Daily downpours, a drop-off in tourist numbers and the collective sobering-up occuring around the start of the school year mark September and October as the leanest months on the Cambodian music scene calendar (perhaps only underperformed by ‘hellishly-hot-and-holiday-filled May’). While many expat gig-goers have fled back to The West or are simply staying indoors, there are still more than enough great gigs going on in Phnom Penh to satisfy the hardcore live music hounds who remain out and about, around the traps.
Julien Poulson and Anthony Lefferts of Space Agency Asia have pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with a cheeky Saturday afternoon appearance by Mick Thomas at Wang Dang Doodle off Street 240. Mick is a bona fide Aussie legend of music, having found fame as frontman of Weddings, Parties, Anything back in the 1980’s. The years since have not slowed the award-winning singer-songwriter down. After disbanding Weddings, Parties in 1998 Thomas recorded many solo albums and toured with his bands Sure Thing and Roving Commission. He has also written for plays, worked as a record producer and, last year, released his book ‘These Are The Days – Stories and Songs’.
A ‘songwriter’s songwriter’ in the vein of fellow Aussie Paul Kelly (whom Poulson also brought to Cambodia for the Kampot Readers & Writers Festival in 2015), Mick Thomas is a true artist and craftsman of the genre. Speaking to Leng Pleng this morning, Mick explained:
I am just on the way home after having done some shows in Vietnam as part of a musical tour package for Tourica Tours who up until now have mainly done African tour packages. My setlist for Saturday? Well I have to let Julien know some of the stuff I’ll be playing so he can get some preparation done [Poulson is joining Thomas at the gig on lead guitar]. But there is a big back catalogue to draw from so yeah, I tend to make a certain amount of it up as I go along. Requests are usually the thing that drives it one way or another.
I love being out on the road when I am there although as I get older the thought of a lot of time away gets more problematic. But still – it’s a very light existence when you’re out there and all you have to really contemplate on a daily basis is an hour and a half on stage. I enjoy it far more than I still should.
Looking forward to [playing Cambodia]. Got to have a new town to play each year and this one is a beauty to ad to the list! – MICK THOMAS
Mick, we’re absolutely stoked that you are coming to Cambodia. Break a leg at the show and we hope to see you around the traps!
With Kampot Playboys on a short Autumn break, bassist Mark Chattaway has found time to break out his mandolin and re-ignite the folk’n’roots project Grass Snake Trio. Travelling to Phnom Penh for a gig at Duplex this Saturday night, Mark will be swapping between bass and mandolin as this writer attempts to keep up with him on guitar and Antti Siitonen holds down the cajon beats and the harmony vocals. Expect a mix of ‘When The Tide Turns’-style antique ‘convict folk’, Irish tunes, and Grass Snake Union-esque country stompers. Click here to read our interview with Mark Chattaway on the release of the Kampot Playboy’s debut album, back in May this year.
At new venue LF Social Club on Street 308 this Saturday, Rhiannon Johnson will be performing a specially-put together tribute to Amy Winehouse entitled ‘Body & Soul’. Rhiannon, backed by tenor saxman Euan Gray and top Phnom Penh musos Metta Legita (keys), Andrey Meshcheryakov (bass) and Toma Willen (drums) has delved into the Winehouse repertoire and come up with a set which explores the jazz and soul side of one of the most talented and troubled singers to ever come out of the UK. If she had survived her addiction problems, Amy Winehouse would have been 35 years old this weekend.
To round the weekend off very nicely, Euan Gray and Andrey M will be performing an acoustic concert with singer-songwriter Carrie Herbert at Chinese House on Sunday. Carrie held a memorable launch party for her ‘Under The Same Sun’ album at the same venue in December of last year. As you will hear when you listen to and download the album, Carrie’s original songs glow with positivity and good vibes.
Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!
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