Weekly wrap – Commencing Thursday 13 February 2020


Tonight you have the choice of everything from Drums of Cambodia at the French Institute to Corizon Latino at L.A.B. to Ernie Buck at Sundance to The Schkoots at Bassac Land.  Not to mention the Extraordinary Chambers at Oscar’s on the Corner.

On Friday night, Scotch’n’Soda offer jazz standards at Farm to Table, Blues Routes bring blues to Botanico, Peter Doyle is acoustic at Mojito’s, Larry and Pristine are stylish at L.A.B., and the Duo Brothers are at Red Bar.  For louder experiences, the My Indie Valentine event at Cloud brings together Sangvar Day, Simoun and Psykic Elektric, while The Uncomfortably White Brothers trouble everyone at Bassac Lane, Geography of the Moon take on Alchemy, The Schkoots are at Bassac Land, and it’s a Valentine’s Day tribute at Hard Rock Café with Band@WorkK’n’E hold the line at Oscar’s on the Corner.

Once Valentine’s Day fever has settled down on Saturday, Graham Cain’s new band Urban Luxury (featuring Soun Vutha) debuts at Sharky Bar, and Chi-Town play Hard Rock Café Phnom Penh.  Also the Miss Sarawan Duo is at Botanico, Arome Khmer is at Cloud, and the Mirasol Trio is at Alchemy.

Also of particular note this Saturday is the reopening of LF Social Club (in the corner location formerly known as LF Garden) with Havana Kings.  A stage has been erected, and we look forward to hearing LF’s plans for live music on-going.

Out of Phnom Penh on Thursday, Star Bar in Siem Reap hosts Geography of the Moon, while Plantation Kampot has Billy Page & Traveller Billy.  Also in Kampot, Friday sees the Kampot Playboys at Banyan Tree and on Saturday The Uncomfortably White Brothers are at Magic Sponge.  Come Tuesday, Bamboo Train and Ant Colloff are at Karma Traders.

On Sunday Tuff Bass Collective return for their monthly reggae poolside session at The Eighty8.


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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature

Perhaps the end, perhaps not

Founded way back in 2013, Sangvar Day – who describe themselves as alternative/prog rock – are still standing (just) and you can catch them this weekend at Cloud as part of the all-original My Indie Valentine night with shoegazers Simoun and the soul/funk/disco of Psykic Elektric.  Sangvar Day lead singer Robin Narciso told some of the story to Leng Pleng.

“I was not the first singer in the band, they started with another singer and did a few gigs with her, but after six months she quit.  I arrived in Cambodia and after about two weeks I was in the band.  The first thing that I did was look up Leng Pleng and saw an announcement: looking for a singer in a rock band.  And not only rock but grunge!  Yes!”

Read the whole feature here 

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

Photo: David Flack

Brin Wood.  Formerly and formally known as Brian Wood, a couple of years ago Facebook misspelled his name and turned him into Brin – and it stuck.  After spending much of his youth playing in California with his band The Boogiemen he left music behind for 20 years, only to return to it after moving to Siem Reap.  Recently he relocated to Phnom Penh, and he can be found playing here and there, both solo and with his band The Hollywood Hot Dogs.

Your pet musical hate:

The critics.  I’d agree with Mozart: damn the critics.  If they could play they would.  They only write about it or complain about it because they can’t.

A private musical indulgence:

I love playing Latin percussion, bad as I am at it – all the little ones, the maracas.  I love those instruments.  I talked to Steve Allen one night on the radio, and I asked him if you could just be a musician for a night instead of being Steve Allen, and just be in the band, what would you play?  He said nobody has never asked me that question in my life – and said he’d like to be the conga player.   I can relate to that.

The year you first came to Cambodia:

I moved to Asia in 2012, and I first came to Cambodia in 2013.

An early music memory:

The Beatles’ first American TV appearance, on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.  I was six or seven.  My father hated The Beatles.  My parents told me it would be too late and I’d have to go to bed, and I said no way, if I have to run away from home to go watch it in front of the television shop I will.  Before that all I cared about was Mozart, Gilbert and Sullivan, Beethoven.  After I saw The Beatles, I said that’s it.  Ironically my father became a huge Beatles fan later in life, and one of my favourite quotes is from him:  “Well, there’s Beethoven, Mozart, The Beatles… and everybody else.”

Your favourite food:

I love French cuisine.  But if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life it would have to be tacos carnitas – with beans and rice.

What you do on a night off:

Usually find my other drunken musical friends and hang out with them.

The country you want to visit:

I haven’t been to Amsterdam yet.  The Van Gogh Museum is number one on my bucket list.  He opened my eyes.  I shall never paint a sunflower, it’s been done.

A stage habit or superstition you have:

I’ve learned you cannot have such a thing as a lucky pick.

Something people might be surprised to know about you:

After I retired, before I moved permanently to Asia, I was asked by the local high school board to act as a kind of liaison between the administration and the students – somebody to help the kids sort out their problems so that they didn’t have to go straight to counselling, didn’t have to go straight to the administration.  Many of the kids just didn’t have adequate skills to deal with problems, so they got involved in guns, abuse, that sort of thing.   My job was to be there, be friendly, approachable and support the kids.  It was a great job, I really loved it, and I did it for nine years on and off.

A question from last week’s participant, Donnie Pardell: are you most at home in the studio environment or playing live gigs?

Live.  Absolutely.  When I used to do studio stuff with my band and we got done recording I would say, okay, I’m leaving.  And they say: we’re going to mix it now.  And I said have fun.  Don’t you want to help?  You don’t want me to help.  If I’m in there it’ll never get done.  Optionitis – and then pretty soon I’ll say just throw it out.

A question for next week’s participant:

Is being a musician a blessing or a curse?  And why?

Steve Porte Photo of the Week

Mark Chattaway serenading the mixing desk at The Pond, Kampot, December 2016

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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