If three is the magic number, then four is just bad luck...

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Daniel Fahey | 07 November 2009

You’ve got to feel sorry for the organisers of Dubai Sound City. Debut events are often the most difficult to pull off and it has to be even harder setting up a festival thousands of miles from home. So things won’t have been made any easier for them with news this morning that a fourth band has cancelled their appearance.

Tonight’s headliners Echo And The Bunnymen won’t be performing after singer Ian McCulloch failed to board his plane in the UK. The Liverpool band join the likes of De La Soul, Kissy Sell Out and The Dirty Skirts who have all failed to show so far.

That means it’s down to the Super Furry Animals to complete things in the Irish Village later on. Being in Dubai these stumbling blocks are even harder to overcome. If we were still in the UK, bosses could flick open their little black book and try to replace them with another band – one that’s only an hour’s drive by white transit van down the M40. But over here things are a little harder – they’re already championing the local acts and, let’s be honest, none of them have the pulling power to fill a headline slot. Not yet, anyway.

But that’s the bad news of the way. At least the sun’s still shining and Shaun Ryder’s onstage banter last night should keep people smiling for a while.

The Happy Mondays’ frontman may still sing like a bingo caller with a blocked up nose, but his quips between songs are nothing short of, well unusual… “We’ve never been here before,” he mused after their first track, “it’s alright innit?” You’ve got to love the cheeky council estate charm; we’ve known for years that he can’t hold a tune.

“We don’t normally do this one, but we’ll do it for…where are we? Blackpool?”
was another scatty mumble before the group played ‘Anti Warhol (On The Dancefloor)’. But the two outbursts of “fucking” might be the between-song talk that he regrets, especially when he tried to cover them up with a “shit…” both times. Let’s hope CID weren’t on swear-watch during their set.

It also looks like the music-lovers in Dubai are also getting into the festival spirit. Vodka mainly by the look of things. Woozy revellers could be found trying to flag down taxis outside the venue like a real-life game of Frogger at the end of the night, while a mid-afternoon break for prayer gave a group of girls the chance to murder ‘Wonderwall’ over and over again in front of the main stage. If I shut my eyes and it was a little bit colder I could swear I was at Reading, not that I’d want to be.

Instead I’ll be back tomorrow with more from the hottest winter festival in the world…

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