Iron Maiden tribute in Dubai

Dubai musicians are paying homage to one of the world’s top metal bands – but the night means much more…

Music feature
Music feature

Much like Eddie, their zombified mascot, Iron Maiden (pictured) refuse to go gently into that good night. The elder statesmen of heavy metal have been pouring their hearts and souls (though not in a Satanic sense, no matter what US wingnuts say) into their music for three decades, and show no signs of letting up – they still rock hard enough to have won Best Live Music Event at this year’s Time Out Dubai Nightlife Awards. So it’s no surprise that Dubai’s metal community has big love for the band – a love that has led to a very special edition of Metal Asylum at Aussie Legends this week.

‘Iron Maiden aren’t just my favourite band,’ says organiser Rodi Hennawi, ‘they’re also loved by many musicians here in Dubai. So I wanted to do a tribute night that would let them do Maiden songs in their own ways, whether that’s death metal or hardcore versions, or whatever.’

The idea proved so popular with Dubai’s bands that Rodi had to mix things up a bit to get everyone in. Now, existing bands such as Red Circle will be joined by coalitions of Dubai musicians from various outfits, all joining forces to play their own takes on Maiden classics.

‘We want to make it more of a jam session,’ says Fadi Al Shami, co-organiser and guitarist for local band Silent Chants, who’ll also be playing at the gig. ‘We had to do this so that more people could play in the tribute if they really wanted to.’

But this night has the potential for more than just celebrating Maiden, as Fadi explains. ‘We’ve been planning this for a year now; we want to show people that the metal scene in Dubai is alive by having many people of all different nationalities performing together. And this is a perfect chance for people who are new to the city or to the scene – people who want to join bands or meet other musicians – to come together.

‘[Metal Asylum] supports all the bands who are trying to release albums; we try to get them sets to build their confidence and introduce them to people in the scene. The plan is to have all these people working together so we can absorb all these talents and take them to something much bigger.’

But first and foremost, he says, this is a music gig for music fans; anything else is a fringe benefit. ‘At the end of the day we just want to play this music. It’s an honour for us to play a tribute to Iron Maiden.’

Metal Asylum is at Aussie Legends on May 28, Dhs50.

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