Comic Russell Kane, metalheads Saxon and blues queen Joanne Shaw Taylor confirm York Barbican gigs in super-signing day

Russell Kane: Pandemic pontifications in The Essex Variant! show

ON football’s January transfer deadline day, York Barbican made three big signings of its own: comedian Russell Kane, Barnsley heavy metal veterans Saxon and blues guitarist/singer-songwriter Joanne Shaw Taylor.

Enfield humorist Kane, 46, offers his “gut-punch funny, searing take on the two years we’ve just gone through” on December 14 in his new stand-up tour show, Russell Kane Live: The Essex Variant!.

Comic, writer, presenter and actor Kane presents two podcasts, Man Baggage and BBC Radio 4’s Evil Genius and is a regular on Channel 4, BBC and ITV. “I drink lots of coffee and I’m ‘like that in real life’,” he says.

He was the first comedian to bag the two most prestigious comedy awards on Earth in the same year, for the same show: The Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards (formerly known as the Perrier) and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award, (formerly the Barry Award). “I’m also a raving bighead that likes listing my achievements,” he says.

Saxon invaders: Barnsley heavy metal veterans take over York Barbican in November

After 15 million album sales and four top ten albums in a career-spanning 44 years, heavy metal stalwarts Saxon visit York on November 23 on their Seize The Day tour.

Plugging new album Carpe Diem in 14 cities with Diamond Head as their special guests, Saxon frontman Biff Byford, 71, says: “Can’t wait to get out on a real tour again. It’s gonna be monumental.  See you all out there. Seize the day!”

Produced by Judas Priest guitarist Andy Sneap at Backstage Recording Studios in Derbyshire, with Byford and Sneap mixing and mastering, Carpe Diem will be released on Friday (4/2/2022) on Silver Lining Music, in the wake of two singles, Remember The Fallen and Carpe Diem (Seize The Day).  

Joanne Shaw Taylor has picked York for one of only five dates on her spring tour, performing songs from last September’s The Blues Album on April 24.

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Feeling the blues in York on April 24

Shaw Taylor, who will turn 37 on February 20, topped Billboard Magazine’s Official Blues Album Chart last year, when her covers record was voted #Number 1 Most Played Blues Album of 2021 by the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association. 

The Blues Album comprises the Wednesbury musician’s personalised covers of 11 rare blues numbers recorded by Albert King, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green, Little Richard, Magic Sam and Aretha Franklin, complemented by some “not obvious choices” by Little Village, Little Milton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and James Ray.

“I’d known from the beginning of my recording career that one day I wanted to record an album of blues covers; I just wasn’t sure when the right time to do that would be,” she says. “I’ve always found it far easier to write my own material than come up with creative ways to make other artists’ material my own.” 

Tickets for all three shows go on sale on Friday from 10am at