Sunday, September 30, 2007
Live at the Lime
With the Ramadhan emphasis on culturally refocussing, open mics and the weekly Lime Loft sessions have been necessarily parked. The last time I checked out what was happening was one of the Thursday nights at the recently launched Lime Theatre Loft events near the Fairmont Hotel, off Sheikh Zayyed Road. On that occasion, a mixed bag of accoustic and "unplugged" sets were delivered by Messrs Graham Park, Neil and Andy (?) and Mike Ross. Mr Park and the informally named duo were in their different ways, overtly Brit; Mr Ross was overtly Canadian. Nothing wrong with that on either score I venture. The problem with guitarist and singer Graham Park (isn't that in Hackney?) was the classic English understatement, when cranking up the literal and emotional volume on his often excellent songs would have made a world of difference. As he soldiered on it was getting harder and harder to hear him from fairly close proximity to the stage as he declined to up the ante as the braying of the already beer-sodden exiled Brit bar props gained volume. Neil and Andy had no such problem. Their younger, Oasis style, almost sing-along approach, plus greater amplification given the use of (wow!) electric guitar, proved an easier hit with England's finest. Appeals in the intervals from Dubai Lime's drole comic compere went unheeded at the bar however when Mike Ross came on. His first few songs were nearly drowned out as the Anglo-Saxon chorus made his set a battle for audability. By the end, the mild-mannered Canadian won on points as the emotional strength and vocal power of his performance tipped the scales in favour of musicality over barrack room beery excess. The question for me is what can be done to ensure that a paying gig takes centre stage over just another weekend night in a pub? Perhaps the answer is to hire a louder PA system, get more musicians on the stage, and utilise the big blokes on the doors to mingle with the great unwashed at the bar.