With Khmer New Year hitting the music scene this weekend, the annual exodus of city-dwellers will mean that many Phnom Penh venues will close. There will, however, be a great selection of gigs happening on the south coast as well as business as usual at a few of Jack's more familiar Phnom Penh haunts.
|Ian Anderson - Photo: Steve Goodman|
Sharky Bar sees the return of Ian 'Screamin' Delta' Anderson with two special gigs on Friday and Saturday nights. Sharky's eloquently describe the brace of shows as 'One night punk, one night drunk... Ian Rowlett Anderson returns to Phnom Penh to play classic 70's punk with The Stiff Little Punks and reunite with his old band The Lazy Drunks to play rock and blues covers'.
Ian is a legendary figure among Phnom Penh expats and one of the initiators of the expat music scene. You can read a lot more about the background of 'Ian the Punk' in Julien Poulson's 'Unauthorised Account' written for Leng Pleng. Also check out Scott Bywater's first-hand account of his times with the Crazyhead and Swamp Delta lead singer in part one of An Interview with Scott Bywater. The perennially-great Bob Passion and his band The Lop Lops will provide support to The Stiff Little Punks at Sharky's on Friday – followed by the reformed Lazy Drunks performance on Saturday night.
|Oscar - https://www.facebook.com/oscar.cambodia?fref=ts|
The Khmer New Year party celebrations start early on Saturday afternoon at Showbox with Psychesonica playing a special gig in the beer garden. This new band is a collaboration between music scene aficionados Jet Odrerir, RJ Marshall, Brentrix and Boom Baar. The guys are going for a tripped-out, psychedelic rock sound - which should go down well with some cold beer and sunshine at the very cool arts and music hub that is Showbox. Later on at Oscar 51, Joe Wrigley, Chris Hilleary and, the main man himself, Oscar host a Music Jam Party. Oscar will be celebrating both Khmer New Year and his triumph in keeping the live music venue open despite a few recent setbacks (flooding, exploding equipment etc). Rumoured special guests at the party include Kristen Rasmussen, the spectacularly-voiced lead singer of Mekong Blues Messengers.
|Phil Javelle - www.kenedgar.com|
Phillipe Javelle and Lewis Pragasam are keeping the music smooth on Sunday night with another Velvet session at Riverhouse Asian Bistro. These exemplary musicians go together like hand in glove. Phil's left hand does all the work of a bass-guitarist – on a funky little bass synth – while his right hand creates exquisite chords and melody on the piano. He also sings at the same time. Meanwhile, the drum sticks of his partner Lewis fly around the entire kit. The master of percussion switches effortlessly between different rhythms and cues, from bar to bar and beat to beat, always grinning with enjoyment and providing constant driving musical momentum. These guys can make more great music as a duo than most groups can manage as a three, four or five-piece. They are joined on Sunday by the beautiful SufiahNoor – jazz and soul diva, model and 'Malaysian Idol' TV show finalist.
Those heading to the coast this holiday season are well-advised to make the journey to The Barn at Otres Market in Sihanoukville on Tuesday evening. An excellent line-up of bands includes The Kampot Playboys, Woody Dares and The Western Toners and Sinville Roadshow. The Playboys are a truly innovative Khmer-rock fusion band making their first appearance in the port-city this year. Woody has an excellent rockabilly punk vibe, while Sinville Roadshow boast Sihanoukville's best-kept secret – Tiffany X. The Californian rock and soul singer has the kind of voice that stops traffic and conversations and will bring anyone within earshot running toward the stage. Tickets for Tuesday's show are available for $3 in advance at Wish You Were Here on Otres Beach, $5 on the door at The Barn.
Before Jack once again jumps on his 50cc Honda and goes boldly forth around the traps of Phnom Penh, it is time to have a look at a couple of videos featuring this week's returning musical legend, Ian 'Screamin' Delta' Anderson. Firstly, the latest release from his current band Swamp Delta, 'Cut Loose'. Viewers may find some scenes disturbing. Just in case you were thinking 'wow, Ian Anderson has really let himself go...' – be assured that the star of the video is in fact 'The Oldest Rocker in LA', 'Johnno'...
...and finally a quick reminder of The Lazy Drunks in action at Sharky's.
Wherever you spend Khmer New Year, enjoy yourself and see you around the traps.
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