x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Atelier Festival delivers terrific show punctuated by frustration and frenzy

50 Cent aired some frustration and Duffy was a no-show, yet Friday's performances cemented Atelier Festival as one of the leading musical events in the region

After valiantly trying to hide his frustration over the course of his hour-long performance, the latest stage setback proved to be too much for 50 Cent.

His six-piece backing band fluffed their notes, finishing a new track earlier than Fiddy wanted. The rapper shot them a murderous glare and inquired, not too politely, why they were trying to sabotage his show. Part of 50 Cent's frustration, as he acknowledged on stage, stemmed from a Dubai nightclub falsely claiming that the rapper was attending an after-party at their venue.

It all made for a bizarre and slightly uncomfortable hit-laden set - and was the topic of conversation at the long post-concert taxi queue.

50 Cent's minor onstage meltdown aside, Friday's jam-packed event cemented Atelier Festival as one of the leading musical events in the region.

The festival returned to Meydan Racecourse for a second instalment with a line-up that included SkyBlu, Nelly, Ciara, Craig David and Eva Simons.

The Dutch singer Simons opened the proceedings in great fashion with a storming 15-minute set featuring her recent dance hits Take Over Control, This is Love and Silly Boy.

Craig David's performance was frustrating due to how good it was. Playing his hits - Fill Me In, Rise and Fall, Seven Days and What's Your Flavour - it was maddening to see such a still-hungry performer languishing at his has-been status.

Ciara mixed things up by performing with a troupe of dancers, while the Swiss house DJ Antoine was all energy as he moved back and forth from working the decks to addressing the crowd.

SkyBlu ensured LMFAO's party rocking brand won't be lost with the duo's recent hiatus. The rapper and downright awful dancer delivered a manic performance to LMFAO's hits and a few new solo album tracks.

The Welsh singer Duffy was a no-show as she missed her flight - in hindsight a wise move as the crowd seemed exhausted after SkyBlu's set.

It was a long evening of polished performances, but something tells me 50 Cent's entourage had an even longer night.