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Paddyman’s Tour de Force at P.J. O’Reilly’s Pub in Abu Dhabi

October 31, 2013

PJ O'Reilly's Abu Dhabi

PJ O’Reilly’s Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI – I have seen busier days at P.J. O’Reilly’s pub in Abu Dhabi. In fact, I usually don’t like being there alone when it is so busy that party-goers are bursting at every seam. Last night, I decided to drop in to see the regular Wednesday night act, Paddyman, in order both to have a nice night out, and also to seek an open mic or open jam session for myself. I achieved the former, but not the latter.

Paddyman is a one-man-band Irish phenomenon who has travelled the world playing his music in Irish pubs and elsewhere, usually with an Irish theme from the crudest to the softest. He also does most bar rock stuff you can imagine, in his own way, and, I noted, it is so fast-paced that he rarely ever finishes a song before segueing into another song. He also writes his own songs, both comical and touching.

He is now based in Dubai, and sings around the Gulf, from Bahrain to Dubai to Abu Dhabi, and other spots. A highly in demand Irish singer, carrying the home flames to the legions of expatriates of the region.

A High-speed Paddy in Dubai

His real talent is in getting the audience to react, request songs, sing-along, and generally turn the most staid Irish pub into a party. That’s pretty necessary in Abu Dhabi where, although P.J. O’Reilly’s is an oasis of merriment, there are certain things in the Emirate that seem not to be tolerated…such as taking videos of the performer.

So it was that I only managed to get a couple of snippets of Paddyman, and they are in no way representative of the raucousness of his act. I got told off by the security guard at the door, near where I was standing, and he said if I continued making videos I’d have to leave the premises.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention this, my first night out in the music of Abu Dhabi. Yes, this is expatriate stuff in an Irish pub, and not representative of the local music. But in other ways, it kind of is. Keep posted for further notes as to why….

One Step Better in Abu Dhabi, at PJ O’Reilly’s Pub

November 11, 2011

I complained yesterday in my post about how I found a music bar that refused me entry with a guitar and camera. Last night I managed to get a step closer to Nirvana in an expat bar called PJ O’Reilly’s, located within the compound of the Royale Meridien Hotel in downtown Abu Dhabi.

I say I got just a step closer because I managed to get into the bar with my guitar and my camera and no questions were asked. And I also managed to sit there for some time contemplating how, when and why I would approach a member of the house band to ask about places to play at jams or open mics in Abu Dhabi.

But as I sat and listened to this cover band and the music was very loud, and the full-house of clients dancing, laughing, joking, talking and moving about in cramped quarters, and as I used my Zoom Q3HD camera to try to get some of the music and atmosphere on video, I felt a tap on my shoulder from behind after only my third video. It was a security guard who told me I had to turn off my video recorder.

“No videos,” he yelled.

Well, this was all a step closer to my goal of finding my musical jam, open mic or other venue to mark my musical territory in Abu Dhabi. But, of course, there still seems to remain a very large hurdle before I get there. On the other hand, with two venues in a row that don’t like cameras, I’m beginning to form an interesting picture of music in Abu Dhabi. Hope it’s the wrong one….

In the end, the bar was so jam-packed, my welcome less than that, and when between sets I sought out a band member and found I could barely move and that even if I did find a band member they would not hear my voice over the loud piped in music, I decided to leave PJ O’Reilly’s and call it a failure. I’ll try another couple of ideas tonight.

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