x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Danny Band prevail in Yas Rock battle

Most of the acts were chosen by fans voting on Facebook.

The Danny Band came out on top at the Yas Rock Factory battle of the bands.
The Danny Band came out on top at the Yas Rock Factory battle of the bands.

ABU DHABI // The biggest "battle of the bands" competition yet hosted in Abu Dhabi left a Canadian singer-songwriter Dh20,000 richer and one step closer to becoming the UAE's biggest music star.

Danny Shirran, the lead singer of Danny Band, scooped the top prize following a verdict by the panel of five judges. His band was one of six acts participating in the Yas Rock Factory for the event, organised by Flash Entertainment.

The runner-up, the metal band Osprey, walked away with Dh5,000.

Most of the acts were chosen by fans voting on the competition's Facebook page. Other home-grown bands to perform included the punk group Coat of Arms, the hard rockers The Flaming Trees and the blues band The Brownies.

One of the judges, Dia Hassan, even stayed behind to entertain the audience with his own band, Juliana Down, during deliberations.

Keith Howison, another judge, said he hoped Yas Rock Factory would become a quarterly event "that would continue to grow in popularity". The five judges were unanimous in describing Shirran's performance as "fantastic".

"It was awesome," said Shirran, describing himself as a "glowing ball of energy" moments after bounding off stage.

"The crowd was great and the response was great. It just ended too soon," added the singer, who recently released his album, Long Time Comin, independently.

Shirran said he would share his winnings with the other members of his six-piece band, but that the money was "irrelevant."

"I have entered so many battle-of-the-bands and never won. This has really lit a fire beneath me," he said. "All the songs I played tonight were my own, so I'm going to keep writing. This has been amazing."

Shirran was picked for his overall "captivating" performance and a voice that stood out, said Howison.

Despite there being only one winner, there was no evident animosity between the acts offstage. "It was excellent," said Mannan Ibrahim, lead singer of Osprey. "This was an amazing opportunity for us and we hope to see more of this kind of thing happening in the UAE."

Turnout proved disappointing, with only a few hundred attending a venue with a 5,000 capacity. This was put down to the chart-topper Usher's performance in Dubai the same night.

Aea Chen, 27, a Dubai-based designer, said the show was nonetheless a success for music lovers.

"I thought all the bands, as well as the audience and judges, were great," she said.

zalhassani@thenational.ae