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Xirka Rock 5: smoke on the water

The Aria venue in San Ġwann isn’t quite the Montreux location that Xirka Rock’s latest event might suggest with its Smoke On The Water theme. Nevertheless, given that the San Ġwann venue has a striking cascading water decor (and it used to be called Liquid too), one only needs to have a little imagination and the rest will be taken care of by the band onstage.

With almost 3,000 members in its Facebook group and increasing attendances flocking to each of its events to date, it’s obvious that Xirka Rock has come a long way in a very short time.

“Well, considering that Xirka Devoti tar-Rock, to give its original name, started off as a bunch of friends getting together to talk about rock music over an Indian meal and a few beers I’d say yes, we have,” says Lou Bondi, one of Xirka Rock’s founding members.

“The ball really started rolling when we set up a Facebook group; loads of people joined and many local rock musicians showed an interest, which gave me the idea that maybe we should stage a concert to bring everyone together.”

A definite plus in helping to bring everyone together is the dedicated Xirka Rock band, namely Peter Borg and Raphael Tonna (Red Electrick), Chris Curmi (Airport Impressions), Wayne Camilleri (KOI) and Mark Attard (Fakawi), and of course the ever-changing list of guest vocalists that accompanies them.

“This edition features eight of the island’s best vocalists,” Bondi says. The list includes Mel Xkeyfa (Chasing Pandora), Kenneth Calleja (Fire), Pawlu Borg Bonaci (Fakawi), Leo Stivala (Forsaken), Frank Calleja (Behead­ed), Jordan Cutajar (Frenzy Mono/Nomad Son), Matthew James Borg (Red Electrick) and Chris Grech (26 Other Worlds).

“We’re also having an opening act,” he adds. “An acoustic set by Keith Anthony (of Chasing Pandora and Fellow Fish), Jodi Heckenlaible and Ian Zerafa.

But just what is it that people find so appealing about Xirka Rock? Bondi says it’s really very simple: “Our events appeal to all ages, from teenagers to the over-60s, which I suppose reflects just how big a part rock music plays in people’s lives. Xirka Rock was always about going out and having fun.”

Anyone who has attended a Xirka Rock gig knows this only too well, and of course, having a great line-up onstage playing the best classic rock tunes just makes it better.

Xirka Rock 5: Smoke on the Water will be held this Saturday at ARIA in San Ġwann (ex-Liquid).

Doors open at 9 p.m.

Tickets are €7 at the door.

Parking is available.

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