MARQUETTE, Mich.—The Young Dubliners, a Celtic rock group, will perform Saturday, Nov. 16, at Northern Michigan University. The concert is part of the NMU Northern Nights performing arts series. It has an earlier start time of 7 p.m. to allow for two opening acts: Familiar Looking Strangers from Liverpool, England; and Sparrow Tree from Marquette. Advance tickets are available at all NMU EZ Ticket outlets. The cost is as follows: students/kids, $5 in advance/$6 at the door; NMU employees and seniors 60+, $13/$15; and the general public, $18/$20.
The roots of the Young Dubliners took hold in the late ‘80s, when Keith Roberts and Paul O’Toole first met on Los Angeles’ vibrant pub scene. Roberts was composing Irish ballads and thought casually about assembling a rag-tag team of fellow Irish transplants and like-minded American rockers. From its humble beginnings at the Irish Rover, the band evolved through various personnel changes and eventually recorded its debut EP, Rocky Road. Six other albums followed. The Young Dubs have played thousands of performances in the United States and Europe and weathered Roberts’ recent throat surgery. They are known for the whirling jig pits that erupt at their live shows.
Familiar Looking Strangers is based in Liverpool and composed of five “working-class lads” from that city and Madrid, Spain. The music is driven by thunderous rhythms, cutting guitar riffs and melodies layered with four-part harmonies. The band really comes to life on stage, performing with much energy and passion. Members are Vinny McPoland on vocals, Paul Baker and Carlos Lopez on guitar, Jon Goldby on bass and Ben Gorry on drums.
Sparrow Tree is a four-piece, jam-grass band that is leading the way for a new generation of folk music in Marquette. It features Troy Graham on guitar and lead vocals, Emily Durkin on fiddle, Sam Graves on mandolin and vocals, recent addition Russel Harmon on banjo and Heather Evans filling in on bass and vocals. They are infusing youth and vigor into the U.P.’s folk grass scene with a mix of original compositions and traditional folk repertoire.