As Christmas slowly creeps closer, Phnom Penh’s music scene is getting busy before the holiday festivities start.
Starting off on Friday, Dec 13, with the Sock essentials over at The Exchange on Street 47 playing at the Art4Eyes auction and art show – with proceeds of the event going to the Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture, Khmer Sight Foundation and Eye Nutrition Initiative.
Scotty Bywater brandished his trusty acoustic guitar and the night featured works from some distinguished artists such as Dina Chhan, Luke Hunt, Steve Porte, Lee and Mel Nutter, Peter O’Sullivan, and many others.
As the night went on at the Exchange with some amazing aerial silk shows and stunning artwork, some chose to move over to Botanico Wine and Beer Garden on Street 29 to hear the wonderful sounds of Rob Narciso playing covers and some originals on his acoustic guitar with magnificent vocals.
Others chose to go to Tacos Kokopelli to celebrate its 14th year of business, with finger foods and the amazing Joe Wrigley and Marianna Hensley playing some good quality acoustic blues and soul-pleasers that set the “alley cat”-like vibe. We also saw some guest appearances from various open mic regulars.
Then, over at LF Gardens on Street 308, Latin singer-songwriter Poca de Feo released his new album “Vera Cruz”, filled with soulful melodies and some tropical tunes from his home country, Argentina.
We then had Setsara at Alchemy Bar on Street 123, in the Russian Market area. This vibrant trio of psychedelic rockers describe themselves as ‘three dudes playing everything from Pink Floyd to Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ and even some cooled-down Coldplay tunes – and these guys did not disappoint.
We then got to hear from Mirasol Aguila and Arone Silverman, playing some ultra-chilled blues and soul music over at L.A.B., over on street 288, to help those who needed it to let their hair down and ease into the weekend in style.
Afterwards, some moved over to LF Social club, where expatriates were delighted to hear Geography of the Moon play at LF Social Club, over on Bassac Lane.
Playing their ever spacey psychedelic tunes with crazy guitar loops, and out-of-this-world vocals.
Then to end the Friday night, there was the ever amazing Chi-Town band fronted by Phnom Penh-based musician Jeffro Starks playing Chicago blues songs that blew some away, down at Oscars on the Corner on Street 104.
Then, on Saturday, Dec 14, over at Botanico Beer and Wine Garden on Street 29, Jared Biblier played some original small-town Midwestern Americana songs that somehow made everyone feel a little nostalgic – even if they hadn’t heard his work beforehand.
Vibratone then played amazing ska, roots, digital dub and jungle reggae tunes at the Hangout on Street 476 in the Russian market area, making for a very nice Saturday evening that got people moving and grooving.
Will Henderson, a Berlin-based guitarist, trumpeter, and singer also played at Alchemy on Street 123, bringing us his jazzy soulful self and original songs that just blew some away.
Ending our Saturday were The Schkoots at Oscars on the Corner, a French-Khmer punk rock band that has been around Phnom Penh for many years, rocking out with their original songs and making everyone dance with the crazy stage presence you did not want to miss out on.