Weekly Wrap - Commencing Thursday The 04th 2017

Pavel Ramirez will be marking Cinco de Mayo this Friday with a solo show at Tacos Kokopelli in Phnom Penh. The Chilean-Swedish guitarist has a dexterous style – smoother than a cinnamon horchata and perfectly suited to some laid-back latino cadences. Pavel will be playing his regular repertoire with the addition of some special tracks to celebrate the Mexican holiday.

Ode to Mandalay: RTM packed Alchemy at their EP launch event March last. Pic: Steve Porte.

Road to Mandalay will be playing another set of all-original alternative rock down at Bassac Lanes later on Friday. T-shirts will be on sale alongside CD copies of the band’s eponymous debut release. Click here to check out Leng Pleng’s recent interview with the band and download a digital copy of their EP via bandcamp, itunes and other channels.

More quality original songs over in the Russian Market area on Saturday afternoon, when pianist/singer-songwriter Katie Whyte plays the opening party of rooftop bar Sundown Social Club.  The cocktail bar, overlooking Psar Tuol Tumpung, is the latest in a series of new watering holes, restaurants, coffee shops, boutique retailers and, even, music venues rapidly springing up in this area over the past twelve months. A year ago, we were wandering up and down Streets 155 and 163 wondering ‘why are there no bars here?’. Nowadays, much like the ‘Tonle Bassac’ area around Street 308 in Phnom Penh, it seems that there is something new each time one visits. I’ll take the craft ales and the gourmet coffee but the traffic-choked streets and exorbitant rents are hard to accept. Canny real estate agents have even sought to cash-in on the cachet by creatively expanding the limits of ‘Russian Market Area’ to include large swathes of Boeung Trabek, Daeum Thkov and even the backstreets of Boeung Tumpun. But I will shut up about ‘gentrification’ before I begin to sound like a rancorous old expat, counting beer-mats in a riverside cafe.

Get in the Penh is the brainchild of Ned Kelly and Mike Priest, two Cambodian-based metalheads who have already succeeded in attracting many regional and international name bands to the humble environs of Showbox and Oscar’s On The Corner. The good work continues at Oscar’s on Saturday with a quadruple bill featuring the excellent Vietnamese bands In Your Eyes and Lolotica, backed up by Phnom Penh favourites Sliten6ix and Nightmare A.D. Check out the Get in the Penh Facebook for latest updates.

This week marks one year since the passing of the ultimate Phnom Penh rock’n’roll hero, Michael ‘Big Mike’ Hsu – principal owner/operator of Sharky Bar. Musicians at Sharky’s – the famous Street 130 bar and venue which Mike heralded as ‘the longest running rock’n’roll bar in Indochina’ will be jamming with Mike in mind on Saturday and Sunday evening. On Monday night, Scott Bywater will be hosting an open mic at Good Times Bar – the bijou venue owned and operated by Mike’s former protege Shuhei Murakami, where a portrait of the big man smiles down from the behind the bar. When I seat myself on a Good Times stool and order up a beer, I can almost hear Mike say, conspiratorially, whilst leaning in towards me… how about a shot of whisky with that?

One year since the passing of Big Mike left an unfillable void in the Phnom Penh music scene. Portrait by Conrad Keely.

 

 

Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!

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JOE WRIGLEY

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