Wednesday, November 10, 2010

on sabbatical.  for a while. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Catching up: 6 - 24 October 2010

Your correspondent has been in some kind of sabbatical mood for a couple of weeks, but just wants to note a few exciting developments and events that have taken place recently.

The first is the sudden appearance (at Setsara Sessions just before Pchum Ben) of the cool gypsy jazz duo Balgass (Seb and Deb), who walked out of the night and into the open mic and were quickly snapped up by clever bar managers all over the city.  They have since played Equinox, Chinese House and Paddy Rice, making a particular impact at Equinox on Thursday nights providing live music for swing dancing; they also picked up a bass player along the way.  They are only here for a limited time so catch them if you can.

Also on the list are the Eastern Jazz Brigade - a crowd of faces familiar to PP music fans -- who have been pumping out some inspired post-bop jazz at places like Gasolina, Equinox and Le Jardin, and soon at Chinese House.

I also want to note the return of the Mekong Pirates after a four-month absence (some of which has been taken up working on a CD - check out http://mprecordingsessions.blogspot.com for a technically dense but humorous and rewarding story of the difficulties encountered in trying to overcome Cambodian recording conditions).  They played Chinese House last weekend and rocked.  I  particularly enjoyed the new cohesion in the guitar section, with some great wah-wah noise sneaking its way into the sonic mosaic. 

The Cambodian Space Project has continued to be involved in some interesting gigs, notably two gigs at the Chinese House, first as part of the Kon Khmer Kuon Khmer Golden Era of Cinema weekend, and then a mighty night to launch our 45 rpm vinyl single, Knyom Mon Sok Jet Te.  We were able to invite some of the great musicians of the vinyl era who put on a wonderful performance.  Some of the excitement was captured by Andy Brouwer.   The CSP was also involved in the Cambodian International Film Festival, surviving some spectacularly poor organisation by the events company involved to play briefly at the opening on Wednesday night and then after the closing on Sunday night outside Chaktomuk Theatre.   

See you soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jams, boats, buses and birthday parties: 23 September - 2 October 2010

I got kind of distracted and suddenly I’m a week behind in updates. Way back last week I went to the Electric Eclectic Limelight Jukebox Jam at Paddy Rice, hosted by Melanie, where a variety of performers signed up and took part in a subdued setting – the venue is a difficult one for performers as there are a lot of hard surfaces leading to not particularly great acoustics, and rather too many televisions for a place putting on live music. Melanie was assisted by Paul and Gem, and I threw in a couple myself for a small but enthusiastic audience.


On Friday night the Cambodian Space Project went aquatic, playing for a birthday party on a boat on the Tonle Sap, then Saturday night played Paddy Rice for a large and liquid crowd. I made it for the second set, having with the Swedish Ambassador re-launched D’Sco: The Geckos of Love as Pswingology, playing for the swing dancing group Phnom Penh Pswings’ night at Chinese House, as part of their big swing weekend. Noteworthy was the return of the medley sickness, that manifested itself in a 12 minute 12-bar marathon that almost caused soft tissue damage in those dancers who insisted on trying to keep up.

The highlight of the weekend, though, was the CSP’s trip to Khlaeng Poar Tboung, the village in Kampong Speu that is home to our fabulous drummer Bong Sak. I don’t think I can put it better than Andy Brouwer did … and re the Paddy Rice gig, and ongoing sound problems – yes, we are working on it.

And then suddenly another week was underway, back at the Phnom Penh Acoustic Sessions at Setsara on Wednesday night. This was a particularly special night because we were able to veer away from the white-guys-singing-in-English (lovely though we all are)(and not ignoring the gorgeous French contributions we get) format by having a series of fantastic Khmer performers, including local music veterans and staff from the Top Banana. I confidently predict we will one night have the next Sinn Sisamouth emerging from the crowd of motodops waiting patiently outside. The mix of people taking part is inspiring in a city that still is largely segregated in terms of performance. But perhaps I’m just going to the wrong places.

And finally I come to last night, Rory’s birthday party at Maxine’s (aka Snow’s), where a great crowd came out to dance in the newly expanded space (more dancefloor) and, thanks to a new piece of equipment, actually hear Srey Thy’s voice over the chaos.  There are still a few kinks to work out, but progress is being made. Rory and his mates also gave us a little song; thanks guys for a great night. And there was a very funky new blue guitar on display. 

See you about - enjoy Pchum Ben.  If you're staying in town, come see something different .... The Green Mist at Equinox on Saturday night.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Open mic to open mic: 15 - 22 September 2010

Way back in the middle of last week .... began the Setsara-based Phnom Penh Acoustic Sessions.  The popular Thai restaurant on Golden Street next to Equinox is catching the open-mic virus (I haven't made it to any of the others yet) and the opening night on Wednesday 15th created a great vibe from the beginning.  The proceedings were hosted, and indeed opened, by CSP leader-and-founder Julien Poulson who played a great half hour set, followed by TJ, and myself, and Expresso Thmei, and after that everything gets a bit hazy ... The Swedish Ambassador and Grizzly Adam and Bong Thom all chimed in with some accompanying guitar, bongos and harmonica, and there were different pairings and groupings throughout.  There was very quickly really nice feel and the audience were neither deafened nor deafening - the balance was good.  A special portion of the evening was Srey Thy singing accompanied only by herself on a hand-drum, which brought all the tuk-tuk drivers creeping out from the shadows to listen. 

Thursday night I had the pleasure of taking part in a theatre performance at Chenla Theatre put on by the Kok Thlok Association of Artists, whose shadow artwork currently graces the walls of Equinox.   This musical moral fable about life in contemporary Phnom Penh was part of the Lakhaon festival of Khmer theatre supported by Centre Culturel Francaise.  I joined the house band on drums for an extended nightclub scene, surrounded by musicians far superior to myself, and with whom it was a joy to work.  Look out for anything with Kok Thlok involved - you will not be disappointed.

Then Friday night the Cambodian Space Project crammed into the Alley Cat for their re-opening event, featuring some welcome renovations and a new Dallas mural, as a warm up for our official welcome home show at Equinox on Saturday night, which was an all-exploding, all-freewheeling take-no-prisoners carnival that featured drumkit damage, string breakage, vocal submersion, impromptu jamming, not enough dancing but lots of sweaty, enthusiastic punters, and a long series of encores.  Sweet exhaustion.

And now we're back to Wednesday 22nd, the second of the Setsara Acoustic Sessions, with the same cast but more - some solo from Bong Thom, the welcome appearance of Melanie, my first listens to Claire, and Scott from the Teaner Terners, and the night sealed with Julien pulling out Rocking in the free world with Melanie and Ken.   Can't wait for the next one.  And also I'm off to check out the Paddy Rice open mic tonight.

See you about. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

CSP back in town: 10 - 11 September 2010

I had every intention of keeping the updates coming from the Cambodian Space Project's tour of France, but it didn't happen.  The tour had a life of its own, the stories of which will continue to be told until the beards are grey and the children grown.  Already it is difficult to distinguish between the myth and the reality.  The fragmentary visual record that has graced Facebook hints at the revelatory experience for those who were there.   We never stop flying: Paris-Nantes-Confolens-La Rochelle-Dinan-Rennes-Jugen Les Lacs-Nantes-Paris.  

However, the band is now back in its Phnom Penh home.  A lucky few caught our first return performance, hardly advertised, at La Camaguais on Street 5 on Friday 3rd - what was supposed to be a small-scale French line-up reunion but turned, unexpectedly but delightfully, into the whole magilla, still shaking off the road dust and jet lag.  Then there was another soft start, Expresso Thmei at Lotus Blanc this last Friday, feeling strangely underpowered after the weeks of adrenalin-filled line-up changes. 

Actually, my drum kit was busier than me over the weekend, loaned out for the Cambodian Cowboys' debut at Chinese House on Thursday, and then Lost Highway on Friday, before it ventured across the river to Maxine's for the next chapter of the CSP's multiple-stage return festival.  Snow kept the numbers down to 50, to prevent the place lurching into the Tonle Sap, but it was a great crowd to play to nonetheless.  We cranked through three sets, throwing out new songs and jams as we went, possibly one of tightest and best sounding gigs we've done.  It's great to have ace-wielding Space Commander J back on the flight deck.  Canadian Adam joined us with some very tasty percussion, and the rest of the usual cast of thousands made their presence felt. 

There's a lot of live music going on in Phnom Penh in the coming weeks, and I hope to hear some of it and be able to report on something other than the CSP ... but probably not next weekend unfortunately.  See you at Alley Cat on Friday, Equinox on Saturday, or near another stage somewhere soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Last check before takeoff/Khmer assault on France: 30 - 31 July 2010

As I may have mentioned before, I just love playing for children. The Cambodian Space Project was lucky enough to be invited to play at the PSE school at Stung Meanchey again on Friday, this time for the last day of school. Two thousand singing, dancing children is about as good an audience as you're ever going to get, particularly when they know all the songs (better than we do, indeed). Srey Thy was inspired to call up Arrapiya and that got the whole crowd doing the whirlpool move, and singing louder than the band. Kids approached the stage and put paper garlands around Thy's neck.  A young brave fellow got up on stage and danced with her.  Another utterly exhilarating forty-five minutes in the life of the CSP.


La la la la ........






The evening saw a direct contrast in both directions - Green Night at Metahouse featured a poetry reading with a young American poet Aida with an atmospheric improvised backing from the Phnom Penh Hot Strings Jazz Club, and Khmer duo Srey Peu and Sinat performing some traditional material, Srey Peu singing and reading, and Sinat playing a series of the most extraordinary Khmer stringed instruments. The old blending with the new.  The Hot Strings were down to a 4-piece, sans batterie, but still made a very appealing noise. 

Then Saturday night saw the Cambodian Space Project burn down the barn at Equinox in our last gig before heading for France for 3 ½ weeks. We started early, in an attempt to get more of a Khmer crowd in … and it worked. The dance floor was full for most of the first set, complete with shrieking and laughing. The second set was quieter, leading off with a few Srey Thy showcases, then getting louder, as we are wont to do. Bong Sak took to the electronic drumkit and made it sing.  Bun Hong was in scalding hot form.  Gildas McSwashbuckle was bouncing, the Breton Bandit smoking.  Bong Ken made a late but dramatic entrance and blew us away for the last set.  And it was string-breaking night: by the time the third set was over, around 11 pm, I was down to a 4-string guitar. A great energy in the room; it was like a Dickens novel, with supporters from many different times and places coming along for the send-off.  Photos coming ......

Stay tuned to tales from the road, Following the Applause in France!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Belgium 1, Russia 2: 21 - 24 July 2010

This weekend began, as they occasionally do, with the celebrations for Belgian National Day. It was a rainy Wednesday, and at the top of Street 5, outside La Patate, a large wedding style tent was erected, with a large wedding style stage and an extraordinary number of large, larger and indeed largest speakers scattered around at mostly appropriate intervals.

The musical treat was the Phnom Penh Hot Strings Jazz Club, an outfit with as many line-ups as it has performances, who took the sheltering crowds through a Belgian-influences trip around the musical world, double-fronted by the violinical and harmonicatrical pyrotechnics of Mat and the laidback chatty Doc Speck on the 8-string ukelele and vocals, backed by a work hard/play hard rhythm section that leapt over crack and chasm alike in their pursuit of the perfect groove. It was blues and it was jazz and it was funky … all those things that really say "Belgium" to the man in the street. Apparently Doc Speck has been to Brussels quite a number of times … and in the end, despite the wires in the puddles, nobody was electrocuted.

We then leapfrog into Friday, when the newest place in town, Dream Up restaurant and bar, hosted three bands. The trio Shangri-La played an energetic and enthusiastic opening set of covers and originals with a Russian flavour, followed by Expresso Thmei doing that thing that they do, and finally Bayon Blues (yes, they're back in town) -- only I had to leave early and will have to wait to catch up on their bluesiness on a weekend to come.

I was back at Dream Up on Saturday night, late, and encountered Sergey and Tree sitting outside with acoustic guitars, surrounded by a generous handful of customers. In a move reminiscent of the well-remembered and now long-departed Revolution Bar I joined for a half dozen of my party pieces, and then settled in to listen to some strumming tunes. Very pleasant. I'll go ahead and recommend Dream Up as a place to drop into and check out.

This weekend: Cambodian Space Project's last concert before September -- Equinox, Saturday night -- Khmer-friendly start time: 7.30 pm.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On and on and on: 16 July 2010

I can't add much more to Andy's take on Cambodian Space Project at Meta House on Friday night - with some nice pictures too. 

Except that the band decamped to Fun Planet on St 19 and held an impromptu jam session until 2 am - not sure what the quality was like, but it only ended after I got down to 4 strings. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Photo update: Los Poporks and CSP at Lotus Blanc, 9 July 2010

Big thanks to photographic contributors Blou Durand and Gaëtan Crespel. 





































Monday, July 12, 2010

Mekong Space Poporks and more: 9 - 11 July 2010

It was as bit of a weekend for mixing it up and making it up. What with half the expat musical population out of town it was a matter of dragging together what we could. Friday night at Lotus Blanc featured two bands, in addition to the traditional Khmer music that played downstairs. The night kicked off with a stripped down jazz-heavy Los Poporks performing as a quartet, including Mr Dom on cornet. Very tasty. They then took off up to Chinese House to back harmonica player Doc Spann - any reports? Then followed the Cambodian Space Project featuring a special appearance from Davis Zunk on drums - he was there at the beginning of the CSP, and it was great to have his funky Nawlins thing rumbling away underneath. We were lucky to have a strongly Khmer audience, who got the dancing going, and kept it up enthusiastically.


Saturday night gave us one of those special happy events that happen from time to time just through wishing them up. A farewell party with some music at Equinox collided a birthday party at the same location, beginning with Phnom Penh newcomer TJ taking us through some propulsive Americana, followed by a set by Expresso Thmei, and then some unrehearsed but keen tunes sung and strummed by farewellee Adam with Mr Pink on the drums and TJ on harp. A few calls during the week had drawn together a collection of musicians from the for a jam, a band that during the afternoon was dubbed Los Cambodian Space Pirates (but was probably more accurately the Mekong Space Poporks) laying down some very cool grooves, a bit of funk here, a bit of fusion there, some blues and a couple of vocals. The only train wreck of the night was my overconfident leading of the band through The Long Division, which they had never heard, after a request from the floor. Still, we overcame that and played on until the inevitable noise reduction requests. A most successful experiment and a great crowd to watch it.

The Cambodian Space Project - sans accordion this time - was the pre-game entertainment for the World Cup final on Sunday night at La Croisette. We may or may not have delighted a group of Korean businessmen with our 60s Khmer pop, along with a collection of tourists, expats, interns and regular fans. The 10 pm start caused a bit of a hiccup, what with it being past bedtime for the Khmer band members, but before long we were bounding along at our usual gait playing songs about looking or not looking, talking or not talking, monkeys, whiskey and dancing. And another late, late night.

See you near a stage somewhere.

p.s. what was Doc Spann like? Anyone?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Guest report: Independence Day supergroup at Sharky - 4 July 2010

There was disappointment all around last week when the news filtered through that the Curtis King Band would not be able to make their annual trek across from Vietnam to play for Sharky’s 4th of July party. This annual gig normally attracts a packed house that is thoroughly entertained by some great exponents of Americana music. Customarily it includes the famous Curtis and his band of core professional musicians, together with a long line of guests that is capped by the cavorting, writhing, and pasty form of the irrepressible Lee Roi Jones - whose dance across the bar resembles something akin to an albino python looking for love.

So when the news came that they would not be here, a great lull descended across the spectrum of the Sharky patronage.

Little did the patrons know they were about to be introduced to something new and special……. . This night will go down as yet another great step forward for the local, live music scene.

On stage was Chris (Mispent Yooth – guitar, vocals), Kenny (Lost Highway – guitar, vocals), Tommy (Lost Highway, drums, vocals), and Dave (Mispent Yooth – bass, vocals) and coming out from the stage was the epitome of great American music from the 60s and 70s. Kenny and Chris’s interpretation of the great American rock & roll guitar compositions from this period was a total pleasure for all patrons. Their trade in riffs and leads complemented each other like a track complements a train, like a great singer complements a great song. You could feel the years of passion these accomplished musicians had been through – the years of love and practice they had put into the songs.

Tommy’s rock & roll drumming brought the songs up to crescendos of impunity and back to a subtle nuanced satisfaction. Dave on bass bounced between jazz/blues-style bass riffs that carried the songs seamlessly from country dance to rock & roll fervour to classic blues. The gig was also punctuated with Ian from the Lazy Jazz Drunks punching out a totally professional vocals job and Ken (The Hellhounds) getting up on harmonica.

All in all it was a great night that meant the patrons had all but forgotten their feelings of misfortune in the days before.

Satisfied! - 3 July 2010

When I first arrived in Cambodia nearly two years ago, I expected to find Phnom Penh full of young Khmers with guitars playing cool rock music. Needless to say, it wasn't like that; where there are young Khmer playing non-traditional music it's usually double-handed microphone grabbing, push-button synthesizers, and perhaps a little miming. But there was a taste of the real thing on Saturday night at Chinese House.


Sai (and friends) was a 6 piece combo of two singing guitarists, bass, drums/percussion, roneat (the zylophone looking one) and tro (the upright skinny one with the two strings and a bow) - a young band that didn't look like there was anyone over 22. While the general expat audience might have been turned off by the early start (7.30 pm on a Saturday?) and the repertoire a little top-heavy with similar-sounding radio-friendly ballads, it was great to be hearing Khmer voices over acoustic guitars and traditional sounds weaving in and out around the melodies. The crowd was about 90 per cent Khmer, and showed no sign of being unhappy with the absence of keyboard and drum machine: this has got to be a good thing in itself.

Once the star left the stage, the parts of the audience invited themselves onto the mic, and it quickly turned into an hour-long jam, and the old songs came out - everything from Arrapia to Dop Pram Moi (I'm 16), and at the very close some members of the Cambodian Space Project joined the ensemble for Knyom Mon Sok Jet Te (I'm unsatisfied) and Au-go-go. It was particularly great to see the traditional instrumentatlists jamming hard and tight to the rock'n'roll.

A glimpse of the future? Maybe someday the riverside will be full of Khmer bands playing Khmer music … without synthesizers or drum machines … to mixed audiences … full credit to Chinese House for hosting. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Talbot Report: Are Friends Electric... and Eclectic? - 25 June 2010

...and the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’ if last Fridays Friends-International bash was anything to go by. To celebrate 15 years of supporting street kids in Cambodia and around the world to get off the streets and back into stable lives the folks at Friends held a special event at Romdeng, a poolside celebration with book launch and cocktails and live music from Los Poporks, the intriguingly monikered Mayors of Simpleton and some digitally delivered dancefloor distractions between live stuff from DJ Frankie.

The book is fab (features artwork done by the Friends kids over the years), the cocktails were ace (apple and lime daiquiris have to be up there with the nectar of the gods...) and the music was... well, I have to paraphrase the late great Eddie Cochrane and say it was... ‘somethin’ else!’

Los Poporks opened and closed the live music segments, and they seemed to these ears to inhabit a parallel universe to the mighty Mekong Pirates, a bit funky/reggae/world-y but with more of a jazz slant, a mighty fine live act concocting a sticky stew of  feral funk out of its myriad influences with a fluid flux of performers passing through as they did so. Good stuff.

In complete contrast, Mayors of Simpleton might as well have been from Venus as from Phnom Penh. They rocked a thousand times harder than Norman Bates’ dead mother, and were probably ten thousand times more terrifying... during what was introduced as ‘our fourth rehearsal’, I detected some T.Rex, Stooges, Psychedelic Furs and I absolutely swear Rolf Harris (Sunarise, but more the Alice Cooper take on Rolf’s classic...) and possibly some early Adam and the Ants... I just don’t know .. and to be honest I don’t really care, as long as this three piece (sax, guitar and drums) stick around longer to inflict their particular brand of mayhem on the good people of  Phnom Penh, I will be deliriously happy, and judging by the audience reaction I won’t be the only one.

Excuse me folks, I’m off now to howl at the moon....

Laurence W. Talbot

(Thanks to our friends at Friends for the photos)


Monday, June 28, 2010

As the northern summer starts to bite into the local scene ... 23 - 26 June 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, a new contender for best expat band in Cambodia ... but first a quick chroniciling of the week's CSP adventures.

Wednesday night at La Croisette, either side of 2 simultaneous football matches, the Cambodian Space Project did its thing, starting with a duo hampered by broken strings and including a flight across town for supplies, growing into a 5-piece Khmer rock'n'roll machine, that by 11.45, after a blistering second set, finally pulled to a close.  Special thanks to those who attended the first, wandered off for the football, but then returned for the second.  Such as new big fan Andy.

It was a quieter, more sedate Thursday night - Expresso Thmei at the opening of The 252, a new upmarket guesthouse on Street 252, where we played in front of a large swimming pool (which proved too tempting for one invitee) and a rather different than usual audience.  And no broken strings.  And also Andy. 

On Friday afternoon, the PSE school at Stung Meanchey had an end of year musical celebration that featured some great (and also some admittedly not so great, but heartwarmings) singing and dancing by kids of all ages.  The Cambodian Space Project was invited to headline, and it was one of the best experiences we have had, with 2,500 children dancing and singing along.  An absolutely exhilarating time, electric energy, and a chance to do those rockstar things that you are always a little embarassed to do in front of a grownup crowd.  The kids were both inspired and inspiring, and as my mate Ken said, a great view of the future of the nation. 

And now - Saturday night.   Los PoporksEquinox.  Fab. 

I haven't seen these guys since they opened for the CSP back in January, but they've morphed into something really special.  They played as a ten-piece - with two guitars, bass, drums, percussion, three singers, two trumpets, a flute, a keyboard, an occasional harmonica ... rambling across open fields of African beats, some deep soupy funk, some double-time French jazz, dipping into reggae and then jazz fusion ... and as a highpoint in the middle of the second set, a scandalous segue from the swinging-like-a-(expletive deleted) Take Five into a massive Whole Lotta Love without breaking stride.  Just outstanding.  The crowd stayed thick and bouncing through to the end, including two encores.  The sad part is I understand they're breaking down into something smaller for the European summer - just when they had proved themselves necessary!  Don't miss these guys the next time you have a chance. 

Also, on a non-musical note, make a point to check out Cambodian painter Dina Chhan's new exhibition (also, unrelatedly, at Equinox). 

See you around the traps. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

‘I do like Mondays...’ - 21 June 2010

 Guest report from Laurence W. Talbot on the Memphis Fete de la Musique ... thanks and more please!

Monday night in Memphis (Phnom Penh not Tennessee!), and a packed house of sweaty patrons swayed, rocked, rolled and jigged to the musical feast for the ears and eyes that was ‘Fete de la Musique’ Memphis 2010. Hosts Bona and Mel were rushing around, ensuring that all the acts had a great sound and that all, audience and performers alike, were kept well refreshed for the evening’s entertainment. We even got to sing a raucous version of ‘happy birthday’  to Mel to help her celebrate being another year older as midnight rolled us into the next day…. But first let’s go back in time just a few hours….
First to grace the fantastic new stage in Memphis was ‘The Minstrel from Russia’. Introduced in effusive style by Rosanna, our compere for the evening. Sergey eased the eager crowd into the nights festivities with a set of immaculately fingerpicked guitar tunes, showcasing his consummate skills on the fretboard. He was followed by Skip, former frontman with UK 80’s new wave band Radio City, who clearly hasn’t lost any of his punk energy as he powered through a short sharp blast of a solo set of his own compositions that threatened to raise the roof clean off the bar. The musical mood changed with the arrival of Kheltica and their engaging hybrid of Celtic influences, but the energy levels remained the same and outbreaks of jigging and reeling greeted their spirited renditions of traditional Celtic folk tunes. After a short break to draw breath, the stage was then boarded by a shipful of Mekong Pirates, who sent the audience into happy delirium with their unique blend of Mekong-flavored funky snaky rhythms. Memphis main man Bona stepped up to add some tasty licks to several numbers, including a driving version of Cambodian rock classic Cyclo.  Compere Rosanna showed her eclectic side with a rap number leading into an accapella version of Amazing Grace during the band changeover, then Section 5 maintained the energy levels with a set of classic rock covers matched by a great visual presence that kept the floor moving . They were followed by Srey Nuch and band – they struck me as being a Cambodian version of early Blondie, an authentic  60’s  based girl group sound with a raw edge and a very formidable front person in the striking Srey Nuch… very impressive indeed. Memphis’ very own Rock Xpress took to the stage in the early hours to bring the evening to a rousing climax, Dani leading the charge with a selection of songs by Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, then Bona calling Skip back to the stage for some powerhouse blues a la Plant and Page and ending with a screamingly hard version of Born to be Wild that set the seal on another wonderful night of music in the Penh. Go to the Memphis Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=143658111966&v=photos&ref=ts) to see Ramona’s cool photos of Monday night in Memphis.

Laurence W. Talbot

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fete de la Musique dans Phnom Penh: 16 June 2010

The Centre Culturel Francais hosted a great night last night to celebrate Fete de la Musique.  Unfortunately I arrived too late to see the Khmer performers, but I managed to catch most of the set by PP favourites the Mekong Pirates (but more of them later).

The headline band, Java, played a fascinating blend of hip hop, rock, traditional French ... and a taste of most other things you could think of.  The lead singer prowled around the stage looking like a gallic Brian Johnson of AC/DC, crooning, bellowing, spluttering out rap, inciting the crowd to dance, to run to the left and to the right, to sit down ... and even went crowd surfing.  All this backed by drums, bass ... and accordion.  And it rocked.  It reminded me how important energy is in performance, and how audiences respond in kind. 

We were twisted and turned by the light show, by the shifts both stylistic and dynamic, made all the more powerful by the fact that it was drums, bass ... and accordion.  And this point was made with greatest subtlety during the evening:  "Accordion!  Sexy!  Accordion!  Sexy!"  Even the English speakers, who understood little else, got that one.  Speaking of which - I was also reminded how much better music can sound when you don't know what the words are.  The most banal and mediocre lyrics just don't matter when heard in another language. 

Java came back from an encore dressed up - the singer in some kind of papal MC outfit, and the band in long red robes that made them look distinctly like judges of the ECCC.  Just with different hair.  But that was only the beginning.  Both bands decamped to Equinox (newly fitted out with upstairs stage and sound system and noise baffling structures) where the Pirates set sail with what they do best:  tight, cramped, fighting out of the corner under power of a reggaefunkshuffle with spiky horns popping and braying, the sole vocal mic passing from hand to hand to horn to horn.  It was after midnight when Java took to the stage, launching into some progrock type funk that morphed into a rap, that morphed into ... well, you really had to be there.  It was quite a night.  Viva la musique. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

A quick one before the kickoff: 11 June

The Cambodian Space Project returned to Lotus Blanc on Friday night, boldly going on in opposition to the opening game of the World Cup, in the second of their big Friday nights.  The night began with a bit of busking - playing acoustic out in the gateway, frightening the passersby with some of the new repertoire that has been creeping in over the past few weeks.  Later the 7-piece line up pushed through two full sets of the tight, funky lean sound that is the current sound of choice (we await coming developments that may morph the sound one way or another ... travel broadens the mix) with some impressive and expressive dancing from those members of the audience who were compelled to move a bit.  

The World Cup is certainly going to slow music matters down for the next few weeks, but the Leng Pleng gig guide still looked full over the weekend.  My pick for the coming week is the Fete du Musique event at the Centre Culturel Francais Cambodge on Wednesday night.  Might see you there. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Railway Station rocks, and other events: 3 - 6 June

Way back last Thursday, so long ago I can hardly remember, the Hellhounds played their last for a while at Sharky Bar - a break forced by the temporary departure of the Swedish Ambassador for a good two months.  This hardworking jack-of-all-axes will be sorely missed by the musical community of Phnom Penh.  We gave him a good send off from Sharky and know that the Hellhounds will rise again.

Friday night, back at Sharky again, was another familiar instalment in the saga of the Lazy Jazz Drunks, including line up changes within an hour of taking the stage, and a general shortage of traffic police on the stand.  Still, we saw - and heard - the highly entertaining bass debut of the Mythical Dude amid some thumping and valiant blues rock complete with false endings, a brief guest singer, and some weird and wonderful jamming on an extended Whole lotta love.   Some pics are here:  Sharky Blog

The big night of the week of course was Saturday, when the much unused Phnom Penh railway station was converted into a party venue, including a train trip off to a rice field, where the Phnom Penh Hot Strings delighted the delightable crowd, then returning to a great gathering of people who rocked out to the Cambodian Space Project on the platform.  This is well documented here and here.  A great night that was only hampered by the DJs coming on too early  ; )

Then on Sunday the public debut of Espresso Thmei took place at Paddy Rice.  And not such a bad crowd for a Sunday night either.  The pocket-sized version of the CSP mixes in a number of brand new songs with the regular CSP repertoire, and, through the different and more acoustic setting, brings the lovely voice of Srey Thy well to the fore.  And it's a pleasure to play.  And Thy's newest biggest fan wrote it up as well.

see you around.

Monday, May 31, 2010

FTA back on the beat ... 28 - 29 May

Friday night was a mixture of the new and the old.  The Velkommen Inn hosted Bayon Blues, with the acoustic blues fireworks of Little Duke, the sensational Kristin on vocals, and the everywhere-at-once Bong Thom squeezing and bending away on the harmonica.  Good old traditional blues, played damn well - a nice clean crisp sound.  You can be forgiven for wondering if you're in Phnom Penh at all.  Then it was a short step up the river to the Chinese House where the Mekong Pirates juggernaut were making their presence felt.  A huge crowd helped set the night alight, but it turns out I missed some serious wildness at the end of the night by succumbing to the need to sleep and heading home early.

On Saturday night Chinese House again the venue of choice.  The Bong Thom dot Com tenth anniversary party featured four bands:  Bayon Blues, the Hellhounds, the Cambodian Space Project and the debut of Espresso Thmei (technically just the CSP pocket-size edition, showcasing Srey Thy's vocals with acoustic guitar and a little harmonica).   The Hounds stuck to the straight and narrow with guest Canadian Dave on bass, and the CSP continued to refine its post-electric sound, with Bong Sak on a smaller but no less effective drumkit, and encouraging to the front the clarinet of Bun Hong

So here's the call, people:  please send in gig reports,  let us all know where it's happening and who's doing it.  It was great to see writeups from new contributors at the end of last month, keep them coming.   See you next weekend somewhere. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hot licks, wet picks and sunburned songs: 24 April 2010

The searing near mid-day heat of Phnom Penh is not really the kind of environment where you would expect the spirit of rock’n’roll to thrive, but at last Saturday’s Mith Samlanh FunFair that sprit was well and truly live and kicking in the form of a short sharp set from former front man of 1980’s UK new wavesters Radio City, Skip Sutherland. A crowd of over a hundred Khmer and expats clapped and roared their sometimes baffled but enthusiastic appreciation at his solo return, just one man, one guitar, and his songs.

Skip rattled through a quickfire set of his own material and a couple of choice covers, resembling some wired cross between Joe Strummer and Elvis Costello and sweating so profusely that Mith Samlanh boss Didi rescued him from almost certain heatstroke by donating her baseball cap to the rapidly burning bard!

Skip’s own songs inhabit that glorious crossover land between classic 60’s and 70’s British rock and punk, with the Kinks, the Who, Clash and Costello being the obvious touchstones, echoed in the covers he also tackled – Costello’s Alison, with an extended dramatic pause in the middle, a misty-eyed take on Ray Davies’ finest three minutes, Waterloo Sunset and a storming punk-charged version of Van Morrison’s Brown-Eyed Girl to end, earning a huge ovation from the crowd. Undoubted highlight though was his solo version of Radio City single Love and a Picture, which he delivered with the same drive and energy (and I swear in the same key!) as the 1980 original. Snatching the briefest of chats with him afterward, he told me recent interest in the single on E-bay and from collectors of New Wave music was the spur to performing again, and that Japanese label 1977 records plan to reissue the single in the very near future. As to his future plans, he doesn’t rule out any further solo gigs, and is also working on another band project which he described as ‘angular art-punk melodic noise’….

I for one can’t wait…

Laurence W. Talbot

(you can listen to Radio City here - http://musicruinedmylife.blogspot.com/2009/12/radio-city-love-and-picture.html)

…and  muchas gracias to Ani and Stine for the pics


Scoddy says: Thanks Laurence!  

Remember, this is an open blog, keep sending your reviews in!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BUM N’ DRAZE KICKED OFF THE KHMER NEW YEAR’S LIVE ROCK! - Match report, 23 April 2010

When things started to slide slowly ‘back to normal’ after the pre-Khmer new year crackdown of vices in Cambodia, including ban on loud music, Bum N’ drazE’s ‘Back To Abnormal’ 2010 toür hit Sharky big time in Phnom Penh on Friday 23 April!

Introducing their new brilliant axeman, guitar slinger Jet ‘Zetor’ Odrerir (USA), who knocked out the Sharky crowd with his killer solos, BnD’s April 2010 show did not seem to leave anybody cold or unastonished about the nastiest-sounding and longest-serving original material-playing expat hard rock band in post-war Cambodia.

The show kicked off with the drummer and throat-shredder Twilight Dzouns sporting the Jason (Friday the 13th) hockey mask, then spurting a remarkable amount of artificial blood from his mouth at the crowd Gene Simmons-style and staring at the audience with a lunatic look in his eyes, while Zetor and bassist P. Sonic started the immortal riffs of Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ – and the noisiest party in town was underway immediately!

During their set BnD introduced some new material, but mostly band’s good old class-sicks before wrapping up the gig with the total destruction of two acoustic guitars and more blood from Dzouns’ drooling loudmouth: “This is what we think of acoustic folk music!”.

As one enthusiastic fan concluded after the show: “Bum N’ drazE are rock’n roll in the only meaningful sense of the word. Everyone else in Cambodia is just pretending!” and “BnD looked for Ace Frehley- or Andy McCoy-style lead guitarist, but in Zetor got more than they asked for, goddamn great shit, man!”. Well, take or leave it, but stay tuned for the next tour dates of BnD’s ‘Back To Abnormal’ 2010 and follow www.myspace.com/bumndraze!

Setlist 23.04.2010:

Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent)

March Or Die (Don’t July) (Bum N’drazE)

Black Cadillac (Bum N’drazE)

Havana Affair (Ramones)

Sickville (Randall Planet-Twilight Dzouns-Bum N’drazE)

If Mekong Was Whiskey (Bum N’drazE)

Dirt (The Stooges)
********************************************
Copy supplied by bumndraze@hotmail.com - thanks guys

 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Television Ted reports - KlapYaHandz event: 24 April 2010

This event was all about real Cambodian creativity from the new youth of Cambodia.

If you were lucky enough to be at the Phnom Penh Night Market on Saturday afternoon and night then you would have been privileged to see the continued emergence of a new Khmer sub-culture based on Hip-Hop. It was a great night of street art, improvised lyrics, DJs and dance. In the audience were 1000+ young Cambodians. It included the trendy and very sexy girls, sporting the latest in Khmer fashion - to the kids from the underprivileged side of things, sporting colours from the street. There was a definite buzz throughout the audience for all of the 7 hours with most members wide-eyed, expectant, enthusiastic and entertained. The audience was not only able to view this performance for free but was also provided with a flow of T-shirts, CDs and other prizes throughout the night.

The young, male-dominated crowd responded well and honestly to all aspects of the performances – whose improvised lyrics, backed by professional DJs, can claim to be on the cusp of current Cambodian musical creativity. Amongst the crowd was a group of street kids who formed a circle and flip-flopped between near-fighting to near-dancing – possible proof that the event was catering to the true street essences of Hip-Hop. The event also included children’s art and socially minded messages to the listeners.

The presentation and professional framework made available by KlapYaHandz was first-rate – large stage, good lighting, international artists, Cambodia’s most imminent Hip-Hop artists, professional DJs and (most importantly) a clear & booming sound system. It also included street art that framed the front part of the stage and that evolved as the night progressed.

In all, it was a well and truly enjoyable and professional event that had great success in provisioning the advancement of culture for Cambodian youth.

- thanks to Television Ted for providing this match report. 

Too much I didn't see: 22 - 24 April

The Cambodian Space Project commenced its progression towards the soft, smooth dinner music that it's always deep down wanted to be this weekend, with a performance at one of our favourite places, La Croissette.  Technical issues were somewhat minimised, we welcomed the return of the clarinet of Bun Hong, and we played without either drums or bass.  The results were ... mixed.  While most of the tunes worked perfectly well, there were a couple that we found ourselves lost in the middle of, with no way out ... a moment or two of ankle-deep sludge in the second set.  Not to leave on a downer, we revved it up again and played one last tight after-midnight set.  Upward and onward! 

Friday night myself and The Lovely Irene played a private party, and I rediscovered how much people like Simon & Garfunkel.  And Saturday night I was at the theatre.  Elsewhere, Bum'n'Draze (Fbook photos) and then Lost Highway (Fbook photos) played at Sharky, the Bayon Blues Ensemble (Fbook photos) debuted at the Velkommen Inn, and the KlapYaHandz hiphop event was held at the night market.  Others will have to chronicle such events.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

PSE Charity Party: 9 April

It's got so quiet lately I completely missed one: the Cambodian Space Project played at the PSE Charity Party out in Stung Meanchey on Friday 9th.  Huge.  After a procession of performers from Rock Productions, traditional dancers, and a prize draw for The Krawma, the new stripped down version of the Space Project was unveiled.  In the absence of the Space Commander, Mr Pink took up big red, and G-String took the bass.  Bong Sak, Bong Thom, the Breton Bandit and The Lovely Irene filled their regular places, and we were joined from Siem Reap by Aya on melodica.  Srey Thy was far from daunted by the huge and mostly Khmer crowd, who danced and danced.  Apparently the quality of the sound depended upon where in the audience you were ... situation normal ... but it was a big sound nevertheless.   And by golly there was dancing afterwards as well.  

The next night PSE did it all again, featuring Cacath and Los Poporks - any reports? 

Photos courtesy of Gaetan.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Updates on Siem Reap and Hong Kong ....

Rather amused to find AsiaLifeGuide writing up the Cambodian Space Project's recent gigs in Siem Reap as an homage to Dengue Fever (as opposed to, say, Ros Sereysothea or Pan Ron) ... even more oddly, that we were more "blue grass".  Some other kind of grass involved in the composition of the snippet, I imagine.   Anyone who knows what they mean please let me know.

On a more positive note check this out for a review of the CSP's last night in Hong Kong - with some great pictures.

seeya about. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Geckos and then Kep: 2 - 3 April

This quieter weekend began as late as Friday night, with the return to the stage of D'Sco: The Geckos of Love.  We've been spending a lot of time as a mercenary rhythm section for several Phnom Penh bands all over the place, and it was time to get our Gecko on.  Chinese House was the location, the crowd was belatedly good, and if my guitar had played ball and not got all noisy on me it would have been just completely swell.  As it was we ripped through most of our old favourites, even including a special tribute to Lou Reed who almost played the Velkommen Inn the previous evening.  Shame about that aircraft overbooking.  And only one broken string!  It was a fun night.

On Saturday night the Mekong Pirates stormed the Kukuluku bastille for a benefit for the Kep Ecole de Francaise, and put on a fine show with lots of dancing (well, eventually) with the depleted horn section being balanced by the augmented guitar line up - for one tune they even had 3 guitars at once, a veritable CSP manoeuver.  I know it's my personal preference, but in the midst of all that reggae there's a very fine funk band struggling to get some oxygen.  A couple of good sweaty sets were topped off with up to eight people pushing on with an extended group percussion jam.  

Let's hope the music drought breaks with the New Year and the rains ....

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Cambodian-based band to play in Hong Kong (unless we're wrong about that) - 24 - 27 March

I guess I should pull my finger out while I can still remember it all ... I've not been sure if Hong Kong has a place in a Cambodian-centred blog.  In the end I've decided that the title gives me the answer: I shall follow the applause.

Especially when the weekend began late on a Wednesday afternoon with the news that Sharky Bar had had to cancel live music for the foreseeable future; and that the story only got worse over the next few days.  Trying times, my friends ... the devil's music seems to be causing a moral ruckus.  

So the secondary phalanx of the Cambodian Space Project took off for Hong Kong at about 6.30 Phnom Penh time, landed in Hong Kong at 10-ish then bundled itself (all 5 of the travelling party) into a taxi (complete with stretchy straps holding the boot down) to Wan Chai, where in a familiarly un-staged, vivid, Englishy kind of pub called The Wanch we inserted ourselves behind the advance party of vocals and guitar and played a big thumping long set fired by tall cold Carlsbergs, timezone changes and travel dust.

In the break between sets the crowd, who had (1) never seen anything like it and (2) loved it all the same, took their chance to get home on the highly efficient, cheap and pumpkining-at-midnight subway.  This put an end to the gig, but not the party, as the night was still young.  It was 16 degrees and drizzling, the smokers were shivering in the cold, and I stood in the street under the gentle rain and was reminded of Hobart town.  Yes, the night was still young ....

The following night saw us top of the bill for SPACED at Rockschool, just up the street from The Wanch.  Here we were treated to equipment, a drum kit on a riser, a mixer ... we responded with an extended set playing on and on until we were too tired to play any more.  Prior to playing we had dashed around the city on foot and tram filming video in the astonishing company of filmmaker KM Lo .... paying homage to Wong Kar Woi with such madness as banana gangster-agogo-hkg.mp4 and agogo-hkg-intro.mp4 ... hearing an awful lot of bad cover bands banging on into the streets entertaining the Rugby 7s crowds.

Friday night we were just another band on the line-up at The Underground, also at Rockschool.  Limited to 30 minutes, we stripped down to the basics - jettisoning the psychedelic in favour of the energetic fun pop, and we were so tight ... it was very cool.  It was great to bring this music to an audience that didn't know it, to see how a crowd will react to the pop genius of Chnam Aun Dop Pram Moi and Happy New Year.  At the conclusion of the evening we went in search of a restaurant that was allegedly on the second floor of a building somewhere ... our inquiries were fruitless until a particular gentleman said, "Restaurant?  Sure.  Let's go."  He walked 20 feet and unlocked a steel rollerdoor, turned on the lights and headed for the kitchen, bidding us come in and sit.  This is 2 a.m. Hong Kong hospitality.  Mr Wong (for that was his name) quickly opened several bottles of Tsaing Tao, and whipped up large platters of fried pork and chicken and a huge vat of rice, and we ate like visiting emperors.  Or visiting an emperor.  Or something.  We emptied ourselves into the night in the vicinity of 3.30 am vowing to return the following evening ...

The following evening, after a day of sleeping and a little shopping, we gathered on a 32nd floor rooftop, with all big city lights around us ... jamming acoustic, swapping songs, and managing to coax Srey Thy into improvising a song about the weekend experience, the chicken from Prey Veng flying all the way to Hong Kong.  This and some other magic was captured by our videographer The Fabulous Marc.  At around midnight we headed back in search of the mystery restaurant (which I was convinced was only a group hallucination, or a freak hole in the space-time continuum) and discovered that it did in fact exist.  Super Restaurant Kitchen was open and ready for us to bundle in with instruments flying in all directions, with impromptu performances of our greatest hits to the bemusement of the customers, and indeed Mr Wong and his Thai waitress as well.  Our great thanks for their fine hospitality. 

The music continued after dinner on Great George Street, Wan Chai, where the few early morning pedestrians were treated to the rump of the Space Project busking some French ditties and my very ragged version of Ca Plane Pour Moi.  We considered it a fitting end to this chapter in the Space Project archives, and we got the Space Commander to his plane the next day -- he is off to wander the globe for a few months and we will do our best to carry on in his absence. 

Fear not!  (or, on the other hand, Fear!)  The Cambodian Space Project will rise again.  Maybe sooner than you think.

p.s. D'Sco: The Geckos of Love return to the Chinese House tonight at 9! 













Additional photos by The Lovely Irene

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Seems to be mostly about endings: 18 - 20 March

Another blistering performance of The Hellhounds was witnessed by a select crowd at Sharky Bar last Thursday, complete with wandering/wondering wayfarer Johnny Pilgrim standing in.  A boisterous couple of sets with some new material, including a bounding Who do you love and a cheeky Women are smarter which morphed juicily into a half-remembered Iko Iko.   This effort was followed up by a surprising number of the same songs (WDYL and Folsom Prison Blues, for example) when the very same stage was taken up by some of the very same personnel in my farewell performance with the Lazy Jazz Drunks.  Ian the Punk and Tall Tom were in fine form as we jukeboxed (as noted by Mythical Dude and his compadre) our way through three sweaty sets, sometimes being a bit more jazzy than previously considered possible:  we even stumbled through an impromptu Fly me to the moon.   Helping out on a few tunes was Song, a drummer of great technical skill and demolition techniques. I slowed the tempo in the later stages to perform a short tribute to the late Alex Chilton, whose death I had heard of only that afternoon, then we ramped it up again for a big finish, drumsticks and sweat flying in all directions. 

And finally, in a weekend of endings, Saturday night saw the final Phnom Penh performance of the current line up of the Cambodian Space Project, with the Space Commander taking off for Europe for a few months.  We packed ourselves into one side of the bar at Equinox and made merry with a percussion heavy couple of hours that managed to evade the attention of the Too Loud police, although also somehow evaded the Sound Quality police as well.  Technical knowhow had established a really good sound check sound that somehow evapourated in a prolonged screech of wireless microphones, a tangle of cables and a reliance on sonic bravado so well known to the long-suffering fans and members of the CSP.  We look forward to future efforts with a greater concentration on PA mechanics and better selection of PA hiring firms.  p.s. the sound was marginally better at the final performance of the weekend, at Tassilo's wedding at the Himawari, but the curfew was even earlier. 

And so the Cambodian Space Project heads north east to the surreal island of Hong Kong ... from whence reports will emanate next week.  Which is a good time to renew my call for reviews of the shows I don't get to, or even alternate reviews of the shows that I do.  This blog oughtn't be restricted to just one view, please share your thoughts. 

Seeya when I'm back in PP.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A belated one before the new weekend starts up: 9 - 13 March

It all began a long time ago, when one of the most prominent pianists of the age Vladimir Ashkenazy came to play Chaktomuk Theatre, which probably accounted for the small but keen crowd that chose instead to attend last Tuesday's Fun Planet birthday party featuring the Cambodian Space Project.  A smaller, gentler Space Project was on display, with a hastily-mixed collection of amplifiers, a brief rainstorm, and quite a number of curious Khmer observers who stayed until bedtime. 

Then there was quite a gap for me, as I am attempting to reduce my playing in quantity in an effort to increase it (and the pleasure arising therefrom) in quality, so it was Friday before I was on stage again, with the CSP taking to the stage in Siem Reap.  Thursday night a very stripped down version had fascinated the crowd at Silk Garden; Friday we clambered aboard a raised stage, battled with a PA and coloured lights, and pulled out two long sets of sweaty Khmer rock'n'roll at L'AbacusSee here .... the dancing was a bit subdued, I assume due to the bar being too far from the stage, but by the same token it was hard for me to see past the footlights.  A highlight was the inclusion in the band of Aya on melodica. 

The next night we followed up with an appearance at X-Bar, again playing under the stars, with a more extensive light show, a lower platform, a bigger and more involved audience.  Our three sets were followed by a long series of jams with revolving personnel - D'Sco: The Geckos of Love put their two cents in as well - that were still going when we left at 4 am.  See here .... 

We also managed to fit in a couple of video and photo shoots which have also been FBook documented already.    Our thanks to the coalition of bars and assorted Siem Reap folk who helped make it a great weekend, especially the photographer du jour The Fabulous Jean-Francois and documentarist and videographer MOVE NOW! Marc. And while I'm at it, a big dip of the hat to number one fan - and brutally honest critic where appropriate - The Baron Bruno

The CSP is now poised to make its final public PP appearance (for a while) at Equinox on Saturday 20th before heading for 3 shows in Hong Kong.  And then I can get back to writing about some other bands for a change, including D'Sco: The Geckos of Love, who are due for a revival, methinks.

Seeya near a stage.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A special mid-week blog ... due to the quiet weekend coming: 2 and 4 March

It was a double birthday celebration, it was a documentary film night, it was a video shoot ... Chinese House hosted Call and Response, a film about human trafficking, followed by who else but the everywhere-at-once Cambodian Space Project.  As I was one of the birthday celebrants, I made damn sure I was doing something fun:  we set up with two drum kits and pushed through a long thumping rhythm-heavy set while squeezing the 9 piece band onto a stage surrounded by dancing and drinking.  The Breton Bandit is continuing to find his feet, I am continuing to grow my hair, Ratta-Man is continuing to find new and unusual ways to appear and disappear at will, Bong Jay is continuing to lose his mind as the time begins to run short with so much still to do, The Lovely Irene continues to walk straight from work-mode into performance-mode, The Swedish Ambassador is still fairly Swedish and was also a celebrant, Bong Sak keeps it steady on the beat, McSwashbuckle makes the good times roll, Srey Thy just gets more glamorous ... somehow we have to get through this month and life will be quieter. 

Last night The Hellhounds renewed their acquaintance with Sharky's, blue cheese burgers and Johnny Pilgrim with a lively couple of sets with a good crowd and a drummer who pushed the soundcheck back an hour due to his non-attendance.  Lots of old favourites and a couple of new ones, up to and including some blasters like Who do you love, Shame Shame Shame, Dead Flowers, sounding better than ever.  And no broken strings to report!  The year of the tiger is boding well. 

It's a quiet weekend coming, but next weekend the CSP are on the road to Siem Reap.  Come for the fun, stay for the madness!