Eight bands will come together on Friday night for a good cause: to honour the memory of Dubai-based guitarist Aldo Rock, who died in May at the age of 53.
Rock was a “guitar virtuoso” of the local music scene for more than two decades.
“Aldo Rock was a master at his craft. Over 25 years, he’s played with musicians from across genres — jazz to rock to funk — in the UAE and abroad,” said Vin Nair, one of the organisers behind the event and a former bandmate of Rock’s.
“He was very dear to the community. He left behind his wife, and two very young kids — a girl and a boy. So the community decided to get together and honour his work,” he added.
The Aldo Rock Tribute Festival, taking place at the Music Room between 6.30pm and 2am, will feature a jam-packed schedule of performances from local acts: Core 304, Moonshine, As Per Casper, Up The Ante, Angmar, Point of View and Vin Sinners.
Former members of Aldo Rock and the Footprints will also reunite for the show.
“Aldo was one of those selfless human beings. He used to teach guitar to kids. Someone would meet him at a venue and say, ‘Hey, Aldo, can I get your help on something?’ They’d go to his house and end up spending four, five hours [jamming] together, and out of the sheer love of the craft, he would take the person through whatever they needed,” said Nair.
Rock also had a habit of fixing guitars for free. In his spirit — and in hopes of having a full house on Friday — organisers decided to keep ticket prices at Dh50.
“We wanted as many people as possible to come and be a part of it,” said Nair.
From 2012 to 2013, Rock was a part of Nair’s band, Vin Sinners; he recorded with them on their 2014 album A Mighty Black Box, shortly after they were signed to Universal Music MENA, and toured India with the band.
“He was such a multifaceted guitarist. His heart was in jazz and blues, but he was able to take that skill and [put] it into performing some of the great rock melodies,” recalled Nair.
“He would come up with a basic speck of an idea, walk into the jam room, and say, ‘Hey, guys, why don’t we try this?’ He had this uncanny ability to switch, and turn, and twist things around to make it look a little more interesting,” he added.
One unreleased song they recorded, which might feature on Vin Sinners’ upcoming album, is a jazz-rock track that’s atypical of their style.
“I was listening to it a few days ago and it has [Aldo] laughing in the background. One can’t really believe that the guy is gone,” said Nair.
“I have a lot of footage — footage of us clowning around in the hotel room during the India tour. It was good fun to reminisce while planning the tribute.”
The Aldo Rock Tribute festival marks the first time that five independent event organisers in the UAE come together to co-host an event like this.
Nair’s Musicians United joined with JoScene Events, Metal East Records, Mainstage Events, and Rock Nation UAE.
“We intend to have this every year now in his memory. We want this to be that one moment when everyone forgets their differences and comes together and says, ‘This one’s for the community,’” he said.
*Entry into the Music Room for the Aldo Rock Tribute Festival is Dh50 per person. 21+.