Celtic rock band performs

Kate Clark

The Young Dubliners, with opening acts Sparrow Tree and Friendly Looking Strangers, will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 in the Great Lakes Rooms as part of the Northern Nights series.

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Dan Truckey, the coordinator of Northern Nights, said the series works to bring national and international acts not just to NMU, but the Marquette area.

“The purpose behind it is to provide entertainment, but it’s also to bring the world to Northern and provide windows into different music, arts and culture,” Truckey said.

The series usually tries to bring a Celtic group every year and began to look at crossover acts.

“We really liked The Young Dubliners’ energy and their music,” Truckey said. “It seemed like a good fit.”

Truckey said people who like bands such as the Dropkick Murphys will definitely like the Young Dubliners. He expects around 300 attendees.

The Young Dubliners were originally part of the lineup of last year’s series, but the show was canceled due to the lead singer undergoing throat surgery. Those who still have tickets from that concert can use them this year, Truckey said.

Northern Nights usually tries to find a venue suitable for the type of music being played.

“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” Truckey said. “But in this case, there was no question. We had to have it in the Great Lakes Rooms because it’s the only place we can get a good dance floor.”

In recent years, the Northern Nights committee has begun to look at more contemporary acts and crossover bands to appeal to a wider audience.

“This season we tried to look for different things,” Truckey said. “We looked at different styles of music.”

He cited the series’ last act, BlackMahal, as an example due to their fusion of traditional Indian music with hip hop.

“Part of the reason for doing it is we want to attract a younger audience; we want to get students more involved in the series,” Truckey said. “I think that’s been the hardest thing for us is to attract NMU students to come to concerts. Part of that is some of the shows we do are not their cup of tea.”

The opening acts will be Sparrow Tree, a local jam grass band, and Friendly Looking Strangers, who play roots rock.

Troy Graham, Sparrow Tree’s singer, songwriter and guitarist said via email their shows entail dancing, singing along and “foot stamping originals.”

“Sparrow Tree is a five-piece bluegrass band with high energy and a fresh original sound, along with some old time traditional songs,” said Graham.

Friendly Looking Strangers, a Liverpool band that shares a label with the Young Dubliners, were added after the show was moved from January to November. They are currently recording an album in Milwaukee and the label wanted them to do some promotional touring, Truckey said.

During the openers, there will be a cash bar for those older than 21. Tickets for students are $5 in advance, $6 at the door and can be purchased at EZ ticket outlets or by calling (906) 227-1032.