(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Budding musicians from the UAE should sharpen their guitar riff skills, perfect their stage act and work hard on tightening their compositions as one of America's leading guitarists and former Guns N' Roses band member, Ron Bumblefoot Thal, will be judging their act at the Battle of the Bands that's currently underway at Red Hot & Chill, Al Barsha.
Bumblefoot, who is currently touring with his band Asia in the US, has been a regular visitor to the UAE. He has performed in the city some time back with local rockers Point of View.
"I like to keep coming back and keep making music and keep enjoying life here," he had told City Times in an interview during that visit.
Just like the amateur bands contesting for top prize at the competition, Bumblefoot too is all fired up to be part of this unique, new format and he offers up valuable advice for participants: "From food to architecture to music, the region (the UAE) is full of creative spirit, a region that embraces both its deep roots and modern growth. This is something the local musicians should embody in their music, to show the completeness of who they are. I want to know as much as I can about the people who are making the music, just by listening to their songs. I look forward to this!" he said.
Unlike regular talent competitions, the concept of this show is different. This is perhaps the first time such an approach is being tried here.
"We will be filming the bands on stage during the qualifiers and the finale. We will then edit the videos and put it up on our YouTube channel. Bumblefoot, who is currently on tour with his band Asia, will watch the videos, from wherever he is. He will judge the bands on the quality of music, stage presence, professionalism and other attributes. He will not be assessing the bands on popularity in terms of how many hits or likes the videos have received. They will be judged purely on their musical abilities," explained Nikhil Uzgare, aka Nik Uzi, frontman of Point of View and the brains behind the concept.
"It's better to have a A-list musician from a place like the US judge the contest via the video than have a panel of three judges sitting in front of the stage and running the musicians down with their critique. We want a positive approach, not a critical one because most of these bands are amateurs and they need to be encouraged," he added.
Nik rues the fact that the current music scene here is not conducive to original music and the number of live bands have been declining over the years which is why he decided to come up with this competition. "Over the years the original music scene in the country has taken a considerable beating due to the changing musical landscape - performance permits and the transient nature of the market etc. Many bands have ceased to exist. Performance venues are scarce. It is frustrating to see this happen in the UAE, especially because the place is known to be a melting pot of cultures which brings so many ethnicities together along with their music and culture," he said.
According to him, a competition like Battle of the Bands will encourage hidden talent. "The music scene here deserves a fair chance. I felt that an initiative like the Battle of the Bands could drive some life into the original music scene and might inspire dormant musicians to step on stage with fellow musicians. I desperately feel the urge to pull out bedroom musicians from the comfort of their homes onto the real organic performance scene, despite all the limitations involved. I am hoping that this initiative might do just that. As cliched as it may sound, a Battle of the Bands initiative is a tried and tested formula that brings out the warrior in a musician. It's good to go on stage, and perform rather than sit at home and dream of arenas."
The event which kicked off on June 18, has two more qualifying rounds (on June 25 and July 2). The grand finale will take place on July 9. Each qualifying round will also feature a special performance by a professional guest band.
The bands taking part in the competition include Skeptic, Out Of Knowhere, Fusion Again and Girdab. The special acts feature Bagoong Fury, Big Chill and Unforgiven Soul.
Bands will take to the stage at 9pm on Tuesdays. Supported by Hot & Chilli; there is no entry fee. Videos of the performances will be uploaded onto Rock Nations' YouTube Channel ( www.youtube.com/rocknationdxb )
For band registrations write
For more information call: 050 113 9873