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02 March 2024

This is the day Dubai rocks


By Rachel McArthur

One day and eight fantastic bands. It's that time of year again when some of the world's finest rock stars shake up the UAE at the annual Desert Rock Festival.

In 2008, we saw the likes of Korn and Muse perform. This year, legendary British band Motorhead headlines with support from Arch Enemy, Opeth, Chimaira, August Burns Red, Scarab, Hatred and the UAE's own Nervecell. The show is scheduled to start from 4pm today at Dubai Festival City.

Tickets are priced at Dh250 and are still available. They can be bought at the venue today from 2pm when doors open.

The order of bands performing on stage will be Hatred at 4pm, followed by Scarab, Nervecell, August Burns Red, Chimaira, Opeth, Arch Enemy and then finally, Motorhead.

The festival is scheduled to end at 12am.

According to organisers CSM, there will be a variety of reasonably priced food and drink options available throughout the day, as well as merchandise booths and other entertainment.


Emirates Business talks to guitarist Rob Arnold from American heavy metal sextet Chimaira.

So what questions irritate you the most?

It annoys me when journalists don't do their research and ask questions about how we formed or got our name. We've been together for over 10 years, so come on!

We won't be doing that! Have you ever been asked if the name Chimaira comes from Mission: Impossible II even though you formed before the film's release?

Yeah – when the movie came out, some people thought we took our name from the "chimera" virus. (laughs)

What can fans expect from your first Dubai gig?

We only started practising recently, because we had taken some time off, so it will be interesting to see what kind of a setlist we come up with. These are probably people we've never performed in front of so it's going to be exciting. I guess it will be a mix of songs from all our albums, as well as maybe some new material.

What do you think of the region?

We've never been to the Middle East before. Everybody talks about Dubai and I watch shows about it on National Geographic. Stuff about construction and so on.

Did you guys know you had a fanbase in this region?

To be honest, we weren't really aware, because we had never been to the region, but as soon as it was announced we were doing Desert Rock, a lot of fans started visiting our MySpace page. That's when we realised how excited people are!

You guys have a new album being released soon, right?

Yes, it's called The Infection. It's ready and hopefully will be released next month. We reunited with Ben Schigel for this record, who previously produced our debut, as well as The Impossibility of Reason.

You have started a campaign entitled www.spread-the-infection.com, which lets fans spread word of the album in return for new audio clips and pictures. Is the web your main method of promotion?

Our fans are great, and let's face it, there's no other way our music will get promoted, because our genre isn't popular on radio or mainstream music channels. We've been together as a band since 1998, and that's how it has always been. The internet has made things easier, because portals such as YouTube allow us to upload our music videos, and we can obviously spread the word online.

So touring pays the bills?

We have great fans who still go out and buy our CDs, so sales are still pretty strong. However, touring is also a great way to market your product, as we sell the CDs at the show.

Is merchandise also a strong seller for Chimaira?

Fans like buying our t-shirts – we're doing nowhere as good as Iron Maiden though. They probably sell 30,000 times better!

Arch Enemy

Among the top-selling death metal bands is Sweden's Arch Enemy. Fronted by one of the hottest females in rock, Angela Gossow, the band formed in 1996 after former Carcass and Carnage members Michael Amott and Johan Liiva joined forces. She talks to Emirates Business about music, fashion and veganism.

This will be your first time here. Looking forward to it?

Definitely. This will be our first time in Dubai – our first time playing and our first time on holiday. I can't wait to see all the famous extravagant buildings.

What can we expect?

I don't know really, but I'm thinking we'll do a 70- to 90-minute "best of" show. We just want to wreck the crowd, and make them so tired they won't have any energy by the time Motorhead come on!

Have you played shows with Motorhead before?

Yeah, we have – they're fun to share a stage with.

Any gossip on Motorhead frontman Lemmy and co.?

Haha. Nah, they're all really down-to-earth.

You have one of the most distinctive voices in metal. How do you ensure all the "growling" doesn't ruin your vocal cords?

Before I hit the stage, I always make sure I prepare my voice by doing vocal warm-ups. I also try and avoid talking a lot before my shows, which is why I like doing interviews way ahead.

You're also well-known for your style. How do you pick your clothes?

I just like anything I feel comfortable in. It's very metal and I sometimes customise my clothes with my sewing machine.

Whose style do you rate?

Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil is pretty cool.

Ever thought of creating your own clothing line?

It would be nice to come up with something like cool biker fashion or a vegan clothing line. I'm against wearing animal skin.

And are you vegan?

Yes. I refuse to eat anything with a face. I must admit though that I am more of a vegetarian than a vegan when I'm on the road, as sometimes it's hard to get food without butter or milk, for example. But I try my best. Being vegan also keeps me healthy and keeps my skin clear, because I'm not eating junk food. I like keeping in shape too. It's important to stay fit. As you get older, it begins to show how well you've taken care of your body and health when you were younger. If you have bad skin, it means you probably had a rubbish diet.

Have you ever fronted a campaign as Pamela Anderson does with Peta?

No, I like avoiding that, because I'm not entirely sure how genuine these campaigns are, and whether they're more about exploitation or making money. Don't get me wrong, Pamela does wonderful things, but on a personal level, I'd rather not be associated with any organisation. I can talk about it, and say that other living beings shouldn't be exploited. I mean, they're not even calling them animals anymore, they're referred to as "livestock" which is horrible. But that's as far as I'd go.