Egyptian rock band Bad Apple claims that their music “leaves no one unsatisfied. But judging by last week’s performance at the Sawy Cultural Wheel, which included original tracks and rock covers of all-time favorites, their sound does not cater to all audience types.
Their efforts to meet that objective is demonstrated with the multitude of special guests often featured in their performances and the several acts that get the audience cheering in excitement, such as beat boxers, choir kids, Spanish guitar and an oriental tabla.
Last week was the first time the band performed all their original material without additional attractions to spice up the show. The epic three-hour long concert seemed like a mere hour: the epitome of a successful show.
The group consists of five talented young men: Amr Khaled (vocals and guitar), Median (lead guitar), Amr Azmy (drums), Tarek Rakha (bass), and Bassem Emad (keyboard). Some of the many highlights of the concert included a showcase of Median’s skills as lead guitarist and Bassem’s produced orchestra beats.
Initially, I got the impression that these young men were like most other rock bands I’ve seen in Egypt: angry, disturbed and miserable. To my surprise, they evoked laughter with the playful lyrics, employing them as another source of interacting with the audience, and the boys definitely know how to get the audience going.
Yet, everyday life frustrations find its way in the group’s intense lyrics.
The group also draws inspiration from some of their favorite bands, such as Metallica, Pink Floyd and Nirvana. Currently, their favorite is the California-based heavy-metal band Avenged Sevenfold.
So what about the name? The saying goes: “One bad apple spoils the whole barrel. But according to the band, there’s nothing too symbolically significant or special about their choice name, “it just sounded cool, said Khaled. The same goes for their logo, a screaming apple with what looks like rotten wings; “it just looked cool.
Coolness aside, the members say the name should be interpreted as something that pushes against conformity, “like a black sheep rebelling against the norms. The popular saying about bad apples takes a different connotation with the band. Instead of spoiling a whole barrel, they are enlightening it. The band strives to bring awareness to the misinformed, they claim.
In their concert, the crowd was mostly a younger one, ranging from 10- to 25-year-olds, the majority being in their teens. It seems that the young are the only ones interested in the genre.
According to the band, this is one of the biggest challenges about performing in Egypt. “There is no real rock scene and there are no rock labels or anything that would take on board a rock band, Khaled says.
The interest of the group members extends beyond music. For some, Khaled might be better known as the author of the acclaimed novel “Velo, an Egyptian Tale. The novel follows a man’s obsessive spiritual journey, in search of true happiness and lasting fulfillment. Currently, Khaled is working on his second novel, “Smiles, Needles and Mushrooms Growing on Trees, about a junkie who’s not an addict, a psychopath who loves people, and a fairy-lover who doesn’t believe in fairies.
The band is currently unsigned and is not looking for a record deal since they’re still in the process of recording new material. For a quick taste of their sound, visit www.thebadappleband.com. Truth be told though, the listed tracks on the site don’t do justice to their talent, which is better observed live.