Searching for rock & roll in Abu Dhabi

I stepped off the plane into the dry heat of the desert morning a little over twelve hours earlier than planned. My trip to Abu Dhabi, at the invitation and expense of the Aloft hotel chain, had been moved forward at the last moment when the Islamic authorities sighted the new moon and declared Eid al-Adha for the following Saturday. The religious holiday, which commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son at God’s command – Christian and Qur’anic traditions differ over whether that son was Isaac or Ishmael – necessitates that the preceding night the sale of alcohol is prohibited. This is to ensure that believers approach Abe’s obedience in a spirit of sober contemplation. Aloft had been planning to host ‘Turning Up The Spotlight’, their Battle of the Bands competition, on the Friday. However, after apparently being caught unawares by the annual holiday they obviously realised that a spirit of sober contemplation would be wholly unsuited to a Battle of the Bands and scrambled to rearrange the show for Thursday evening.

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