Friday night I was without a gig, but as I was loaning my drum kit and a couple of amplifiers to Talking to a Stranger for their hosting of the Curtis King Band, in from Vietnam for the weekend, I took the chance to catch up on this well known outfit. And a rousing old show it was. They had a few friends joining in as well, making the stage quite crowded for the most part. Part high school band, part rock theatre, part pantomime, part oldies jukebox, part inexplicable circus show ... essentially hard define as anything other than what it is.
During the break a special performance of a few songs by the Cambodian Space Project changed the style briefly, and the night ended with something of a jam with Melanie Brew making one of her rare but treasured appearances.
The Lazy Jazz Drunks, on Saturday night at Rory's, attempted to pull together an unusual combination of instruments - vocals, guitar, drums and accordion - that almost succeeded in spite of itself. However, after the first set a delegation of angry neighbours showed up to complain about the noise, and the scene got all aggro ... culminating in a gunshot, probably a starter pistol but in any case enough of a cue for the band to quietly begin packing up. Methinks not so much live music at Rory's for some time.
I took advantage of the early finish to head up to Sharky's, where I was lucky enough to hear some blues featuring not-on-Phnom-Penh-stages-often-enough singer Kristin Rasmussen, and some scorching harp from Aussie Ken along with more of the same from the all-singing-all-dancing Curtis King Band.
The Hellhounds were on at Talking to a Stranger on Sunday evening, chewing through a couple of sets to a very respectable crowd, including a generous helping of dancing children, but missing the Swedish Ambassador, currently in hibernation in Sverige. We were pleased to welcome the bluesy folk guitar and songs of Seattle performer Paul Benoit (http://www.paulbenoitmusic.com) who played a few tunes to preview his gig on Wednesday (also with the Hellhounds supporting) with some drum and harmonica assistance. He'll be worth checking out - Talking to a Stranger, December 23rd from 8 pm.
Next week also look out for the Cambodian Space Project at La Croissette on Christmas night and on the river cruise on Boxing Day - contact the Alley Cat for tickets before the 24th.
Don't take any wooden money folks.