Braegen Russell, bandleader of Rock Bottom Café’s Rebel Music explains his tunes
‘Another Way To Die’ by Jack White and Alicia Keys This is interesting because it’s a bit of a challenge to play; there’s some substance to the lyrics and everyone in the band gets something to do. I heard it when I went to see the movie and I was blown away by the track. I said, ‘We have to play it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big hit or not – we have to play this song.’ It’s just a shame the film was rubbish.
‘Renegades Of Funk’ by Rage Against The Machine I like this because it’s a little offbeat. I’ve been doing the bigger ones, ‘Killing In The Name Of’ and ‘Parade Of Bulls’, in cover acts for ages, but I wanted to do this instead to give the audience something a little different. This way they recognise the band even if they don’t know the song.
‘Come On Eileen’ by Reel Big Fish When I put this band together I wanted to play stuff that was a bit left field. So when we got a request for this last week, instead of doing the Dexys Midnight Runners original, we did Reel Big Fish’s ska cover. I’ve been playing the Rock Bottoms in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi on and off since 2004 and it’s nice to be able to play something different here. I like it in Dubai, but the entertainment permissions process is a real disappointment. At home in New Zealand people could go to a music club to jam and learn off each other. Then you come out here and you can’t jam with some of the musos – even though some are amazing. It’s frustrating, you know?
‘Ruby’ by Kaiser Chiefs I’d never heard it before but apparently it’s a big anthem, a big part of [British] culture. There’s a huge number of UK people out here so doing the US charts isn’t always the right option. And there are a lot of young people coming to Rock Bottom so we want to keep it contemporary for them. They’re the ones that are going out these days, not people who were listening to music in the ’60s and ’70s.
‘World Hold On’ by Bob Sinclar A house track isn’t what you’d expect to hear from a live band, but it makes us stand out. It’s a little bit of a gimmick but it works, you know? [Yves Larock’s] ‘Rise Up’ is another one. I love to see the surprise on peoples’ faces when we pull those tracks out. The first week we were in the club and people came up and said, ‘You’re the best band I’ve seen in Rock Bottom since we started coming here.’ Rebel Music play Rock Bottom Café daily except Fri/Sat.