SUPERGRASS are heading to the super turf of Doncaster Racecourse for a
Live After Racing concert on May 16.
Racegoers can enjoy the evening’s race card from 5.30pm, followed by a full set by the revived Oxford band, under starter’s orders at 9pm at the 17,000-capacity Town Moor track.
Tickets go on general sale tomorrow (January 17) at 10am at ticketmaster.co.uk, preceded by Artist + O2 customer pre-sales today.
On the surprise comeback trail in 2020, Supergrass already had confirmed an outdoor show in Yorkshire, having signed up for the Scarborough Open Air Theatre summer season for June 20.
To mark the 25th anniversary of their chart-topping 1995
debut album, I Should Coco, the band are releasing a box set, Supergrass – The
Strange Ones, 1994-2008, on BMG on January 24.
After their sixth studio album, Diamond Hoo Ha, in 2008, Gaz Coombes, Mick
Quinn, Danny Goffey and Rob Coombes parted ways in 2010, concluding with a
short farewell tour. A decade later, everything feels Alright to be Pumping On Your
Stereo once more.
Supergrass are the second revitalised Nineties’ act to be confirmed for a Live After Racing gig at Donny: York’s Shed Seven, who made a 1998 album called Let It Ride, will follow the runners and riders at 5.45pm on August 15.
Tickets for Supergrass’s Scarborough show are on sale on 01723 818111 and 01723 383636; at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com or in person from the Scarborough OAT box office, in Burniston Road, or the Discover Yorkshire Tourism Bureau, Scarborough Town Hall, St Nicholas Street.
HEADING for York on February 25, ballroom dancer Brendan Cole’s Show Man will be his last big band production after ten years of touring five shows.
Just to be clear, the former Strictly Come Dancing star is not retiring but song-and-dance concert tours on such a theatrical scale will be consigned to the past after Live & Unjudged in 2010, 2011 and twice in 2012; Licence To Thrill in 2013 and 2014; A Night To Remember in 2015 and 2016; All Night Long in 2017 and 2018 and now Show Man in 2019 and 2020.
“This will be my last big band tour after touring for so many years,” says the 43-year-old New Zealander, who will be bringing Show Man to the Grand Opera House next month.
“I’ve loved every second of being on the stage with my friends, who have now become family. It’s time for something different and I’m honoured to be taking Show Man out for one last run.
“I’m so proud of this production and I’m going out on a high. If you love live music from one of the best touring bands and exciting and emotive dance, this is the show for you.”
Back on the road from February 19, Show Man draws its inspiration from the magic of theatre and the movies, combining Cole and his hand-picked championship dancers and eight-piece big band and singers with laughter and chat throughout.
Choreography will be high energy, up close and personal, complemented by the lighting and special effects. Expect a cheeky Charleston to Pencil Full Of Lead, a sexy Salsa to Despacito, music fromBeggin’ to Bublé, plus numbers from The Greatest Showman and La La Land.
‘I’m really excited to be bringing back Show Man, having toured this production early in 2019. This is my most exciting tour to date; it’s so dynamic and theatrical, much more so than any previous tour,” says Brendan, who you may remember lifted the very first Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy when partnering news presenter Natasha Kaplinsky in 2004.
“We have five male dancers, three female dancers, choirs, a violinist and brand new staging, which allows the choreography to be exciting and different; bigger and better lifts, some very strong theatrical numbers, as well as a new-look set. It really is something special. My aim is to wow the audience and give them everything they’d expect and much, much more.”
Why stop doing such big-scale shows now? “I’m giving myself options for the future,” says Brendan, who, by the way, spent the Christmas season in pantoland, playing the Spirit of the Ring in Aladdin at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking. “My days of playing Aladdin are over!” he quips. “I’m not hired for my looks!”
Back to Show Man being his last tour on the grand scale. “The thing is, with these big band tours, I’ve been doing it for ten years now; it takes a year to put each one together and I don’t have the time to do that anymore.
“Since I left Strictly at the end of 2017, I’m delighted to say I’ve been crazily busy. I’m involved in The X Factor, I’m doing some other TV shows. There’s a show that’s just been filmed for Channel 4, though I can’t go into detail yet!”
“There’s that moment I really enjoy, when a dance has just finished, and there’s a hush, as if the audience are almost in a state of trance…,” says Brendan Cole
For now, the focus is on enjoying the second leg of Show Man shows. “It was Katie Bland who came up with the Show Man title, because it’s a show with all the different aspects of dance, taking it on a more theatrical slant and movie influenced too, such as The Greatest Showman and Dirty Dancing.
“Katie said, ‘you are ‘the showman’, and after seeing The Great Showman, I knew I had to include it in the show.”
Not only will there be a big band, but also a choir at the Grand Opera House. “We use local singers, anyone from 12 years old to young adults, and they range in number from 12 to 27 each night,” says Brendan.
Looking back over ten years of shows, “My favourite was my first, Live & Unjudged, when it was very raw,” he recalls. “But I’m particularly proud of Show Man because of its theatricality.”
What comes next for Brendan, the showman dancer? “Something much more intimate,” he says, “One of the things I’ve tried to do is make Show Man more intimate, but that’s a hard thing to do in a big band show.
“But I have no plans for the next move yet, because I’d like some time out as it’s gruelling, taking hours and hours to put the content together and then the company together for a show like Show Man. I want to take some time out with my family.”
Such is his love of dance shows and dancing itself, Brendan will be back. “It’s the magic of it. Creating a story between two people in a dance. That little bit of magic for two and a half, three, minutes. It’s storytelling without words, and as people watch, they create their own stories,” he says.
“It’s the waltzes that I really love. There’s a real beauty to them. Then there’s that moment I really enjoy, when a dance has just finished, and there’s a hush, as if the audience are almost in a state of trance…”
…And, there, in a nutshell, is why Show Man will be a chapter, rather than the closing chapter, in Brendan Cole’s dance story. He has a vision beyond 2020.
Brendan Cole, Show Man, Grand Opera House, York, February 25, 7.30pm. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/York
IRISH jazz and blues chanteuse Mary
Coughlan will play Pocklington Arts Centre on April 21 on her spring tour.
More details will follow shortly, but
tickets for the 8pm show will go on sale at 10am on Friday (January 17) at £18
on 01759 301547 or at pocklinvgtonartscentre.co.uk.
Often described as “Ireland’s Billie Holiday”, Coughlan, 63, has overcome childhood trauma, alcoholism and drug addiction to become a tornado of a musical force.
Her debut album, Tired And Emotional, rocketed her to
overnight fame in 1985, and fifteen albums later, her ability to connect deeply
with both the song and her audience remains undiminished, a testament to her
inner strength and the power of transformation and redemption.
SELBY Town Hall’s spring season will be its biggest ever with 27 live
shows between February and the start of June, plus a trio of Edinburgh Fringe previews
“There’s the usual mix of folk, Americana, stand-up, pop, rock, theatre
and more with chart-toppers, cult indie royalty, a Grammy winner, the radio
voice who guided my teenage pop dreams, a primetime impersonator tinkling the
ivories and even a 13-piece orchestra,” says Selby Town Council arts officer
“We had a good end to 2019 with a surprise listing in the Guardian as
one of the UK’s best tiny venues and that seems to have spilled over into 2020
with strong early sales. It’s full steam ahead.”
The programme’s headline stars include punk princess, actor, television
presenter and Top Ten hit maker Toyah with her stripped-back Acoustic, Up Close
& Personal show on February 21; Mark Radcliffe: Loser?, a solo show of
words and songs from the BBC6 Music and Radio 2 presenter, on April 2, and impersonator
Alistair McGowan, in his new-found guise as a classical pianist, in The Piano
Show on May 22.
Guitarist Gordon Giltrap’s re-scheduled date is confirmed for February 29; cult Eighties’ indie icon, John Peel favourite, Scouse maverick and The Mighty Wah! frontman Pete Wylie presents a duo show of hits and stories on March 14, and Dire Straits founding member David Knopfler, now plying his trade as a singer-songwriter, performs with Harry Bogdanovs on May 27.
On the comedy front, The Fast Show star turned bestselling
author Arabella Weir plays the smallest date on her first ever stand-up tour, the
confessional Does My Mum Loom Big In This?, on February 28; Paul Sinha,
one-time Grand Opera House, York, pantomime villain, comic and quiz sensation from
The Chase, performs Hazy Little Thing Called Love on March 21; and Jo Caulfield discusses unreasonable
neighbours, call centres, snobby ghosts, prosecco drinkers, being married
forever and rude children in Voodoo Doll on May 1.
BBC New Comedy Award winner, To Hull And Back sitcom writer and Hull
native Lucy Beaumont spins surreal anecdotes about bubble wrap, boxing, boobs
and believing in UFOs or not in Space Mam, her return to live stand-up after a
four-year hiatus, on April 17.
“The season also includes one of the biggest successes from last year’s
Edinburgh Fringe, comedy duo Max & Ivan, on February 7,” says Chris. “Their
show Commitment was named the fourth best comedy performance of 2019 by the
Guardian and has just been listed as one of the comedy highlights of 2020 by
“There’ll be more laughs from BBC Radio 4 favourite Lucy Porter in Be
Prepared, her show on how ‘life turned out to be slightly more
complicated than Brown Owl let on’, on June 6; classically moulded British eccentric
Tim FitzHIgham in Pittancer Of Selby on April 8, and Nineties’ comedy pin-up
turned philosophical raconteur Rob Newman in Rob Newman’s Philosophy Show: Work
In Progress on May 16.
“Rob will be trying out material for the next series of his award-winning
BBC Radio 4 stand-up philosophy programme Total Eclipse Of Descartes.”
Jones always has a strong hand of American folk and roots music acts
each season. “This spring is no different with performances from Grammy-winning
Californian bluegrass icon Laurie Lewis and her band The Right Hands on May 21;
singer-songwriters Bronwynne Brent and Rachel Baiman on March 6 and May 28 respectively
and the sunshine melodies and harmonies of Illinois indie-Americana quintet The
Way Down Wanderers on April 10,” he says.
Selby Town Council commemorates the 75th anniversary of
VE Day with a concert in Selby Abbey by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band on May 9,
preceded by Tim FitzHigham and Duncan Walsh Atkins’s Flanders & Swann show, At The
Drop Of A Hippopotamus, on May 8 at Selby Town Hall.
The venue plays host to its first ever orchestral performance when a
13-piece ensemble from the Northern Chamber Orchestra plays on April 7, with cellist, baritone and
actor Matthew Sharp as the host.
“As well as being our biggest ever programme of events, this spring season is also one of our most eclectic,” says Chris. “I’m particularly excited to welcome one of the most inventive and cool acts on the folk scene right now, Yorkston Thorne Khan, on March 20, when they promote their new album Navarasa: Nine Emotions.
“They mix an incredible array of sounds, from Scottish traditional to
Indian classical, and are signed to the same label as Arctic Monkeys and Franz
“We’re also delighted to open up the season on February 1 with a rare
show for a great folk-rock supergroup, The Sandy Denny Project, brought
together by Fotheringay MkII’s PJ Wright and The Poozies’ Sally Barker to
celebrate one of Britain’s greatest ever singers.”
Further dates for the diary are Celtic band The Tannahill Weavers, with
their ballads and lullabies on St Valentine’s Day, February 14, guitar duo Ezio
on March 5; and Martin Turner: Ex Wishbone Ash, performing his former band’s
1971 album Pilgrimage in its entirety on March 28.
Reform Theatre present Midsommer, playwright David Greig and
singer-songwriter Gordon McIntyre’s collaborative piece about two mid-30s,
messed-up strangers – failing car salesman/poet Bob and divorce lawyer Helena –
embarking on a lost weekend of debauchery, bridge-burning, car chases, wedding
bust-ups, midnight trysts and hungover self-loathing, on April 25.
Edinburgh Fringe comedy previews with two comics each night will be held
on July 11, 18 and 25, with tickets going on sale in the spring.
This season’s National Theatre Live screenings will be Cyrano de
Bergerac, starring James McAvoy, on February 20, and Lucy Kirkwood’s bold new
thriller The Welkin, starring Maxine Peake and Ria Zmitrowicz, on June 4.
“From comedy to rock, bluegrass to theatre, orchestral to music hall and
much, much more, there’s a huge array to choose from at Selby Town Hall this
spring season,” concludes Chris.
Tickets are on sale on 01757 708449, at selbytownhall.co.uk or in person from the town hall.
YORK’S Shed Seven will top an all-Yorkshire bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax, on June 26.
Joining the Sheds will be Leeds bands The Pigeon Detectives and The Wedding Present and Leeds United-supporting York group Skylights, plus the Brighton Beach DJs.
Tickets for this Futuresounds Events show will go on sale on Friday at 9am at lunatickets.co.uk, seetickets.com and gigantic.com.
This is the second outdoor show announcement by the Sheds in quick succession, after confirming they will be chasing winners as well as Chasing Rainbows at Doncaster Racecourse on August 15, when they play Live After Racing, under starter’s orders at 5.45pm.
“We’re doing this Piece Hall show partly because our 2018 gig at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl went so well,” says Shed Seven lead singer Rick Witter, whose revived Britpoppers drew 8,000 that June day and now will perform in the 5,500-capacity square of the renovated 18th-century Halifax cloth hall that now houses history exhibits and independent shops, bars and restaurants.
The Sheds have just mounted their biggest ever Shedcember winter tour, chalking up their record run of 23 shows between November 21 and December 21, with Leeds First Direct Arena on December 7 at the epicentre.
“After we did the Shedcember gigs, we just fancied doing something similar to Castlefield Bowl this summer, but this time a Yorkshire gig,” says the Stockport-born Witter.
Stockport, Mr Witter?! “I know, but I consider myself a Yorkie now,” says Rick, who attended Huntington School in York.
“I remember Embrace playing The Piece Hall [Elbow have done likewise], and it’s taken a few months to confirm our gig since we came up with the idea of playing there. We wanted to do an outdoor show, and to do it in such a salubrious setting will be a great buzz.”
As the Sheds look forward to their Halifax and Doncaster concerts, complemented by seven summer festival gigs, with two more to be added, Rick says: “It’s a weird one for us: as the Shedcember tour showed, it seems we’re more popular than ever now. It’s a strange phenomenon but long may it continue.
“Having a new album out [Instant Pleasures, released in November 2017], has definitely helped, because the shows aren’t just nostalgia now; there are new songs too.”
Given that fresh impetus, backed up by October 2019’s gold vinyl re-issue of the Sheds’ greatest hits compilation, Going For Gold, Rick says: “Now we need to do that again: write some more new songs, and as busy as everyone is doing their own thing, there might be room to meet up once a week.”
Definitely new this year will be Shed Seven’s first racecourse concert at Donny. “I went as a guest to see Kaiser Chiefs play at York Racecourse [July 22 2016], and it was a great day out. People love it because it’s a full day out with racing and music. Let’s feel the love that day as everyone makes a big day of it. We can’t wait.”
Tickets for Shed Seven’s Music Live performance at Donny are on sale at ticketmaster.co.uk, with more information available at doncaster-racecourse.co.uk. Gates will open at 11.15am for the 1.10pm racecard,
YORK blues and soul singer, songwriter,
musical actress and MasterChef semi-finalist Jess Gardham performs at Busking-in-the-Bar,
Pocklington Arts Centre’s free music night, on Friday night (January 17).
Jess, of South Bank, York, has toured Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada, supported KT Tunstall, Paul CarrackandMartin Simpson and played at festivals across Britain, not least PAC’s Platform Festival at The Old Station, Pocklington last summer.
In York, she has starred in three York Stage Musicals’ productions, playing “Motormouth” Maybelle in Hairspray in April 2015 and spiritualist Oda Mae Brown in Ghost The Musical and appearing in Rock Of Ages in April 2017.
“Busking-in-the-Bar is an opportunity for everyone to experience some fantastic free live music, from emerging local artists, all within the comfort of our intimate and luxurious bar,” says PAC director Janet Farmer.
“We were fortunate enough to have Jess Gardham open Platform Festival 2019 and she was sensational, so we’re delighted that Jess will play our first Busking-in-the-Bar event of 2020.
“There’s fantastic live music, a wide
range of drinks to choose from and it’s free entry: what a perfect start to the
On Friday, the bar opens at 7pm, the music starts at 8pm. For more details, call the box office on 01759 301547 or visit pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Pavel Kolesnikov, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York, January 10
IT pays to invite big names. The Lyons was justifiably packed for this piano recital promoted by the British Music Society, which was built around two Beethoven sonatas. For anyone just returned from outer space, 2020 is set to be a big year for the great man, as we celebrate his 250th birthday.
Kolesnikov began, however, with a Chopin group, in which he probed the composer’s yearning for the Polish homeland he left at the age of 20, never to return. Rather than plunge straight into the tempestuous Fantasie-Impromptu, he opened with a minor-key nocturne not on the programme. It was magnetic. From then on his audience hung on his every note (some ill-timed, uncovered coughs apart).
Another nostalgic nocturne led into a passionate Third Scherzo in which drama took precedence over clarity. Nobody minded. By then we were in thrall to the seemingly effortless charisma of a man who never plays an unmusical note. Besides, there were always these inner voices that he kept bringing out of the texture.
At this point he allowed the first applause – we were desperate for the release. He then used Chopin’s so-called “Raindrop” prelude as his introduction to Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata, with barely a pause between the two (not such a bad idea when you consider that they are effectively in the same key, except that the former is major, the latter minor).
The opening movement was a little distorted by rubato. What followed was unexpected. I have never heard the Scherzo played so slowly and deliberately. By contrast, the finale could hardly have been speedier. It was thrilling for being so close to the edge.
The theme of night continued after the interval in pieces by Schumann, Debussy and Bartok. Kolesnikov brought an eerie edge to Schumann’s halting first Nachstück, elongating the many rests dotting its texture. Debussy’s fireworks (Feux d’artifice) were predictably more colourful, superbly varied, while Bartok’s trademark Night Music from his Outdoors suite chillingly evoked things that go bump in the night.
There was a dignified restraint to the opening movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Op 53, dedicated in 1804 to his erstwhile patron Count Waldstein, which lent its chorale a certain hauteur. The slow movement was less convincing. But the final rondo grew in excitement towards its closing prestissimo, with a riveting wealth of detail throughout.
At a mere 30 years old, Kolesnikov could be adorning our concert platforms for another half-century. Let us hope he can be lured back to York very soon.
THE Grand Opera House, York, is teaming up with City of York Council to offer anyone aged 26 and under £5 tickets for the Broadway and West End show Once The Musical.
Running from February 3 to 8, the show is based on the 2007 Irish indie hit film, telling the uplifting yet yearning story of two lost souls – a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician – who unexpectedly fall in love.
Charting their relationship across five short days, big changes happen to both of them in little ways in this romantic musical drama. Celebrated for its original score, including the Academy Award-winning song Falling Slowly, Once is a spell-binding story of hopes and dreams.
Directed by Peter Rowe, with musical direction by regular accomplice Ben Goddard, Once The Musical has embarked on its first major British tour after Broadway and West End productions, leading to a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album, eight Tony Awards and an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music.
To book £5 tickets, go to atgtickets.com/sho…/once/grand-opera-house-york/ Code: ONCE5. Proof of age must be shown when collecting tickets.
SOUL At The Riley-Smith Hall, Tadcaster, returns by popular demand on
January 18 with the promise of floor-filling Northern Soul and Motown in the main
“We’ve started to hold these nights every four months and they’re proving
quite popular,” says Ian Smith, from Harrogate and Ilkley Soul Clubs, who will
be among those spinning the discs next weekend.
“All the music is played on the original vinyl releases and the resident
DJs are well known on the county’s soul scene.”
Joining Smith will be Diane Layton, of Moortown and Haworth Soul Clubs, Andy
Carling, of Wetherby Engine Shed and Moortown Soul Club, and Keith Hudson, Smith’s
fellow DJ from Harrogate and Ilkley Soul Clubs.
“All four DJs have extensive record collections and will be playing
tunes specifically to get dancers on to the floor,” says Smith. “The Riley-Smith
Hall has an excellent sprung wooden floor and is perceived to be one of the
north’s top soul venues for dancers.”
Next weekend’s special guest will be radio presenter John Kane, who
hosts the Saturday evening Northern Soul show on BBC Radio Leeds and Radio
York. “John is very popular and is sure to attract a number of his local
listeners,” says Smith.
The Riley-Smith Hall has a choice of two dance rooms, the second room upstairs catering for fans of soul tunes post 1980 with sets by Mally Meah, Diane Layton and guests.
Admission is £7 on the door from 7.30pm and the dancing rolls on until 12.30am.
STEVE Harley, the original Cockney
Rebel, will lead his Acoustic Band in an Uncovered gig at Harrogate Theatre on
February 21, the very day he releases his album of the same title.
Uncovered features interpretations of “nine painstakingly chosen songs” created in many instances by peers and contemporaries of 68-year-old Harley; those with shared histories and some that he admired from afar.
These are songs with heft and honesty, Harley says, that have
always connected and resonated within him; material he has always wanted to
perform and may even wish he had written.
Those tracks are David Bowie’s Absolute Beginners; Robbie Burns’s Ae Fond Kiss; Hot Chocolate’s Emma; Cat Stevens’s How Can I Tell You?; The Beatles’ I’ve Just Seen A Face; Jagger and Richards’s Out Of Time; the traditional Star Of Belle Isle; Longpigs’ Lose Myself and Bob Dylan’s When I Paint My Masterpiece.
These are complemented by two re-worked Harley compositions: (Love) Compared With You (Your Eyes Don’t Seem To Age), replete with a new third verse, and Only You, played live for several years but here recorded for the first time.
This diverse collection of Interpretations is “in some ways an
almanac, rather than a set of great tracks”. Harley’s links with some of the
songwriters go back to the start of their careers: Bowie in Beckenham; Dylan
throughout his early teens; Cat Stevens/Yusuf and Paul McCartney, both early
The newly founded Steve Harley Acoustic Band features Barry
Wickens on viola, violin and acoustic guitar; Oli Hayhurst on double bass; Tom
Hooper on percussion and roots music luminary Martin Simpson on the album,
although the unavailable Simpson will be replaced by David Delarre on lead acoustic
guitar on tour.
At the recording sessions, Scottish singer Eddi Reader joined Harley
on Star Of Belle Isle, while Jim Cregan contributed a stirring guitar solo to
Those sessions were a joy, full of virtuosity and grit, recalls Harley. “I was roaring with stamina and passion when I went in to sing the final versions. I sang all 11 in one and a half days,” he says. “The hunger and desire to perform was almost primitive. Engineer Matt Butler has recorded my voice up-close and unaffected. I sing out but seem mostly restrained.”
Londoner Harley is no stranger to acoustic music, having toured
with his Acoustic Trio – as well as the full Cockney Rebel rock band – for years
en route to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for Acoustic Music in 2018.
His acoustic set at Harrogate Theatre will combine songs from Uncovered with such Harley highs as Mr Soft, Judy Teen, Sebastian and Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me).
Looking forward to touring with his new
line-up, Harley says: “We have real adventures on tour. I’ve seen the Northern
Lights, the Midnight Sun and dozens of wonderful galleries, museums and great
cities, all on my down-time. I have a great life as a wandering minstrel.”
Tickets for February 21’s 7.30pm concert are on sale on 01423 502116 or at harrogatetheatre.co.uk.