We're not just saying goodbye to a venue; we're saying goodbye to the place that saw the first time we took shots, and the reason we now have a favourite band.
To all the lively spirits and souls of Cairo: at some point or another, After Eight has embraced your craziness, your bad nights, your happiest moments, and weirdest memories. Now, the Downtown music hub is closing its doors on December 16th, after 15 years, and while it hurts us, we can't help but look back on how it shaped the identity of Cairo at the turn of the century, and was instrumental in revolutionising the music scene when it opened its doors to bands who had nothing but talent and big dreams.Underground music was almost unheard of before After Eight's stage allowed musicians to freely vocalise their honest and rebellious lyrics, giving a start to the harmonious rhythms of Wust El Balad, which resonated from their stage and went on to do the same across all of Egypt. The stage witnessed the start of bands that spread their energy and fostered the uniqueness of the underground scene, like Cairokee, Salalem, Massar Egbari, and Black Theama, not to mention bands from across the region, like the Jordanian Autostrad, which got us singing lyrics that pertain to other cultures and brought together our similarities in our love for music. Riff Band, and Ahmed Harfoush turned the space into a jazzy Harlem club from the 50s with their nostalgic covers. We danced our heads off to Sahara band's fusion of the desert and the city in their compositions, and mahraganat performers like 7a7a, Fifty, and Sadat, definitely created a strong fan base through After Eight's love for introducing us to all that's new, fun, and entertaining.After Eight's stage also held Egypt's musical history for years, through the genius of Grammy-winner Fathy Salama, and one of the world's most renowned Jazz percussionists, Yehia Khalil, reviving our senses and passion for our heritage. It was there that Basheer's sultry voice and authentic Nubian beats had us in sync with Egyptian folkloric music and learning more about the beautiful diverse mosaic that is our country. And it was in After Eight that the music scene was not only revolutionised, but we saw the evolution of music through female DJs – we witnessed DJ Dina courageously spin the decks week after week, and there was no stopping her when she rose to fame as one of Egypt's best in the disc jockey game.
We imagine the Talaat Harb statue may just shed a tear for its neighbouring landmark leaving it by its lonesome. But, we still have one more month left. One more month to relive memories with our loved ones; four more weeks to make new memories and take tons of selfies; 30 days to get out of our comfort zone and onto the dance floor; and 720 hours to drink in the spirit of music, love, and memories.Visit After Eight's Facebook page to keep up with their last month's celebrations and events.
All images by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions; Wust El Balad image provided by After 8.