x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Keane's perfect summer treat

Frontman Tom Chaplin explains how the British rock band are looking forward to making their Middle East debut in Dubai.

DUBAI // Rock fans are eagerly awaiting the visit of British group Keane in July, and the group's frontman says they feel the same way. Tom Chaplin, the lead singer, said the debut visit to Dubai was "one of the highlights of the tour".

He said the band were looking forward to bringing tracks from their new album to Dubai and hoped for a chance to tour the city's sights. Chaplin said the band were eager to visit the UAE and play one of "heartlands" of the Middle East. Keane released their third studio album, Perfect Symmetry, in October and the following month launched the current world tour, which has already seen them play concerts across North America.

The album features a new style for the band, which has proved popular with fans, rocketing to the top of the British album charts within a week of its release. "We are really having a great time on the tour. There is a real level of excitement and energy about the record and about the new sound," he said in a telephone interview from Toronto, Canada on Saturday. The internationally acclaimed band have built their reputation with soft rock ballads such as Everybody's Changing, Somewhere Only We Know and Is It Any Wonder.

They announced earlier this month that they would play the indoor Madinat Arena venue at Madinat Jumeirah on July 8. Tickets are available from the Box Office and Time Out websites and from Virgin Music Stores at Dh220. "One of the great things about being in a band is that we get the chance to travel and see really different places," said Chaplin, although he acknowledged: "One of the frustrations can be that you get in and then straight out, so combined with the jet lag, we don't always get a chance to soak up the culture.

"We know a fair amount about [the UAE] but we are going to be studying the guidebooks to see which mosques and places we should visit. "I'm also a keen golfer. I hear there are some good courses there, so I might try and bring my clubs and get in a couple of rounds." He said he was not sure how long they would stay in the UAE but hoped for at least "a day and a half to explore". Asked about how the band would cope with the scorching summer heat of the Emirates, he said: "We have never been to Dubai before but people say it's pretty hot and sweaty in July.

"Although Boston has been boiling," he said. "It's had a period of really hot weather, so maybe that's kind of training for Dubai." Chaplin fronts the band together with the pianist and songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley, with Richard Hughes on drums. They won plaudits after the release of their debut album, Hopes and Fears, in 2004 and their second darker album, Under the Iron Sea, won them the Best Band title at the GQ awards.

They have also won two Brit awards and a Grammy nomination. Combined sales of the two albums have topped eight million and their latest looks set to build on this earlier success. The huge appeal of their first album established the piano-led trio as one of the Britain's most popular groups and led to comparisons with Coldplay and Radiohead. Readers of the music magazine Q voted Perfect Symmetry the best album of the year in December.

The band's origins date back to 1995, when Rice-Oxley and his schoolfriend, Dominic Scott, launched a band called The Lotus Eaters, together with Hughes. The group changed its name to Cherry Keane in 1997, at around the time Chaplin joined the group. The name was later shortened to Keane. chamilton@thenational.ae