New Year set for fantastic start with exciting musical line-up

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A host of top music acts are set to entertain Belfast crowds at the beginning of 2016, ensuring any winter blues will be well and truly chased away.

First up in January is British singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson, whose single Wasn’t Expecting That is constantly being played everywhere right now.

Having sold-out his upcoming show at Whelan’s on November 1 and playing Vicar St Dublin on January 24, the enigmatic and soulful performer has confirmed that he will also play Belfast at the Mandela Hall on Saturday 23 January.

Recently unveiled as the first ever signing to multi-platinum, international superstar Ed Sheeran’s own label Gingerbread Man Records, Jamie himself has just returned from opening for Ed on his US stadium tour, and is currently on the road, opening for One Direction across their UK and Ireland tour.

Jamie originally hails from Plymouth, and his journey can only be explained as an epic one. It took time for him to find his voice, even longer for him to hone his songs in the sparse, poetic language he has made very much his own. Though he has maintained a core, loyal following who have supported him throughout, only now is that starting to blossom into something far bigger. A chance meeting with a young singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran a few years ago, just as he himself had signed to Atlantic, seemed to affect very little at the time.

A year or so down the line, Ed noticed Jamie’s poster in an Irish pub and remembered their earlier meeting – playing the prestigious Ruby Sessions in Dublin the following week, he asked the promoter to invite Jamie to play too. Subsequently, Jamie has jumped from a few hundred capacity venues to the 10,000 capacity venue in Dublin with Ed, to touring the world with him through the beginning of 2015. In the past few months Jamie has supported Ed on his mammoth UK stadium tour, along with playing two nights with him at Dublin’s Croke Park.

Tickets for the Belfast gig go on sale tomorrow (Friday) at 9am from and all usual outlets.

Meanwhile in February, Mercury Prize shortlisted Roisin Murphy will be returning to the city to perform at The Limelight where she’ll promote the release of her new album, Hairless Toys.

Tickets go on sale for the gig - which will take place on February 10 - tomorrow at 9am from,, Katy’s Bar and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

During her time as the frontwoman of Moloko and throughout her solo career, Róisín Murphy made a name for herself as a purveyor of adventurous, omnivorous pop that blended influences as far-flung as disco and hot jazz.

Born in Dublin, she moved from Ireland to Manchester, England, with her family when she was 12, and remained there even after her parents returned to Dublin four years later.

On her own at 16, Murphy had no aspirations to sing until she met producer Mark Brydon, with whom she formed the eclectic electronic pop duo Moloko. The pair’s stylish yet quirky sound scored them several hits, including Sing It Back, The Time Is Now, and Fun for Me.

By the time of Moloko’s fourth album, 2002’s Statues, Murphy and Brydon’s personal and professional relationships were strained, and Moloko called it a day after completing the tour supporting that album.

During the late 2000s and early 2010s, she issued a string of singles, EPs and collaborations, starting with 2009’s garage-house single Demon Lover, (which was released the same day Murphy announced she was pregnant with her first child).

Finally, eighties fans are in for a treat next March, as British alternative rock legends The Wonder Stuff are set to return to Belfast as well, with a headline show in The Limelight on Wednesday March 2, as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations.

Talking about the milestone was frontman Miles Hunt, who said: “I guess it’s quite a remarkable feat, we wrote a bunch of songs, some of them almost 30 years ago, and people still want to hear them. You can’t reasonably ask for more, can you..?”

The Wonder Stuff have had an amazing journey so far; seven albums, with another one in the offing, exciting spin-off projects and collaborations, and now Miles has become an author penning the first of a collection of books, The Wonder Stuff Diaries 86 - 89 (more details on this via

Tickets for this gig go on sale tomorrow at 9am from,, Katy’s Bar and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.