Weekly wrap – Commencing Thursday 30 January 2020


A busy month of February begins this weekend – to mark the occasion Leng Pleng has three – three! – features this week:  Phnom Penh Underground, Ariane Parkes and PlanB

If you’re heading out for an early weekend start, tonight Phil and Sophie will be playing at Lantern Rooftop Bar, Samai Distillery presents La Fiesta de Felito, Gonzalo and Poca bring Buenos Aires to L.A.B, Billy Page is at Sundance and as usual there’s the open mic at Good Times Bar and The Extraordinary Chambers rocking out at Oscar’s on the Corner.  If you’re in Kampot, Arome Khmer play at Plantation

On Friday Cloud celebrate their fourth anniversary with a double bill of Simoun and Checkered Past, while Farm to Table celebrate their fifth anniversary with the Rhiannon Johnson Trio.  It’s We Are Disco featuring Sophie Messina at Bouchon, Soul Nouveau at L.A.B, Pete Doyle is at Botanico, Hot Club de Phnom Penh are at Alchemy and Tacos Kokopelli introduce Australian (via HCMC) skate rock with Sewerside.  It’s pop tribute night with Band@Work at Hard Rock Café Phnom Penh and the house band K’n’E are in charge at Oscar’s on the Corner

Saturday gives us a solo guitar recital at KWest, the Sinville Roadshow for Garage Party XXII, Billy Page at Botanico and Pocket Change at Alchemy.  Australian rock’n’soul outfit PlanB kick off their fourth Cambodian tour at Hard Rock Café Phnom Penh, Phil and Sophie are at L.A.B., Chi-Town get the blues at Sharky Bar and The Electric Socks shock Oscar’s on the Corner.  Out of town, Greg Beshers is at Magic Sponge in Kampot. 

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The Leng Pleng Weekly Features

The endless melting pot with a thousand million things stirred in

For the club scene, Leng Pleng recommends Phnom Penh Underground as a source of information.  We sat down with PPU co-founder Lhoyd ahead of a major CUBIK event this weekend featuring Thai/Berlin DJ Nakadia to talk of the opportunities and potentialities of dance music for Cambodia. 

“We’re still years behind Thailand and Malaysia and so on, but it’s exploded recently – I get three, four, five emails a day, people saying hi, I’m a DJ from X, I would like to come and play in Phnom Penh.  Or: I am in Battambang, I need learn DJ.  Can help?  And now I’ve got a little text I had translated into Khmer, a really simple guide – try this software, these are the settings you need on your computer, here are some places you can get music.  I’ve never met these kids.  It’s great.  In Battambang, in Kep, often I have no idea where they are.” 
Read the whole feature here

Things to make and do

Singer and songwriter Ariane Parkes will front Checkered Past at Cloud’s fourth anniversary party on Friday, then on Saturday bring out her new full-sized band, The Electric Socks, at Oscar’s on the Corner.  She sat down with Leng Pleng to discuss her journey down the songwriting path.

“I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with one of the songs, Back on the Island, which was just a duo song before, and now it’s trying to be a reggae song, which is not as easy as it might sound, although it definitely fits the theme of the song.”
Read the whole feature here

Older (and wiser?) soul rebels

Visiting Cambodia for their fourth tour this weekend and next are the eight piece Australian rock’n’soul outfit PlanB, playing shows in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap.  Leng Pleng spoke to band leader Sneaky Pete about the history of the band and the coming tour. 

“I was very much influenced by Dexys Midnight Runners, that was the whole reason for starting the band in the first place,” says Pete, before  clarifying:  “the original, pre-Come on Eileen Dexys, their first LP Searching for the Young Soul Rebel with the hit Geno – in my mind, every other song on there is better than Geno
Read the whole feature here

Passing Chords:  a few things you might not know about…

Photo: supplied

Sneaky Pete, of PlanBPlanB first formed in Adelaide, Australia, in the 80s, took a break and reformed ten years ago, with the new lineup making overseas touring a priority.  Boasting, as ever, a three-piece horn section and a repertoire of their own songs, they’re back in Cambodia for the Som Chop Tini Tour 2020, playing Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap this weekend and next. 

Your pet musical hate:   
Great to see a nice ‘easy to answer’ first question.  My top musical pet hate is probably the lyrics (or lack of good lyrics) of the vast majority of current so-called pop songs that get played on the radio. It seems that the evocative story line or a simple turn of phrase or clever play on words is a declining art-form in mainstream music.   

A private musical indulgence:  
I love to get my mandolin off the wall in my music room and learn new chords and songs, or at least try to remember the ones I learnt from the previous time I had the opportunity to have a strum. There are some great songs which feature the mandolin very heavily. A few of my favourites are Losing My Religion, Copperhead Road and an oldie by McGuiness Flint called When I’m Dead and Gone.

The year you first came to Cambodia:   
I came to Cambodia for the first time back in the mid 80s when I was working out of the Australian Embassy in Bangkok.  In those days the Khmer Rouge was still active in rural areas of the country so it was an exciting – although a little dangerous – time.  I subsequently returned to Phnom Penh for performances with a previous musical venture of mine called the Mekong Delta Band, in 2005 when I was working in Vietnam, and then eventually with PlanB in 2010 for performances at Sharky BarMemphis Pub and FCC Angkor.  Cambodia, or should I say, the people of Cambodia, have been very receptive to the sounds and sights of PlanB since our appearance at PEHNSTOCK in Sharky Bar on 2 January 2010.  

An early music memory:   
A couple of very early musical memories for me are attending concerts/gigs by musicians and bands that played a major role in influencing my musical tastes and directions from an early age until today.  Three that immediately come to mind are the Guess Who/Three Dog Night performance at the now defunct Apollo Stadium in my hometown of Adelaide, Frankie Miller at an Aberdeen pub/night club and the late great Ronnie Lane at The Venue in London.  

Your favourite food: 
You’ve really opened a Pandora’s box with that question.  Favourite food has probably got to be the potato: fried, roasted, sautéed, boiled, mashed, shredded etc.  HOWEVER: favourite cuisine is Thai.

What you do on a night off:    
Usually nights off during the course of a PlanB tour will see me thinking about what the band has lined up for the next few days on the tour and what still needs to be done to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. In addition to the gigs themselves, PlanB will often shoot footage for one or two music videos.  So it’s usually out for a meal to taste the local cuisine, wash it down with a couple of beers, then back to my room for the ‘admin’ side of rock’n’roll – possibly (no, definitely) with a couple of additional beverages.

The country you want to visit:  
I’m a travel-holic and constantly looking for new places to visit and cultures to experience. One country that I haven’t visited and would dearly love to do so before it loses its cultural identity and colonial architecture is Cuba. 

A stage habit or superstition you have:  
No superstitions, but with regard to stage habits, probably the only thing that springs to mind is that I try to avoid standing immediately in front of the brass section.  Besides being so loud, the chances of getting clipped in the back of the head by the trombone slide are extremely high.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:   
Whilst living in Beijing, I used to play bass guitar with a band called The Vodka Gods and we performed an eclectic set of what could loosely be described as ‘music’ at a major real estate opening with well known Chinese bands, Cobra (China’s first all girl rock band) and hard rock band Tang Dynasty.  Most people didn’t know that, and it’s probably for the better.

A question from last week’s participant, Justin Frew:  Does a dog ever stop loving you? And are cats ever loyal?    
In my experience a) usually not and b) yes it is possible.  

A question for next week’s participant:  What was the third song of the second set played by PlanB at the Hard Rock Café on Saturday 1st February?

Steve Porte Photo of the Week

Mirasol Aguila, Farm to Table, April 2019

Let us know about your upcoming gigs, events, news and interesting activities: send information to gigs@lengpleng.com.

Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps. 

your correspondent,

Guillermo Wheremount



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