Big Mike (Sharky Boss) had made the ‘’off-the-cuff’’ remark on the eve of Penhstock III (Cambodia’s biggest music festival), that he hoped that the Phnom Penh fraternity would fully get behind this grandiose event (which unceremoniously advertised three days of peace, love and music) and duly hoped the Phnom Penh faithful would turn-out in their hordes and support this the largest massive local music event held at Sharky Bar.
He needn’t have worried. Even the start of the rainy season (well it is based on Woodstock after all!!) could not deter the enthusiasm and the excitement generated by this premier showcase event that promised ‘’30 bands over three days.”’ On that note Penhstock III duly delivered.

Maybe they weren’t quite wallowing in the mud like the original Woodstock of ’69,  but under the shadow of the Sharky Bar Tee-Pee (reminiscent of those ‘hippie-love’’ halcyon days.) . The crowd turned out night-after-night in the hundreds and hundreds! With the bar packed-out every night, the customers reveled  in the party-festival atmosphere – dancing, drinking and enjoying themselves – even pogoeing and joining in the occasional mosh pit – while watching and listening to music performed by musicians from all over the world.

This was Penhstock III (Sharky Bar 2012) – and what follows is how it unfolded. Not so much a ride, but more of an adrenaline rush. Believe me when I say…. this was History in the Making ….and if you were lucky enough to be there, you will know exactly what I mean !!!


Penhstock III (Day One, Friday 11th May 2012)

Ok it rained (a bit) on the first day, but that did not deter “Shawn Miller & The Kampot Peppers ‘’from kicking off this event in true bluesy, rock n roll style. With Curtis King ‘aiding and abetting’ on bass and Shawn’s very own personal fan club down from Kampot (was there anybody left there?) We were entertained to some great guitar blues from Shawn-  and that all of course was more than welcomed by his travelling entourage down form Kampot ! What a great way to start to Penhstock III !!

Just when you thought it was safe to go to the bar ‘’Varaman’’ exploded onto the stage, with their very own brand of heavy metal, rock covers – Khmer style ! With Veansa and Violentine on ‘twin axe guitars’ up front, the festival was slowly winding it’s way up for a feisty and sweaty evening of glorious rock n roll ! Another great hi-energy performance!

Next up, fellow Khmer head bangers ‘’Six-String’’ turned in a more of a laid back sounding performance than their country cousins – but nevertheless, were still grungy, and alternative enough to be well received by the steady stream of customers  pouring into the bar at  8pm ! Newcomers to Sharkys but impressive all the same !

The five-minute turn around, didn’t seem to deter any of the bands from eagerly waiting patiently for their slot at the side of the stage. In fact, so well executed was this ‘roll-on-roll off’’ that it was better than any of the festivals I had ever been to at Glastonbury or Reading. Well done Ross and Dave !

Next up were the French students ‘’Astra-Nova.’’ They came on and played some fine Red Hot Chilli Peppers and even a rendition of ‘’Final Countdown’’ (Europe.) You can see them again at Sharkys on June 2nd when they support their tutor and mentor JP (Jean-Philippe Petesch) – who will be flying in from Japan to do a special one-off gig ! Should be a great night ! A big thanx to Loy, Alexis and the boys for a fine set !

The great thing about Penhstock III, is that musicians can almost play anything they wish to – and this was never truer that the next band up – Muscle Of Love !! An Alice Cooper Tribute Band !!! Classic Alice Cooper tracks like ‘’Welcome To My Nightmare,’ Raped and Freezing’’ and of course ‘’Schools Out’ were belted out in no uncertain glam rock style by ace guitarists JJ and Jet ! Great set ! Great vibe ! Great entertainment !

Next up, Splitter made their long awaited return to Sharkys with the return of Doug, Wayne, Toby and front man Martin. Infact, Doug and Wayne had that many guitar effect pedals this time round, that they needed Jimmy (Teaner Terners) to help them carry out onstage (that in itself surely a statement !) Guitar effects apart, Splitter turned in a rousing performance and were surely one of the ‘hits’’ of the night. Great performance and a fully deserved encore – one of the very few of the weekend ! I kid you not !  Great stuff !

Penhstock III was now in full swing and The Teaner Terners took to the stage in what was to be their final performance featuring guitarist and visionary Lance. They truly rocked the joint and none moreso than when they played their own original songs such as ’Traffic Light” and “Pygmy Tin” ! Great Set ! Scotty was vocally outstanding – and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house for Lance’s last performance ! Good luck Lance ! We’re all gonna miss ya mate ! Brilliant !

Another band, maybe making a swansong appearance as well, were Little Duke & The Messengers fronted by the irrepressible Kristen. This great blues band put on a show typical of their undoubted quality and the guitar licks of Jonas were a pleasure to behold. The Sharky crowd were lapping it up and the calls of an encore were only lost on the ‘tight musical turnaround’ for each band that Penhstock III demands. Nevertheless, a vintage performance, from one of the stalwarts of the current music scene ! Gonna be missed !

The crowd were now full-on and the beer was flowing.. The Clash City Rockers took to the stage and played some of Clash’s finest ! Eddy Grant’s ‘’Police On My Back’’ a bootleg cover by The Clash, was backed-up with other memorable punk songs of that era such as  ‘Çareer Opportunities,” ‘’Garageland’, ‘White Riot’’ and a gritty, rock n roll version of “Rock The Kasbah.’’ Great vocals from Ian The Punk and a great set from The Clash City Rockers !

The clock was ticking and with the energy level now at fever pitch  – the emergence of the female punksters – Herding Cats  – raised the roof !  One-Two-Three-Four …… Someone’s Gonna Get Their Heads Kicked In Tonight ……. what a way to start, with Laura blasting out The Rezillo’s classic with a voice that sounded it had been soaked in battery acid the night before ! Great vocals Ma’am !

With the crowd firmly on their side, other notable punk renditions included Iggy Pop’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and The Sex Pistols ‘Pretty Vacant.” There was even time for Social Distortion’s version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring Of Fire’ and even a bit of Suzi Quatro ! Absolute Magic Ladies !

A great way to end the night ! A big thanx to Laura, Lesley, Melanie and Kate for bringing down the curtain on Day One: Penhstock III. The final word on the female punksters ! F*****ing Brill !

Surely, Day Two: Penhstock III cant get any better than this. Can it?
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