Nov 16 2011

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26 North – Alternative rock/metal from Saudi heads to Bahrain

26 North, alternative rockers/metallers from Saudi Arabia are playing in the Bud Battle of the Bands in Bahrain this Friday 18th November at JJs, the band is made up of American expats who work at Aramco in Saudi and we hear they put on quite a show!

The band members are:
Steve King: Guitars
Cody Martin: Bass
James McKeage: Drums
Blake Wickliffe:  Vocals

26 North are the first band of ten that we will be featuring that are competing in the Bud Battle of the Bands. We found out a bit more about them!

So, you got through the auditions for the Bud Battle of the Bands, what are your plans for the next round? Any surprises?
We do this for the love of the music, so our plan is the same as it was for the audition:  Play as hard and as well as we can and try to give the audience the best show we are able to deliver.

Tell me about your band, how did it start, who are the members and who are your influences?
Our band is made up of expats living in Saudi Arabia.  Steve King, the guitarist, was in another band before and when his lead singer had to move on, he asked Blake Wickliffe to step in.  They played for a while and when the drummer and bass player also had to move on, they were introduced to James McKeage by Cody Martin, whom Blake knew socially.  James was an immediate match as a drummer, and a short time after that, Cody (who was a guitarist at the time) volunteered to teach himself bass and step in.  Blake came up with the new band name, 26 North, and the rest is history!

Musically, our biggest influences are probably 80′s & 90′s metal, with a whole lot of grunge thrown in.  Specifically, we listen to and play a lot of Metallica, Motorhead, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Tool, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Korn, Slipknot, etc…

What made you enter Bud Battle of the Bands?
Well, getting to open for Skid Row would be an amazing experience that none of us wanted to pass up. But also, we saw it as a chance to really break into the Bahrain hard rock/metal scene. There are so many great bands in Bahrain and this was the perfect opportunity to meet them, play with them, and open the doors to future gigs with some new friends.

And JJ’s. We’ve played JJ’s a couple of times before, when we won the Saudistock Battle of the Bands and then when we opened up for the Boxtones. We loved it and would come back to play at JJ’s anytime they opened the doors for us.

What are you most looking forward to about the competition?
Same things that made us want to enter the competition: Skid Row, getting to play with some of the awesome bands in Bahrain, and getting to play JJ’s again.

What other bands are you keen on seeing play?
Skid Row! But we’re just as happy to get to see all of the bands we played with last time again. Everyone was great and rocking at the auditions and we’re looking forward to seeing them bring it again.

What is the music scene in Bahrain like at the moment? Do you think it is growing? Do you see changes?
It looks like something is really happening in Bahrain. There is a creative movement going on, not even just with music, but with the entire creative art scene. With groups like Elham and events like the Bud Live Battle of the Bands, there is a big push and a lot of support of those members of the community that have something to say creatively. It’s really exciting and we’re looking forward to the opportunity of being a part of that.

If you win this competition, what would it mean to you?
It would be amazing to see our hard work and our passion for what we’re doing recognised like that. We put our hearts into what we’re doing and really care about the music we’re playing and it’d be awesome to see that connecting everyone on the other side of the stage.

Also, what a welcome into the Bahraini rock scene.

What is the craziest/funniest thing that has happened to you as a band either on stage or off?
Ask us again after the Battle of the Bands. Opening for Skid Row would be pretty crazy.

Tell me one thing about each of you that your fans don’t know.
Blake: Is actually from outer space.
James: Is actually from Canada. Shhhh!
Cody: The Canadian drummer is making him grow a mustache.
Steve: He’s tougher than he looks.

If you could cook any meal to impress a girlfriend/boyfriend, what would it be?
Hmm…what would Lemmy do?

to contact for more details on the bands/events us please email metalityuae@yahoo.co.uk

About the author

Metality UAE

Dubai-based technology magazine editor with a passion for underground music. I have been in Dubai for almost five years and have grown to love so many awesome acts and musicians that this country has to offer. I started this site because of the mainstream media's lack of interest in home grown music. This site is entirely written, maintained, designed, promoted and managed by me.

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