Arabic indie heavyweights Mashrou ‘Leila, The Wanton Bishops and Autostrad are among a goody bag of stellar acts set to play Dubai’s first Step Music festival.
Leading hip-hop names including Malika, The Narcycist, Daffy and Flipperachi and Muqata’a are also set for the monster one-day event, taking place at Dubai International Marine Club on Friday April 7.
An off-shoot of the annual Step Conference, running from April 5-7, the first-time festival concept is expected to welcome thousands of regional music fans to soak up sounds from two stages.
The undisputed headliners are Lebanese art-rock icons Mashrou’ Leila, who drew a mighty crowd out to Dubai Media City Amphitheatre just weeks earlier for the inaugural Wasla festival – and earned giddy praise in my review here.
Also playing Step’s main outdoor stage after dark are Jordanian rock quintet Autostrad, Beirut blues-rockers The Wanton Bishops – who return following a barnstorming opening gig for The Other Side in 2015 – and tune-minded indie-rock compatriots Adonis.
Simultaneously an indoor stage will present an evening packed bill of regional hip-hop talent, including three solo icons: Lebanon’s reigning “Queen of Arabic hip-hop” Malikah, Iraqi-Canadian MC/thinker The Narcicyst (AKA Narcy) and Palestine’s Muqata’a, AKA Boikutt of Ramallah Underground fame.
Two influential regional hip-hop troupes will also be represented, with Bahraini-Kuwaiti duo Flip & Daffy (formelly known as Daffy and Flipperachi) and long-standing UAE collective The Recipe.
The indoor stage will also welcome more diverse sounds from smart Syrian-Palestinian, alt-R&B singer-songwriter Moh Flow, and inventive Armenian-American electronic producer Bei Ru.
Earlier on, from 2pm the same stage will celebrate contemporary UAE pop talent, with Esther Eden, Layla Kardan, As Per Casper, Pimms Brooke, Saffron Collins and Sail into Night all booked for the afternoon showcase.
At the same time, the neighbouring areas will host talks from musicians and industry types. Check stepconference.com for full details and ticket info.
In another piece of exciting alternative music news, Lebanese music icon Zeid Hamdan (& The Wings) is performing on March 17 at Dusk Terrace, Dubai Media City, on a bill alongside iKill – register for limited free tickets here.