Leng Pleng staffers Ted, Timothy and myself will be convening for our traditional ‘First Friday’ happy hour tomorrow night – a monthly event which showcases the winning combination of alcohol, caffeine and a packed evening of stupendous Phnom Penh gigs. If we don’t see you at our local bar, just across the street from Leng Pleng towers, I have no doubt our paths will cross at one of the many events being staged this Friday.
There will be tears before bedtime and confetti in the whisky at Oscar’s sometime around midnight when the final bell tolls for Road To Mandalay on Friday. An expat hard rock trio playing only original material, Tracy, Adam and Antti have packed venues in Phnom Penh for the past three years. As is almost always the case for expat bands in Cambodia, external factors have dictated that the band’s run must now come to an end. As drummer Antti Siitonen told Leng Pleng, it could have all finished much sooner:
“I didn’t think it would last this long. Tracy almost left after one year then she changed her mind, because of the band. But we knew that Adam was going to leave this summer anyway so… These guys have become really good friends of mine, we’re a family… writing and playing original music.”
…and how about lead singer and bassist Tracy Farrell? What have been the standout moments and standout songs over the last three years?
“I really like ‘Leaving Rielty’ and ‘Deplorables’. The first one is a nice driving low-D [guitar] jam and the second is more punk and it’s an angry anti-Trump song. Most memorable gig? I think the confetti whiskey blurry time at Oscars with [huge RTM fan] David Flack on stage. We dragged him up there which was fun but it also felt to me like we had really come into our own. Sitting in it, deep low-D drone bliss!”
Following the album launch party for Phnom Penh-based band Hypnotic Fist Technique earlier this month, Hard Rock Cafe and Code Red Agency will team up once again to bring some first-class rap music to the stage. This Friday, Akil The MC – of seminal 1990’s/2000’s U.S. hip-hop group Jurassic 5 – will join MC Hydrophonics, DJ Woody, Tiny Toones and KlapYaHandz for another session of block-rocking beats.
The expat hotspot area of Tonle Bassac in Phnom Penh will be pumping with fresh sounds this weekend. ETNIKO is a new collaboration between some of the brightest Filipino musicians in the city, fronted by the magical vocal talent of Mirasol Aguila and featuring Siem Reap based percussionist Gunther Hofmans. The sextet will debut at Bassac Lane on Friday with a repertoire that reaches beyond ‘go-to’ covers and into the realms of traditional Filipino music and original songs. Just around the corner from the Bassac group of bars, Le Boutier will welcome new duo The Sock Essentials (the name? …it’s an in-joke, apparently) on Saturday night. Vocalist Ariane has gathered a very cool and eclectic mix of songs together with guitarist and backing vocalist Scott Bywater. A short walk up Street 29 will garner a glimpse of new mixed jazz, pop soul five-piece The Phnom Penh Collective – making their debut at Botanico on Saturday.
The Kampot Playboys have returned fresh from a memorable performance at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. The band will be criss-crossing the Kingdom this weekend to play twin launch gigs for their long-awaited debut album Garuda. As reported in our interview with Playboy Mark Chattaway, proceedings will get underway with a press party at 60 Road Studios in Siem Reap on Friday afternoon, followed by a show at Laundry Bar. The Playboys will then journey down to Phnom Penh for the launch gig at Duplex – on the same street as their Golden Street Festival triumph back in 2017. Both gigs are set to be barn-stormers, with a fired-up band on stage and some discounted album copies available on the night.
Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!