Following the first rock performance at Angkor Wat, the band will join a host of Cambodian artists to wrap up MTV EXIT’s anti-trafficking concert series
The Click Five performing last Sunday at Angkor Wat.
AMERICAN music group The Click Five will bring their catchy, guitar-driven sound to Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium tonight, when they join Cambodian super crooner Preap Sovath and a full lineup of the Kingdom's most popular pop stars to wrap up MTV EXIT's anti-trafficking concert series.
The performance, which will also feature rapper Pou Khlaing, Chom Sovannech, Sokun Nisa, Yuk Thinratha and Meas Soksophea, follows the band's hugely successful star turn last Sunday at the first rock show to be held at Angkor Wat.
As many as 50,000 people are expected to turn out at Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium for the finale of what has been Cambodia's largest international musical event to date, organisers say.
But as important as the concert series has been for Cambodia's contemporary music scene, its anti-trafficking message has been the real success story, MTV EXIT's campaign director Simon Goff told the Post.
"It is about recognising and understanding what trafficking is ... and when people recognise it, it is people's responsibility as citizens to report, and that it is something we can't turn our backs on," Goff said.
Educating through music
"We have messages in between each of the performances. We have video showing on screens. The MCs will also be delivering these messages from the stage in between performances. We also briefed the artists with key messages," he added.
It's kind of cool that we get two different experiences in cambodia ... phnom penh is going to be full rock 'n' roll.
"So the show has been infused with these messages. Furthermore, we will be distributing information cards to the audience, and we also have volunteers in the crowd from anti-trafficking organisations who are there to interact with the audience to further convey the messages we want to get across."
The Click Five - vocalist Kyle Patrick, lead guitarist Joe Guese, keyboard player/songwriter Ben Romans, bassist Ethan Mentzer and drummer Joey Zehr - recently won the Knockout Award at the MTV Asia Awards 2008, and is well-known in the region, having already toured in Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, where the reactions to their music were as varied as the cultures.
"[While] Malaysia was kind of extreme, Japan was very silent and quiet," band members said, speaking as a group in Siem Reap earlier this week.
"The concert in Malaysia was in a small Hard Rock Cafe. The capacity was probably 200 or 300, but they let over 1,000 people in. So it was just insane from the first note to the last note. People were just going crazy. We actually had to stop and tell people to chill out. People were getting forced into walls that were not going to move."
While they are quickly becoming veterans of the international tour circuit, The Click Five's participation in the MTV EXIT campaign is its first experience with a humanitarian cause.
"The best way to help a situation is to educate people, and a good way to reach the future generations is through music," band members said.
"So ... we will learn a lot about [trafficking] while we are here, but we are also going to help other people who may not think about it or not know much about it."
Rock 'n' Roll inspiration
Playing in Cambodia and elsewhere in Asia has been what band members called an inspiration, both personally and artistically.
"You are forced to think differently. You see things you never see. It influences the things you write. It is such an eye-opener.... It definitely influences the direction of the sound," band members said.
Venue has also influenced The Click Five's sound, and while the concert at Angkor Wat - a relatively intimate performance before only a couple of thousand people - was not scaled back, tonight's concert will be a "no-holds barred rock 'n' roll experience".
"The Phnom Penh show is in a completely different setting, a completely different vibe, so it's kind of cool that we get two different experiences of Cambodia.... Phnom Penh is going to be full rock 'n' roll," the band said.
"Hopefully, [the audience] will be people who don't usually get the opportunity to see concerts because often you find that you play to an audience that sees concerts often, people who have the means to see concerts," band members said.
"It is always good to play for people that don't get to do that all the time. If it is the first concert for some people, then it's a good feeling."
The band is currently halfway through production on their next record, which they hope to release by the middle of next year.
But when it comes to long-term goals, The Click Five says it wants to make its mark.
"There is a lot of music that is going on today that is sort of temporary, and we hope that we can stick around and write songs that people can appreciate 10 years or 20 years from now."
The MTV EXIT campaign kicked off on November 22 in Sihanoukville before travelling to Kampong Cham and Siem Reap. For more information or to obtain tickets for tonight's concert, visit MTV EXIT's website, www.mtvexit.org, or go to any qb outlet.