x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Corniche rocks as race fans enjoy concert series under the stars

Beats on the Beach offers live music for listeners of all tastes.

While Beyoncé was rocking a sold-out concert on Yas Island, at least 3,000 people on the Abu Dhabi Corniche were entertained by a different award-winning musical line-up - entirely free. An eclectic mix of local, regional and international musical talent was gathered for Beats on the Beach. The opening-night session of the Grand Prix weekend presented four sets accessible to anyone who wandered up to the public beach or - as the organisers suggested - moored their boats offshore. No one appeared to have taken up that offer, but the event had a homey feel as many families turned up to enjoy the shows.

On a picture-perfect autumn evening, with starry skies above and a warm and gentle breeze blowing down the beach, the festivities began with Beat Antenna, a semi-professional Dubai-based band. The group released its first record in April and was named best rock band in Dubai in a Time Out poll in May. Beat Antenna was the opening act for tours by The Charlatans and Arrested Development. Soul II Soul, a British group that specialises in dance/club and R&B music, followed. The group had topped the dance charts in Britain and the US 20 years ago with songs such as Back To Life, and toured Australia in February.

Greg Caire, an Australian living in Abu Dhabi, described Soul II Soul as "funky". "I remember them from the 1990s, I'm sorry to say," he said. The Lebanese singer May Hariri melded her performance into a fusion of Egyptian, Khaleeji, Indian and Arabic influences, as she described it. The final act of the evening was Above and Beyond, British-based DJs who once played to a million people at a concert in Rio de Janeiro and won the BBC-awarded Essential Mix of the Year.

Beats on the Beach, sponsored by the media organisation Twofour54 Abu Dhabi, began on Tuesday and runs until tomorrow. All concerts are free.

jhenzell@thenational.ae