A Merry Christmas to you all from us here at LengPleng Towers. The stampede to next Wednesday is underway, with plenty of bells jingling as we go.
Tonight Meta House host the (almost) farewell gig for 1 Girl 6 Strings as Shira Kaliski prepares to return to the UK, with special guest four-stringer Verity Van Rooyen along for the show. Lisa and Joshua team up for His & Hers at L.A.B. (former The Bodleian), Stevie Novak is at Sundance and the Bandidos are at Angel Sky Bar.
On Friday night the Street 308 Block Party Christmas edition promises a winter wonderland, contrasted by a largely Cambodian line up including Laura Mam and Vanda and much more. For something a little more sedate, Barry Spiers will be at Java Tuol Kork, Greg Beshers solo at Farm to Table, and Metta and Intan will be getting jazzy at L.A.B. Botanico presents Samsara, Band@Work at the Hard Rock Café Phnom Penh have a Disney tribute night, and Chi-Town are at Alchemy. More electronically, The Hangout in Tuol Tom Pong offers the NeuDrop Collective, and PV Nights: Into the Vortex goes late into the night at Cloud. At Oscar’s on the Corner, it’s a K’n’E night.
Another ecletic Saturday sees a Latin Fiesta at The Hangout, visiting Philipino band The Roots at Duplex, A Groovy Christmas with Mirasol, Phil and Antti at Bassac Lane, Lisa Conception at Botanico, Vanntin Hoeurn opening for Australian indie artist Louis Whelan at Cloud, Graham Cain’s classic rock at Ponytails and the jazz of Straight, No Chaser at Alchemy. And later, the Leng Pleng All-Stars return to Oscar’s on the Corner for another assault on the music of 1969.
Of note on Sunday – see this week’s feature article – is the launch of the monthly Sunday Sessions at The Eighty8 – an exploration of the wide, wide world of reggae, featuring DJ Gorimaa, Professor Kinski and DJ Airfix Twin, a family friendly poolside afternoon event.
A smattering of events early next week to get us to Christmas day, including Marianna Hensley & Barry Spiers at Magic Sponge in Kampot, Japanese ska cat-suit guy Moisty Atsushi at Cloud, a Christmas special by Band@Work at Hard Rock Café Phnom Penh, a blue Christmas at Oscar’s on the Corner with Chi-Town, and 1 Girl 6 Strings does Christmas dinner at Alchemy.
Also arriving for a series of concerts under the Klapyahandz Jazz banner – with scant details so far – is NHK Trio, a jazz outfit doing concerts at Raffles Le Royal, the Alliance Francaise in Siem Reap, Meta House and Au Marche restaurant.
We note this week the closing of LF Social Club, that for over a year was a venue very supportive of live music, which includes the loss of the weekly and very popular Wednesday night jam. We await news of the future plans of the new management of the property.
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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature
A Scotsman, a Frenchman and a German walk into a bar – and play reggae
Tuff Bass Collective is a group of three DJs, Airfix Twin, Professor Kinski and Gorimaa, who are determined to raise the profile of reggae music – the whole broad and diversified family of reggae – in Cambodia. The first item of business is the establishment of a monthly poolside Sunday Session at The Eighty8 on St 88, just north of Wat Phnom, which will kick off this weekend. LengPleng had a chat with Airfix Twin, AKA Iain Donnelly, to explore things further.
“The three of us have slightly different taste. A Scotsman, a Frenchman and a German walk into a bar. Jan is very into the digital stuff, and does a lot of remixes, so he’ll probably do some live things. Gorimaa is into slightly different areas. And having eight to ten hours to play with we can really explore the entire 60 years of reggae and dub and ska.”
Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
Jared Bibler. A singer-songwriter and history professor from Ohio, who has spent a year and a half commuting from Ho Chi Minh City to work at the American University of Phnom Penh. During the weeks in town he’s been playing sets at venues including Oscar’s on the Corner and Sundance Inn & Saloon. Although he’s about to relocate to Mumbai, he intends to return to PP occasionally – come back soon, mate.
Your pet musical hate:
I hate it when I’m at a concert and everyone’s singing along to every damn verse. I came to hear them play it, not to hear you singing it a foot away from me.
A private musical indulgence:
I like a lot of pop music. Artists who sometimes I feel bad listening to, oh man, this might not be cool, if anyone caught me… like Sam Smith – who I find a great songwriter, a beautiful voice – or Justin Timberlake.
The year you first came to Cambodia:
2018. I’ve only been about a year and a half, in and out.
An early music memory:
When I was growing up my parents had a big vinyl collection. I grew up in the early 80s, the era of hair bands, and a lot of kids in my neighbourhood to that music – some of that is fine now, in retrospect, but I was listening to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I have fond memories of listening to Sergeant Pepper in the living room with my mom.
Your favourite food:
I like pub food – where you can get a good burger or a good chicken sandwich. And good American barbecue has always been up there for me.
What you do on a night off:
Since my day job never ends I never really have a night off. Here in Phnom Penh I usually end up at Oscar’s on the Corner, to check out the band, or I go find live music somewhere. When I’m in Saigon I rarely make it out to shows on the weekend, I get home and maybe do a movie, hang out with the kid, the wife.
The country you want to visit:
Tibet – I had a trip planned in May of 2017 but it didn’t happen. And Bhutan. The Himalayas are amazing, beautiful.
A stage habit or superstition you have:
I’ve grown to really like a hat on my head when I play – I usually wear a cap.
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I have eight siblings. I grew up in The Waltons.
A question from last week’s participant, Pablo de Feo: Do you think that following your passion makes your life easier or more difficult?
Part of my passion is history, and sometimes it’s a burden – I get overwhelmed. Music is another passion, and it’s become more of an enjoyment, but I’m also not trying to live from it. I think if someone is chasing their passion as their sole source of income it becomes challenging.
A question for next week’s participant:
If you had the opportunity to visit with any non-musician, public figure whether living or dead (author, philosopher, activist, politician, etc.), who would it be?
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
Adrien Gayraud in action with The Schkoots at Oscar’s on the Corner, Saturday 14 December, 2019.
Let us know about your upcoming gigs, events, news and interesting activities: send information to email@example.com.
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.