Rock and roll no more. The Music Room has been the single most important venue for rock bands in the UAE in the past decade. Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: Come September 30, the legendary Music Room will close its doors for good. Located in the Majestic Hotel in Bur Dubai, the award-winning live music venue has been known for providing a platform for the UAE’s local rock bands besides hosting a long list of international acts.

The one and only

The closure of the place, which was launched in 2005, has come as a huge shock to local bands, artists and music fans here.

“Music Room was bold enough to allow start-up bands to perform on the weekends during a prime time slot. Absolutely no other place in the city can make up for it. There are some places that allow bands to perform, but that is only on weekdays during 7-9pm. As you know, most people start coming in only after that,” says Nikhil Uzgare, lead vocalist of Point of View that opened for Guns N Roses at Autism Rocks Arena earlier this year. Uzgare, who has been closely involved with the Music Room since 2008, says the only alternative venue he can think of in Dubai would be Red - Hot & Chilli in Al Barsha.

For Michael Grover, a Music Room regular, the news is yet to sink in. “It was in the Music Room I got introduced to the UAE’s local music scene. It’s hard to name a UAE band that hasn’t played here. From Riff Raff, POV, Moonshine, EYE, Nervecell, Behold the Locus, Nikotin, Vin Sinners to Aldo Rock & the Footprint, Sandwash, Core 304, Absolace and Viscous Mishmash… I saw all those bands here. The place would often host five to six bands a night. There is no other place in Dubai that offers a similar stage. I can’t believe they are closing it down,” said Grover.

Now where

According to Vin Nair, founder of Musicians United, a platform aimed at helping budding artists, the music community in the UAE is under threat. “We were still scratching the surface and with the Music Room shutting, we just lost a big part of that surface. The best thing about the Music Room was that there were no monopolies in the way it was run. We are really going to miss that,” said Nair. Like Uzgare, he feels Red - Hot & Chilli in Al Barsha as well as Huddle in Citymax Bur Dubai could make up for the loss.

However, Ryan Noronha a local promoter and vocalist of a Dubai-based band feels all is not lost. “Venues are going to come and go, but music never stops,” he said. Noronha believes it’s now going to be all about quality, because Music Room promoted “anybody and everybody”. “That’s not a bad thing at all, but this means artists are going to have to put in more effort and prove their worth.” According to Noronha, there has always been a dearth of venues, but talented artists can’t be stopped. “Red - Hot & Chilli, Wings and Rings, Tribeca and Huddle are some places that promote good music,” he added.

Majed Al Alawi, assistant director, PR & marketing, M Management Company, the parent group of Music Room, said, “Dubai is an evolving city. A new hub will come in soon. As for Music Room, we are starting a new concept but it’s too early to speak about it.”