Joel Harkin – Artist in Residence

We’re delighted to announce Joel Harkin as our CQAF 2024 Artist in Residence. Joel is a singer of songs and a spinner of yarns from County Donegal. His 2020 album Never Happy was shortlisted for the NI Music Prize and is one of the standout Irish releases in recent years.

Joel Harkin lies awake at night, terrified at the prospect of the looming abyss. He channels these fears into his haunting songs. But don’t let that put you off. He is known for the contrast between his music and the whimsical, surrealist and very funny chatting he does as he tunes his guitar.

Joel will be supporting several artists throughout the festival and will headline his own show on Sunday 12 May at the Deer’s Head. (8.00pm) with some special guest Robyn Maddox.

Robyn Maddox is an alternative singer-songwriter based in Belfast. In May 2023, she released her debut EP, ‘Midnight-15’, a concept EP exploring themes of self-discovery, love, loss, and learning to find solace in solitude. With lyrics that marry surreal stories and raw, intimate songwriting, her airy vocals draw listeners into her fantastical world; from smoky, shimmery casinos to phantasmagoric encounters with her conscience to conversations with the cosmos.


Robert Finley

We’re thrilled to present this first ever Irish show by the 69 years young, ‘rising star’ whose Dan Auerbach-produced album Black Bayou. is an 11-track tour de force that coalesces gospel, blues, soul, and rock into a raw, thundering tribute to Finley’s home state of Louisiana.

Telling tales of the bayou from childhood to now, Finley takes listeners on a journey that showcases his growly vocals, sultry falsetto and cements him as a living legend.

Auerbach leads a band of some of the finest players around: drummers Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) and Jeffrey Clemens (G. Love & Special Sauce), bassist Eric Deaton, and legendary Hill Country blues guitarist Kenny Brown.

Black Bayou is a portrait of North Louisiana from an insider who’s lived there all his life. It coalesces all of the vibrant genres bubbling in the bayou from southern soul, jazz, folk, blues, rock and roll and more.

A vivid collection of songs that depict life in North Louisiana, with Finley playing the role of charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide. Tales include surviving the jaws of an alligator on “Alligator Bait,” a true story of his grandfather using him as bait to catch an alligator when he was a child. Songs like “Miss Kitty,” a tale of lust and love are an instant induction into the canon of the blues tradition. In all, a collection set to establish Finley as perhaps one of the last true bluesmen of our time and a truly original Louisiana storyteller who evokes the place and its unique culture for the rest of the world.

Black Bayou has already been heaped with praise from SPIN, The FADER, American Songwriter, UNCUT, Paste, MOJO, Brooklyn Vegan and a slew of other outlets, including The Bluegrass Situation who have hailed Finley as their Artist of the Month for November.

 ‘Black Bayou is definitive Robert Finley—a master musician and entertainer—taking all his bluesy swagger up a notch, a bigger sound with heavier grooves, full confirmation that Robert Finley only gets better with time.”  SPIN

“Black Bayou’s swampier blues and subtler arrangements offer a versatile range of material that reveals the wide expanse of his vocal prowess.” No Depression

“The 11-track album, a portrait of a life that comes together in strokes of gospel, blues, and rock and roll, is simple, relatable, and wise, but above all honest.” American Songwriter

“Black Bayou is surely the album Finley was put on Earth to create, filled with stories only he could tell. 5 STAR REVIEW” Mojo Magazine

“Approaching his eighth decade, then, and with no shortage of tall tales to impart, Robert Finley’s work here is clearly just getting started.” Uncut

“Funky, bluesy… Fueled by Robert’s soulful Southern grit”  Brooklyn Vegan

“In no short terms, Finley’s journey thus far has been nothing short of mythical.” 


Tom Robinson: Up Close & Personal

Musician and broadcaster Tom Robinson presents an evening of songs and stories spanning five decades of adventures in the music industry.

Tom’s musical journey began in 1974 when his first band was discovered by Ray Davies, and included a BBC ban for being Glad To be Gay, rocking against racism alongside The Clash, headlining Glastonbury with Peter Gabriel, writing lyrics for Elton John, drug smuggling in East Germany, two nervous breakdowns and a period in tabloid hell after falling in love with a woman.

Having made his peace with the BBC, he’s presented programmes on all the corporation’s national radio networks, and his broadcasting work has won two Sony Radio Academy awards.

Expect intimate versions of classics such as War Baby, Glad To Be Gay and 2-4-6-8 Motorway alongside stories from behind the scenes and a sprinkling of fan favourites from his extensive back catalogue.

Hole: Live Through This – A Celebration

Join us at the Oh Yeah Music Centre for a night of ‘bone-deep rage and syrupy hooks’ celebrating 30 years since the groundbreaking release of Hole’s iconic album Live Through This.

The album encapsulates the journey of survival amidst adversity and we have invited Sister Ghost, Susi Pagel and Aqua Tofana to offer their take in a night centred around recreation and reimagination of a seminal work.

Expect a fusion of raw energy, emotive storytelling, and unbridled passion, echoing the album’s themes of endurance and resilience.

Mick Flannery

“Mick Flannery has a voice for the ages, a complete Master of his craft” proclaimed Clash Magazine, whilst The Sunday Times said he “conjures up exquisite story-telling.”

His latest offering Goodtime Charlie, Flannery’s eighth studio record, went straight to No. 1 at home in Ireland on the independent charts, and No. 2 on the Official Charts, making it his sixth top 5 record to date, With 3 Number 1 records already under his belt, Goodtime Charlie is also the first international signing for John Prine’s beloved Oh Boy Records.

Mick Flannery’s songs are fluent in expressing layered aspects of the human condition, its flaws, triumphs, and general uncertainty.  His live shows are renowned for his self-deprecating humour, audience engagement and the ability to bring people on a journey of both heartbreak and joy, often in the same instance.

Mick has built up a reputation over the past decade as one of Ireland hardest working musicians, touring extensively at home and in more recent years abroad as his songs have been reaching folks farther afield. Ireland’s best kept secret appears to be no more.

Lau (Unplugged)

Lau present their Unplugged show, a concert of two halves in which they return to their instruments’ natural soundscapes for an evening’s exploration of re-arranged and re-created material from across their catalogue. A stripped down performance without pedalboards or electronics, just voice, fiddle, guitar and accordion, and a 4 track tape recorder.

Kris Drever (guitar and vocals), Martin Green (accordion, Wurlitzer, keys, electronics) and Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle) are back to present music that is complex, accessible, challenging, comforting and delivered with spiritual conviction.

They come from the legendary melting pot of the Edinburgh trad scene at the turn of the century and have created a mix from the fabric of Scottish and Irish musical heritage, progressive art rock ideas and a playful sense of theatre.

They’ve won all sorts of plaudits nationally and internationally and sold out venues worldwide. After almost 18 years in existence, they’re still in love with the music they get to make and practising the art of sharing it.

“Lau are a remarkable band – the most musically adventurous trio in British folk exquisite and hypnotic, musicianship at its best.”- THE GUARDIAN

The Breeze: ‘Thin Ground’ Album Launch

The Breeze are a new 3-piece band comprising long-time collaborators Chris Coll (Lost InThe Fog), Decky McManus (The Basement) and Stevie Scullion (Malojian).

The 3 multi-instrumentalists entered the studio in March 2023 and quickly found a flow which spawned their debut record Thin Ground.

They have already been winning over audiences throughout Ireland and the UK and look forward to hitting the road in support of the album in April and May.

‘The sound of The Beach Boys and Tom waits heading off on holiday together…delightful and mesmerising’ – Ulster Herald

‘Excellent debut single – a catchy, countrified rock and roll delight.’ – Irish News

Peter Case, Sid Griffin and Dan Stuart

A potential show of the festival. Three absolute icons of Americana will play individual sets then come together for an unforgettable finale.

Peter Case is a three-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter from the USA who has a most impressive resume. He was the founder of the Nerves, the very first American indie band to put together a nationwide tour and one of the very first to release their own indie EP. He then was the founder and leader of the legendary Plimsouls, an incredibly influential L.A. rock and roll band which drew praise from everyone from Elvis Costello to Tom Petty to critics nationwide.

For the past thirty-some years Peter Case has been a solo troubadour in the great tradition of Dylan, Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. Early on he was produced by T-Bone Burnett and he’s played with and been championed by Roger McGuinn, Van Dyke Parks, Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers and many more. His latest album is The Midnight Broadcast and it just might be his very best album.

Sid Griffin is best known for his leadership of the Long Ryders, the founding fathers of alt-country and Americana. He is also the proud artist behind four well-received solo albums, was the leader of the wonderful ‘alt-bluegrass’ UK band, The Coal Porters, he was the Resident Musicologist on BBC 6 Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie radio show for over a decade and Sid has written four books. Sid’s most recent book, Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band, and the Basement Tapes, has been reissued twice and Sid did the liner notes for that collection of legendary Dylan tracks.

Dan Stuart is a musician and author who was the leader of Green on Red, a band associated with both LA’s Paisley Underground of the 1980’s and the beginning of the so-called Americana movement. His “false memoir” The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings was published in 2014 to critical acclaim which was followed up with The Unfortunate Demise of Marlowe Billings in 2018.

All three of his books all have albums by the same name with the last getting Americana album of the Month in UNCUT Magazine, Dan has released over 15 albums between Green on Red and his solo years.

Tonight’s performance will feature songs from across his solo and Green on Red catalogue and a very brief reading from his third and latest novel Marlowe’s Revenge along with stories of his time with Green on Red.

Snapped Ankles

Snapped Ankles return to the forest, but it’s not as they left it. Trees planted in neat rows. A well-ordered monoculture with access roads and heavy machinery. The smell of greenwashed money in the air. There’s no sign of the ancient woodland they emerged from on debut album, Come Play The Trees. And it’s far cry from the gentrified East London they found themselves hawking on Stunning Luxury. All is not well in the face of progress. Welcome to the Forest Of Your Problems.

Forest Of Your Problems runs the gamut of modern woodwose emotions. In this neat human approximation of the forest, it’s an increasingly knotted affair. Despite all of this, Snapped Ankles haven’t lost their innate ability to make you want to move your feet – their Teutonic forest rhythms are still shot through with post-punk lightning.

Snapped Ankles outsider status has always allowed them to hold a mirror up to society. Now the boundaries are not so clear. In the four years since Come Play The Trees was released, their cult has flourished. Previous album Stunning Luxury saw the band invited to play the BBC 6 Music Festival and a KEXP session on the back of a sold-out UK tour which culminated with two nights at Village Underground in London. As those who have witnessed the shamanic ritual of their live shows will attest, they are a truly unique, communal experience.


FITE FUAITE le: Boss Sound Manifesto, Róisín Seoighe, SÉiMí (agus a bhanna ceoil), Colm Seoighe agus Na hEasógaí, agus Na Brigideens

Boss Sound Manifesto

Tá lucht leanúna dílis cruthaithe ag Boss Sound Manifesto ag a gcuid gigeanna cois cuain agus in áiteanna eile i gcéin. Bhí siad mar thacaíocht do leithéidí Neville Staples, agus do Lee Scratch Perry & The Upsetters ag féilte éagsúla le blianta beaga anuas.

Boss Sound Manifesto have built up a loyal fanbase at their gigs in Belfast and further afield. In recent years they’ve supported the likes of Neville Staples, and Lee Scratch Perry & the Upsetters at various festivals.

Róisín Seoighe

Tá Róisín Seoighe aitheanta go forleathan mar cheoltóir cumasach spreagúil comhaimseartha a bhfuil a cuid amhrán féin scríofa agus stíl amhránaíochta agus fuaim faoi leith aici. As Conamara di, ba amhránaí agus damhsóir sean-nóis ar dtús í ach ar na laethanta seo tá clú uirthí mar dhuine de phríomhamhránaithe an bhanna cheoil nuálaigh IMLÉ.

Róisín Seoighe is widely recognised in her own right as an exciting and talented modern singer-songwriter musician with her own unique sound and singing style. From Conamara, she started out as a sean-nós singer and dancer, who these days would be recognised most as lead vocalist for rap-indie-pop outfit IMLÉ.

SÉiMí (agus a bhanna ceoil) 

Buíon cheoil nuabhunaithe de bhunadh na cathrach s’againn féin, fillfidh Séimí agus a chomrádaithe ceoil ar Bharr a’ Tí le seit nuálach de cheol reigé Gaelach. Ná caill iad seo.

One of Béal Feirste’s newest bands, Séimí and his comrades in music return to Barr ‘a Tí with their pioneering Gaelic reggae sounds. Not to be missed.

Colm Seoighe agus Na hEasógaí

As Conamara dóibh is iad Colm Seoighe, Daragh Jennings, agus Fionn Ó Cualáin an triúr ógánach ceolmhar atá sa bhuíon cheoil spraíúil seo Colm Seoighe agus Na hEasógaí. Ar an fhód le breis agus bliain go leith déanann siad a leaganacha uathúla féin de shean-amhráin agus liricí úrnua cumtha ag Colm snaidhmthe leis an cheol sin. Tá an dream seo le beoléiriú den chéad uair riamh i mBéal Feirste ag an imeacht seo in Áras Mhic Reachtain.

Three young musicians from Conamara, Colm Seoighe, Daragh Jennings, and Fionn Ó Cualáin make up this exciting musical outfit. Formed just over a year and a half ago Colm Seoighe and Na hEasógaí put their own unique take on well-known old songs with Colm’s newly composed lyrics weaved into these tunes. Making their Belfast debut in Áras Mhic Reachtain as part of CQAF.

Na Brigideens

Is ceol binn idir thradisiúnta agus nua-aimseartha a bheas á gceol ag Catríona Ní Ghribín agus Aoife Ní Raghallaigh (Na Brigideens).

Expect a modern twist on melodious traditional tunes from Catríona Ní Ghribín and Aoife Ní Raghallaigh (Na Brigideens).

Halla ceolchoirmeacha suite ar an 2ú hurlár. Níl aon ardaitheoir ann. Beir buidéal leat.
2nd floor concert hall, no lift access, no bar, bring your own.

PP Arnold with Special Guest Bronagh Gallagher

PP Arnold is the soul survivor. Her story is one of musical highs, personal lows, and that extraordinary voice.

She joined the Ike and Tina Turner Revue at the age of 17 then arrived in London in 1966 to support The Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger persuaded her to stay in London as a solo artist and the rest is history.

During a five-decade-long career, she’s worked with everyone from Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, the Small Faces, Nick Drake, and Barry Gibb to Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, the KLF, Paul Weller and Primal Scream.

Special guest for tonight’s is ireland’s First Lady of Soul, the incomparable Bronagh Gallagher.

Bronagh Gallagher 7.45pm – 8.45pm, PP Arnold 9.00pm – 10.30pm

The Handsome Family

The Handsome Family (songwriting and marriage partners Brett and Rennie Sparks) have been defining the dark end of americana for over 30 years. Brett writes the music and Rennie writes the words. Their work has been covered by many artists including Jeff Tweedy, Andrew Bird and most-recently Phoebe Bridgers.

Their song Far From Any Road was the opening theme for HBO’s True Detective season one and still receives thousands of Shazams every week from all over the world.

Handsome Family songs take place under overpasses and inside airports. Historical figures like George A. Custer and Nikola Tesla appear alongside a flying milkman and the whisper of an air conditioner against a plastic tree.

Their eleventh studio album, Hollow, delves into the natural world at the edges of the man-made. It is a record lush with leaves and shadows and echoing with occult mystery.

Asked to describe their music Brett says, “Western gothic.” It is music inspired by the abandoned strip malls of desert America where cracked pavement shimmers with heat and thorny weeds slowly reclaim the land.

Handsome Family songs may be dark, but there’s always laughter on stage. Rennie sings as well as plays banjo and bass. She often introduces songs with seemingly unrelated stories. Brett, with his deep baritone and stentorian presence, is the undeniable center of stage. The two are often joined by multi-instrumentalists Alex McMahon and Jason Toth as well as fans, new and old, some returning again and again to see them live over the decades.

“We’re astonished to be breathing,” Rennie says about the band’s longevity, “Let alone still be inspired to write songs and sing together. There’s been a lot of smashed coffee cups in our house over the years, but we’re still unable to resist the urge to make music.”

Cass McCombs and Steve Gunn

Cass McCombs’ music contains elements of folk music, americana, psychedelia, and rock. In his latest album, Tip of the Sphere, McCombs draws sounds from his predecessors, recalling Elton John-style pianos and Lou Reed vocals.

The album received much acclaim from review sites, and his live performances can be expected to showcase many of the new album’s songs, and does not disappoint in the subject of lengthy jams. McCombs has opened for recognized artists such as Modest Mouse, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, and John Cale, but his solo shows have also sold out at venues such as Lincoln Hall.

Steve Gunn is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He initially gained a reputation as a go-to musician and for his membership in GHQ, though Gunn has a varied recording and collaboration history that includes work with British legend Mike Cooper and Jack Rose.

The diversity of his approach embraces everything from American Primitive guitar to raucous, Neil Young & Crazy Horse-inspired psychedelic roots rock & roll. He has collaborated with Meg Baird, the Magik Markers, and Kurt Vile, and issued a number of well-received solo albums including Way Out Weather (2014), The Unseen In Between (2018), and Other You (2021).

Lack of Afro (DJ Set)

“He is my guy, a musical brother. And I only f*ck with the best!” – Madlib

A colossus of the funk & soul world, Adam Gibbons (aka Lack of Afro) has been releasing music for 17 years and continues to go from strength to strength with the release of Square One this year, his eighth album under the Lack of Afro moniker.

Previously signed to Freestyle Records in London and running his own label ‘The Bastion Music Group’ since 2015, he has been responsible for some of the genre’s most important releases, not least his debut album ‘Press On’, described by iDJ as “one of the most important albums of the modern funk era” and more recently given ‘classic’ status by Future Music Magazine.

An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, producer, DJ and composer, his music has won worldwide critical acclaim and to date has gained 120+ million streams on Spotify. It has been featured on films, TV shows and adverts all over the globe, on networks including HBO, ABC, Sony Pictures, BBC, ITV, Sky TV, Fox Pictures & Warner Brothers Television, and used in multi million ad campaigns by the likes of Google, Spotify, Miller Lite and Adidas.

As a DJ and live performer, he has performed in over 20 countries worldwide and undertaken countless live sessions for radio and TV including two for the BBC at the highly revered Maida Vale Studios.

To date, he has released eight albums under the Lack of Afro moniker, three as The Unity Sextet, one under LUSTRE, one under his own name, an EP with Herbal T as The Damn Straights, albums for other artists, music for several TV shows and over 60 remixes. He has also produced 13 award winning, sample packs for Loopmasters.

Support by Gazfunk

The Dodge Brothers

+ support Dan Donnelly (The Levellers)

Firm festival favourites, The Dodge Brothers have sold out the Black Box on all past visits so we’re delighted to welcome the band to CQAF’s biggest stage for a perfect Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon hoe-down.

The Dodge Brothers are a skiffle-and-blues band producing ‘tunes of proven merit’ – new songs written and performed in the old style, harking back to the days of jug-band blues and early rock’n’roll.

The band are: Mike Hammond (guitars, lead vocals, banjo); Aly Hirji (guitars, mandolin, vocals); Mark Kermode (bass, harmonica, vocals), and Alex Hammond (washboard, snare drum, percussion). The music has an authentically American tang – lead guitarist/vocalist Mike Hammond was raised in Alabama and his youthful musical travels took him all over the southern and western USA – but with a strong British perspective.

The Dodge Brothers’ first album Louisa and the Devil showcased songs about transport, heartbreak and homicide, with tales of strong women, bad men and lonesome railroads. Their second album The Sun Set was recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, using authentically old-fashioned recording techniques to recapture the spirit of a bygone age.

The Dodge Brothers’ more recent album Drive Train was released in 2018 and described as “Essential listening” by Whispering Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2’s Country Show.

As a live act The Dodge Brothers have played everywhere from The Roundhouse to the Royal Albert Hall, from the 100 Club to the Cropredy festival.  At the Jazz Café, they played with rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson, and they regularly sell-out gigs at the Borderline and the Blues Kitchen in London.


Harvest are an 8-piece band who have been thrilling audiences and fans of Neil Young for 15 years.

Formed in 2009, the band have played sell-out shows all over Ireland, including a performance of arguably Young’s greatest album Harvest in full at Vicar Street in Dublin in 2018. The band have also played numerous festivals including Electric Picnic and appeared on national TV and radio.

The band embrace the mercurial Canadian’s multiple genres and styles, from the gentlest acoustic country/folk workouts to the noisiest ‘Crazy Horse’ rock epics, and everything in between.

A rare chance to celebrate Youngless peerless legacy through beautiful renditions of the timeless classics Heart of Gold, The Needle and the Damage Done, Old Man, Helpless and many others.

If you like Neil Young, you will love Harvest.

Conchúr White

A singer-songwriter from County Armagh, Conchúr White navigates the dreamlike and the grounded with blissful fluency on his beautiful debut album Swirling Violets.

Released through Bella Union in January, Swirling Violets is allusive and intimate, unearthly yet instantly accessible: touching on fully felt themes with grace and lightness, its a richly imagined album of multitudes from an instinctive talent.“I like surreal settings, but with tangible messages,” says White.

As White explains it, “There wasn’t a conscious theme, though the songs operate in the same sort of space, that sense of surrealism. There’s ghosts, there’s other worlds. There’s a cosmic feeling, questions about the beginning and the end and dreams. And then there’s simpler songs, love songs about the feelings of infatuation you have when you’re young”

A music graduate who has also worked alongside young people with mental health issues, White’s story began in bands. He played in atmospheric indie-rockers Silences before their split allowed Conchúr to develop his solo voice at his own pace.

With praise from SPIN, The Line of Best Fit, Under the Radar, Steve Lamacq, Radio 6 and others under his belt, he has also notched up touring slots with The Magnetic Fields, Villagers, Billie Marten and John Grant, who complemented White’s work warmly.

Mr Scruff

Ninja Tune veteran & supreme selector Mr. Scruff will be at the controls for the whole night, serving up a melting pot of deep soul/funk/reggae/afro/jazz/latin/hip-hop, harder edged electro/house/new wave/techno/electronic, and plenty of goodies that don’t fit into any category… all knitted together with technical skill and a keen sense of fun!

Expect fantastic sound, a lovely mixed crowd & great atmosphere.

Justin Robertson

Showbiz is fickle game. Fashions change and genres evolve at a dizzying velocity. To stay at the cutting edge as a DJ, music producer, broadcaster, visual artist, & author requires an unshakeable passion and a restless urge to keep evolving.

Justin Robertson has occupied that edge in one form or another for 35 years, remaining rapier sharp across all these diverse fields.

Emerging from behind the counter of the legendary Eastern Bloc records in Manchester, Justin soon became a recognised figure in the nascent acid house scene of the city. Since his arrival as a wide-eyed philosophy student in 1986, Justin had supplemented his degree with a close study of the city’s famous night spots. Music, always a passion, became an obsession and soon he was DJ’ing at some of the city’s most celebrated spots as well as promoting two of Manchester’s legendary nights, Spice with Greg Fenton and Most Excellent, where the Chemical Brothers found their early inspiration.

His refusal to be categorised musically led him to developing a reputation as an open-minded DJ and fledgling remixer. Regular guest spots around the world followed in short order and his production reputation was cemented with a string of remixes for the likes of Erasure, Happy Mondays, Bjork and Talk Talk that were staples in the sets of DJs worldwide.

As the electronic music scene grew and morphed into evermore interesting shapes, so Justin’s music evolved too. Drawing on his love of Dub, Psychedelia and 1960’s film soundtracks he fused these varied influences in his psych-hop beat combo Lionrock. Top 40 hits, Top of the Pops, touring with the Cocteau Twins and regular festival appearances make them still one of the most revered British bands of that era.

Willy Mason

Willy Mason is a songwriter who has become harder to define as the years go on.

Often outside of time musically, his lyrics reflect the humanness of now and our steps toward transcendence.

Willy’s music has traveled great lengths over the years but it’s always been from the heart and for the sake of love and its mysterious mission.

His voice and performances have only improved with age. Today’s shows are tight and powerful; full of passion and conviction, humor and love.

Nadine Shah

Nadine Shah worries that too much time might have elapsed between her last album, 2020’s universally acclaimed Kitchen Sink and its extraordinary successor Filthy Underneath.

Three years might seem like a prolonged absence to some people, but it’s also a period of time in which the apparatus that holds your world in place can be dismantled and reassembled so that you can keep living, keep creating. And the more Nadine tells you about the last three years of her life – losing her mother to cancer at the height of lockdown; the suicide attempt that ended her marriage (not, thankfully, her life); the subsequent period in rehab that slowly endowed her with the tools to outwit the pernicious voices that once overwhelmed her – the more incredible it is that she has returned as soon as she has done.

Filthy Underneath chronicles a period of unprecedented turbulence in Nadine Shah’s life. And yet, the experience of listening to it is oddly life-affirming – a parade of ghosts spanning the entirety of Nadine’s thirty-seven years, moving with balletic beauty to the music that Nadine and long-time collaborator and producer Ben Hillier have created around them.

C Duncan

Born and raised in Glasgow by two classical musicians, Chris studied piano and viola before taking up guitar, bass, and drums in his teens, eventually studying music composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. After graduating he began work on his first album, writing and recording everything from home.

His Mercury nominated debut ‘Architect’ was released in 2015 and after a spell of touring the UK and Europe he returned to his home studio and began work on his Twilight Zone inspired second album ‘The Midnight Sun’ which was released in 2016 and shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year.

He supported Elbow on their UK and North American tour which led him to record his third album ‘Health’ at their studio in Salford with Craig Potter, which was released in 2019 and also shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year. Now back in his “new and improved” home studio, Chris recorded and released his fourth album ‘Alluvium’ in May 2022 on Bella Union. He is also a keen artist, and paints all his own album artwork.

Chasing Amy: A Celebration of the Life and Songs of Amy Winehouse

Fresh from the success of her last Festival show -‘Feeling Good ‘, which honoured Nina Simone, acclaimed vocalist Victoria Geelan returns to Belfast to celebrate the life and music of another of her greatest artistic influences: Amy Winehouse.

Both born in 1983, Victoria immediately fell in love with Amy’s vocal artistry and witty lyrics, closely following her musical career and her dramatic rise to fame in the early 2000s, which was cut tragically short with Amy’s untimely death in 2011.

Chasing Amy is a compassionate exploration of the creative influences and development of the celebrated vocalist and songwriter.

Complemented by her band of in-demand virtuoso musicians, Victoria will take the audience on a thrilling and joyful musical journey, from jazz beginnings, through soul, reggae and hip-hop to the creation of one of the definitive albums of the 21st century: Back To Black.

This show will not just feature the songs of Amy Winehouse, but also those of her artistic influences, which she regularly included in her live sets.  It will explore the stories behind the songs, the treatment of her and her private life by the media, her struggles with bulimia and depression and how trailblazing she was for her generation, as a woman and artist.

Amy broke the mould of what a female popular singer sounded and looked like but, more importantly, what she sang about: female sexuality, friendship, addictions, depression, family and the art of songwriting itself.  This is one show that will stay with you long after the music has ended.

Due to some explicit lyrical content and adult themes, this show is recommended for those aged 14+.

Oisin Leech

Uncut Magazine have described Oisin’s solo debut album as “a stunning album of clear blue reflection’ while Shindig Magazine said “Oisin has reached a new pinnacle.”

Songwriter Oisin Leech grew up in Meath but spent a lot of his youth near Buncranna in Co. Donegal from where his family hail and from where his solo debut album has arrived. Enlisting Brooklyn artist Steve Gunn as producer was the first stop on the road to creating ‘Cold Sea’ ; the first solo offering from Oisin.

Recording took place near Malin in an old sea-facing schoolhouse which Leech and Gunn transformed into a working studio for four days. The end result is a spellbinding album of minimalist serene beauty. M Ward, Dónal Lunny, Roisin McGrory and Tony Garnier all make an appearance across the nine cathartic and crafted songs.

Oisin has toured recently with M Ward, Lisa O’Neill and will tour with Gaz Coombes in 2024 also. While he has graced the Belfast stages many times with his acclaimed and revered musical duo The Lost Brothers, Oisin is delighted to play his Belfast solo debut gig at The Deers Head on May 7 as part of Cathedral Arts Festival.

Muireann Bradley

Muireann Bradley is a 17 year old finger picking guitarist & singer who grew up in the hills overlooking the Finn Valley outside the town of Ballybofey in County Donegal. Muireann performs primarily Country, Ragtime & Piedmont style blues from the 1920s & 1930s.

Her influences include Rev Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Elizabeth Cotten, and Memphis Minnie to name just a few. She delights in interpreting & performing the music of these early blues masters, always putting her own unique stamp on the tunes.

Muireann grew up surrounded by guitars & old blues & began playing at the age of nine when she convinced her father to buy her first guitar and teach her. She worked hard and learned to finger pick in various old blues styles. However as she got older she began to invest more time in the sports of boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which she trained and competed in successfully from a young age. This led to the guitar and music beginning to take something of a back seat.

Then in March 2020 when the first COVID lock downs happened all contact sports were shut down. Muireann felt lost for a while but she soon rediscovered her love for the guitar and the old Blues that she had grown up with. She was now listening and practicing with a new intensity and focus.

She decided to start posting videos on You Tube, the first of which was her rendition of Blind Blake’s “Police Dog Blues”. It received a lot of attention, and has now had 80,000+ views. She was then contacted by Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square Records in San Francisco who suggested she record an album.

The songs and instrumentals were all recorded live in the studio in one or two takes in an attempt to make the process as similar as possible to that of the original classic country blues artists of the 1920s and 30s. These recordings would become the album “I kept these old blues” which has just been released.

Zoe Conway & John Mcintyre

With an exciting blend of eclectic fiddle and guitar music, Zoe Conway  and John McIntyre bring to the stage sympathetic arrangements of traditional Irish music, compositions and songs, old and new.

The duo possess a rare facility to draw pieces into their repertoire from other genres such as classical, jazz and world music and express this material in way which not only displays the sheer range and knowledge of both instrumentalists but also exhibits the wonderful versatility of their instruments.

Their debut duo album, entitled Go Mairir I Bhfad (Long Life To You), received a glorious 5 stars from The Irish Times.  For this unique album, they commissioned twelve leading Irish composers to each compose a piece specifically for Zoë and John, for fiddle and guitar, with the aim of collectively presenting a snapshot of traditional Irish music alive today.

The renowned composers who took part in the project were Liz Carroll, Steve Cooney, Frankie Gavin, Andy Irvine, Charlie Lennon, Donal Lunny, Máirtín O’Connor, Peadar Ó Riada, Mícheál Ó Súilleabhán, Tommy Peoples, Niall Vallely and Bill Whelan.

Zoë, no stranger to the stage, has performed with an impressive list of international artists including Riverdance, Damien Rice, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Rodrigo y Gabriella to mention but a few.

In contrast to this, she has been an important figure within classical music circles in Ireland and abroad, as her crossover discipline has allowed her the pleasure of appearing as soloist with acclaimed orchestras such as The Irish Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and German WDR Symphony Orchestra.

John grew up in the Cooley Mountains of north County Louth where he took up guitar at 8 years of age. John studied classical guitar and piano for many years, and from early childhood was immersed in the language, songs and traditional dance music of south west Donegal – his father’s homeplace.

Together, Zoë Conway and John McIntyre have been described as “simply one of the best folk duos on the planet” (BBC), and audiences in Ireland and beyond keep coming back for more.  They were awarded Best Live Show from popular YouTube channel, Balcony TV, and have received in excess of a combined half a million views online.

“An ceol is binne agus is cruinne dá gcuala mé riamh.”

“Zoë Conway – Folk Instrumentalist of the Year 2020”  (RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards)

“Simply one of the best folk duos on the planet” (BBC)

Ben Glover: Album Launch

Ben Glover returns home to Belfast for a special performance, marking his first solo show since 2018. The occasion is set to celebrate the launch of his upcoming album, And The Sun Breaks Through The Sky, scheduled for release in April ’24.

While Glenarm, County Antrim remains close to his heart, Glover has called Nashville home since 2009, establishing himself as a respected collaborator with some of the city’s finest artists, including Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters.

In 2018, Glover’s album Shorebound clinched the Album Of The Year title at the Americana UK Awards. This recognition followed his previous success with Gretchen Peters in 2016, winning Song of The Year for Blackbirds.

The highly anticipated And The Sun Breaks Through The Sky embodies a unique creative process, allowing a body of work to organically evolve through writing and recording sessions that commenced in 2019.

No stranger to the Black Box stage, where he has delivered countless memorable performances over the last decade, Ben Glover is excited to make a return and be part of the CQAF.


“It’s like someone took Spiritualized to the club!” — Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music

TVAM self-released his much-acclaimed debut ‘Psychic Data’ in the autumn of 2018, something of a cult-classic, the album joined the dots between Suicide’s deconstructed rock ’n’ roll, Boards of Canada’s irresistible nostalgia and My Bloody Valentine’s infinite noise. Psychic Data spawned an ‘Album Of The Day’ and two daytime playlists at BBC 6Music whilst signature tune ‘Porsche Majeure’ featured in HBO’s smash-hit ‘Succession’.

Fast-forward to 2022, TVAM appeared from his studio blinking in the crisp Spring sunshine to sign with Invada Records. The resultant‘High Art Lite’ took a different tilt to its predecessor by emphasising the immediate and the personal, the colours blown-out and the brightness cranked up.

A heady mix of Black Mirror’s modern fables, JG Ballard’s gated communities of sun-drenched wealth, and Mulholland Drive’s boulevard of broken daydreams, ‘High Art Lite’ offers an all-inclusive package of redemption.

TVAM is both visceral and melancholic, drifting wonderfully across dream pop, shoegaze and synth-pop without ever permanently calling one camp its home

As well as his own regular headline shows in the UK TVAM has enjoyed the attentions of Blue Dot, End Of the Road, Green Man, Liverpool / Manchester and Edinburgh Psych Fests, and headlined Lewes Psych Fest.

Praise for ‘High Art Lite’:

‘Album Of The Week’ – Amazing Radio

Album Of The Week’ – Louder Than War

‘Album Of The Week’ –

[TVAM] has created an album that is much better than its predecessor. Majestic on all counts and a major effort at stealing the crown from Jason Pierce” – Louder Than War

As if Spiritualized had swallowed an upper instead of a downer. The euphoria with which TVAM play in rage on the second album is definitely contagious. Everything about this album bubbles, fizzes, shines and dazzles.” – Visions

“An influx of technicolour and imagery that occasionally fades briefly into darkness…a magnetic disc” – Plugged

Joe Oxley aka TVAM has lost none of his brilliance. [High Art Lite]

launches the listener into the wonderful world of the artist’s neo-psychedelia”

La Vague Paralléle

Always oscillating between shoegaze, industrial and synth pop, TVAM bathes its compositions in a captivating, disinhibiting electric mist.” – MOWNO

“[TVAM] channels Spacemen 3 and first wave shoegazes addiction to smudged, distorted looping riffs, pushing into psychedelia” – The Arts Desk

Praise for ‘Psychic Data’:

“Quite simply, this is one of the best debuts in recent times. Utterly and unashamedly brilliant.” – Electronic Sound

“An industrialised pop record that throbs and pulses with an infectious, entrancing haze that’s instantly addictive … roaring great fun” – Loud & Quiet

“A Ballardian synthesis of rock grind, mechanoid tension and ether-gazing vocals which variously recalls The Normal, Suicide and Add N to (X)” –Mojo

“ Indulge in the disaffected rage that beats through this darkly glittering experimental masterpiece” – Gigwise

Muireann Bradley

Tickets for Festival Marquee, Tuesday 7th May available here

Muireann Bradley is a 17 year old finger picking guitarist & singer who grew up in the hills overlooking the Finn Valley outside the town of Ballybofey in County Donegal. Muireann performs primarily Country, Ragtime & Piedmont style blues from the 1920s & 1930s.

Her influences include Rev Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Elizabeth Cotten, and Memphis Minnie to name just a few. She delights in interpreting & performing the music of these early blues masters, always putting her own unique stamp on the tunes.

Muireann grew up surrounded by guitars & old blues & began playing at the age of nine when she convinced her father to buy her first guitar and teach her. She worked hard and learned to finger pick in various old blues styles. However as she got older she began to invest more time in the sports of boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which she trained and competed in successfully from a young age. This led to the guitar and music beginning to take something of a back seat.

Then in March 2020 when the first COVID lock downs happened all contact sports were shut down. Muireann felt lost for a while but she soon rediscovered her love for the guitar and the old Blues that she had grown up with. She was now listening and practicing with a new intensity and focus.

She decided to start posting videos on You Tube, the first of which was her rendition of Blind Blake’s “Police Dog Blues”. It received a lot of attention, and has now had 80,000+ views. She was then contacted by Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square Records in San Francisco who suggested she record an album.

The songs and instrumentals were all recorded live in the studio in one or two takes in an attempt to make the process as similar as possible to that of the original classic country blues artists of the 1920s and 30s. These recordings would become the album “I kept these old blues” which has just been released.


There is a rare alchemy that occurs when Lemoncello sing together, cutting through a minimal yet dramatic soundscape driven by cyclical, finger-picked guitar and earthy, gritty cello playing.

Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella – A.K.A. Lemoncello – say: “We are honoured to be releasing our first album on a roster of artists that we love, and to be part of the revival of a label that has such a strong history of great Irish music.”

Audiences are charmed into a world of intimate observations and uncomfortable questions with irresistible chemistry, charisma, and humour, while blanketed in their unique sound – embedded in Irish folk roots and off-kilter-indie pop influences.

Previously nominated for Best Folk Song and Best Emerging Folk Act at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards, the duo’s enrapturing performances have also led them to play in Dublin’s legendary Vicar Street, The Irish Arts Centre NYC, London’s Bush Hall, and to open for esteemed artists such as Lisa O’Neill, Sam Amidon, Glen Hansard and Cormac Begley.

Baxter Dury

CQAF is delighted to welcome Baxter Dury our Festival Marquee as part of his I Thought I Was Better Than You tour. I Thought I Was Better Than You is an album that makes the start of a new character for Dury that he describes as “faux-confrontational.”

The album is a recounting and reckoning of his childhood. Drury breaks down the struggle he faced being born into a fortunate life but not wanting that to be the reason for his success.

“Really it’s about being trapped in an awkward place between something you’re actually quite good at, and somebody else’s success,” Dury says, referencing his father, singer-songwriter Ian Dury.

I Thought I Was Better Than You takes influence from the likes of Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator and Vegyn.

The album’s lead single ‘Celebrate Me’ starts with Dury narrating his life and speaking directly to the audience. It also features an array of high-pitched female voices including Eska Mtungwazi, JGrrey and Madeline Hart that stand out compared to Dury’s lower pitch speech in the song.

“It may sound corny, he says, “but men can be predictable – so I tried to step away from the male artistic trope of everything revolving around you.”

The track ‘Crowded Rooms’ on the album describes how Dury feels trapped in Bohemia and its small-mindedness in the upper-middle-class. Dury sings, questioning “Why am I condemned because I’m the son of a musician?/ Because I don’t wash or you think I’m too posh?”

The album is an acknowledgement of the nepotism that he has in his life and how even is both high and low art. Dury wants people to see that he is no better than anyone else.

Kimmie Rhodes

Kimmie Rhodes from Austin, Texas returns with a rare and intimate solo performance to celebrate the release of newly-penned songs, tell stories both poignant and hilarious from her four decades of making music and sing the songs those years inspired!

She says, “I can’t wait to visit friends and fans… fun promised!”

“Kimmie Rhodes: The soul of a poet and the voice of an angel.” – Rodney Crowell

“Kimmie has the voice of a beautiful child coming from an old soul. She touches us where the better angels of our nature dwell, and I believe we need that now more than ever. If you haven’t before, do yourself a favor and bring her into your listening life.” – Emmylou Harris


Horror Garage Punk! A.N.J.A. is a German-born, Belfast based singer and songwriter who performs with her 4-piece live band. A.N.J.A is dynamic burst of raw energy, captivating audiences with powerful and sometimes unhinged live performances.

With two guitars, two vocals, bass and drums, she sees her band as the 4 apocalyptic riders as she guides the audience into an occultish imaginarium and towards the edges of the underworld. Always fearless, electrified, bold!

A.N.J.A. harks back to retro punk and garage, grunge and stoner rock and draws inspiration from ‘folklore, horror cinema and themes of self-transformation and empowerment while facing the real-life horrors of our messed up world.’

Her sound is inspired by artists such as Queens of the Stone Age, Hole, Misfits, The Velvet Underground, L7, Jack White, Iggy and the Stooges, PJ Harvey, and The Cramps.

DJ Format

Support by Pete Brady and Chris Caul

DJ Format will blend his favourite funk, soul, and even elements of hip hop for an unforgettable experience that will keep you dancing.

The title of his 2003 debut album says it all:Music For The Mature B-Boy. That’s DJ Format for you, boiled down to the essence. He’s the grown up producer/beatmaker who, admittedly, spends far too long digging for bafflingly scarce records to sample and play in clubs.

His six artist albums, featuring rap heavyweights likeJurassic 5EdanMr LifPhill Most Chill and of course long-time collaborator, Abdominal, have been called some of the highpoints in UK hip hop. His skill in compiling albums and crafting mixtapes have seen him enlisted by the good people at Fabric LiveFaniaBBE and Mr Bongo for his unique selections of funk, Latin soul, heavy psych, and Brazilian Tropicalia respectively.

More recently a string of cut ‘n’ paste 45s have kept his name in DJs’ boxes. These tributes to the likes of James Brown, Kool & The Gang, and The Meters, are as funky as they were labour-intensive to put together.

His latest artist album was something of a departure from his previous releases. An instrumental album swirling with psychedelic samples, “Devil’s Workshop” proved to be an instant hit with fans and critics alike.

Format’s DJ sets are like long form versions of these productions – meticulous on the execution and built on the deep crates he’s spent years building.

Catch him behind the decks at a spot near you. His high-octane sets of soul, funk, Latin, and feel-good hip hop, have rocked spots the world over. And he’s never happier than when he gets the chance to share his music with people just like you.

The Bonnevilles

The Bonnevilles don’t so much play punk blues as use it as a spring board to create a completely new genre. The Lurgan duo take Mississippi Hill Blues and Punk Rock and mix into their own unique dark Irish Punk Blues stew.

The Bonnevilles are a no-frills guitar-and-drums two-piece from Ireland who play hard-hitting roots music they call “garage punk blues.”

Formed in Lurgan and Banbridge in 2009, the Bonnevilles feature guitarist and singer Andrew McGibbon, Jr. and drummer Chris McMullan. McGibbon was a blues fan whose take on the genre was turned upside down by R.L. Burnside‘s raucous collaboration with the Jon Spencer Blues ExplosionAss Pocket of Whiskey.

After checking out like-minded acts like the Immortal Lee County Killers and the Soledad Brothers, McGibbon decided to start doing some blues wailing of his own. Teaming up with McMullan, the group began playing out and in 2010 released their debut album, Good Suits and Fightin’ Boots.

As the band toured in support, both McGibbon and McMullan struggled with the death of a parent, which informed the duo’s second LP, 2012’s Folk Art and the Death of Electric Jesus.

As the Bonnevilles continued to tour the U.K. and Europe, they shared stages with the likes of Bob Log IIIthe Black Diamond HeaviesT-Model Ford, and Kid Congo Powers.

March 2016 saw the release of the Bonnevilles‘ third studio album, Arrow Pierce My Heart. The band kept up a busy touring schedule in the U.K. and Europe, and in 2017 Alive issued a collection of early recordings, Listen for Tone, as a limited vinyl-only Record Store Day release. In 2017 the band went back to the studio to cut their fourth studio effort. Dirty Photographs, which added a touch more detail to the band’s rough-hewn sound, was released in March 2018.

The band recently achieved a major milestone by landing one of their tracks in the soundtrack of the latest season of the hit Amazon Prime series, “Reacher.” This placement not only underscores their growing influence in the music industry but also serves as a testament to the universal appeal of their music.

Jake Xerxes Fussell

Singer, guitarist, and folk music interpreter Jake Xerxes Fussell has distinguished himself as one of his generation’s preeminent interpreters of traditional (and not so traditional) “folk” songs, a practice which he approaches with a refreshingly unfussy lack of nostalgia.

By recontextualizing ancient vernacular songs and sources of the American South, he allows them to breathe and speak for themselves and for himself; alternately inhabiting them and allowing them to inhabit him. In all his work, Fussell humanizes his material with his own curatorial and interpretive gifts, unmooring stories and melodies from their specific eras and origins and setting them adrift in our own waterways.

Fussell’s album Good and Green Again was released to critical acclaim in January of 2022. The album was produced by James Elkington and featured an ensemble of formidable musicians, including Casey Toll on upright bass, Libby Rodenbough on strings, Joe Westerlund on drums, and Joseph Decosimo on fiddle, as well as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, who contributed additional vocals.

Ibibio Sound Machine

Pull the Rope, the new record by Ibibio Sound Machine, casts the Eno Williams and Max Grunhard-led outfit in a new light.The hope, joy, and sexiness of their music remains, but, further honing the edge of their acclaimed 2022 album Electricity, the connection they aim to foster has shifted venues, from the sunny buoyancy of a sunlit festival to a sweat-soaked, all-night dance club. The atmosphere has changed, but you’re still having the time of your life.

Williams and Grunhard attribute this shift to a matter of collaborators, recording Pull the Rope with Sheffield-based producer Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A.) over the course of two weeks. The way the pair wrote songs changed significantly — rather than Eno penning lyrics to music generated by Max and company’s jamming, Orton started with Eno and Max writing together before adding the band. With less time in the studio and a new way of considering how they built songs, the duo found making decisions about Pull the Rope’s sound quicker and more instinctually than before.

In melding their songwriting process, Grunhard and Williams have, impossibly, pulled the trick of making Ibibio Sound Machine a tighter band than ever before, building out from their core in a way that highlights the electrifying  group of musicians they play with. Rather than recording with the full band in the room, Pull the Rope was sculpted, elements added and shaped by Grunhard, Williams, and Orton along the way. As a result, Pull the Rope is a nimble, sleek machine that’s thrilling from the first note of the opening title track, Eno’s otherworldly voice and PK Ambrose’s throbbing bass driving through a kaleidoscopic array of house, post-punk, funk, Afrobeat and disco, bangers and ballads, making an argument for unity that begins on the dancefloor.

The sound of Pull the Rope, then, is hope in darkness, bliss in spite of bleakness. Once again, Ibibio Sound Machine are here to provide the soundtrack to the best night of your life, and the better world to come.

Katherine Priddy

Since emerging with her debut EP Wolf, UK singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy has quickly become one of the most exciting names on the British music scene.

Priddy’s haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style have already seen her sell out a headline tour, perform at prestigious festivals around the UK and abroad, including Glastonbury where she featured on their BBC 2 coverage.

She has supported a number of world class artistsincluding Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III and Vashti Bunyan, as well as a recent show with Guy Garvey at The Roundhouse. She also recently featured on a Double LP of Nick Drake coversreleased by Chrysalis Records with other artists such as Self Esteem, Aldous Harding and John Grant.

Her debut album, The Eternal Rocks Beneath was released in June 2021 to great acclaim. The album singles received 200+ plays across national radio including BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 2 and reached No.1 in the Official UK Folk Charts. Now, early 2024 sees the release of Priddy’s eagerly-awaited second album,The Pendulum Swing,on February 16th, via Cooking Vinyl. The LP explores themes of home, family, love and memory, as Priddy seeks to move forwards whilst acknowledging and honouring all that has gone before.

Her live performances are engaging, moving and amusing by turn, delivering original songs with emotional maturity, depth and particularly noteworthy lyrics. Despite the delicate nuances of her sound, Katherine Priddy is not a fragile wallflower, but a determined young woman making her mark.

Utterly brilliantone of my favourite voices in contemporary music– Guy Garvey, BBC 6 Music

An accomplished set of original songs delivered in a breathtaking voiceThe Observer

A voice of delicacy and poignancy with its own subtle strength underpinned by a skilled observer’s eye” –Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2

Blue Whale (‘Last Immediate Images’ Album Launch)

*Original tickets still valid

Having underscored their status as one of Ireland’s most fiercely unpigeonholeable bands on their debut album Process, Belfast quartet Blue Whale make their highly-anticipated return with their forthcoming second LP, Last Immediate Images.

Recorded and produced by Gilla Band’s Dan Fox, Last Immediate Images is a masterful expansion, and deft deconstruction, of what the Quietus hailed as their “chaotic, yet controlled experimental rock.”

Comprising guitarists Michael O’Halloran and Ben Behzadafshar, drummer John Macormac and bassist Andrew Melville, Blue Whale were a supremely shapeshifting live proposition by the time the genre-mauling Process arrived in 2018.

Andy Cairns of Therapy? was reminded of free-jazz pioneer, Albert Ayler “playing with a bunch of kids that grew up on Steve Albini records,” while The Line of Best Fit said “the mathy, jazz-flecked brew hurtles through a thorny tunnel of riffs and percussive flailing–it should be utter chaos, but Blue Whale make it honeyed.”

Fast forward to 2023 and the band’s craft is as mercurial as ever, yet elevated by taking a breather. It remains thickety and combustive in all the right places but now, Blue Whale sound like a band equally potent in restraint.

“A lot of our early stuff would jump all over the place,” adds Michael O’Halloran. “Now we have the confidence to have a central theme to a song, build around that and not feel like it has to go on a big journey. I think that’s why it sounds more cohesive.”

Lauded for evoking everyone from Deerhoof and Swans, to Slint and Captain Beefheart, all the while sounding uniquely incendiary; with a particularly fierce and fun dynamism seen on the live stage. Strain your ear elsewhere through Last Immediate Images and you might hear flickers and ghosts of ex-Tom Waits’ guitarist Marc Ribot, Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, a slither of A Silver Mt. Zion, and the shuffle and energy of London jazz scene acts like Sons of Kemet.

“Fierce and playful, chaotic and under control” – The Quietus

“The mathy, jazz-flecked brew hurtles through a thorny tunnel of riffs and percussive flailing – it should be utter chaos, but Blue Whale make it honeyed.” – The Line of Best Fit

My Darling Clementine

A labour of love on multiple levels, My Darling Clementine – the sobriquet of spouses Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish – began as a homage to classic country duets of the 60’s and 70’s á la George & Tammy and Johnny & June.

The 2011 debut “How Do You Plead?” was produced by Neil Brockbank (Nick Lowe) and featured some of London’s finest musicians from the 70’s pub rock era. Released in 2011, it was immediately acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. Country Music People called it; The greatest British country record ever made

The follow-up, The Reconciliation, featuring guest appearances from Kinky Freidman and The Brodsky Quartet only enhanced the bands growing reputation and received a similar critical response with the New York Daily News choosing it as ‘album of the month’ while Popmatters put it in their Top 10 Country Albums of 2013.

Their next move was a slight departure as they the collaborated with best-selling crime writer, and avowed country music fan, Mark Billingham on the story and song project The Other Half.Billingham wrote a dark, nourish tale of murder, lust and revenge around eight of King & Dalgleish songs. The Other Half became an album, an audio book, and a stage show and featured contributions from actor David Morrisey and singer songwriter Graham Parker

After 18 months of touring The Other Half, including a run at The Edinburgh Festival Michael and Lou returned to the studio for album no. 4.Re-uniting with producer Neil Brockbank,Still Testifying was released in the summer 2017. Stylistically, it was a further shifting away from classic country to embrace gospel and country soul and was widely acclaimed with many writers praising the new direction.

Their latest album is called “Country Darkness” – a collaboration with keyboard genius Steve Nieve (The Attractions / The Imposters), which sees them reinterpreting the country songs of Elvis Costello. Released in November 2020 it charted in both the UK and European Americana charts receiving unanimous praise along the way

During the past 9 years they have played over 800 shows around the world, won numerous awards and have more than earned their own bona fides, with their wry yet heart-on-sleeve song-craft spotlighting the vagaries of romance and the human condition, and their match-made-in-heaven harmonies

King and Dalgleish have earned their place in the roll call of great country duettists” – UNCUT

“MDC mix country gloom with excellent musicianship and very fine songs.” The Guardian

“King and Dalgleish have re-invented the country duet” – The mingling of these two voices is just heavenly” Mojo

“One of the most exquisitely pained country albums of the year comes from England” New York Daily News

Scott Flanagan Plays Electric

Pianist, composer and founder of Scott’s Jazz Club Scott Flanigan brings his exciting electric band to CQQF. Featuring Stephen McClenaghan on guitar, Diarmuid Lally on electric bass and Andrew McCoubrey on drums, this ensemble pays tribute to 1970s jazz funk fusion pioneers Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Weather Report.

A Belfast native, Scott Flanigan is one of the foremost keyboard players on the Irish jazz scene. He performs regularly across the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany, and has recently performed with Van Morrison, the Ulster Orchestra, Larry Coryell, Jean Toussaint, Jim Mullen and Linley Hamilton. As a leader, Scott successfully tours his own contemporary piano trio, as well as a hard-swinging organ quartet. He also runs the successful Scott’s Jazz Club in East Belfast, a weekly jazz club bringing the best in Irish and European jazz to local audiences.

Equally at home in academia as well as the bandstand, Scott received his BMus degree from Ulster University and his MMus in Jazz Performance from Dublin Institute of Technology. Scott has recently completed his Ph.D in Jazz Performance at Ulster University, exploring and assimilating contemporary trends in jazz piano into his own playing.

Scott is also in demand as a teacher of jazz harmony, improvisation and concert preparation, lecturing in jazz piano at Cork School of Music and at Queens University Belfast, alongside a busy teaching schedule both online and at home in Belfast.

Tickets £12.50
Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating 

Niall McCabe

With self-effacing humour and stories told of growing up on a remote Irish Island Niall McCabe possess an effortless charm which both captivates and liberates his audience.

Like the wild Atlantic landscape of his home McCabe’s songs feel timeless and natural yet belie the dense shaping of a dynamic creative force. Deft, intricate guitar work brings a lightness to the weight of Island isolation yet the sound, soul and stories of McCabe’s life and experiences breathe a deep cultured sense of discernment through his vocals.

His natural distinct voice is earning him a growing loyal fanbase, discovering his music as he travels extensively, with his recent album tour schedule bringing him to venture off the Island, across Ireland, UK, Europe and North America.

As well as becoming an accomplished finger-style guitar player, Niall has been lending his unique voice to Irish trad-fusion band Beoga, touring Ireland, Europe and the USA while also playing support for Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance and Johnny Swim and more recently opening for Chris Issak on his UK Tour, to two sold out audiences at Eventim Apollo London and Wolverhampton Civic Halls.

McCabe’s eagerly anticipated ‘Rituals’ album was released in February 2023 to critical acclaim and featured as RTE Album of the Week, while the song Rituals topped the RTE Radio airplay charts for five consecutive weeks.

Jane Weaver

Reclaiming her universe, Jane Weaver returns with brand new single ‘Love In Constant Spectacle’, evoking spectacular images perhaps impossible to capture with the human eye, nor aperture.

Taking measured steps that lead you to something very special, our protagonist pours all her creative resources before the needle drops. Secretly, this might be more conceptual in its execution, than initially meets the eye.

“It’s about searching for joy, wanting to love and feel loved, then uncovering it in unusual places and in the smallest, hidden things in life. Magnified under rocks and stones, it explores connecting with nature and your surroundings as opposed to other people – focusing on autonomy, new beginnings and feeling bewitched” adds Jane Weaver.

This is the poetic vision of one woman only, turning a new chapter, erecting a new scaffold, drawing empty landscapes as we slowly watch new colours, codes shapes and languages fill the frame. Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Dry Cleaning), this is evidently a new awakening.

Accompanied by a new video animated by Kamran Kaur she describes “The woman here is always moving forward in pursuit of something but constantly finding herself succumbing to nature’s spell. Nature leads her back to herself, as that which she was searching for was there all along.”

From a long-standing pillar of the UK’s independent pop landscape, this is Jane Weaver’s first single since her unanimously lorded top 40 album ‘Flock’ and one-off single ‘Oblique Fantasy’.

“Genuinely different and exhilarating”★★★★ The Guardian

Jane Weaver continues to enrapture and expand her legacy into 2024 with a freshly announced tour… and more new music imminently.

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