Talented local band Gin Palace was today announced as the inaugural winner of Northern Ireland’s newest music competition, Metro Sessions.

Shortlisted from over 60 entries, five finalists (Gin Palace, The Rising, Modern Rome, The John Andrews Band and Lucy Bell) performed in Saturday’s live outdoor final at Belfast City Hall before the winner was decided by a 48-hour public vote which saw thousands of votes cast. The line-up drew impressive crowds throughout the day with messages of support for the finalists flooding in, including advice from Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody.

The competition launched in September by Translink as part of the 2019 Sound of Belfast programme. Gin Palace, whose members are from Belfast and Carrickfergus, has won a £1000 cash prize, recording studio package, airtime and industry mentoring from Media Partner Q Radio.

  • Gin Palace, is made up of four local lads from Belfast and Carrickfergus who found a love for performing from an early age
  • Formed in Summer 2018, Gin Palace produce a delicate and intricate form of indie music infused with elements from the early jazz and funk traditions of the USA, and the pop and psychedelic musical heritage of 1960s Great Britain but with a modern twist
  • Vocalist, rhythm guitarist and brass player Joel McCracken and lead guitarist Daniel Donaghy are the architects of their vibrant, guitar-driven sound. Whilst the foundations of the band lie with bassist Darren Mercer and drummer Josh Lown, who provide a consistent groove and compelling rock-solid rhythms
  • Their tight and unforgiving live performances have earned Gin Palace a devoted following across Northern Ireland
  • The band see Belfast as place of huge opportunity for aspiring musicians and winning the competition for them means “bringing their music and sound to a whole new audience”.

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