Gig Guide – Week Commencing Thursday the 2nd of January 2014

Kheltica have all the qualities of a great
Phnom Penh band. A large ensemble of musicians hailing from five different
continents. A bizarre blend of styles and ideas that somehow coalesce into a
unique and strong sound. A charismatic lead singer able to command the
attention of everyone in the room. The guys from Kheltica have had a
couple of days to recover from their New Year hangovers before taking the stage
at Slur Bar tonight. Their full line-up includes multiple violins and vocals,
piano, drums and percussion, mandolin, bass and whatever other instruments they
can pick up from the music store on the way to the gig. The band that gives local
sound technicians sleepless nights might struggle to squeeze on to the Slur
stage this Thursday. In the spirit of goodwill, two-metre-tall guitarist Andre
has offered to play this one from the comfort of the bar.

No such standing room restrictions at Oscars 51, where the man who built a stage and sound system large enough to rival any Phnom Penh venue hosts three different bands over this coming weekend. Some unfamiliar names to Jack – Boom Baar, MWAUKA & The Gang and The Pulse. A little research has yielded the information that Boom Baar are a group of young Khmer guys performing original songs in the emotive rock/post-rock style, while MWAUKA & The Gang are the full backing group of one-woman tornado Esther MWAUKA. I was recently fortunate enough to witness the bizarre sight of this young French-Congolese lady leading several hundred people in a chorus of ‘We Will Rock You’ – from her position on a Siem Reap rooftop. 
Unfortunately I cannot tell you much
about The Pulse other than that they are purveyors of ‘Classic covers
and songs of request’. All of this activity at Oscars will be good preparation
for a visit from The Cambodian Space Project next weekend. This gig should
really put the new venue on the map. I only hope that Oscar’s PA system,
sometimes driven to smoke-inducing levels of sound, will keep up with the pace!
The first live music of the New Year
at Equinox this Saturday will be a night of contrasting styles. Both Billy
and Adelisa are accomplished solo acoustic
singer-songwriters. The similarities pretty much end there. Billy has a
rough-edged, raw style and hits his guitar strings hard. Adelisa is a
sweet-voiced Filipina songstress who melts hearts with her soft ballad style.
At every gig, at least two male members of the audience fall in love with
her. Billy Page is originally from the UK and has been touring South East Asia
Another week – another national
holiday in Cambodia. This Tuesday the 7th of January is the politically
contentious ‘Victory Day’. If you are not aware of the meaning of this public
holiday then I will leave you to find out for yourself. Politics is not within
the remit of this column, and a brief, unlearned explanation would oblige me to
use a lot of potentially biased language (the holiday has different names and significance
depending on one’s political leanings). I mention it only because Tuesday will
be a great opportunity to get down to Sihanoukville, where The Cambodian
Space Project
are going to be rocking Otres Market. The Market is a
weekly happening of live music, general revelry and an opportunity for browsing
stalls set up on Otres Lake. Normally taking place every Saturday, Otres
will be in full swing for the holiday on the 7th.
In the meantime those crazy kids on
Otres Beach will be keeping the Sihanoukville seasonal party vibe going through
to Friday the 3rd with what The Cambodian Beach Project
hyperbolically describe as ‘the most Epic Beach Party Cambodia has ever seen’. Hard-working
decksmiths Polaak, CAB, DSN and Salmon Allstar
will be joined at Ritchie’s Bar by Vietnamese MC Kimmese.
Jack’s party power is all but used up
following the joyful craziness of Bondarnh Leng Pleng at Sharky
last week and a particularly taxing New Year’s Eve in Siem Reap. It was
quite a shock for me to encounter Pub Street at 2am on January 1st.
For a moment I thought I had been transported to the downtown area of some
Mediterranean party destination. Dance music blasting from every bar at ear-drum-perforating
volume. Throngs of loud, wobbling, drunken tourists packed shoulder to shoulder
like cattle in a truck. Piles of plastic cups, broken glass and unidentified
black sludge lining the 200 metres of pedestrianized avenue. Perhaps I’m
getting old, but I could venture only partway into this melee before turning back,
overawed, towards my hotel.             
If you’re around any of the venues in
Siem Reap tonight, I hope we will get the chance to say hello. I’ll leave you with
a taste of UK singer-songwriter Billy Page performing at the famous 12-bar club
in London. Seeing this video brings a tear of nostalgia to my eye, as the last time I
visited this Soho venue I was ejected from the premises. Perhaps I was having a
little too much of a good time but I did feel that the security staff
overreacted. I was just getting into the music and expressing myself – whilst swinging
semi-naked from the wooden beams above the dancefloor like an overweight

Wherever you are – stay safe, Happy
New Year and don’t do anything Jack wouldn’t do.
small and sweaty internet cafe, Siem Reap.

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Latest Gigs

  • 9:00 PM
    Louise Norup and Barry Speirs at
    The Groove
  • 9:30 PM
    Kheltica at
    The Slur Bar
  • 11:00 PM
    DJ Rob Bianche , DJ Shaman and Kimmesse Emotion at
  • 9:00 PM
    Phil and Guest
    The Groove
  • 9:00 PM
    DJ DSN , DJ Cab , DJ Polaak and Salmon All Star at
    Ritchies Bar in Sihanoukville
  • 9:30 PM
    Boom Baar at
    Oscars 51
  • 9:30 PM
    Joe Wrigley & The Jumping Jacks at
    The Slur Bar
  • 10:30 PM
    DJ Tim Coates and Mikus at
    The RiverHouse Lounge
  • 11:00 PM
    DJ Gang and DJ Rob at
  • 5:00 PM
    CamboJam at
    Shinta Mani in Siem Reap
  • 9:00 PM
    Billy Page and Adelisa at
  • 9:00 PM
    DJ Funkelastiks and Alan Ritchie at
    Meta House
  • 9:00 PM
    Phil and Guest
    The Groove
  • 9:30 PM
    MWAUKA & The Gang at
    Oscars 51
  • 11:00 PM
    DJ Illest and DJ Eclectik at
  • 9:30 PM
    The Pulse at
    Oscars 51
  • 8:00 PM
    The Cambodian Space Project at
    The Otres Market in Sihanoukville
  • 7:30 PM
    Gabi Faja , Philippe Javelle and Barry Speirs at
    The Doors
  • 9:30 PM
    Lady and the Tramp at
    The Slur Bar
Coming Up
  • Marsyas at Equinox
  • Jahzad at Equinox
  • Vibratone at Equinox
  • Diego Demarques Trio at Equinox
  • Jaworski 7 at Equinox
  • Sonic Detergent at Equinox, The Slur Bar
  • The Wanderlusters * at Equinox
  • Double-Whammy at Doors
  • Pop Music Quiz Night at Equinox
  • The Cambodian Space Project at Oscars 51
  • X-Pat Sound System at Meta House
  • DJ Tonle Dub, DJ Mercy and Tba at Meta House
  • Sapbai Hanukkah Klezmer Band at Meta House
  • Reggae & Dub at Meta House
  • Swagger at Meta House at Meta House
  • Electric Universe at Meta House
  • Belgian Beats at Meta House
  • DJ Cut Killer at Pontoon
  • DJ F.U.D and DJ JO at Meta House
  • DJane Sao Sopheak at Meta House
  • DJ Gang and DJ Rob at Pontoon
  • Dennis Shaw Aka D-Rakkas at The RiverHouse Lounge
  • Dr. Wah Wah and DJ Nico at Meta House
  • The Cuban Brothers * at Code

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