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Acclaimed tribute artists keep on rocking

By Patric Baird

Published 08/07/2016

Tour finale: So Cow are playing Voodoo tomorrow night
Tour finale: So Cow are playing Voodoo tomorrow night

The Bon Jovi Experience at the Empire Music Hall, Belfast Tomorrow, 8.30pm.

They may not have the greatest name for a Bon Jovi tribute band — that honour goes to By Jovi — but fast becoming regular fixtures at the Botanic Avenue venue, The Bon Jovi Experience is led by front man Tony, who can more than hold his own both in the inevitable visual and vocal comparisons between his tributee, BJE have even earned the seal of approval of Jon Bon Jovi himself, who personally booked them to play a show at London’s Hard Rock Cafe.

Add endorsements by Nickleback’s Chad Kroeger and BBC DJ Chris Evans, who described them as “the best tribute band I have ever seen”, you can expect to hear faithfully-reproduced renditions of all the hits including Living on a Prayer, Blaze of Glory and Always.

Visit thebelfastempire.com for details

Music City 2016

The Guildhall, Londonderry

Tomorrow, 8pm

Celtronic’s annual Music City festival reaches its penultimate day with a headline performance by young Co Cavan band The Strypes.

Following the release of their debut album, Snapshot, in 2013, and an EP entitled 4 Track Mind, they have been building an audience with their incendiary live shows featuring a mix of self-penned numbers and covers.

Formed in 2011, they evoke the mod-era spirit of The Who, Small Faces and The Animals, as well as US bluesmen like Chuck Berry and Howlin’ Wolf. Also on the bill are Londonderry’s own The Wood Burning Savages, Belfast duo exmagician and Lurgan/Banbridge pair, The Bonnevilles.

For details, visit facebook.com/events/993321717450113.

So Cow

Voodoo, Belfast

Tomorrow, 8pm

Hailing from Galway, via South Korea, where the band was formed in 2005, So Cow play their last date of an Irish mini-tour at Voodoo tomorrow night. The trio have five albums behind them, and a sound which has been described as having “more hooks than a Peter Hook-curated pirate convention, where I Know What You Did Last Summer, Candyman and Steven Spielberg’s Hook are played on repeat against a big wall to drive the ‘hook’ point home because there’s really little else to go on there.”

Also playing are local trio Hot Cops, Belfast indie rockers Junk Drawer and Dublin band Shrug Life, while the Thin Air DJs open and close proceedings with some diverse musical selections.

For more details, visit voodoobelfast.com.

Soma Festival

Various venues, Castlewellan and Newcastle

Wednesday, July 13-17

This relatively recent trad/folk festival has grown in stature in a short period of time, with this year’s event boasting names such as Eddi Reader, Donal Lunny, Flook, Declan O’Rourke and Lisa Hannigan.

Scottish songstress and Brit award-winner Eddi Reader kicks things off along with Donal Lunny at St Mary’s Hall in Newcastle on Wednesday, July 13, while the same venue plays host to the ever-popular crowd-pleasers Flook the following evening.

The attention moves to Castlewellan on Friday, July 15, when Lunny teams up with singer/songwriter Declan O’Rourke at the King’s Inn ahead of Lisa Hannigan’s performance in the town’s St Malachy’s Church the following night.

For details, visit somafestival.com.

Noreen O’Sullivan, Danny  Diamond and Hazlett Keers

Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen

Tomorrow, 9pm

Coming from the famous east Galway tradition, which has produced musicians of the stature of Joe Cooley, Dolores Keane, and Martin O’Connor, accomplished tin whistle, flute and concertina musician Noreen O’Sullivan is the sister of the De Danaan fiddle legend Frankie Gavin.

Danny Diamond, son of Dermy Diamond and Tara Bingham, both highly respected traditional musicians in their own right, is one the most talented young musicians to have emerged in Ireland in recent years. Working in the National Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, he has had a number of album releases and his most recent, Fiddle Music, sees him return to the Irish fiddle tradition and is regarded as one of the finest traditional CD releases this year.

Hazlett Keers is a native of Enniskillen and, although based in Belfast, has played for many years with local Co Fermanagh musicians, including Gabriel McArdle, Jim McGrath, and Charlie Woods.

He plays mandola and bouzouki and has played on Noreen O’Sullivan’s Quiet House CD and at numerous festivals in Europe.

For details, visit the box-office, tel: 028 6632 5440 or visit

ardhowentheatre.com.

Prodigal Hal

Market Place Theatre, Armagh

Tomorrow, 3pm-5pm

Prodigal Hal kicks off a number of showcase gigs with this event as part of the new summer music series, Summer Sounds @ The Market Place — a series of free live music gigs each Saturday afternoon during July and August. Following a long winter of recording, this local band has emerged with a new EP, If Time Permits, for its growing number of fans.

This is a free event.

Music City

The  Glassworks, Londonderry

Tonight, 8pm

Mercury Music Prize nominee and Choice Music Prize winner Soak — real name Bridie Monds-Watson — will play a special homecoming concert following 18 months touring the world promoting her album Before We Forgot How To Dream.

Soak has won widespread praise, and comparisons ranging from Laura Marling to Cat Power, for her textured tales of adolescence, family and friendship. In 2014 she became the first signing to Chvrches’ singles label, releasing Blud and touring with of George Ezra and Bombay Bicycle Club.

In the same summer that most of her friends got their exam results, Soak penned an album deal with Rough Trade Records.

For tickets visit wegotickets.com and the festival website musiccity

Online Editors

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