as the rock music pioneers, and of all things rock & roll in Cambodia. That this successful idea of providing regular live music to the expat populace has since been copied in many bars and clubs in and around the Phnom Penh area, is testimony to the foresight of its larger than life owner Big Mike.   

Ex-Hells Angel, ex-bartender and Assistant Music Manager of the legendary CBGB's and  the glamorous Max’s Kansas City in New York City, and nowadays long time principal owner of Sharky Bar, Big Mike is big. Big in real life and also in his future musical vision for Phnom Penh.

Early Days – First Wave of Bands (was there a first wave?)

"In the early days of the 1990’s, there were hardly any bands to book." says Mike. "There were the occasional Filipino bands which would come to Cambodia looking for work at the larger hotels or which were booked for a major party event. It was tough times if any foreign bands wanted to make any money, for sure. Slowly but surely, around the year 2000, foreigners started coming to teach English. They were musicians at home and would come to Sharkys to listen to classic, alternative, and heavy rock music on the Video DJ. They would then get together, get drunk and begin to form bands so they could jam together."

“One band that I hired to play for a weekend came from Bangkok in the year 2000. The band comprised of three Russians and one Thai musician – all the Russians on lead guitar, bass, and rhythm guitar and the Thai on drums.  Their English was so terrible that they had to hire a translator to accompany them. They could say 'How much?', 'No.', 'Yes.', 'Thanks.' and 'I am thirsty'. Their music repertoire consisted of exactly 100 cover rock classics. Strangely enough, when they played, they were able to sing 'Proud Mary' EXACTLY in the same southern drawl as John and Tom Fogarty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Likewise with 'Satisfaction' they would sing it in the accent of old Liverpool English. As soon as they got off stage, they reverted back to saying 'Da' and 'Nyet'...and that was it !! Crazy stuff to see. It was enough to drive you to drink !!”

"We were limited as to which bands could play. Even if they could play just a little  we would still book them. Man, some of those early acts were quite appalling. We were so starved for music that we hired them anyway and helped to coach them over their many rough and off beat cadences, harmonies, tones, and chords!  “
Second  Wave  

Mike continues, “After the first wave of Russian and Filipino rock bands came wave two - the French bands. They were led by Bob Passion and Jean-Philippe Petesch and his Khmer wife, Nalen.  J.P. formed the School of Rock to teach local Khmer and French kids how to play rock music.  Since we had such a hard time in getting foreign rock bands to play in Cambodia, we felt that we would form a partnership with the School of Rock to provide a venue for the rock school students to play live. Some of the bands created then were J.P. and the Nurses, Thom Thom, Bob P. and the Cockroaches. We then had a small stable of rock bands that we were able to draw upon for our customers.  The School of Rock introduced brass instruments to their rock bands and the rock music became elevated to a higher level. The customers at Sharkys loved what they heard.”

Then along came the Mekong Pirates who consisted of anywhere from 8 to 15 expat French teachers with a common passion for rock music. They were definitely a party band and introduced a big sound to the Cambodian bars.”

Third Wave

“Slowly came the third wave of rock bands as the buzz started going around Asia that Phnom Penh was getting to be a new hotbed of rock & roll music - just fertile enough to be interesting as long as you didn’t need to make the BIG BUCKS !! Bum ‘N Draze a punk band from Finland, The Hellhounds (local Australian and U.S. expats), Route 66 (local U.S. expats), the Curtis King Band (U.S./Vietnam), the Stiff Little Punks (British expats – with Dave Punk and Ian R Anderson as the founders of this group) – all pioneers in wave three.”

PENHSTOCK (aka the Woodstock of Cambodia) is the turning point of the Rock Music Scene  

However, if you ask Big Mike when or what was the turning point for this thriving new Phnom Penh music scene - unashamedly he will state “Penhstock”. His brainchild of course!  

 "We started with six bands over a 3 day weekend in 2009. With a lot of ingenuity and creativity we were able to splinter these 6 bands to create 9 different rock sounds and therefore 9 different bands. We then called it Penhstock - which is based upon Woodstock's legendary musical festival of 1969 in New York. We wanted to showcase the very best in local musical talent. We tried like hell to get more talent in but there was none to be had. Three bands in one night was practically unheard of as recently as 2009 believe it or not.”. Big Mike is also a veteran of the legendary Woodstock Festival as a fan.  

"We opened with the Finnish heavy rock merchants Bum N Draze. They smashed up a couple of TV sets with baseball bats - and then played a manic version of Black Sabbath's Paranoid with Iommi's signature guitar lick played on trumpet!"  

"J.P. & The Nurses followed, as did Phnom Penh's very own original French Punk rocker legend Bob Passion."  

"The Stiff Little Punks made their debut, fronted by the enigmatic Ian Rowlett Anderson on vocals singing a mixture of classic English and U.S. punk rock. Dave Punk (Sharky’s current Music Manager) was on guitar, but they had no bass or drummer. Instead they used a drum machine with just two speeds - fast and extra fast! The musicians in the audience were appalled. The rest of us thoroughly entertained!"

"Then Jimmy Baeck, Ken White, Steve Goodman, Scott Bywater and Dan Ögren  formed The Hellhounds, and Smoking' Kenny Smith's Lost Highway (formerly Route 66) completed the line-up.  I truly believe that Penhstock was the early catalyst seed that helped spread the buzz around Asia and helped set the musical ball rolling in Phnom Penh.”  

Penhstock is now a three-day annual music festival and last year’s Penhstock III featured over thirty bands from around the Asian region. Quite a turnaround considering its humble beginnings.

Slow Evolution 

From the near disaster of Leonard Cohen's booking to the more successful Ronan Keating concert at the Olympic Stadium as well as last year's Dengue Fever concert at Koh Pich to the highly successful and wildly popular Cambodian Space Project playing at various local clubs and festivals around the world. International Artists like these, along with  … And You Will Know Us The By The Trail Of Dead, Niki Buzz and the Midnight Gypsies and Didier Wampas and Bangkok Jam are just a few that have recently plied the musical boards of Sharkys' flourishing music scene.

Big Mike adds "If you had said to me 18 years ago that the likes of Matthias Wagner (The Phnom Penh Hippie Orchestra), Jonas Hastings and Kristen Rassmussen (Little Duke and the Mekong Blues Messengers), Chris Kebeck and Smokin' Kenny Smith (Sugar Daddy), Conrad Keeley (Trail Of Dead) and the GTS Jazz Club would be playing in and around Phnom Penh on a regular basis then you could have knocked me over with a mortar round! It goes without saying that all of these are musicians wouldn't be out of place playing any bar or club in the world – that is they are world class."

Some more expat rock bands that have recently made a name for themselves at Sharkys – a few of them have gone, unfortunately, but here are the more noteworthy ones:  

The Lazy Drunks, the Electric Yard Dogs (Vietnam), Cartoon Emo (disbanded), the Ukes of Hazard (re-formed), the Kampot Playboys, the Kampot Peppers, the Teaner Terners (disbanded), Splitter (re-forming), The Fumes, Tango & Snatch, Two Shots and a Chaser, Jaworski 7, Oscar’s Band, Shambolic 69, the Happy Lucky Love You Long Time Band (ex-Phnom Penh resident Davis Zunk), Soren Borch and Dudley Do-Rights, Martin and The Choppers, Squishy, the Herding Cats are just to mention a few of the more prominent ones that have played at Sharkys.

Also noteworthy are the number of tribute bands which have sprung up: Rock & Roll High School Ramones, Muscle of Love (Alice Cooper), Stoned Again (Rolling Stones), Station to Station (David Bowie).

The Cambodian Head Bangers Society gained popularity among younger expat and Khmer rockers with bands such as Sliten6IX and Anti-Fate leading the way. Other notables bands have disbanded or disappeared and include Pilgrim, Astranova, Animation, and Cartoon Emo.

Rise of the Expat Music Venue

It’s stunning that so many local expat bars and restaurants now offer live rock music in an ever increasing competitive environment. This means a newly found freedom for the formerly struggling local rock bands. They now have a choice on where to play their guitar licks, and to blow their horns, and bang their percussion. To sum it up, Big Mike is committed, like many other pub and club owners in this city in promoting all types of music for the benefit of everyone in the music loving community.

The last word goes to the big man himself. "All of this excellent music in town. Who’d have thought all of this possible in 1995 when mortar rounds, machine guns, arms dealers, mercenaries, and NATO soldiers were raining all over Phnom Penh ? Think of Apocalypse Now with the Rolling Stones music in the background ! Everything to me looks very musically rosy now ……for sure… . Rock & Roll Cambodia. What more could you possibly want?"

Latest Gigs

Thursday 14-Mar-2013
  • 7:30 PM ~ Scott Bywater at The Baitong Restaurant & Bar
  • 7:30 PM ~ Adda Angel and Ono at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ Ritchy & Phil at The Doors
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Sam Day and VJ SHifty at MetaHouse
Friday 15-Mar-2013
  • 8:00 PM ~ Fraser Jackson and Monique de Margerie at MetaHouse
  • 8:30 PM ~ Lady and the Tramp at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Grass Snake Union at Equinox
  • 9:00 PM ~ Jaworski 7, Varaman, Sangvar Day and Transformer at Sharkys
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Tenisons at Nova
  • 9:00 PM ~ VJ Sckouty, DJ Tonle Dub and Amplifire at MetaHouse
  • 10:00 PM ~ DJ Gang and DJ Rob Little at Pontoon
Saturday 16-Mar-2013
  • 5:30 PM ~ Batucada Bloco Malagasy * at Le Jardin
  • 8:30 PM ~ Luna Negra at The FCC Phnom Penh
  • 9:00 PM ~ Kok Thlok and Damage at Equinox
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Kampot Peppers at Sharkys
  • 10:00 PM ~ Tango & Snatch at The Memphis Pub
  • 10:00 PM ~ DJ Blue at Pontoon
  • 1:00 AM ~ Akil the MC *, DJ Illest, Hydrophonics, and DJ Tech 12 at Pontoon
Sunday 17-Mar-2013
  • 4:00 PM ~ The Lazy Drunks and Kheltica at Paddy Rice
  • 4:30 PM ~ RJ Marshall, Ziad Samman, Kate Liana, and Sophie Rose Lewis at Rubies Wine Bar
  • 6:00 PM ~ Batucada Bloco Malagasy * at MetaHouse
  • 7:00 PM ~ The Kampot Playboys at The Blissful Guesthouse in Kampot
Monday 18-Mar-2013
  • 8:00 PM ~ Gordon Webster *, Euan Gray, Sebastien Adnot, Greg Lavander and Kae "Sylvie" Lhassan at The Village
Coming Up
  • Dr. Eggs * at Equinox 
  • Dub Addiction at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Durian Funk Band at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Scott Allan Knost * at Molly Malones in Siem Reap 
  • The Cambodian Space Project at Equinox 
  • The Fumes, Kheltica, Pou Klaing, Diego "El Gipsy" Dimarqués, Euan Gray, Kok Thlok, Batucada Bloco Malagasy * , Nen Tum and The Mayors of Simpleton at The Mith Samlanh Center 
  • RNA + Friends at Paddy Rice 
  • Ringtail and Ringtail at The Cavern , The Cavern 
  • Kheltica at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Joe Wrigley * at The Memphis Pub 
  • The Anti-Fate at The Show Box 
  • Rhiannon Johnson, Barry Speirs, Greg Lavander and Stephane Routier at The Village 
  • Two Shots and a Chaser at Sharkys 
  • Tango & Snatch and Dr. Eggs * at Sharkys 
  • RJ Marshall and Joe Wrigley * at Equinox 
  • Tiny Toones at Equinox 
  • Dr. Wah Wah, Warren Daly, Shine On and Dina Chhan at MetaHouse , MetaHouse 
  • DJ Tonle Dub, DJ Sequence and DJ Kaotek at MetaHouse 

Gig Guide - Week starting Thursday the 7th of March, 2013

This weeks gig-guide wrap has been written by one of Phnom Penh's best known and appreciated musicians - the lead singer and guitarist of the Grass Snake Union - TJ Brown.

Soon after I made the decision to move to Phnom Penh in March of 2010, I typed the words "music Phnom Penh" into a search engine. LengPleng.com was one of the top results along with a video of Cambodian Space Project singing on a boat:

(I actually just recreated that first online search…Leng Pleng…still top of the list!). I checked out Leng Pleng and it highlighted some of the gigs happening around that time (there was not that much at that time) and linked to some of the musicians in town. It was a cool little site that was obviously run by music lovers. There was absolutely no way I would have been able to predict how everything unfolded from that point on. Let's just say it was an extremely pleasant surprise. Now I’m in the waning weeks of my time in Phnom Penh and am filled with gratitude for the experiences I have had as a whole, since this is Leng Pleng, I shall focus on the music.

What follows is a highlight reel, of sorts, from my own perspective and flavored by my own tastes of course. Frankly, this is a letter of gratitude to the local and expat music scene in Cambodia. It goes out to the musicians, the venue managers/owners, and the supporters of live music. Seriously, it was an amazing journey and I shall miss this amazing community as it continues to flourish and grow. I will continue to receive and read the weekly gig guide from Leng Pleng and be able pop in on some gigs via Equinox’s and Chris Rompre’s (Durian) Ustream channel.

May 2010 - Within the first two weeks upon my arrival I met Karin Schelzig of The Fumes. The band had a gig coming up and they invited me to open for them at Paddy Rice. I played a 20 minute set on my acoustic guitar and that was that - my first gig in Phnom Penh. After my short set The Fumes put on a highly energetic show complete with mosh pit and broken beer mugs. It was clear that I was going to like this place.

I was asked to return to Paddy Rice for a solo gig the following Sunday. I went from a 20 minute set to 2 hours. I frankly didn't have the chops to carry-on for 2 hours but there were a couple note-worthy encounters during this evening. This included meeting the talented bassist Dan Ögren (who was ranting about the crap sound) and Amanda Bloom - who was on holiday at the time and would become another fixture on the live music scene in Phnom Penh within the year.

My first few months in Phnom Penh contained some amazing shows to behold. The Fete de la Musique party in June of 2010 was hands down a highlight. That was my introduction to Equinox. The owner of Equinox, Marco Salvetti, had convinced a visiting Parisian band called Java to play an after hours set at the venue. Oh my word! It. Was. A-may-zing! The crowd was nuts, the room was hot and sweaty and it made clear that the thirst for live music in Phnom Penh was strong.

In July of 2010, I had the pleasure of meeting and sharing the stage with Scott Bywater. It was during in an opening role in which I was involved with Expresso Thmei - the acoustic duo of Scott and Channthy from the Cambodian Space Project. If you have never seen Expresso Thmei then I urge you to catch them next time they play. I love the stripped down acoustic songs of the 60’s Cambodian rock. That same evening I met drummer Greg Lavender (our paths would cross again) of Los Poporks. The night ended in an energetic and large jam late into the night – well, at least until the noise complaints shut it down. Noise complaints were a regular occurrence circa 2010.

As October rolled around I hopped on a bus to spend the day listening and dancing to the Cambodian Space Project playing at the village of the band's drummer - Bong Sak. There I met the humble man behind Leng Pleng and accomplished harmonica player, Ken White, space captain Julien Poulson and bassist and all around nice guy, Gildas Maronneaud. Also on the bus were Professor Kinski (electronic and dub master) and Johannes Kast (a huge supporter of the arts). It was such a fun day, and looking back I made some really amazing friends. Hundreds of people from the nearby surroundings came out and danced to the sounds of the 60’s - just an outright fun party.

On the bus ride back from Bong Sak’s village Julien told me about an acoustic open mic he was going to host at the now defunct Setsara restaurant. For several months Setsara was a place where enduring musical connections were made. One of the early open mics I got to hear Ken White sing in Khmer (the tuk-tuk drivers were going nuts) and met super amazing female rocker Melanie Brew (Tango & Snatch, Squishy). I also met the gregarious founder of Cambodian Living Arts, Arn Chourn-Pond and his amazing companions; the beautiful vocalist Seyma Waterek and skillful and friendly guitarist Savang. Arn and Seyma invited me to come out and jam with them the following week and more musical friendships were forged. I would join their Waterek Band on a number occasions over the next couple years. I would recommend any musician who want to collaborate with traditional Cambodian musicians to get in touch with Arn. He is a dynamo of energy and loves making connections through music.

The Chinese House was a regular venue on the scene in the fall of 2010. The venue, now known as a place to meet for some tasty cocktails and art exhibitions, was often a sweat-stained-beer-soaked floor of energetic live music. The venue was regularly packed with thirsty live music patrons dancing wildly to the likes of the Mekong Pirates, Los Poporks 


and the early days of the Phnom Penh Hippie Orchestra. The ever talented and entertaining James Speck played there as well in one of his numerous bands. One could write and entire entry on just the bands that James started. Same goes for Greg Lavender. Volumes.

In October of 2010 the Chinese House hosted one of my favorite live music experiences during my time in Cambodia. It was an amazingly fun evening of Khmer music - part tribute to the past and a nod to the present and future of music in Cambodia. The event was organized by members of the Cambodian Space Project and Arn Chorn-Pond. There were acts that spanned the generations from the unabashed metal of Cartoon Emo 

to the serene voices of Channthy, Seyma and Ouch Savy. Hem Sovann also sang a duet that she originally recorded with Sinn Sisamouth. The night rounded out with an energetic set from the Cambodian Space Project.

Around this time I started paying rhythm guitar in the rousing Irish traditional band, Kheltica. Jean Claude-Dhuez started this project several years ago and they are still going strong. At an FCC Phnom Penh gig in December I met the Kheltica banjo player, Jose Encinas. I have to admit that I was ecstatic once I heard Jose was a fan of Bluegrass music. Back home in Colorado I played in weekly Bluegrass/Americana jams at my friend’s house and I was missing playing that music. After the FCC gig Jose and I grabbed a drink at Equinox and started just playing acoustically at the bar. We entertained ourselves until well past 3am!! We promised to get together sometime soon and play some more.

Early in 2011 we started meeting at my house to jam. Lead vocalist for Kheltica at the time, Alex Leonard, joined in to sing harmonies (Bluegrass needs harmonies) and Jose’s friend Borja Serrador brought along his bass. We continued meeting regularly and soon added Daniel Talstra on fiddle and Greg Lavender on drums. All of a sudden we had a band. I think it was Greg that pushed us to line up a gig. We had a month to learn two sets of music and off we went.

We played that first gig as Grass Snake Union at Equinox in late May of 2011. Being new to performing and singing into a microphone I was living out a dream. The crowd was electric, the members of the band (speaking for myself) were having more fun than the crowd. Equinox had hired experienced sound engineer, Anthony Mrugacz to manage and make it a kick-ass live music venue. We have added Sam Day on mandolin and the rotating bass bench of Andre Swart and Sébastien Adnot since forming the band.

Later in 2011 and early 2012 a couple new bands came on the scene. First Dub Addiction had an amazing debut and they continue to record and release amazing tunes as well as pack out every single one of their gigs. Chris Rompré’s brainchild became the massive and stanky funk band, Durian. They took Phnom Penh by storm and are still doing so. So much so, that I can’t get the smell off me. They pack it out whenever and wherever they play and are chock full of talented musicians.

I also can’t conclude without a tip of the hat to some of the venues around town that support live music.

Memphis Pub, Mel and Bona have given a bunch of us space to play there and have also organized benefit shows and other awesome events. There is still live music there most nights during the week.

Paddy Rice - perhaps the longest running open mic and the first place I was able to play at in Cambodia. I have always had fun at Paddy Rice.

Sharky’s Bar - live music every weekend and Dave and the guys have hosted some amazing show’s over these past couple years. Checking out Penhstock is a must!

Bodhi Villa in Kampot - Hugh Munroe is a huge supporter of live music and the crowd’s are always ready to dance.

The Terrace - has been hosting regular jams on the weekend and has been a place where young musicians (both expats and locals) have build friendships and perhaps signal future collaborations. Hosted by the ever talented Euan Gray.

The Sundance Saloon is a great place for singer-songwriters at the open mic hosted by songsmith Richard Marshall.

New venues like The Opera Café, Doors Restaurant, The Village and Showbox are vastly different spaces and fill their own niche while providing the framework to continue foster a diverse music scene in Phnom Penh.

There have been just too many fun musical acts to chronicle in one weekly email. The good news is many of the musicians I wanted to talk more about are still active today and playing over the coming weeks! How lucky are we?! There are new musicians moving into town, new bands are forming, young Cambodians are forming their own bands and getting gigs…check out the Underdogs every Wednesday at the Doors for a prime example.

Before heading on to this this week’s gig guide I want to share with you something that Sébastian Adnot told me once. He has only one rule when it comes to playing with other musicians and I think encapsulates the Phnom Penh music scene quite nicely.

Séb’s rule was told to me like this: “I don’t care about skill and experience of a musician. If I cannot give you a hug after we play, then we don’t play.”

There have been no shortage of post gig hugs over these couple years.

Gig Guide Wrap:
If you became bored and skipped down to check out the gig guide…make sure you check out Seb’s rule just a few centimeters above these words.

Just have a look at the list of upcoming live music. There is something for everyone! This speaks to the amazing community we have here in Cambodia. I’m gonna miss all y’all.

Tonight (Thursday March 7)
At The Village, The Rhiannon Johnson Quartet. (Rhiannon (of course), Greg, Stephane and Barry, will be entertaining the patrons with a unique blend of smooth soul and funky jazz. Get into the groove from 8:30PM. Have you heard Rhiannon sing? No!? You are missing out my friend. Missing. Out.

Friday March 8th: 
Grass Snake Union will be getting things going early, 7pm to be exact. We are doing it old style, gathering around a single microphone harkening back to the roots of Bluegrass. Get your Friday started at Le Jardin with us, this will my (TJ’s) 2nd to last gig with the guys. As an added bonus, come and learn about the harrowing tales from last weekend’s trip to Kampot.

Durian is playing a double header both Friday and Saturday night at Equinox. Friday will be a dance extravaganza with new songs a guest percussionist and plenty to get sweaty about. Saturday they are planning on getting intense featuring some new tunes that highlight Rhiannon's voice and a collaboration with local spoken work sensation Kosal Khiev. Get stanky.

Scoddy and the Quality Drops & Friends and Passerby – Friday night. Scott Bywater’s project will take over the Opera Café for a jam that will go well into the night. Scoddy always hosts a fun evening, do yourself a favor. Check it out. Opera Café is cool too, really cool!

Saturday March 9th:
The Fumes are doing a fundraiser on a boat! On a mutha*uckin’ boat, yo! Just north of Titanic Restaurant…get there by 4:15pm, $5 cover, cheap drinks, and sunset jams from The Fumes. Seriously, what else do you need?! That’s right, NOTHING! Get on the boat!

All proceeds will go to Tabitha (not my neighbor Tabitha, but the NGO), a locally based organization striving to give rural Cambodians pathways to improving their own qualities of life (see http://www.tabitha-cambodia.org/ for more details).

Durian…again (see above). Had enough of these guys? No. Never.

The ever danceable Irish traditional band Kheltica will be entertaining at the Memphis from 10pm. Maybe you will even see Kheltica uber-fan Dan Riegler in attendance. If you’re lucky.

Splitter will be splittin’ ya mind into hemispheres with original, hard driving tunes at the Showbox from 8pm.

Sunday March 10th: 
Sunday Sundowner Sessions with Scoddy at Rubies Wine Bar from 4pm

This event is growing by the week. It is casual, relaxed and truly amazing people entertain you. Scoddy is the shepherd of this flock, join the herd.

Upcoming Gigs:
Amanda Bloom will be playing original songs at The Village on Wednesday March 13. She will be accompanied by the talented Tara Mar on Cello and Michelle Bowen on Bassoon. What’s that you say? Cello and Bassoon?! Get out! That’s insane (and supremely awesome)! Amanda is also an accomplished pianist and she writes cool tunes that go really well with cello and bassoon. Bassoon is fun to say and to write. I don’t do it nearly as often as I should. Neither do you. Bassoon.

Latest Gigs

Thursday 7-Mar-2013
  • 7:00 PM ~ Unwrap! The Bambu Stretch Project at The 1961 in Siem Reap
  • 8:30 PM ~ Rhiannon Johnson, Barry Speirs, Greg Lavander and Stephane Routier at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ Ringtail at The Cavern
  • 9:00 PM ~ X-Pat Sound System at MetaHouse
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Rob Bianchetti and DJ Rob Venables at Pontoon
Friday 8-Mar-2013
  • 7:00 PM ~ The Grass Snake Union at Le Jardin
  • 7:00 PM ~ Lee Bong Gyo * at The Botanic Cafe
  • 7:00 PM ~ Kok Thlok at The French Cultural Center of Siem Reap in Siem Reap
  • 9:00 PM ~ Sugar Daddy at Sharkys
  • 9:00 PM ~ Count Us In and Sam Rocker at The Show Box
  • 9:00 PM ~ Dr. Wah Wah and DJ Moodydann at MetaHouse
  • 9:00 PM ~ Durian Funk Band at Equinox
  • 9:00 PM ~ DJ Susu Dam and DJ Andy Freak at The RiverHouse Lounge
  • 9:00 PM ~ Lady and the Tramp at The Village
  • 9:00 PM ~ Ringtail at The Cavern
  • 9:00 PM ~ Jaworski 7 at Paddy Rice
  • 9:30 PM ~ Scoddy and the Quality Drops at Opera Cafe
  • 10:00 PM ~ Rob Little and DJ Gang at Pontoon
  • 11:00 PM ~ DJ Chase and DJ Island at The X-Bar in Siem Reap
Saturday 9-Mar-2013
  • 2:00 PM ~ DJ Bubble and DJ Tom Tom at The Downtown Hostel in Siem Reap
  • 4:00 PM ~ The Fumes at A Boat on the Mekong River
  • 8:00 PM ~ Sliten6ix, Splitter, Tango & Snatch and No Forever at The Show Box
  • 8:30 PM ~ Kok Thlok at The Laundry Music Bar in Siem Reap
  • 9:00 PM ~ Durian Funk Band at Equinox
  • 9:00 PM ~ The Lazy Drunks at Sharkys
  • 10:00 PM ~ DJ Illest and DJ Bree at Pontoon
  • 10:00 PM ~ Kheltica at The Memphis Pub
  • 10:00 PM ~ The Kimchi Collective and DJ Albie Samreth at MetaHouse
  • 11:00 PM ~ DJ Edwardowski and DJ Sakura Boom at The X-Bar in Siem Reap
Tuesday 12-Mar-2013
  • 8:00 PM ~ Ringtail at The Riverside Bistro
Wednesday 13-Mar-2013
  • 8:30 PM ~ Amanda Bloom, Tara Mar and Michele Bowen at The Village
Coming Up
  • The Grass Snake Union at Equinox 
  • Dr. Eggs * at Equinox 
  • Dub Addiction at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Luna Negra at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Durian Funk Band at The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Scott Allan Knost * at Molly Malones in Siem Reap 
  • Euan Gray, Sebastien Adnot, Greg Lavander, Gordon Webster * and Kae "Sylvie" Lhassan at The Village 
  • The Cambodian Space Project at Equinox 
  • The Fumes, Kheltica, Pou Klaing, Diego "El Gipsy" Dimarqués, Euan Gray, Kok Thlok, Batucada Bloco Malagasy * , Nen Tum and The Mayors of Simpleton at The Mith Samlanh Center 
  • RNA + Friends at Paddy Rice 
  • Kheltica at Paddy Rice , The FCC Phnom Penh 
  • Tango & Snatch at The Memphis Pub 
  • Joe Wrigley * at The Memphis Pub 
  • The Anti-Fate at The Show Box 
  • Rhiannon Johnson, Barry Speirs, Greg Lavander and Stephane Routier at The Village 
  • Two Shots and a Chaser at Sharkys 
  • Tango & Snatch and Dr. Eggs * at Sharkys 
  • Tiny Toones at Equinox 
  • DJ Illest, Hydrophonics, DJ Tech 12 and Akil the MC * at Pontoon 
  • Dr. Wah Wah, Warren Daly, Shine On and Dina Chhan at MetaHouse 

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