Spring 2019 will see Lebanese alt-rock four-piece Mashrou’ Leila head out on their biggest European tour to date, performing at Gorilla on 9th March. For those who may be unfamiliar with the forward-thinking indie-pop outfit, we’ve picked out five nuggets of knowledge to introduce you to the band…
1 // The band started life in 2008 as the result of late-night jam sessions at the American University of Beirut, gradually transforming into a an ambitious, fiercely articulate quartet. Their name can be retraced to these beginnings, translated as “An Overnight Project”.
2 // The band’s work often draws controversy in their native Lebanon, often due to their calls for self-expression and a judgment-free culture, and the band has long been outspoken about LGBTQ issues. In September 2017, during a show in Egypt, members of their audience were arrested for waving a rainbow flag in support of LGBTQ rights. One man has been sentenced to six years in jail for ‘practicing debauchery’ on his way home from the concert.
3 // The band have recently completed their third tour of America, where they have also found a huge following, dubbed “the voice of their generation” by CNN, whilst the Financial Times have named them “the Arab world’s most influential independent band”.
4 // The band successfully crowdfunded their 2013 album ‘Raasuk’ to bypass censorship and the control of a record company. Hundreds of fans of the band gave a combined total of over $66,000 to fund the release of the band’s third album, through the newly-launched Arab crowdfunding platform Zoomaal.
5 // Their appearance at Gorilla this March will be their first performance in Manchester since playing Club Academy in June 2014, returning in support of their “soon to be announced” fifth studio album.
Mashrou’ Leila perform at Gorilla on Saturday 9th March 2019. Tickets are available here.
Photo by Tarek Moukaddem.