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 -

…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!

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