Qween and Dublin Gospel Choir

10 January 2025
Tickets: €32.50 + Facility Fee

When the fans of a band put together a tribute production, you should expect microscopic detail, but when they’re also seasoned performers, you can expect fireworks.

The band formed in 2018, with the members having played together in numerous other guises over the years. Since their debut, Qween has wowed audiences with a theatrical rock show that brings the audience right back in time to the front row of a classic Queen gig. Qween’s two-hour show features a veritable anthology of Queen’s greatest hits, from Radio Ga Ga to Somebody to Love, performed fully live.

Since their inception, they have grown in popularity quickly and have performed shows usually reserved for acts that have their own tributes, selling out venues across Ireland.

In 2022, the band featured over two days at the Forever Young Festival, with performances that included guest appearances from Tony Hadley, formerly of Spandau Ballet, and Mark Shaw of Then Jerico. Such was the response, the band was booked for the festival's main stage in 2023—the first time a tribute band had been granted the privilege.

“On paper, there’s nothing particularly ‘cool’ about a tribute band, and that’s the hardest thing for us to communicate to audiences—that this is the essence of what Queen is about rather than some musicians playing dress-up. When people see us, they get it then,” said guitarist Thomas Brunkard.

In 2022, Qween took their show to a new level by drafting in The Dublin Gospel Choir. We’ve seen tribute bands add orchestras and brass bands to help make shows appear more engaging. “With Queen, there is the live band, which was just the four band members, and then there is the studio band, where lush arrangements and overdubbed guitars and vocals are the signature sound. We thought the next step would be to bridge the gap with a gospel choir, and it took things up another level.”

The new show led to sold-out dates in bigger venues, culminating in a sold-out show in Limerick’s King John’s Castle, where nearly 3,000 Queen fans packed the ancient keep for two hours of a marriage of Queen’s studio arrangements played with the edge of a live band and choir.

“There’s something about Queen that reaches out to all ages, and that audience was exactly that. Grannies to toddlers singing and clapping our Radio Ga Ga. That’s when you know you’ve done your job,” said Qween vocalist Brian Keville.

Qween has gone to extreme lengths to capture the magic of Queen, acquiring everything from a tailored lemon leather Freddie jacket (à la Queen’s legendary Slane Castle show in 1986) to guitar equipment from Brian May’s technician. “Queen’s music is technically difficult, but we’re massive fans, so we were able to put in the dedication to get every detail just right. Maura in the front row mightn’t know that we’re using period-correct sixpences on the guitars, but if all these things were removed, she’d know it wasn’t right,” said guitarist Thomas Brunkard.

In late 2023, singer Brian Keville was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that necessitated extensive surgery. “Performing is my life, and being so close to seeing it taken from me was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced.” The band organized fundraising efforts, which included viral videos from Tony Hadley, Mark Shaw, and TV chef James Martin.

“I’m grateful that fans and musical friends alike jumped on board. We had the biggest gig of our lives, and this helped me get fit again, so it was especially memorable,” said vocalist Brian Keville.

The band was featured in the national press in 2019 when singer Keville met Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, leading to an unlikely Queen cover at Vedder’s solo show in the Three Arena.

“Somehow, he had managed to park his car in a bush, and he was so cool-looking and so kind, and he said all these kind things. He said, ‘I’m in a group too; I’m in a Queen cover band. I’m Freddie Mercury.’ I said, ‘Can you give me a little something?’ and he sang: ‘Day-o’. He frightened me almost into the traffic,” Vedder explained at the concert.

Keville is no stranger to playing Freddie Mercury, having portrayed the singer in the Live Aid drama “When Harvey Met Bob” alongside Domhnall Gleeson’s mouthy Bob Geldof. “Freddie had a way about everything he did that is hard to capture. You need to totally forget who you are and create this larger-than-life persona with total commitment to your audience,” said Keville. “A real bushy moustache also helps!”

“We’ve been bringing the show around the country this summer, and it’s great to finally show it off in front of a home crowd. We will rock you!” said Keville.