Monday, February 8, 2010

Rooftops of Phnom Penh; raised, appraised and launched from: 4 - 7 February

The first in the Hellhounds' Spitting, Drooling and Snarling February Thursdays Tour of Sharky's kicked off the weekend with bonus new tunes, an involved audience and even some dancing over by the pool table.  The new commitment to harmony vocal sounds is really starting to pay off, particularly with Mythical Dude's encouragement that we include Dead Flowers in the list - it sounded like we'd been playing it for years, rather than never before. 

Friday night the Cambodian Space Project played al fresco on the rooftop at Studio 182, an evening characterised by the appearance of a small army of sound-technical personnel who dashed around underfoot plugging and unplugging things as the night draped itself around us.  An extended soundcheck grew gradually into a sound ... not entirely sure it was a dramatic improvement - but my ears are not always to be trusted.  A large, dancey crowd enjoyed a set and a half of crazy psychedelic Khmer space rock before the neighbours complained and we had to bring the party to a close.  We started it up again on Saturday night under the headline Whisky Cambodia at La Croissette.  Again, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit out a few numbers and enjoy the band from the front, with Bong Sak thumping the skins for us: somehow we were in the very rare state of having the same lineup on successive gigs. 

But this lineup is about to change again, as the Cambodian Space Project is temporarily losing one of its khosmonauts:  The Lovely Irene is preparing to sail on the evening tide, undertaking a project to further economic links between Cambodia and Western Europe, also to spy and search out trade secrets with other Space Projects to assist with improving the Khmer design, which is currently largely restricted to attaching a rocket to a tuktuk.  The irreplaceable elegant lefthanded hat-wearing charm that brought such a bloom to the front line of the band will be missed by all of us.  We wish her well, bid her safe passage and fair winds, with the unspoken trust that the fairest of these winds will be those that float her back to us.  To mark her departure, crowds were assembled, two boats were lashed together, and the Cambodian Space Project clambered aboard to send her off in style on a Sunday cruise of the Tone Le Sap.  A fiercely good time was had.  Now, the next project is how to organise playing on a boat roof .... a launch pad for a most spectacular liftoff.

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