Alternative music nights in Dubai

Dubai's underground music scene goes overground


Thanks to the recent birth of two new underground clubs, Dubai’s alternative scene is booming with a wave of fresh new promoters.

One reason to love new club openings is the fresh opportunities they offer upcoming promoters to experiment in an otherwise rammed scene – such as those XS Club & Lounge has offered Algorhythm. After celebrating their launch event in mid-March over three self-consciously underground editions, the night promised a large net of genres, from deep house, deep tech and techno to drum’n’ bass, dubstep, prog psy, electro hop, UK vibes and hip-hop. So what did they do for their fourth party? Host a rock and metal night, Bangers & Mosh. Who knows where they’ll go next, but they’re ones to watch.

Analog Room
The recent alternative revolution has been spearheaded by the rediscovery of Barsha’s The Q Underground venue, a basement space that was brought out of the dark by alternatively minded electronic promoters Analog Room. Busy programming interesting international guests nearly every week for some months now, there are few finer places to start your journey to the underground than this dark
and gritty venue.
Dhs75 (ladies free before midnight).Every Thursday 10pm-3am. The Q Underground, Holiday Inn Al Barsha,

After an impressive run that saw bassheads AudiOasis launch a number of subsidiary brands such as SubMinimal and Bassic at their home in Catwalk, it was a little saddening to see them drop off the radar in the second half of last year. Well, if you haven’t heard, they’re back. And in style too, relaunching at new club The Q Underground this month. There’s a season closer planned for Friday July 5 before things kick off again in earnest after summer.

Deep Crates Cartel
Is anyone doing more for the alternative scene right now than the Deep Crates Cartel? As well as hosting the most reliable weekly night in town (that spins funk, soul, old-school hip-hop and world grooves every Thursday at Casa Latina), they’re also behind the Sunny Vibe-up pool parties on Dusk Terrace at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Media City – now sadly closed for summer. Then there’s the monthly reggae fest Drop Dread, and they’re also launching new chilled electronic night, Inhale. Staggering work guys, keep it up.
Deep Crates: free entry. Thursdays 10pm-3am. Casa Latina, Ibis Al Barsha. Drop Dread: Dhs50. Friday May 17 10pm-3am. Casa Latina. Inhale: Free entry. Friday May 31, 7pm-3am. Tamanya Terrace, Radission Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City,

DJ collective Dust made their name by bringing over notable internationals, and spinning diverse, credible but party-friendly tunes. They’ve recently taken advantage of the alternative scene’s shift south by hosting their first bash at The Q Underground, and are now hosting a pool party at Tamanya Terrace, headlined by NYC disco heavy-hitter John Morales.
Dhs75 (ladies free before 8pm). Friday May 17, 5pm-2am. Tamanya Terrace, Radison Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City (05 0476 0893).

JamFest Wednesdays
Since its soft launch in February, XS Club’s most notable night has been Afro-centric, externally promoted JamFest. While attendance can be patchy, it’s worth checking for the tunes: expect to hear raw and authentic dancehall, reggae, dub, Afrobeat and more.
Free entry. Every Wednesday, 10pm-3am. XS Club & Lounge, Chelsea Plaza Hotel, Satwa (050 293 1507).

Step On
‘Dubai’s longest-running indie night’, Step On has enjoyed something of a profile surge in recent months. We’d venture there are two reasons: They’ve decamped from moody Catwalk to the plush climes of The Dek on 8; and their DJs have warmed up for Noel Gallagher and Happy Mondays in recent weeks. They’re certainly stepping it up a gear.

Something Big
On the bass scene Something Big are making some pretty significant waves by hosting an international bill every month, often pairing both a drum’n’ bass and dubstep name on the same night so that bassheads of all creeds are happy. Right now they’re gearing up for a mammoth season closer starring dubstep don Distance and drum’n’ bass name Kasra.
Dhs100. Thursday May 30, 10pm-3am. Catwalk, Golden Tulip Al Barsha,

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