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Rock subculture influences and music have been slowly but surely making an appearance in Lebanese mainstream media. Rock musicians and even Rock music are now a normal part of popular prime-time TV shows and music videos.
Several prime-time shows on Lebanese TV feature multiple celebrities (actors, artists, models, etc) in an atmosphere focused on singing and dancing. These shows have been bringing their house band to the limelight, where it is now common to see guitar players and other musicians rocking out to the songs, regardless whether they are Rock songs or not. For example, Micheal “Labex” Labaki (see photo below) is often seen rocking out on stage to “Arabic Pop” songs on MTV Lebanon’s Heik Menghanni show.
One must note that “rocking out” is not a common scene on Lebanese TV because Rock music (not even gonna mention Metal) has always stayed in the underground with a fanbase of under 1% of the population (we estimate around 10k cool people of 6 million). For those of you who are unfamiliar with Labex, he is an established international bassist with multiple full-length albums, appearances in the NAMM Show in the US, and was featured in Bass Musician magazine as the Stapping Innovator.
Rock has also made its mark with the house band on MTV Lebanon’s late-night talk show “Hayda Haki“. The band is led by Chadi Nachef, an established artist in the local Blues scene who is “Born in the 70’s and raised on tunes of Jimmy Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana” (from his Facebook page). The house band brings a live band’s energy to that mainstream show, giving audiences a cooler touch than the traditional Arabic Pop background bands in other prime-time TV shows.
Last but not least, many Arabic Pop artists are using full-on Rock music in their songs, at times showing Rock musicians and featuring distortion guitar solos in their official videos. This is not to be confused with Lebanese Rock bands who sing in Arabic or feature middle-eastern musical influences.
So is this Legit or Fail? I would say Legit. While the local Rock scene does not care about these shows or music videos, seeing that Rock is getting more accepted by the mainstream is a good thing for the scene (playing at local festivals), exposure (prime-time TV), and overall acceptance in society (accepting Rock as a music style, not as a devil-worship movement).