Looking at the Leng Pleng Gig Guide this week, it would appear that the 26th June is a very popular night for great gigs in Phnom Penh (I thought that Fête de la Musique was last week??). Like a selfish kid at a party, this Friday night has grabbed all the sweeties and refuses to share them with the other nights – even though it can't possibly eat them all. So we are faced with the choice of frantically running around several venues in one night, or otherwise missing out on some excellent shows. As always, Leng Pleng will point out some of the highlights. The choice is yours. Personally, I am far too lazy to buzz around Phnom Penh like a live music gadfly and prefer to take in one gig at a time. From the point of view of the performers, it is quite disconcerting to see a group of punters getting down to the music for one moment (or one drink), only to flit off to another venue a few songs later (often bopping and smiling as they head out the door... do they really love riding in tuk-tuks so much? Stay a while longer!).
'Selfish Friday' has been kind enough to allow a few good gigs to take place on Saturday in Phnom Penh but there does not seem to be a whole lot going on during the rest of the week. Would it be too much to ask for venues to plan ahead and communicate more so as to avoid live gig log-jams like this? (Errr... yes, it would be too much to ask - this is Phnom Penh, where many gigs are organised just a few days in advance).
Electrick Universe at Nightmarket, Phnom Penh. pic – supplied
The Cambodian Spice Project: Live in Chili is the début release by resident Meta House band Electrick Universe. Tim King, James Speck and DJ Nicomatic have met up at the venue every month for the last two years to perform improvised, experimental sets of music. Electrick Universe combine live electric guitar and phrase synthesizer with recorded beats and sounds emanating from DJ turntables. The trio's eclectic grooves are extremely danceable in a fruity and funky way. The band also regularly invite other musicians to jam with them. This Friday's album release party will feature German saxophone player Moritz Holst and other special guests. The music captured on Live in Chili features recordings of previous Meta House sessions, mastered by Dub Addiction’s Professor Kinski. Electrick Universe have pledged to add an extra pinch of spice to the proceedings by giving away CD copies of the album to the first 26 guests at the party. We also heard a rumour that professional dancers have been hired to ramp up the energy levels of this performance even further!
Video: 'Lab Orer' and Dub Addiction rock Sharky Bar in a roots-reggae style
Papa Dub are another great Phnom Penh band who combine live instruments and pre-recorded sounds to produce a rich fabric of funky goodness. Seb Adnot and KCM Nayabinghi are, as one would expect from two key members of Dub Addiction, hugely influenced by the hypnotic Jamaican sounds of dub reggae. Papa Dub will combine looped electronic grooves and video projection with live percussion and bass guitar at Sharky Bar on Friday. The venue has promised that the senses of sight, sound, and smell will be stimulated at the show. We are very curious to find out about the 'smell' aspect of that statement (?). One might also add 'getting your insides pleasingly rattled by humongous sub-bass frequencies' to the list of stimulations on offer – as Seb Adnot will reportedly be bringing along his own giant sub-woofers, especially for this gig! The Papa Dub show is further proof that Sharky Bar management are making good on their promise to diversify their music policy away from the familiar Westerner expat rock'n'roll bands. Check out their new weekly Showcase night on Wednesdays to hear some great local bands playing Cambodian-language music.
Check out the gig listings below for full information on all the great shows happening in Phnom Penh this Friday, including Kheltica performing with their new singer Andrea at the Alley Bar and the excellent Pavel 'zargz' Ramirez giving an intimate solo show at The Alley Cat Cafe.
Stuff not happening on Friday
|Izabelle Gagnon – pic: Izabelle Gagnon Facebook|
Izabelle Gagnon is a Canadian singer, dancer, choreographer, voice-over artist, DJ, MC, actress and model (busy girl!) based in Thailand. Following a successful stint in Phnom Penh last year, Izabelle is returning to Cambodia this week for a flying visit and a few selected singing appearances. She will team up with maestro Phil Javelle for a show at Le Museum on Saturday night. Expect a touch of glamour and sparkle from Izabelle as she performs a selection of pop and r'n'b tunes.
Moi Tiet! is the 'Scott Bywater Experience' – the fully-loaded, fully-rocking and fully-retooled band playing 100% Bywater originals. Scott had to split the group in 2013 when he departed for France, but this year found time to get the band back together for a limited run of Cambodian summer shows. Songs like 'The Long Division (I got the Beatles, she got the Stones)', 'Flying Into Pochentong', and 'The Love Bank' benefit hugely from the muscular instrumental backing of Andre Swart (bass), Chuck Villar (guitar), Jedil Robelo (drums) and Leonard Reyes (guitar). The prolific Scott Bywater (vocals, harmonica, guitar) also promises to perform a number of newly-minted songs alongside familiar classics. Grab a rare chance to see Moi Tiet! perform at Sharky Bar this Saturday.
Moi Tiet! - pic: Moi Tiet Facebook
As Leng Pleng readers may already know by now, Slur Bar has re-opened under new management. Full details of their live music schedule are yet to emerge, but Slur Bar have announced the return of their popular Monday night open mic session, from this coming Monday. The night will be hosted by ace blues guitarist Jeffro Sills.
They closed. Then they re-opened. pic: Slur Bar Facebook
Whatever you're up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and... see you around the traps!