1 Abri & Funk Radius These guys have been everywhere in town, and for good reason. Abri & Funk Radius bring some seriously (you guessed it) funky tunes to town, and last year’s single Sunny Daze is a five-minute masterpiece in swanky funk and jazz. Abri’s super smooth voice ties together some gorgeous musical tones, and you’ll be able to see them around Dubai as the season begins to pick up again. Most recently the band held residency at Cavalli Club’s hidden jazz room for its limited run, but expect to see them soon enough.
2 Aman Sheriff A young singer-songwriter in the Ed Sheeran ilk, Sheriff trended on iTunes Middle East after the release of debut EP Piece Of My Mind last year. A hugely talented performer who uses loop pedals brilliantly, we’re expecting big things (he was also on the bill to support the Stereophonics back in May). Check out I Am Yours, You’re Mine – cracking tune. www.thesoundgaarden.com/artists/aman-sheriff.
3 As Per Casper This six-piece international band are massively inspired by different cultures and appropriately reflect that in their world folk music style. You’ll feel uplifted, you’ll want to sing along, and you’ll thoroughly love these guys. Find them at major events and festivals, and keep an eye out for the awesome electric cello player. www.aspercasper.com.
4 Carl & The Reda Mafia The winner of Best Original Band at the Time Out Dubai 2018 Music & Nightlife Awards, these guys have had a huge past 12 to 18 months. Having supported some of the world’s top bands in Dubai and Abu Dhabi – including US rock band Bon Jovi at the du Arena in 2015 – this international four-piece have also taken up residency at several top Dubai bars, including at the World Trade Centre Blue Bar last year and La Mer’s trendy new beachside hotspot Stars ’N’ Bars most recently. Their repertoire of funky, lively and catchy tunes grew with the arrival of brand-new track Breath Of Air, which is now available to stream on all platforms. www.facebook.com/cnrmafia.
5 Hollaphonic A DJ duo that commands a strong following across Dubai and beyond, having recently recorded a English-meets-Thai crossover project. Latest release Spaceship has been streamed more than four million times, the guys have headlined the city’s top nightlife destinations, and more music is on the way this year.
6 Jay Abo One of the city’s longest serving artists who’s familiar with most of the top bars and venues around Dubai. Jay Abo’s funky styles were encapsulated perfectly in his February release, No Gravity, recorded in partnership with local music promoters and agency The Sound Gaarden. www.facebook.com/jayabomusic.
7 Jaye & Foe A fun-loving and lively quirky band with quaint, folksy and entertaining music, this six-piece put on a wildly entertaining performance. Highly regarded in the area, the band supported Plan B and Stereophonics at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre in May. The band even has an August UK tour in the making, and they’re definitely one to check out. www.jayeandfoe.com.
8 Stephon LaMar A real smooth operator, this guy has a voice that could melt butter. Stephon LaMar was highly commended for Best Original Act at this year’s Music & Nightlife Awards, and he’s regularly around town crooning at bars and restaurants – and you can also listen to his tunes on all the major streaming platforms, Love On The Internet is his latest single release, and well worth a listen. He even won a nationwide talent contest last year to bag a contract with Sony Music Middle East, so you know he’s good.
9 The Boxtones A mainstay on the Dubai scene, The Boxtones blur the lines between original and bar band. A five-piece Scottish Canadian band, the band has released two studio albums, 2014’s In The Pocket Of Clowns and 2016’s Home. A former winner of the Time Out Dubai Best Dubai Act award, these guys know how to put on a show, and you’ll find them popping up across town.
10 Vandalye One of the coolest, most original bands on this list, Vandalye are a three-piece acoustic and folksy lot. Originally from the UK, the band have got some cracking tunes including Don’t Lie To Me from 2016 and Rly, a 2018 release. They even supported Elton John for his visit to Dubai in December 2017. Plus, they’re opening for Newton Faulkner when he plays at PizzaExpress Live in Business Bay this Friday (June 29).