Gulf Bike Week 2011 is expected to draw huge crowds this weekend, with all-day activities, exhibitions and events, and a concert line-up featuring chart-topping stars Pharrell Williams and N.E.R.D, Amy Winehouse and Mike Posner. Yet while the hyped event certainly has star power, the pop twist may not be to everyone’s taste.
As a result, local rock night organisers Metal Asylum and Metality UAE have taken it upon themselves to stage their own independent gig for those who fancy something grungier. The week after the official festival, Metal Asylum will be throwing the Bikers’ Bash 2011 at Bur Dubai’s newest live music venue, Club Se7en.
So what do the bikers have against Winehouse, Posner et al? ‘It’s like bringing Michael Jackson to a heavy metal fan party – it just doesn’t make any sense,’ says Gordon Davidson (pictured above, second left), lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist in local band One Way, who play at the alterative bash on February 18. Formerly part of Skreemin’ Egulz, a band composed of bikers who are also playing at the gig, 37-year-old Davidson says he and his wife would cut off the arms and legs of fellow human beings to see a band such as AC/DC at the festival. Though not a biker himself, Davidson has been asked by the biker community to play at a number of their gigs in the past, such as 2010’s Rocktoberfest in Hatta.
Fellow rocker Vin Sinners (pictured inset, third left), real name Vinesh Nair and frontman of the eponymous local band, doesn’t object quite so strongly to the big concert line-up, which he describes as ‘alright’. Yet he does agree he’d prefer to have seen someone with a bit of a harder edge. ‘Ozzy Osbourne or Alice Cooper, that would be a bit more like it!’ he enthuses. Yet rather than worrying about the genre of acts on the bill, Nair is more concerned about whether Winehouse will be able to pull it off. ‘Hopefully she’ll keep it together when she performs. She has a reputation, that one, but so does Axl Rose, and he does alright,’ he laughs.
The audience at Metality UAE’s Bikers’ Bash should find themselves pretty well catered for, with competitions including biggest belly, best biker helmet and best air guitar, plus sets from One Way, Skreemin’ Egulz and Vin Sinners. The latter will be performing original songs from their new album (for which they’re hoping to find a distributor in the near future), while Davidson’s band will be dishing out plenty of familiar covers, but he warns people not to expect the usual suspects. ‘I wouldn’t say we play obscure stuff, but we cater for the older-school crowds,’ he explains, revealing people may hear anything from Rolling Stones, Guns N’Roses and Status Quo classics to Tracy Chapman and Fleetwood Mac numbers. His description of the band is a little more sedate than you might expect, given his penchant for AC/DC and Def Leppard. ‘If you wanted to have a Friday lunchtime thing that got seriously out of hand by 8pm, we would fit your bill perfectly. Nice and easy to start off with, and then the gloves come off and it’s carnage.’
Speaking of carnage, let’s hope Nair doesn’t attempt a stage dive during the Sinners’ set – last time he attempted it (back in 1992) the crowds parted and he went face-first onto the floor, breaking his nose. ‘If I tried to do that now, I’d probably end up killing someone –I weigh a bit more than I did 20 years ago!’ he jokes.
But there’s a serious side to Nair, revealed in his song ‘BHO Part 1’, a track he describes as a tribute to US President Barack Obama. Is it not rather odd to pen a tribute to someone with whom he has no real connection? The rocker explains he’s merely a fan of Obama and admires him for defeating the odds. ‘I think he’s a fantastic guy. He may not be in the best situation right now, but nobody could have been. He’s taken over a complete mess.’
Politics aside, Vinners is looking forward to getting on stage and performing with the rest of his band. ‘We try to keep it interesting. I’d like to jump off a couple of stages and do a few more tricks, but we’re just looking forward to making some noise and getting people’s adrenaline going.’
With Guns N’Roses covers, original rock tracks and drinks deals, plus a free glass of bubbly for ladies, it seems the biker community would be hard-pushed not to enjoy themselves at this independent follow-up gig.
Bikers’ Bash 2011 is on February 18 at Club Se7en, Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, Bur Dubai (opposite BurJuman). Doors open 9pm; entry is Dhs50.