The Stranglers left hanging around again as final UK tour is rearranged for second time

This will be the last time: The Stranglers’ bass player JJ Burnel and guitarist Baz Warne will play Leeds next February on their Final UK Tour

THE Stranglers are putting back their Final Full UK Tour for a second time, moving their April 26 gig at Leeds O2 Academy to February 12 next year.

In a statement from the veteran punk-era alumni, they say: “We are, once again, incredibly saddened to confirm that we have had no alternative but to reschedule the planned 2021 spring tour.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, especially as the tour has already been moved back, but the ongoing issues surrounding the Covid pandemic are continuing to play havoc with live music.

“Due to the uncertainty around the tightening of lockdown regulations in the UK and the rollout of the vaccinations over the coming months, it was decided that the tour should be postponed until early 2022.”

The statement continues: “It has been an immense challenge to move the tour again but ultimately we are determined to make it happen as planned from the outset.

The poster for The Final Full UK Tour 2022 by The Stranglers, taking in Leeds O2 Academy on February 12 and Sheffield City Hall on February 24 next year

“After almost a year of inactivity on the road, the band are all chomping at the bit to get back to playing live but our safety, as well as that of the crew and fans, is of paramount importance.”

The Leeds concert already had been rearranged from November 12 2020, and tickets remain valid for the new date after the second delay.

“We hope you understand that we have been left with no other choice and, believe us, we share your disappointment,” say the band, led by bassist and lead vocalist JJ Burnel. “Look forward to seeing you all on the road next year.”

The Final UK Tour 2022 will be In Memory of Dave: long-serving keyboard player Dave Greenfield, who died on May 3 last year, aged 71.

The Stranglers are promising an extensive, full-production tour on “the last time they play together in this format” on a 24-date itinerary, performing songs spanning their 45-year catalogue of 23 British top 40 singles and 17 top 40 albums. “Fans can expect to hear all the classics and get the full rock’n’roll experience for one final time,” they say.

Tour support will come from Ruts DC. Ticket information can be found at: https://academymusicgroup.com/o2academyleeds/events/1300610/stranglers-tickets

Let’s just hope Something Better Change soon on the Coronavirus front to ensure the final tour will finally go ahead.

Lawless Americana act The Felice Brothers to play Pocklington Arts Centre on June 23

The Felice Brothers: two brothers, Ian and James Felice, and two friends, Will Lawrence and Jesske Hume

THE Felice Brothers’ postponed June 2020 gig at Pocklington Arts Centre is now in the 2021 diary for June 23.

Ian and James Felice, who grew up in the Hudson valley of upstate New York, are self-taught musicians, inspired as much by Hart Crane and Whitman as by Woody Guthrie and Chuck Berry.

They began in 2006 by playing subway platforms and sidewalks in New York City and have since released nine albums of original, lawless Americana, country and folk rock songs.

In 2017, they served as the backing band for Conor Oberst’s album, Salutations. Two years later came Undress, an album whose stand-out songs were trailered by Ian Felice in a solo show at The Winning Post, York, in October 2018.

Undress, their first studio release in three years, will be prominent in their Pocklington set list, when Ian and James will be accompanied by drummer Will Lawrence and bassist Jesske Hume.

Tickets are on sale at £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Pocklington Arts Centre updates concert diary as pandemic enforces more changes

Jesse Malin: February 2 gig put back to December 7 at Pocklington Arts Centre

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is re-scheduling concerts aplenty in response to the relentless grip of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Irish chanteuse Mary Coughlan’s April 23 show is being moved to October 19; the Women In Rock tribute show, from May 21 to October 29; New York singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, from February 2 to December 7, and Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph, from February 12 to December 2. Tickets remain valid for the rearranged dates.

A new date is yet to be arranged for the postponed February 23 gig by The Delines, Willy Vlautin’s country soul band from Portland, Oregon.

York Theatre Royal takes Youth Theatre online for new term of interactive sessions

Harvey Harrison, aged eight, taking part in a York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre online session at home in York

YORK Theatre Royal’s Youth Theatre is back in action…online, complete with scavenger hunts and kitchen discos.

The St Leonard’s Place building remains closed under Lockdown 3 strictures, ruling out the usual face-to-face sessions there, but here comes Zoom to lift any feelings of doom and gloom for participants in one of the North’s largest youth theatres.

Youth Theatre membership takes in 150 children and young people from across York and the surrounding areas, divided into ten age groups spanning five to 19, with each group working towards developing skills and experience in a variety of theatre disciplines.

Five groups for the older members began in November but had to be moved online after the first session in response to the second lockdown.

“These proved really successful,” says Julian Ollive, head of creative engagement.  “Face-to-face contact with our young people, being in the same space, working collaboratively and creatively, is really what we’re about and what we value. Unfortunately, this new lockdown has thwarted our ability to go live but we’re going ahead with running our classes online again.”

Julian continues: “In a time of great uncertainty, we believe it’s important to begin the process of coming back to a ‘normal’, which, for us, is working directly with children and young people in our community.

Martha and Wilf in an age five to eight group session on Zoom with practitioner Fiona Baistow, assistant Fiona and mentor Katherine

“Although we would have loved to welcome back our members face to face, we’re  excited by the creative challenges and opportunities that working online will bring.”

Youth Theatre director Kate Veysey says: “Offering youth theatre online gives us new opportunities to connect with the young people in different ways. We feel this is even more important at a time when they have additional pressures on them.

“The chance to connect, to work with their friends and make new ones, and be creative together, is fantastic.

“It’s been really wonderful welcoming back our young people to youth theatre, as well as some new members. In our first week back, we’ve had scavenger hunts, kitchen discos and props and costumes from everyone’s homes. It’s a joy to work together. 

“Our practitioners are relishing the challenge of making our online delivery as exciting and vibrant as our live sessions have been in the past until we can safely offer these again.”

The 14 to 19 age group is rehearsing the play Tuesday for NT Connections, a digital festival that brings together groups from around the country, this year remotely. In light of the festival going online, rehearsals are applying options within this format, such as breakout rooms to work on separate scenes, using props and making sound effects from home sources to support the text.

York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre’s 14 to 19 company working on the play Tuesday for the NT Connections festival

Among those joining in the new 2021 sessions from home in York is eight-year-old Harvey Harrison, pictured above, whose mother Hayley says: “Harvey has been a member of Youth Theatre for just over two years and in that time the activity has brought him a huge amount of pleasure.

“It’s been a fantastic creative outlet for a child who is often, socially anyway, quite reserved and he has developed a new-found bravery and sense of poise. The physical thrill he gets from the performance opportunities is perfectly complemented by his quiet and growing confidence.”

In part inspired by the impact of taking the York Theatre Royal Travelling Pantomime to community venues last month, the Theatre Royal is planning to move the Youth Theatre further out into the community once restrictions allow.

Friargate Meeting House and New Earswick Folk Hall will then host groups throughout the week, as well as the Youth Theatre continuing to work in spaces at the Theatre Royal.

“We’re excited by the prospect of continuing the reach into our community, so positively felt and received through the Travelling Pantomime,” said Julian.

Visit yorktheatreroyal.co.uk for more information on joining York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre and applying online for a Y card, the new youth membership scheme. The card costs £5 and provides notifications when spaces in the youth theatre become available, invitations to games sessions and tasters, discounted membership rates on tickets, events and much more.

Go to: https://www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/be-part-of-it/children-and-young-people/youth-theatre/ or email youththeatre@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

 

New dates and new artists and makers for York Open Studios 2021 in the summertime

YORK Open Studios 2021 will be moving from spring to summer after a re-think over the prevailing Lockdown 3 guidelines with no end in place yet.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Britain’s longest-running open studios, York’s artists were keen to go ahead with the event this year, especially after a barren year in 2020, when doors had to stay shut in Lockdown 1.

Consequently, the organisers are switching the two weekends from April 17/18 and 24/25 to July 10/11 and July 17/18, when more than 140 artists and makers will show and sell their work within their homes and workspaces in an opportunity for art lovers and the curious to “enjoy fresh air, meet artists and view and buy unique arts and crafts from York’s very best artisans”.

“Our artists are more than happy to commit to the change and are very supportive of the reason behind our decision, so it’s all systems go for July,” says ceramicist Beccy Ridsdel, one of the York Open Studios organisers

Visitors will be welcomed by artists who will adhere to Government guidelines, keeping themselves and visitors Covid-safe throughout. 

Many artists picked to participate last year remain on the list for 2021, complemented by new artists and makers, selected by an external panel of art professionals, to give regular visitors a chance to enjoy new work as well as meet their favourite creative talents.

Fresh additions for 2021 are:  Rosebay, painting;  Emma Crockatt, painting; Katie Greenbrown and Peter Roman, multi-media; Elena Skoreyko Wagner, illustration; Leesa Rayton Design Plus, jewellery; Carrie Lyall, printmaking; Kevin McNulty, printmaking; Pennie Lordan, painting; Lincoln Lightfoot, digital prints; Amy Stubbs, textiles; Tabitha Grove, painting; Michelle Galloway, painting, and Reg Walker, sculpture.

“Heavily influenced by ridiculous B-movie concepts from the ’50s and ’60s, I question what might be in store for 2021,” says York Open Studios debutant Lincoln Lightfoot

So too are: Jilly Lovett, textiles; Elliot Harrison, illustration; Caroline Utterson, textiles; Nicola Lee, drawing; Rebecca Mason, textiles; Sarah Cawthray, ceramics; Laura Masheder, jewellery; Sarah Cornwell, ceramics; Silva Rerum, jewellery; Henry Steele, ceramics; Mick Leach, painting; Pietro Sanna, ceramics; Charlotte Dawson, ceramics; Caroline Lewis, collage, and Lucie Wake, painting.

Further debutants are: Pamela Thorby, ceramics; Mark Druery, drawing; Nathan Combes, photography; Kate Akrill, ceramics; Lisa Lundqvist, mixed media; Nick Kobyluch, drawing; Lucy McElroy, painting; Liz O’Connell, glass; Fiona Lane, painting; Ealish Wilson, textiles; Amy Butcher, textiles; Joanna Lisowiec, illustration; Dee Thwaite, painting; Judith Glover, ceramics, and Here Be Monsteras (Kayti Peschke), ceramics.  

The York Open Studios team are delighted with the line-up and the commitment to move to July. Sculptural ceramicist Beccy Ridsdel, one of the event founders, says: “We are grabbing the 2021 York Open Studios with both hands and channelling the optimism and enthusiasm from all our artists to ensure this year’s 20th show is one of the best.

“Rust takes us back to when the Ouse teemed with working barges, you knew your place or else – and jazz was the devil itself,” says Katie Greenbrown of her York Open Studios debut multi-media piece with Peter Roman, screening at the Arts Barge on July 10 and 11 at 10.30am, 1pm and 3pm

“Our decision to move from April to July this year gives us the opportunity for the stricter current Covid guidelines to relax and, with July giving us better weather, we believe the public will have more confidence when visiting artists’ studios. 

“Our artists are more than happy to commit to the change and are very supportive of the reason behind our decision, so it’s all systems go for July.”

Beccy, who will be showing her work at South Cottage Workshop, Shipton Road, adds: “Artists and makers bring a diverse range of skills to the weekends, producing bespoke ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, wood carving and multi-media.

“There’s something for everyone and every pocket.  The artists also love to showcase their work within their surroundings and really value the interaction, whether you’re a buyer or a burgeoning artist. It’s a fabulous way too to enjoy York and view extraordinary work. York Open Studios is a date worth saving.”

The Gesualdo Six vocal consort to take up March residency in York for Early Music Day

At sixes and sevens: The Gesualdo Six…and director Owain Park (third from left, back row)

THE Gesualdo Six will lead the National Centre for Early Music’s celebrations for Early Music Day 2021 on March 21 by embarking on an online whistle-stop musical tour of York.

The Cambridge vocal consort’s concert will be a streamed at 3pm as part of a day when musical organisations throughout Europe will come together for a joyful programme of events to mark JS Bach’s birthday. 

During its residency – an alternative G6 summit – The Gesualdo Six will spend almost a week in York performing in a variety of locations on a musical trek around the city that will be filmed and shared in March.

The film is designed to celebrate the beauty of this historic city and its musical influences, showcasing many of York’s venues that have been unable to open their doors since last March. 

Directed by Owain Park, The Gesualdo Six brings together some of Britain’s finest young consort singers: countertenors Guy James and Andrew Leslie Cooper; tenors Josh Cooter and Joseph Wicks; baritone Michael Craddock and bass Sam Mitchell.

Formed in March 2014 for a performance of Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, the ensemble gave more than 150 performances at major festivals in the UK and abroad in its first five years.

The Gesualdo Six has been awarded the Choir of the Year prize at the Classical Music Digital Awards and its album Fading was awarded Vocal Recording of the Year by Limelight.

National Centre for Early Music director Delma Tomlin: Planning the programme for Early Music Day

Looking forward to the March residency, NCEM director Delma Tomlin says: “We are delighted to welcome our good friends The Gesualdo Six, who will be spending time in York, taking advantage of some of the atmospheric acoustics within the city walls and performing a concert, a very special treat for Early Music Day.

“The concert will be shared with our friends and colleagues in Europe and beyond, as we join together for this wonderful annual celebration.”

Against the backdrop of the Brexit severance from Europe, Delma says: “I’d also like to say a special thank-you to REMA, the Early Music Network in Europe, for their hard work helping to make sure the celebrations continue.”

She adds: “Other delights in store in March include performances by many artists who have supported us over this difficult year, recording behind closed doors at St Margaret’s Church [the NCEM’s home in Walmgate, York]. You might not be able to be with us in person, but we hope you can still join us for a feast of fabulous music.” 

Director Owain Park welcomes the chance for The Gesualdo Six to undertake a residency in York. “After a challenging year, it has been a delight to put our minds to this incredibly exciting project,” he says.

“We have long admired the work of the NCEM in York and so it has been an immense privilege to curate a musical journey that weaves through the city’s historic venues. Chiming with the NCEM’s spring celebrations, we aim to highlight the extraordinary power of collaboration and unity in a world where the seeds of division are increasingly sown.”

Delma concludes: “Venues for the filming in York will be confirmed very soon. Please check our website, ncem.co.uk, and social media platforms for regular updates and more details of this year’s programme of Early Music Day celebrations. 

“The NCEM has put in place many changes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the artists, audience and staff. All performances and filming will take place following current Government Covid-19 guidelines.” 

Come Hell or, in this case, high water, Velma Celli and Jess Steel WILL play streamed gig

Jess Steel and Ian Stroughair (aka Velma Celli) will defy a flooded house to perform their streamed gig in York

NOT even a flooded house will stop York drag diva divine Velma Celli and sensational singing hairdresser Jess Steel from recording their latest streamed gig.

“Streamed”…what an ironic word that is right now, as Velma’s creator, musical actor and international cabaret star Ian Stroughair, and “work bubble” Jess survey the “carnage” in Ian’s riverside pad by the Ouse.

Exit Storm Christoph, re-enter the defiant duo, who will follow up last Friday’s double bill with the second instalment of An Evening With Velma & Jess, put back from today (22/1/2021) to tomorrow, with the recording having had to be delayed.

Tickets are on sale at https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/an-evening-with-velma-and-live-stream-tickets/10829655 until 5pm tomorrow, when the link to watch the show will arrive moments later. Please note, the recording will remain available for viewing for 48 hours.

The show must go on for Velma Celli, even when the floodwater calls for wellies

Looking forward to still making a splash this weekend, Ian/Velma wades through Charles Hutchinson’s snappy questions.

How are you coping in the flood, Ian? What’s the latest state of play?

“It’s been a long, semi-sleepless couple of days. Fortunately, it hasn’t increased overnight but the kitchen is flooded and I cannot leave by either door. The back door is up to five feet in water and the front is inaccessible. It’s windows and wellies at the moment.”

Without giving the precise location, where is your riparian abode?

“I am right by Ouse Bridge. So, pretty much at the worse possible area but I have food and gin, so I’m gooooood!”

In which room will you now record the streamed gig?

“I think we may be OK to stick to the living room. If not, the four-poster master suite will be perfect!” 

Will you adjust the setlist to take in songs about rain and flooding?

“Ha ha! Of course! Titanic meets Babs meets Abba.” [Water-loo?, editor ponders].

Have you ever had to cancel a gig (other than for killjoy Covid) and, if so, what was the best reason for a gig not going ahead?

“It’s never fun to cancel. I did once get stuck in Oz longer than expected and had to cancel a London date.”

Can you say anything at this stage of your plan to play gigs in York restaurants?

“Not too much yet! We are sorting the finer details. As soon as York goes into a tier where we can eat in restaurants, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops.” 

York Open Studios 2021 is ON…but now doors will open in July, rather than April

GLASTONBURY Festival is off for the second bummer of a non-summer as killjoy Covid strikes again, but closer to home, one event has been rescued.

The 20th anniversary celebrations of York Open Studios are moving from spring to the summertime.

“Due to Coronavirus, to keep everyone safe and make sure the show goes on, we are delaying York Open Studios from 17/18th and 24/25th April to 10th/11th and 17th/18th July,” say the organisers.

Kate Rusby releases vinyl version of lockdown covers album Hand Me Down

The vinyl front ‘ere: Kate Rusby shows off the cover and orange discs for Hand Me Down

BARNSLEY folk nightingale Kate Rusby is to release her 2020 lockdown covers album, Hand Me Down, on vinyl tomorrow (22/1/2021) on her Pure Records label.

“Ooooooh it looks so beautiful,” says Kate on Instagram. “Gatefold, 180g double translucent orange discs. Very pretty! Sooo excited.”

Available in a limited edition at https://purerecords.net/collections/kate-rusby-vinyls, Hand Me Down had its roots in Kate’s rendition of Oasis’s Don’t Go Away on Jo Whiley’s BBC Radio 2 show.

That wistful ballad later featured on her 2019 studio album, Philosophers, Poets And Kings, and became a concert favourite, whereupon a return visit to Whiley’s studio elicited a mournful reading of The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love, now one of the stand-outs on Hand Me Down.

Kate and her guitar and banjo-playing producer-husband, Damien O’Kane, set about completing an album of covers in Lockdown 1, recorded in their Penistone home studio. “As a folk singer, it’s what I do: reinterpret existing songs,” says Rusby. “The only difference is that usually the songs are much older.”

Some were chosen from childhood or teenage memories (The Kinks’ Days, but from Kirsty MacColl’s sublime version; Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours), two much-covered songs you might have predicted, rather more than Maybe Tomorrow (The Littlest Hobo theme song) or The Show, from family friend Willy Russell’s musical Connie.

The artwork for Kate Rusby’s live Christmas album, Happy Holly Day

Covering a song is as much about what you uncover as you cover, prime examples here being Coldplay’s Everglow, Lyle Lovett’s If I Had A Boat and in particular “role model to her children” Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, newly revelling in O’Kane’s swing-time banjo.

Nothing evokes lockdown more than the opening Manic Monday, Prince’s song for Kate’s teen favourites The Bangles, slowed and turned to acoustic melancholia for not-so-manic days of longing at home, away from the city buzz. Add South Yorkshire vowels, and who can resist.

The album closes with a ray of perennial summer sunshine, Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, as Hand Me Down becomes balm for fretful, fearful pandemic days. “I’ve always had overwhelming urges to cheer people up at times of sadness,” says Kate. “I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, but it’s always been part of my genetic make-up.”

A second winter release from Pure Records is Happy Holly Day, a live CD recording of Kate’s online Christmas concert of South Yorkshire pub carols and winter songs, streamed from Cast, Doncaster, on December 12.

That night, Kate’s folk band assembled for the first time since the March lockdown, joined by her “Brass Boys”, spread across a socially distanced stage shared with the Ruby, the fairy-lit reindeer.

As always with Kate Rusby At Christmas concerts, the two sets were followed by an encore in fancy dress, Kate in a halo and angel wings, recovered from her attic from the 2017 album cover photo-shoot for Angels And Men, as she sang Sweet Bells and Yorkshire Merry Christmas alongside Damien in Virgin Mary mode.

Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel to play Grand Opera House in February 2022

Tommy Emmanuel: Fingerstyle guitarist with Certified Guitar Player status

AUSTRALIAN guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will play the Grand Opera House, York, on March 6 2022.

This will be the only Yorkshire show of next year’s 12-date tour from February 25 to March 13 with special guest Jerry Douglas, the Ohio dobro master.

Emmanuel, 65, who last played British shows on the Transatlantic Sessions Tour, has performed in public from the age of six, when he first toured regional Australia with his family band.

By 30, he was a rock’n’roll lead guitarist, playing European stadiums. At 44, he became one of only five musicians to be named a Certified Guitar Player by his idol, Chet Atkins. His concerts take him from Nashville to Sydney, London to York next February.

Twice nominated for a GrammyAward, Emmanuel has received two ARIA Awards from the Australian Recording Industry Association and repeated honours in the Guitar Player magazine readers’ poll. In 2017, he was the cover story for the August edition.

Emmanuel is a fingerstyle guitarist, frequently threading three different parts simultaneously into his material as he operates as a one-man band who handles melody, supporting chords and bass all at once.

He never plays the same show twice, improvising big chunks of every gig. In doing so, he “leaves himself open to technical imperfections, although they provide some of the humanity to an other-worldly talent”.

Tickets are on sale at atgtickets.com/venues/grand-opera-house-york/