December is just around the corner, and Leng Pleng is already excited about what will be on the agenda. In the meantime, tonight is the US holiday Thanksgiving, and we have many options in Phnom Penh to go out and be thankful. The Sundance Kings are at Sundance, there’s a night of music with Peter and Paco and Graham and Hugo at Ponytails Bar, TheBlueSouls are at Trattoria Bello, Pavel hosts an open mic at Good Times Bar and the jam is back at Ege Bar, and The Extraordinary Chambers blast it out late at Oscar’s on the Corner. If you’re up in Siem Reap, Casafaro presents African grooves at Laundry Bar.
Friday night Intan Andriana & Friends take on the Ella Fitzgerald songbook at Green Pepper, Hard Rock Café host a Queen tribute night, the Boxchords are at Bassac Lane and there’s another art exhibition and music night at Good Times X. The Khmer Magic Music Bus is at Bouchon, The Usual Suspects are at Alchemy, Whiskey Got Groove are at Duplex, and Major/Minor are at Ege Bar. Acoustically, Alisha is at Cloud, while Greg Beshers makes a rare solo appearance at Oscar’s on the Corner, with K’n’E to follow.
On Saturday night Clay George will perform an equally rare solo gig at Botanico, Mirasol & Arone are at Alchemy, Hugo hosts an open mic at Little Susie, and Indian classical music combo PRERNA are at Cloud. TheBlueSouls play at urban resort The Pavilion, while Psykic Elektric, with Initial Dynamo, are at Boran House. The Schkoots return to Oscar’s on the Corner, followed by K’n’E.
Kampot Radio is once again holding its annual Top 100 Of All Time event, and is looking for submissions of your three favourite songs, which will then go to a public vote and the whole list counted down on New Year’s Eve. Check it out on their Facebook page.
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Passing Chords: a few things you might not know about…
Vincent Noble Biputra. Bass player about town – you’ll have seen him with all manner of bands. In Sihanoukville he played with The Barangutans, GC Riders, Wild Flowers, Adobo, and Woody Dares. In Kampot there’s been Svetnek, Motherfunkers, F#ck the Guitarist, Note from Girly Bar, and Fruition. In Siem Reap, Claudia Jones. In Phnom Penh he’s been part of The Electric Socks, Oldies, Havana Kings, The Leng Pleng Allstars, Sinville Roadshow, Intan Andriana & Friends, The Flip Flops, and No Name Don’t Ask. His current bands are The BlueSouls (this Saturday at The Pavilion), The zargz Experience (Tuesdays at Oscar’s on the Corner), Rondom, But Of Course, and Whiskey Got Groove (this Friday at Duplex).
A pet musical hate:
I hated having to read the notes in scores while at music school. My teacher was a jazz player, and he said we are not classical musicians, just memorise it. I can read but not as good as a classical musician.
A private musical indulgence:
Marcus Miller, or my first bass inspiration Victor Wooten. Marcus has really nice catchy, tasty grooves. Victor is also tasty, technically tasty. They now have a trio together with Stanley Clark, SMV
The year you first came to Cambodia:
2015. I had a broken heart. I was in music school in my home town, I quit my job to study music. My girlfriend broke up with me, maybe that’s why. And a job offer came to me – do you want to work in Cambodia? Sure, why not.
An early music memory:
My mother and her brothers, they loved music. My grandmother had a record player, and ordered rock music records from Paris that couldn’t be found in Indonesia – Michael Jackson, Queen, Deep Purple, Metallica, Guns’n’Roses. One of my uncles really loved Guns’n’Roses.
The last thing you had to eat:
A hot dog.
What you do on a night off:
Play video games, watch a movie. Maybe if there’s a gig coming I might need to do some practice by myself.
A country you want to visit:
A lot! Japan, Canada, USA, and France.
A book or movie you keep going back to:
Whiplash. The story of the drummer, how hard the teacher is, and how hard the life is.
What languages can you speak?
Bahasa, English, Hokkien.
Your primary instrument, and when you started playing it:
I’ve been playing bass since the end of my first year of high school, 2005. My high school had a rock band and I wanted to play guitar, but there were too many people who wanted to play guitar, and no one wanted to play bass. My friend told me, Vincent, please play bass, I’m begging you. Okay. I went to church every Sunday, and there was a bass player there who I started to study with – he showed me a Victor Wooten video. Wow! He told me the bass is a really difficult instrument. I thought really? It’s supposed to be the easiest ones. Less strings less work, right?
Something people might be surprised to know about you:
When I came to Cambodia I worked in an office, it was really hard work, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with no day off in six months. I was viewing websites to make content. The office moved to Sihanoukville, which is where my music began, I met musicians jamming at Otres Market. I met Graham Cain, and he brought me to Phnom Penh. I was still working in the office, they allowed me to play – still working 12 hours a day, music at night. But then some people got jealous, told my boss I was sleeping on the job. They told me to choose: work here or play music? I told him I want to play music, so I quit the job.
You have a time machine and a magic ticket to one gig or festival in the past. What do you choose?
I’d love to see Jaco Pastorius, at any time. He’s the root of every great bass player.
A question from last week’s participant, Ieva Zdram: what are you most afraid might happen while you are on stage?
I have heard some stories about accidents on stage, a speaker blowing up, a lighting rig falling.
Want to list? Contact us at email@example.com.
Leng Pleng also recommends the Facebook page Phnom Penh Open Mic as a resource for finding fellow players.
Steve Porte Photo of the Week
That week when Smegma Riot came to town. Oscar’s on the Corner, 31 December 2017.
Let us know about any musical activities we haven’t captured: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe out there, and see you around the traps.