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

Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday the 9th April 2015


Slur Bar, Phnom Penh
Pause For Thought
Shock waves were sent through the expat music scene in Phnom Penh last Friday as word spread of the sudden decision to close Slur Bar. The Street 172 venue was one of the mainstays of live music in the city since opening in the summer of 2013. The venue served up a diverse and ever-changing selection of live bands up to four or five nights of the week. Infrequent visitors to Slur Bar might recall some very well-attended and extremely happening events there (remember the Tippa Irie/Dub Addiction gig last June?), and wonder 'why did they close'? The reality is that making a business prosper via live music on a week-in-week-out basis, is extremely tough. The short notice cancellation of the April gig schedule has ruffled a few feathers amongst the expat musicians of Phnom Penh but the decision is completely understandable and the news should come as no huge surprise. 
Slur Bar, thanks for the memories and for being a strong supporter of live music in Cambodia for the last two years. You have always cared passionately about the music and always took very good care of the musicians.

Ritchy Boisson - pic: www.kenedgar.com
Phnom Penh's Best-kept Secret?

A few blocks west of Slur, Cabaret continues to be something of a well-kept secret as a live music venue. The beautifully-designed courtyard restaurant has a well-equipped stage and presents live acts on three or four nights of the week. Bona Thiem and the Memphis Pub Band are the regular house performers, with other superlative acts rotating through the schedule. Tonight, Dion Albers, Jeffro Sills and Aymen Ghali perform as a blues trio. On Friday evening, Ritchy Boisson brings a jazz manouche duo to Cabaret. With musicians of such high calibre playing there regularly, it is hard to figure out why the venue is not more well-known and well-attended. 

 

Never Saw The Cat Swingin' Like That

Scott Bywater has been popping up all over town like the proverbial prairie dog this past week. Scoddy has been a one-man whirlwind of activity all around Phnom Penh - reading poetry at Java, singing back-up with Miss Sarawan Band and performing his 'Phnom Penh trilogy' at Alleycat Cafe. See him tonight at Equinox for his first official, full-length, gig since his return and before the well-loved Tasmanian singer-songwriter leaves for Vietnam on Friday for an extended tour. In Scott's own words, 'expect a spread of the old favourites and those only so far sampled by the French. Got some cracking new tunes I'm keen to share.' If you are new to the world of Scoddy, check out his stuff on Soundcloud and read our in-depth interview piece here.


New Scenes Brewing Up

Art Collective House is a new initiative created by the growing community of artists, musicians and activists based around the former lakeside of Boeung Kak in Phnom Penh. Premises are available to stage events and provide a space for arts and music education. The organisers of Art Collective House are having an open-house this Saturday at Boeung Kak from 2pm. More details on the project Facebook page.


Count The Thief are a UK-Canadian trio of indie musicians based in Bangkok, Thailand. This week they will join the long list of bands pouring over the Cambodian border and are eager to get a taste of the free-living and dynamic local music scene. Their whistle-stop tour of Cambodia begins in Siem Reap this Friday at Laundry Bar and on Sunday at X-Bar. Count The Thief continue with gigs at Led Zephyr in Sihanoukville next Tuesday and Wednesday and at Bodhi Villa in Kampot on Friday the 17th, before returning to Sihanoukville for a final show at Otres Market on the 18th April. Find out more about Count The Thief via their excellent website
 
Potato Stars and Time of Hex are two more international acts visiting Cambodia this week. Australian musicians Falcon Randwick and Cissi Tsang decided to bravely carry on with the scheduled tour when half of their party got stopped at the airport before leaving the country (something to do with visas being ripped out of passports by jealous girlfriends... probably best not to ask). Fortunately, the rock-solid Ned Kelly was on hand to draft in a replacement band, comprising of himself on bass guitar, Shuhei Murakami on lead guitar and Alan Ou on drums. The guys rallied well and delivered a set of original Potato Stars pop-punk tunes at Sharky Bar last night, preceded by the excellent and experimental avant-garde guitar sounds of Time of Hex. Catch both bands again at Equinox on Saturday.

Making Great Waves

DJ Sequence got in touch with Leng Pleng this week to give us the low-down on The Wave Festival, a five-day celebration of live music, dance and culture taking place on Victory Beach in Sihanoukville. The festival kicks off next Tuesday:

'We're building a purpose built arena on Victory beach which is going to be amazing...We''ll be showcasing the very best of home-grown talent, such as Rakky-Z, Snow Y and Kakada Jay alongside established international DJs like Tim Coates, Rob Bianche and many more. We're also really excited to welcome the best band in Cambodia (in our opinion) - Dub Addiction, who are well known for mixing up Reggae and Khmer rhythms. This years event will be bigger and even better than the previous Wave festivals, with state of the art sound and lighting provided by Kilat Events.'

Sounds good to us! Keep up to date with developments and ticketing information via the Facebook event page.

Props to our friend Jose Antonio 'Frisco Toni' Pineda, who can be seen leading off the below trailer for new Cambodian movie 'Before The Fall'. As you will see from his Wikipedia page, the multi-talented Toni is an actor, author and neo-beat poet as well as a singer on the local Phnom Penh music scene. Music for the movie was contributed by The Cambodian Space Project, with a seasonally appropriate song playing during this trailer...

...from all at Leng Pleng, as the song says... Jol Chnam Thmey!

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JOE WRIGLEY

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