We get to know man behind Loaded, Dubai's Best Alternative Night
For the past 13 months, indie haven Loaded has been bringing jangling guitars and eclectic selections to a scene dominated by house beats and R&B grooves. Since picking up a Time Out award for Best Alternative Night earlier this year, the monthly club night expanded to host its first gig with an acoustic performance from local act Beat Antenna. And now, to celebrate a belated first birthday, the team is hosting a decade-themed night, with five DJs playing an hour of music from a different decade, from the ’60s to the 2000s. Ahead of the bash on Friday June 29 at Casa Latina, we asked 31-year-old Brit founder Andy Buchan where it all began.
It started off as a ladies night. ‘I fell into promoting by accident. I wanted to DJ and to see live music, and the way to do that in Dubai is to bring over your own bands. I always thought See You Next Tuesday would be a good name for a ladies night; that was five years ago and it became one of the first alternative nights in Dubai, hosted at the old Alpha club [at Le Méridien Dubai in Garhoud]. We got Belle & Sebastian, Mystery Jets, The Subways, The Futureheads, Sneaky Sound System… We got a reputation for doing something different.’
But the party had to stop when Alpha closed. ‘We moved to Trilogy. We brought over people such as Norman Jay and Scratch Perverts, but after six months it died down. We had too much variety.’
So Loaded was born last May. ‘I woke up one day and said, “Dubai needs an indie night.” The response was staggering – we were so busy for the first four months, we had 100 people waiting outside to get in. It was amazing: the hunger and the fact we could play such a wide spectrum of music. The requests we get are amazing, from Chuck Berry to hip-hop."
But there’s more to him than indie. ‘I’m an indie kid at heart, but as a DJ I’ve branched out into everything – except trance. I’d be happy warming up for virtually any DJ in the world. I’m happy playing anything: dubstep, breakbeat, hip-hop, indie, soul, funk, ’50s rock’n’roll. I’m a musical junkie. There’s no bad music – just good stuff and better stuff.’ He still has bad nights behind the decks. ‘I did a year-long residency at Loca in Jumeirah, and on my very last night 20 intoxicated teachers showed up and it was a perfect storm of musical hatred. They requested all sorts of stuff – we were playing proper ’50s rock’n’roll, funk and soul, and they were asking for Chris Brown and David Guetta. They were standing in front of me swearing and taking pictures, like intoxicated hyenas. I had to take a cold shower afterwards.’
But that was nothing compared to the threat of being sued by Michael Jackson’s lawyer. ‘I used to write for [the UK’s] Q magazine; when Michael was living in Bahrain, I became the “official Michael Jackson correspondent”. There was a story about him building a mosque there, which his people didn’t like, and I had some very interesting calls from his lawyers. Very… interesting. The mosque never got built.’
Loaded’s First Birthday, is on June 29, 9pm-3am, free entry; Ramadan closing party is on July 13, 9pm-3am, free entry. Casa Latina, Ibis Al Barsha (04 399 6699).