On Friday the big event is one called Divercity Volume 5, staged by High Depth Music, a Toronto based creative platform that has previously put on shows across Canada, spreading to Cape Coast, Ghana, and now for their fifth event, Phnom Penh. “The concept of Divercity inspires unity through music and bringing together a wide range of cultures, genres and sounds.” The show, at Duplex Grand Café (formerly Chinese House), starts early at 5 pm, headlined by Vartey Ganiva, with Pocket Change, Geography of the Moon, the Sidewalk Cellist, Amanda Bloom and Jeff Sleeman among the other performers on the bill.
Elsewhere Josh and Denver (two thirds of The Boxchords) play all things British at Farm to Table, Geography of the Moon are at Botanico, new duo Anthony and Femke are on at Alchemy, and Gerard and Metta jazz on at L.A.B. (formerly The Bodleian). For something louder, Cloud are celebrating Friday 13th with a metal show featuring Doch Chkae and Reign in Slumber, contrasting with the Hard Rock Café’s Band@Work doing a Hollywood soundtrack tribute, while visiting Celtic punk outfit The Bloody Marys will be rocking Bassac Lane and The Conspiracy Theory taking on Oscar’s on the Corner.
Also on Friday night the soft opening of HClub, a new clubbing venue on Street 308 on the site of the former LF Social Club (note: LF Social has reopened at the former LF Garden site a few doors down).
On Saturday afternoon Peter Doyle is poolside at Villa Grange, and Music Arts School hold their monthly teacher concert featuring a violinist and pianist from Switzerland. In the evening Pocket Change get it on at LF Social Club, Chi-Town are out at Alchemy, Scott Bywater is solo at Botanico and Cloud host a Latin night with Poca de Feo and Marleny. Meanwhile, Geography of the Moon play The Vine, the Phnom Penh Golden Record Band are at Hard Rock Café, The Goldilocks Zone are at Ege Bar, Sinville Roadshow are at Sundance and The Bloody Marys are at Oscar’s on the Corner.
For those in Kampot this weekend, Kampot Playboys are at Banyan Tree on Friday, and on Saturday night, The Plantation Kampot hosts the electronic hiphop wizardry of Funan Beat Empire.
For those wishing to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on the day, The Bloody Marys will return to Oscar’s on Tuesday night – early start at 9 pm with the house band K’n’E following at 11 pm.
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The Leng Pleng Weekly Feature
With St Patrick’s Day in their sights, Darwin band The Bloody Marys have landed in Phnom Penh to bring us their Celtic/ska/punk blend of sounds for a handful of gigs. One of their number, Dan Davies, a frequent visitor to Cambodia in recent years with Jigsaw Collective and other acts, spoke to Leng Pleng this week.
“A side project, The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum, that does second wave English ska punk, performed in Phnom Penh a few years ago, and we recorded Iggy Pop’s Candy with Srey Ka at Oscar’s on the Corner for the Angkor Pop album. I don’t know if it’s a full circle or a full figure of eight that we’re doing. We’re back here with some of the same people and some other people, and pulling in [local drummer] Mike Forster (Phnom Skor, Checkered Past). There’s some crossover of material from the Lunatics – The Bloody Marys is a bit more focused on Celtic punk, and because we’re here for St Patrick’s Day in particular we put a lot more focus on traditional jigs, reels and hornpipes, slightly punked up.”
Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
Joe Wrigley. Joe’s been a backbone of the scene for years now, best known for his work with rockabilly outfit Joe & the Jumping Jacks and mixed Khmer and English crossover band Miss Sarawan, and more recently his music and events company Above and Beyond. In his time both onstage and backstage he’s pretty much seen it all. “I am too new-school to have a 1990’s or 2000’s gun-at-the-gig story. Things I see as crazy might not be an issue to most. Relaxed attitude to basic Health and Safety. Rigging up a 20,000 watt sound system to a little 5-amp power extension with thin gauge cable and wondering why it catches fire. Electrical cables submerged in water. Band playing on as a deluge of water comes down from a hole in the roof directly on to the stage. “Awt ban-ya-ha”.
Your pet musical hate:
Lol – that’s a potentially provocative question to start with! Musicians like to complain about other musicians, it soothes their own insecurities, makes them feel better about themselves. Myself included. Pet musical hate? Bad attitude is the enemy of good music. Playing music is a collaboration, a team effort, a conversation. It doesn’t matter what skill level you are playing at, if you come into a group situation with the wrong attitude, it won’t work. Having a positive approach and being able to listen are far more important than technical knowledge.
A private musical indulgence:
The Beast and Dragon, Adored by Spoon – I can’t get over that track. That is a stirring emotional anthem for me, not sure why. A very good pre-show anthem. Or walking down the street half-drunk anthem.
The year you first came to Cambodia:
An early music memory:
Dad’s record collection. Bob Marley: Legend. Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks. TV show: Top of The Pops. Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue made a big impression. Timmy Mallet.
Your favourite food:
Spicy Tex-Mex stuff.
What you do on a night off:
Eat spicy Tex-Mex stuff.
The country you want to visit:
I need to do several music cities in the U.S.A.: New Orleans, Nashville, Austin…
A stage habit or superstition you have:
It’s very good luck to tune your guitar before you start the show. Other than that, big up the people standing next to you on the stage. You are about to go on a privileged journey together. You are about to do something a lot of people wish they could do.
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
I once took a language course in Catalan.
A question from last week’s participant, DJ Sequence: Roland TR808 or TR909? If you don’t know what they are, look them up!
Neither. The seminal equivalent product of my era was the Roland MC-303 Groovebox. I came of age in the late nineties, post-internet but a little before digital in-the-box production had taken over everything. So when I studied music at college we were on the cusp between everything being recorded on analog tape and everything being recorded on a hard disk inside your computer. This was also the brief era of the minidisc. In that in-between time we used sampling/trigger devices like the Akai MPC. Hardware samplers triggered by Cubase running MIDI. Drum machines/sequencers like the Alesis SR16 and the Roland MC-303.
A question for next week’s participant: You have one magic ticket to a gig. Travel back in time to see one artist at one event. Who, when and where?
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
Uncomfortably White Brothers, Sundance Inn & Saloon, March 7, 2020
Let us know about your upcoming gigs, events, news and interesting activities: send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.