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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 June 2015

The Cambodian music scene is veritably jumping this week, with loads of great options for live music lovers and denizens of the dance floor. Check out the Leng Pleng Gig Guide to find out about all the scenes unfolding in Phnom Penh, and beyond, over the next few days - including the welcome return of a favourite Street 13 venue. Meanwhile, a couple of hours down Highway 3, some great happenings are being stirred up...

pic: The Garden, Kampot
The moment one arrives in the leafy riverside city of Kampot, a calming, soothing atmosphere of quiet ensues. The two-and-a-half-hour express mini-bus or share taxi ride from Phnom Penh may be more white-knuckle roller-coaster than relaxing drive, but it's worth it. Somehow, even the throng of tuk-tuk drivers crowding the bus-stop, brandishing well-worn hotel and guest house information cards - a familiar sight at any Cambodian tourist destination - are less intrusive and troublesome as they make a friendly grab for your luggage.

Kampot is well known and well-loved by expats for its slower pace of life, and uncrowded city streets. It has not been so well known, however, for its thriving nightlife and live music scene... until now. Sure, there has been great regular music nights happening in Kampot for a long time (Madi's Bar, Naga House, The Magic Sponge and others). But things seem to be moving forward this year with a few new venues hitting the scene (The Garden, KAMA, Ecran). Bodhi Villa may be gone but we are eagerly awaiting the new 'big daddy' of the Kampot music scene: Alaska, coming soon to an old fish market near you!

The roads can get quite busy during rush hour
pic: http://www.cambodiahotels.biz/travelguide/cambodia/kampot/
The Garden will be holding their third 'S-P-A-C-E' night this Friday. The outdoor venue opened late last year in down-town Kampot. The latest iteration of 'S-P-A-C-E' will feature DJ Mute Speaker alongside resident DJs Shine On and The Gardener. The Garden is a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy some top-quality tunes. The DJs start spinning when the sun starts to set. 
Scott Bywater will be making the trip from Phnom Penh for a brace of Kampot shows this weekend. The globe-trotting singer-songwriter from Tasmania will touch down at Madi's Bar on Friday for a 'rock n roll and red wine inspired night with special guests'. 'Scoddy' will then head to Ecran on Saturday night for 'An Evening With Scott Bywater: a smorgasbord of his songs across a wide palate, spicily flavoured with poems, garnished with visual projections, and marinated lightly in red wine...' - Tasty!
Bitches Mix getting down with saxophonist Stephane Routtier. pic: Showbox Facebook
Bitches Mix is an experimental music duo comprising of Maria Lobato and Adrien Sergent. As regulars at the Showbox Wednesday night open mic will know, anything can happen when these guys start to improvise live on stage. Maria (Argentina) and Adri (France) combine keyboards and guitars with pre-recorded samples and looper pedals. The resulting grooves are are then ornamented with live melodica, 'beatbox' vocals, harmonica and... whatever other musical objects are available! Bitches Mix will be at the KAMA Sun Ra Space Bar in Kampot on Saturday night. Don't forget to bring your instrument, fellow jammers are welcome!

Time to bounce
mixing with the best (Dr Dre) – pic: http://djjam.com/

Nova Club Phnom Penh will present an international hip-hop legend on Saturday night, when DJ Jam comes to town. This veteran of the West-Coast U.S. scene helped shape the sound of modern hip-hop when he worked with Dr Dre on his seminal 1992 album 'The Chronic'. DJ Jam has also toured with Snoop Dogg and worked with the late great Biggie Smalls. Should be a super night with a bona fide hip-hop heavyweight.

Back in business
Kheltica at Opera Cafe, 'back in the day'. pic: www.kenedgar.com
Hiring the band Hot Club de Phnom Penh seems like the perfect way to bring live music back to Opera Cafe. The classy and elegant trio comprising of long-scale acoustic 'manouche' guitar, upright bass and fiddle, are not likely to draw a lot of noise complaints. A couple of years ago, the small cafe-restaurant venue was well known for regular 'boutique' music and arts events... until an army of complaining neighbours gathered to thwart the scene. Things seemed to have cooled off now (perhaps a certain 'Bong Thom' has moved out of the area?), so the Opera Cafe is back in business as a live music venue. Catch some great gypsy jazz there on Tuesday.

Doors Phnom Penh offer a special gig on Wednesday when Louise Norup, Euan Gray, Carrie Herbert, Phil Ceulen, Andrey Mesheryakov and special guests come together to form the one-off, band-for-one-night, Soul Pilots. The repertoire is described as '100% Groove and Soul'. With musicians of this calibre in attendance, it should be a rocking night.

Rumour has it...
TKS Band are a new all-girl Cambodian rock band currently racking up many thousands of Facebook likes and Youtube hits. Check out their original song 'ar rom jong mean sne' via the video below. The group are rumoured to be performing at Sharky Bar very soon. As always, watch this space for further details...

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

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