AS we sail past Pchum Ben and into October, the first flickerings of high season are being spotted on the horizon. Here’s a taste of what’s coming up over the month
Notable gigs this weekend include both hellos and goodbyes. Ska band Checkered Past will play this Friday at LF Social Club, then next Saturday at Oscar’s on the Corner. Since their arrival on the scene in the middle of last year, they’ve brought their unique horn-driven sound to a growing audience, but change is in the air. “The shows in October will be the last for the original line-up of Checkered Past,” explains lead singer Ariane Parkes. “Our guitarist Steve is leaving for Australia, so we hope you will come out this weekend and next to help us give him a big send-off. Then we’ll work hard to bring our new guitarist up to speed and hope to be back on Phnom Penh’s stages very soon.”
Meanwhile, hip-hop party outfit Hypnotic Fist Technique are back from holiday and will be taking the stage at LF Social Club on Saturday. “Time may have passed, but the Hypnotic Fist ages like a celestial body,” says co-lead singer/rapper Mike Dynamo. “Saturday night, we’re bringing with us the same hard hitting, live action, original music cultivated right here in the Kingdom of Wonder. With the vacation at its end, let the high season begin as Technique Strikes Back at LF Social Club. It’s time to remember what all the hard work is for.”
On the metal side, events continue to move at pace, and there’s a weekend double for those who like it louder. The independent collectively-run record label Yab Moung Records has opened a record store and “DIY community house” on St 109, a little to the north of Orussey Market, and will throw the doors open with a party on Friday night. “The idea came from the deficit of venues and places for people who are into alternative music,” says founder Florian Greich. Cambodia also doesn’t have a record store dedicated to metal and punk music, so we figured – why not?” The night will feature the screening of a documentary about slumdog metallers Doch Chkae, and will be attended by members of the band as well as visiting Beijing-based prog metal band Nekroma and Reign in Slumber.
“The target audience is everyone and anyone who’s into metal, punk and hardcore music, or whoever’s interested in the scene and music. Everyone’s welcome.”
Yab Moung receives support from the NGO Moms Against Poverty, and also has a Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/yabmoung) for others to assist in their efforts to build the scene and give a voice to young Cambodians. On Saturday, Cloud hosts a metal night with headliners Nekroma supported by Reign in Slumber and Dieu A Quitte. All this on top of the opening of metal-themed bar The Chug Lab on St 376.
For the dancers, Havana Kings will be doing their Latin thing at Bassac Lane this Friday, and will be at Alchemy later in the month when Latin Nights return; the following week Reggae Night is back at Alchemy featuring the reformed Vibratone.
In mid-October some visitors from Bangalore hit town – singer-songwriter Mahesh Raghunandan (https://youtube.com/MaheshMusicIndia) and acoustic trio Cinema of Excess (bandcamp.com/cinemaofexcess) will play at Oscar’s on the Corner, Farm to Table and Botanico.
The GC Riders, led by Graham Cain, the hard rocking classic rock outfit formerly of Sihanoukville, having now reconnected with each other in Danang, Vietnam are undertaking a tour of Cambodia and will be in Phnom Penh for the weekend Oct 24-26, with shows at Sundance Inn & Saloon, Oscar’s on the Corner and Sharky Bar.
Also coming soon is the return of Psykic Elektric, a new wave style outfit playing the original songs of lead singer Joshua Chiang; they will perform at Cloud on Oct 25. And peeking over into November, the exotic and charming Geography of the Moon will be back in Phnom Penh and playing venues near you, starting with Oscar’s on the Corner on Nov 1.
Finally, in other musical worlds, next weekend, on both Friday and Saturday, the Sofitel Classical Music Festival presents the Cambodian Opera Project’s production of Pagliacci, with more to follow in December. And at the beginning of November, the 16th, Phnom Penh Classical Music Festival will be held at Raffles Le Royale, with four programmes of music by female composers.