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

Gig Guide - Week Commencing Thursday the 19th September 2013

Youth. Talent. Energy. Drive. Beauty. Jack may be sadly lacking in all these areas, but there is hope. Over the next seven days, the stages of the Cambodian music scene will be packed with enough youthful energy and exuberance to make us all feel good. Time to get positive, get out of the house, and get down to some venues. 

There are a bunch of new acts emerging in Phnom Penh who are all very young and very talented. Some of the artists to look out for are The Underdogs, Akhia, Khmera, No Forever, Miss Sarawan and Lisa C. Alongside established names already packing out venues, they are driving a vibrant and diverse scene. 

Doors Phnom Penh continues to foster new talent and promote diversity in their September schedule. Thursday sees the debut of classical music at the Street 47 venue, and you will get the chance to enjoy some choice opera arias sung by by Ai Iawasaki and Kiyong Ryu. Amanda Bloom will again put the Doors Grand Piano to delectable use on Friday when she performs tracks from her new album Atlas. On Saturday you can celebrate with fusion act Krom as they launch their new album Neon Dark. As if any extra incentive were needed, the party will feature an appearance from Khmer Chapei Master Kong Nay

Jack knows that things are looking up when he has a choice of interesting gigs on a Thursday night. If you don’t fancy Opera, try some jazz saxophone from Alan Breen at The Village. If, like me, you love anything musical that comes from New Orleans, DJ Jambalaya will be at Meta House spinning some selections from the French Quarter.

Brent Clark takes the sax back to the barroom on Friday night with Two Shots and a Chaser at Sharky Bar, playing some hard Rock’n’Roll and Rockabilly in the most authentic music venue in town. More stimulation is on hand on Saturday night when local favourites The Fumes hit Sharky’s with classic indie and new wave covers. Exciting things are happening at the venue this autumn, with the forthcoming Penhstock IV three-day music festival in November, and a mammoth Battle of the Bands in October. 

Sunset Sandpit Sessions is always a good spot to start Friday, when Le Jardin hosts acoustic music from 6pm. This week Scott Bywater presents the Riverside Ray Bans, a group of talented musicians emulating the amazing laid-back style of J J Cale. 

Still buzzing from an energetic appearance at Doors last Friday, Holey Bucket Union bring their Hank Williams show to Equinox on Friday evening. There is something about cowboy hats, banjos and washboards that gets everybody dancing. For something completely different, return to Equinox on Saturday night for PP Punchliners. You might be surprised to find how many talented stand-up comedians there are in Phnom Penh, and many of them will be at this open mic on Saturday. 

Now what was I saying about new talent? Everyone is talking about The Underdogs. They are a group of youngsters formed at Music Arts School, getting seriously acquainted with the Khmer Rock catalogue. In just a few months they have progressed from nervous newbies to skilled performers with a large repertoire. Three different singers share the stage with a four-piece band. This might be a bit of a squeeze at La Croisette on Saturday night, but it would certainly be worth going to find out. 

A special event takes place on Saturday when Tiny Toones take over Showbox. This will be a real hip-hop show featuring the four elements of breaking, rapping, DJing and graffiti. Tiny Toones is a community organisation, where hundreds of children from the poorest neighbourhoods and slums of Phnom Penh come every day to express themselves creatively and to enjoy learning. MCs Kosal Kiev and Gobshite will be appearing, and the entirety of your $4 entry fee will help keep the Tiny Toones project going. 

If you can make it through this weekend’s musical marathon, more incredible newcomers are ready to entertain you on Wednesday. Singing sensation Akhia continues the New Talent Sessions at Doors, while a brand-new voice comes to the Village. MWAUKA is the solo act of Esther, a Congolese gospel choir teacher with a passion for soul and French ballads. 

Another chance to stimulate your lobes on Wednesday at Equinox when WASH perform their three-part, multimedia work The Next Horizon. Ask anyone who was at Metahouse last weekend and they will confirm that this combination of poetry, music and visuals is something really special.

Jack gets excited about anything that is original and different, and on that note I will leave you with a video from Krom, who release their next studio album ‘Neon Dark’ this week. Whether you’re out on the scene digging Classical, bopping to Jazz, dancing to Khmer Rock or breaking to Hip-Hop, please stay safe out there and enjoy as much as you can.

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