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

Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday the 4th December 2014

The Phnom Penh music scene is going off like a fireworks display this weekend with more special events and gigs happening than we can shake a stick at (but we will try). 

More than 25 bands will play the famous Sharky Bar stage this Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The Penhstock V music festival schedule is so hectic that a few bands will even play outdoor sets on top of a double-decker bus parked outside the venue. The live music program will run each night from 8pm until around midnight. Friday is the hard rock/punk night (Sangvar Day, Nightmare A.D.), Saturday is the rock'n'roll night (Mekong Messengers, Adobo Conspiracy) while Sunday is a mixed bag of Latin, Khmer and various other styles (The Underdogs, Bacano).

Spot 'Big Mike' - with Jimi Hendrix at the festival that inspired them all -
Woodstock, August 1969. Pic: with special courtesy of Michael Hsu.
Michael 'Big Mike' Hsu, principal owner of Sharky Bar, is looking to top all previous events at the venue with this year's festival line-up. As well as the familiar favourite Phnom Penh-based bands, several acts are travelling from as far away as Thailand, Vietnam and... Sihanoukville to join the party. Itchy Band are an all-girl punk group based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. As you can see from the video below, they absolutely rock. Itchy Band will play a number of dates around Cambodia over the next ten days. They hit Slur Bar in Phnom Penh on Friday before headlining Penhstock V on Saturday night. You can also catch the band at Bodhi Villa in Kampot on Sunday afternoon. The band then travel to Sihanoukville for dates at Otres Market and the Led Zephyr, before heading to Siem Reap.

Drakkar Band
In addition to Itchy Band, Sharky Bar have pulled in Electric Yard Dogs and Brooklyn from Vietnam and Bob Passion & The Schkoots from Sihanoukville. But perhaps the highlight of the Penhstock V weekend will be a performance from the re-formed Drakkar Band on Saturday night. Viewers of John Pirozzi's documentary feature film Don't Think I've Forgotten will recognise lead singer Touch Tana as one of the interview contributors. Tana wrote songs for, and produced records with, legendary singers such as Ros Sereysothea, Pan Ron and Mao Sareth. The Drakkar Band recorded a classic album of Cambodian psychedelic rock in 1974, set to be re-mastered and re-released next year on Metal Postcard records. Their performance at Sharky Bar will be a momentous occasion as it will be the first time that the Drakkar Band band perform several 'lost songs' recorded in 1974 and 1975 but never released and never played live. You can also catch Tana and the band performing with several other legends of the Cambodian 'Golden Era' at a special show on Sunday evening at FCC – The Mansion. The concert follows a 6pm screening of Don't Think I've Forgotten at Chaktomuk Theater as part of the Cambodia International Film Festival. See the film festival website for more information.

One final word to the wise about Penhstock V – if you are planning to catch the Drakkar Band's set on Saturday, get to Sharky Bar early to avoid disappointment.

Stabil Elite – pic: Alexander Romey
Still more musical extravaganzas are set to take place on Sunday when Meta House takes over the Phnom Penh Nightmarket stage from 5pm for Made in Germany – Phnom Penh Modern Music Festival. The Cambodian-German Cultural Centre have brought a superb live electro act over from Germany to headline the event. Stabil Elite are a band from Düsseldorf described as the 'grandchildren of Kraftwerk'. They released their debut album 'Douze Pouze' on Italic records in 2012. The Made in Germany festival also features the mighty Dub Addiction, Jimmy Kiss, Electric Universe and Cambodian Drummers. This event should be a really special mix of European and Cambodian music styles – and what an inspired choice of venue! ...I can't wait to see the surprised looks on people's faces as they wander into the nightmarket, expecting to hear the usual Khmer karaoke ballad singers. This Sunday they will instead be presented with hardcore German electro, experimental sounds of the universe and banging Khmer ragga-dub!

This is what I'm talking about: 'Saravan Dub' - the latest music video from Dub Addiction, produced by Phnom Penh-based videographer Roberto Traina.

If you fancy a slightly more relaxed musical alternative on a Sunday afternoon, Links to the Muse music store are opening up their rooftop space to the public for the paradoxically-titled Underground Roof Session. There will be barbecue food and drinks available each Sunday as DJs play classic alternative and underground music. This week, DJ Gildas sifts through the extensive vinyl collection of Jouni 'Bum N Draze' Dzoun to dig out the best rock and punk tracks. Cool!

Whatever you're up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!

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