Weekly wrap – Commencing Thursday 6 February 2020


Closing out their Cambodian tour this weekend are PlanB, with a hospital benefit in Siem Reap tonight, followed by a Hard Rock Café Angkor show on Friday before winding up their tour at Sharky Bar on Saturday night.

Friday in Phnom Penh kicks off with regular visitor Donnie Pardell at Farm to Table with his loopy reggae, while Sophie and Phil play a Prohibition Night at The K’s, the Boxchords are at L.A.B., Gonzalo and Poca are at Botanico, and Antonio El Chico leads his trio at AlchemyThe Sock Essentials kick off their No Matter What February Is tour at Tacos Kokopelli, while Randy Cataluna is at Red Bar, and Cloud host a Latin night.  More uptempo sounds can be found at Bassac Lane with Sinville Roadshow and Pocket Change at Oscar’s on the Corner, and Band@Work present a Queen tribute night at Hard Rock Café Phnom Penh.

On Saturday Josh and Denver are at Botanico, the Billy Page Trio is at Alchemy, Sophie and Phil do social salsa at Duplex, and Joe and the Jumping Jacks return for a big show at Oscar’s on the Corner.  Hitting the road, The Sock Essentials head for Kampot to play The Magic Sponge.

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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature

Around the traps once more

New from Battered Hat Creations this week is a book: Around the Traps, a collection of interviews and writings about music in Phnom Penh in 2019 by Scott Bywater, pieces originally published in the Khmer Times and Leng Pleng.  It’s yours for only $8, and if you’ve contributed or been featured it’s discounted to $5 (for multiple copies – you know your mum wants to have one too).    Email gigs@lengpleng.com to reserve your copy.

For this week’s feature, Scott picked out some of his favourite quotes from the book to share.

Mike Dynamo:
“When I moved here I was trying to be an adult.  I was done with music, I’m going to be in business. I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

Tep Modyka (Srey Ka):
“So now I know a lot of the titles of the songs, like Highway To Hell, It’s A Long Way [To The Top] – I feel like, that’s why these songs have a lot of highways – when I go there I see highways everywhere.”

Mathias Aspelin:
“Cambodia is warm people in a place where wealthy individuals can decide whether to invest in casinos or education.”

Read the whole feature here

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

Photo: supplied

Donnie Pardell.  After a lifetime in music, Donnie has taken to escaping Canadian winters in South East Asia – he describes his time playing in Phuket (1998 – 2012) as “my Hotel California years”.  Since then it’s been mostly Cambodia and Vietnam: these days he tours with an acoustic guitar, a looper and bass player Rob “The Wolfman” Wolfe, and he’s back visiting Phnom Penh, one of his favourite cities – they’ll be at Farm to Table on Friday 7.

Your pet musical hate:
Anything produced by David Foster, except The Tubes.  I once worked with a producer who was one of his proteges, so he made us play like machines – good pitch and good timing but the music sounded like Celine Dion and the mix did too.  Anything he does makes me cringe.  Except The Tubes.

A private musical indulgence:
Seven year Havana Club rum on Otres Beach with my acoustic guitar at Papa Pippos Bungalows on a sunny afternoon.

The year you first came to Cambodia:
1999, a visa run from Phuket.  And went to Sharky Bar and Martini Bar – that’s all there was.

An early music memory:
In my family there were six of us, I was the youngest, and my mother was a musical fanatic – she had us all up singing for a music festival when I was five years old.  We sang a Gordon Lightfoot song, Cotton Jenny.  I still play it sometimes.

Your favourite food:
I don’t have favourites, I just change it up.

What you do on a night off:
In Canada I stay home and work on my sports cars.  I also work as a sound engineer for bands – usually I never had a night off because if I wasn’t playing I was mixing sound.  For years and years it was seven nights a week on Queen Street West, Toronto – the hub of music in Canada.

The country you want to visit:
Well, anywhere cheap and warm for us Canadians.  Colombia seems to be another alternative to South East Asia.

A stage habit or superstition you have:
Not really.  My hair gets in my face, that’s all – so the habit of brushing it out of the way.  It doesn’t seem to want to stay, particularly if there’s a fan.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I was the sound man for many up and coming stars, including the Bare Naked Ladies – I turned down tours doing sound with big bands because I still wanted to play, to maintain my group, the Hopping
, which was Canada’s biggest bar band in the 80s.

A question from last week’s participant, Sneaky Pete: What was the third song of the second set played by PlanB at the Hard Rock Café on Saturday 1st February?
I wasn’t there but I’d make a guess:  Pick up the pieces by Average White Band – every band with horns plays that.

A question for next week’s participant:
Are you most at home in the studio environment or playing live gigs?

Steve Porte Photo of the Week

The Checkered Past horn section: Sean, Lauren, Veronika, blasting Cloud on 31 January 2020.

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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