Dubai Rock Fest 2013
Band: Yngwie Malmsteen + Epica + Dark Tranquillity + Myrath + Nightmare + Anuryzm
Author: Ali Atef - 2013-06-29
Metal in the Middle East has always been scarce, up until recently in UAE the only gigs were the ones orchestrated by the underground local bands and sometimes supported by the organizers. It was the annual Dubai Desert Rock Festival that was the biggest event for the metal scene and had everyone so excited about it along with some bands that would be invited to play from time to time. But DDRF had its last show in 2009 and finally 4 years later DUBAI ROCK FESTIVAL rises from the ashes! Thanks to the efforts of the organizer Fawaz (more commonly known as DJ Storm), DUBAI ROCK FESTIVAL had it’s first successful show on June 7th 2013 at World Trade Center Arena!
The show was kickstarted when the first band ANURYZM took the stage. ANURYZM is a local band who are extremely talented and I have to say the organizer couldn’t have picked a better band to open the show. They put up an incredible set, full of energy and got the whole crowd extremely excited and on their toes with their Progressive Metal tunes! If you haven’t heard ANURYZM yet I recommend you go buy their album right away.
The next band to take the stage, also being the first international band that night was the French Power Metal band NIGHTMARE. This band was sadly unknown to many of the people attending. I personally asked them before they took the stage what they thought of the band and most said they had never heard of them, but of course I did run into some crazy die hard fans. Nevertheless once they started they grasped everybody’s attention and they put up an amazing set. Power Metal infused with elements from Thrash, Heavy Metal and Symphonic what a combo! I was an instant fan and I could tell so were many others. The vocalist knew how to handle the crowd and I could tell that he was just as ecstatic as we were! Amazing band!
Next up was MYRATH, a Tunisian band who louis vuitton monogram replica handbags were very good at what they did. Awesome guitars molded with epic “Jordan Rudess” style keyboards, sweet vocals and all of that with a dash of Arabian influence. This band has set up an identity for themselves and they pull it off very well. The band took the stage and played their awesome music while the vocalist ran around stage singing songs from their albums “Desert Call” and “Tales of the Sand” and also managed to put in a very short belly dance performance. About the crowd, not alot of them knew MYRATH, but after the first couple of songs everyone got into their music. So many people I asked said that they didn’t know the band, but after this show they had a lot of respect for them. One of the aspects that made everyone love them was their Middle Eastern style, it was something a lot of us could relate to and are unconsciously familiar with. MYRATH happens to be one of my louis vuitton epi replica outlet personal favorite bands and they held their own. One of the best bands that night according to me.
The next band was one almost the entire crowd came to watch, the amazing DARK TRANQUILLITY took to stage one at a time and with no time to waste they started rocking the house. It was truly a sight to be seen, everything you hear about DARK TRANQUILLITY is nothing compared to watching them live, full of energy and so much excitement, this looks like a band who truly enjoys their music and people love them for that! Mikael (the band's vocalist) was shocked at the audience and he admitted that he wasn’t expecting any of this. The band played popular replica louis vuitton epi a bunch of great songs however they skipped some of their classics that most of the crowd were expecting to hear and were in fact waiting for, but nevertheless their music added to their excitement plus their psychedelic visuals on the screen behind them easily made them one of my favorite bands that night. If at all possible catch these guys on tour, its the best decision replica handbags you would ever make.
It was time for EPICA. The lively Dutch band took the stage and began an instrumental song which I could barely hear behind all the screams from the crowd, clearly they had a lot of fans throughout the house. When vocalist Simone Simons finally walked onto the stage she received huge welcoming screams and applause. She started singing with her world class voice and in no time had the entire crowd mesmerized. The band around her were so good at what they did combined with their synchronized headbanging that they had the whole crowd on their toes and headbanging throughout their set, however the star of the show was unquestionably Simone. She is one of the very few artists worldwide that would fly to another country, perform soprano vocals and headbang at a metal show while being pregnant, despite all of that she did an amazing job and I honestly had the time of my life listening to EPICA (who are undoubtedly my favorite band) perform live in front of me.
They played one of their classics “Cry for the moon” and classical burberry replica handbags the performance was truly remarkable! There was a little section where Simone had the crowd singing with her, the band had a whole lot of chemistry with each other showing how comfortable they are and showing they were having as much of a great time as all of us were. Also I have to add in that the person controlling the lights on EPICA’s set was genius! It was truly a phenomenal set and they were, hands down, the best band that night.
Next was the main event, the headliner, the reason all the guitarists and other musicians in the crowd who were in one way or another influenced by this person showed up! The legendary shredder, master of the electric guitar and onstage antics was due to perform. YNGWIE MALMSTEEN! After a long break from EPICA, the stage lights came on revealing a huge stack of amplifiers that were covered up throughout the night and Yngwie’s band started performing. I have to say that the band was beyond amazing. The keyboardist and the bassist caught the attention of the crowd with their mastery over their instruments and vocals and suddenly the fire starts as Yngwie bursts onto stage commanding a huge reaction by the crowd while running around stage, spinning his guitar around his body and kicking guitar picks to the crowd. I have to be honest, I personally don’t listen to Yngwie so my review of him might be biased, however I spoke with my guitarist friend who was influenced by him and what I thought was confirmed by him. Yngwie obviously knows how good he is and everyone who is a die hard fan of him knows his personality on stage and I have to say what I felt was that he was focusing more on looking good on stage and showing off his skills rather than focusing on his music, which was mostly improvised. Because of that it seemed that his solos were sloppy and it looked like he didn’t care much about the festival and the crowd. The crowd reaction towards him was surprising and sad on some level.
There was the hype after EPICA and everyone was squeezing in to find a good place to watch YNGWIE MALMSTEEN but once he started the hype fell drastically and a lot of people left. Halfway through his set the only people left were his die hard fans who were still excited. Another issue was the sound for his set, the guitars were set to maximum and it was quite unpleasant to the ear to have high pitched improvised shredding over a long period of time and that added to the exhaustion of standing there all night made most people leave. On another note, a lot of guitarists’s dreams came true, they saw their idol rip the stage and that guitar to shreds and they were expecting everything they saw and truly had a great time but others who didn’t listen to him and haven’t followed him through the years were disappointed.
I spoke with the organizer DJ Storm and here is what he had to say: “DUBAI ROCK FESTIVAL 2013 was much better than expected & proved that Rock & Metal is not dead in UAE. Timings were very difficult as some bands arrived on the same day of the event and left straight away to the airport after the show! But everything went well as per the plan. Each band put a an amazing show and the crowd was just awesome, it was a night to remember.The crowd wasn't bad at all and I want to thank everyone who showed up , we wouldn’t have made it without you.
DUBAI ROCK FESTIVAL 2014 headliner is confirmed already and I should announce it before the end of the year, working nowadays on the rest of the lineup & I’m expecting 2014 to be even bigger”.
All in all the festival was a huge success! I was honestly expecting more people to attend it but it wasn’t too bad seeing as it was a first event and hopefully DRF 2014 will have a bigger attendance!
* All the photos are courtesy of Ahmad Hafez