In the pantheon of local singer-songwriters, Ken Haddock is up there with the best of them.
If you don't know the name, shame on you. This talented musician has been playing Belfast's Empire club on Sunday nights for around ten years now, and has appeared in every other local venue of note. Many a Sunday night has been mis-spent in Ken Haddock's Supper Club, ensuring that the following morning's work or lecture is either suffered througha hangover haze or missed altogether.With a huge cult following, he's about to launch his second album, entitled Almost, with a gig at the Empire next Wednesday. Some local musos reck on the Haddock Supper Club is probably the longest running residency in Belfast, and the fact that it pulls in acrowd week after week is testament to the talent appearing on stage. The gifted vocalist toured Europe extensively for two years in the mid-1990s as a musician with Anglo-Belgium contemporary dance company and has also been a session player for Ian White, the renowned gospel artist. He has contributed music for Tim Loane's Oscar-nominated film Dance Lexie Dance and in 2001 Ken released his first album, The Sweetest Hour, making this new release hotly anticipated, to say the least.
Next week, Jennie McCullough, the force behind Up In The Attic (UITA), celebrates the event's 50th show in Auntie Annie's, Belfast, with a rocking line-up of fresh, local talent. Ed Zealous, who were recently voted one of the best bands in Belfast by NME, will be headlining, with support coming from newbie bands Panama Kings and Bow Street Runners. Since kicking off the night back in 2005, UITA has welcomed around 150 bands onto the stage of Auntie Annie's, and has helped to promote the careers of acts such as The Jane Bradfords and The Beat Poets. Its compilation CDs, which are released after every 10 shows and given away free at the gigs, have proved to be highly collectable, with the new volume featuring tracks from Cutaways, Team Fresh and the brilliantly-named General Fiasco, among others. "We've been really lucky that we've already worked with loads of talented musicians in every genre of music, but we're even more excited about the next 50 shows to see what's going to happen next," says Jennie.