Rockin’ hot!

“THERE IS a huge appetite for good quality live rock and good venues to listen to it,” Nikhil Uzgare of Hook, Line and Sinker Communications Agency began telling City Times.

By David Light

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Published: Sun 3 Aug 2008, 9:59 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:47 PM

“We tried proposing an event like this four years ago but at the time there was no interest because of the image rock has. Now it’s cool to be seen at a rock gig so we decided to go for it.”

The event Uzgare is referring to, is a first for Dubai. The new ‘Rock Nation’ starting on August 16 will see locally produced bands line up on the most professional Yamaha equipped stages over a series of weeks in an effort to make it to the Mega Rock Nation taking place in December.

Rock Nation will take place every alternate Saturday with two local professional rock bands playing forty five minute sets at each gig. The first Rock nation is to be held at Touch in the Four Points Sheraton with local favourites Juliana Down and Moonshine headlining. It will be a night for rock connoisseurs to feed off the energy of two live rock acts, who will be delivering those top quality rock to the masses.

The next show scheduled for August 30 at Touch again, and will feature two more talented bands that call themselves Sandwash and Point of View who Uzgare plays for himself. “We feel it is time to give rock a decent platform,” added Mark Sayntos John, co-founder and also from Hook Line and Sinker. There is however a chance for complete amateurs to join in.

“Basically it works like this,” Nikhil told us. From August to December twelve professional bands will play at the Rock Nation Events, the first two definitely being a Touch on the 16th and 30th. From those twelve, five will get picked to go to the Mega Rock Nation.

For amateur bands we will be accepting demos from the 16th from absolutely anyone. From all the demos we will receive we will pick three to performwith the five professional outfits. The remaining two spots will go to two international bands that have yet to be confirmed.

There will be ten acts in all at Mega Rock Nation. This is a great opportunity for those undiscovered bands to show what they’ve got and performin a highly professional forum.” Asked why they decided to set up the event now Mark and Nikhil gave a number of reasons.

“We want to promote good rock in this city. So far if you want to go see a live band you have to go to quite a seedy venue where the band is not particularly good.We want to take good live bands to good venues. It has not been easy because traditionally the UAE’s taste in music has gone more for hip hop and house.

Sponsorship has been difficult to come by for the reason that companies don’t want to be associated with our type of music, especially in the Middle East.We want to change that perception though and show that rock isn’t all about the dark side of life but about quality music that will appeal to an army of fans in the region.”

There is no limit on genre at these gigs. Punk, metal, soft or progressive bands can show up and try and impress. Likewise with the demos sent in, they do not have to be one particular kind of rock. According to the duo the response to the limited advertising they have put out has been immense. “We had about 500 subscribers to our facebook group in about three days,” said Mark.

Nikhil stated, “Rock has a loyal group of fans that are always keen on seeing this type of music. It is not like any other genre where the audience can come and go.

Whenever there is an event in this region, such as Desert Rock, legions of people show up. These fans at the moment only have one event a year to look forward to.

This is not right. There should be more for the rock fan to listen to and enjoy. Rock has been afforded a sort of horrible step-mother kind of treatment in the UAE so we want to stop that. These events will give the fans something to look forward to every couple of weeks instead of every year.

” Of the two founders Mark is the sensible half often reigning in musician Nikhil’s ambitions due to monetary constraints, “In the long run there is a lot of money to be made because there are no events like this here.

At the moment passion is the driving force but we believe it will be successful.We are giving the audience what they want.” Nikhil told us, “I just keep pushing for more and more so it’s good to have a sensible partner to keep everything in check.

We do need more sponsorship to make this bigger and better each time.

We just hope we can change corporations’ perception of rock music.” One of the first bands playing at Rock Nation, Moonshine, have been playing around the UAE for about ten years.

City Times spoke with the founder- Ryan Moonshine about this new venture. Moonshine has performed for annual events, corporate parties, charity events, music festivals and private parties. Some of the venues the ban has performed at are the Seafarers Club, the Dubai Country Club, Al Nasr Leisureland, Canadian University and most of the hotel venues around town.

Recently in June 2008 ‘Moonshine’ performed at the ‘Dubai Original Music Festival’ and at the ‘La Fete de la Musique’.Moonshine is now focused on recording their debut album which will feature all original material written and composed by Ryan over the years and will come out in November.

“This is a very good set up,” he said. “Established bands can play with semi-pro and amateurs which is great to get back to their roots. At the moment there are only big events to play at so playing at smaller gigs is beneficial for the big guys to get some practice at smaller places and the little guys to play professional gigs.

It is also a great opportunity for all bands to establish a new fan base and really give everyone a show.” All the equipment for the gigs has been donated by Yamaha who will be providing the bands with detailed instructions in specific workshops set to educate everyone how to use professional equipment.

“This is really amazing,” said Nikhil. “Not only do new bands get a chance to performprofessionally but they also get an education in sound engineering.” While the bands do their bit on the night, DJ Adam will spin rock anthems to the audience.

The highlight of the night will also be an Air guitar competition which is open to everyone. Registration will be on the spot and the winner would take it all. Don’t even think of missing this one. If you are rocker at heart, keep it real!

Event Details

Venue: TOUCH @ Four Points Sheraton, Bank Street, Bur Dubai

When: Saturday, August 16 & Aug 30

Price: Dh35 per head

Contact: Call 050-1139873 or visit the Rock Nation Facebook page

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