Voila! Here is La Voix, drag artiste, singer, impressionist et saucy gag teller, en route to Grand Opera House pour Novembre 13

La Voix:

FEISTY, flame-haired Royal Family favourite La Voix is on tour, taking on the big divas and making them her own in The UK’s Funniest Redhead show in York on November 13.

Billed as her “most glamorous show yet”, the 2014 Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist will be combining stellar songs and saucy gags, high energy and diva impersonations, glamour and gowns – eight of them – in her Grand Opera House debut.

Expect her to switch between the vocal trademarks of Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland and Cher at the click of a finger.

La Voix, the drag artiste creation of Chris Dennis, played Leeds City Varieties Music Hall two nights ago. She hosts a talk show on BBC Radio Three Counties, appeared in Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, has twice entertained Prince William and Prince Harry at New Year’s Eve parties and has worked with Mickey Rooney, Cilla Black, Pamela Anderson, Brigitte Nielsen and Ruby Wax.

When she topped the bill at Sir Ian McKellan’s 80th birthday bash, she was commended lavishly by the venerable actor, who said: “La Voix’s impersonations are surpassed only by her own cheekily entertaining personality.”

Tickets for La Voix and her band’s 7.30pm show are on sale at atgtickets.com/york.

Nouvelle Vague to ride a bossa nova new wave at Leeds City Varieties in October

Nouvelle Vague: Playing Leeds City Varieties this autumn

FRENCH fancy covers band Nouvelle Vague will play Leeds City Varieties on October 13 on their 15 Years Anniversary Tour, now running into a 16th year.

Nouvelle Vague translates as “bossa nova” in Portuguese and “new wave” in English, explaining Marc Collin and Oliver Libaux’s choice of moniker that encapsulates the  Parisian group’s concept of remaking classic New Wave singles with a Brazilian pop twist.

By appropriating the punk and post-punk cannon and running it through the Bossa Nova filter, they re-invented the cover-band genre, revealing new singing talents along the way such as Camille, Phoebe Killdeer, Nadeah, Mélanie Pain and Liset Alea.

Bossa Nova + New Wave = Nouvelle Vague

The group’s first two albums, 2004’s Nouvelle Vague and 2006’s Bande A Part, defined their urbane retro sound , while third album, 2009’s NV3, featured collaborations with Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch, The Specials’ Terry Hall, Barry Adamson, The Saints and Minimal Compact. 

Subsequently, they have released the live album Acoustic in 2009; Best Of Nouvelle Vague and Couleurs Sur Paris in 2010; I Could Be Happy in 2016 and Curiosities and Rarities in 2019.

Nouvelle Vague will perform their 23-date autumn tour with a line-up of Collin, Libaux, Pain, Killdeer and Elodie Frégé. Killdeer and Pain will sing at the shows from October 9 to 20, including Leeds; Frégé and Pain from October 22 Tickets for the only Yorkshire date are on sale at cityvarieties.co.uk.

CORONAVIRUS: Leeds Grand Theatre, Leeds City Varieties and Hyde Park Picture House close until further notice

The Leeds Grand Theatre auditorium. Picture: Simon Hulme

LEEDS Grand Theatre, Leeds City Varieties Music Hall and Hyde Park Picture House are closing from today “to help slow the spread of Coronavirus”.

The decision was taken with regret following official government advice issued on Monday, stipulating that people should avoid public buildings, including theatres.

The three venues under the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Ltd umbrella will “remain closed until further notice and will re-open as soon as possible – following government recommendations”.

Leeds City Varieties Music Hall

Chief executive Chris Blythe said: “We are extremely grateful to all of our audiences who have continued to support us for as long as they can, and to our staff who have worked tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure the safety and enjoyment of audiences. 

“These are unprecedented times – combined we have been open for over 400 years – and closing our venues is not a decision that has been taken lightly. In truth, this will have a severe impact on the future of Leeds Grand Theatre & Opera House Ltd. Our future is now uncertain, but the safety of our visitors and staff has always been our priority.”

Hyde Park Picture House, Brudenell Road, Leeds

Mr Blythe went on: “We will continue to follow advice from the Government and work closely with the touring companies and artists that are due to visit our venues over the coming months and hope that we will be able to open our doors again very soon. We thank everyone for their continued support and loyalty.” 

Audience members for a performance/screening that has been cancelled will be contacted in due course by staff. “All customers are entitled to a refund, but as Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Ltd is a charitable enterprise, those who can afford to are encouraged to donate the cost of their ticket to show support for the future of our venues,” today’s statement said.

“Over the coming weeks, we will continue to provide regular updates. Ticket holders are asked to bear in mind that our customer service teams are extremely busy, and we would appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding at this time.”

Saxon frontman Bill Byford goes solo with album and Leeds City Varieties gig

Solo mission: Saxon singer Biff Byford

SAXON frontman Biff Byford will release his debut solo album, School Of Hard Knocks, on February 21, backed up by his first ever solo tour in the spring.

Among the ten British dates for the 69-year-old West Yorkshireman will be Leeds City Varieties Music Hall on April 21.

In a show of two halves in ”An Evening With…” format, Honley-born Byford will be in conversation with American comedian Don Jamieson in the first, discussing his life and career with the That Metal Show star. After the break, Byford and his band will perform new tracks, covers and maybe a sprinkling of Saxon gold dust.

The tour poster for Bill Byford’s ten spring dates

“It’s a show I’ve wanted to do for a long time and one which I don’t think has been done in hard rock before. It’s going to be something a little bit different, it will be very cool and a lot of fun,” says Byford, who played bass for assorted Barnsley bands as a teenager by night while working at a colliery by day.

“The second half will consist of some old songs, some new songs, some cover versions and some songs off the solo album. It’s going to be great and I’m really looking forward to it. So, I’ll see you there.”

The album artwork for Bill Byford’s School Of Hard Knocks

Produced by Byford at Brighton Electric Studios, School Of Hard Knocks reflects the personality of this “Heavy Metal Bard of the North”, his loves and musical versatility. Fulfilling his long-standing wish to explore rock’n’roll a little more, the album takes a personal journey, highlighting his life and his passionate interests, from growing up in the industrial north to the history of the Middle Ages.

Byford’s old-school British hard rock album embraces a variety of musical genres, taking in the Yorkshire folk classic Scarborough Fair, most famously covered in the 1960s by Simon & Garfunkel and now given a new arrangement by Byford and guitarist Fredrik Åkesson.

Tickets for April 21 are on sale at myticket.co.uk, cityvarieties.co.uk or on 0113 243 0808.

Damien Jurado in a rush as he storms into Leeds City Varieties for February gig

“It just felt like it was time,” says Damien Jurado of recording a solo acoustic album last year

SEATTLE singer-songwriter Damien Jurado will showcase his acoustic album In The Shape Of A Storm in a solo show at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall on February 25.

The 47-year-old American will be playing ten dates on his European February and March tour after releasing his 14th studio album on April 12 last year.

Jurado always likes to work fast, but In the Shape Of A Storm came together with unprecedented speed, even by his standards, being recorded over the course of two hours one California afternoon.

On his sparsest album to date, gone are the thundering drums and psychedelic arrangements that defined the trilogy of concept albums he made with his long-time collaborator and close friend Richard Swift.

Gone too is the atmospheric air that hovered above his early albums for Sub Pop. Here, instead, there is only Jurado’s voice, acoustic guitar, and occasional accompaniment from Josh Gordon, playing a high-strung guitar tuned Nashville style, rendering its sound spooky and celestial.

Although his fans have long requested a solo acoustic album, the prospect never made sense to Jurado, until one day it simply did. “It just felt like it was time,” Jurado says.

“There is nothing left to hide,” Jurado sings on the opening Lincoln, where everything is clear and laid bare, two tone, like the drawing he crafted for the record’s cover.

Originally written for 2000’s The Ghost Of David, Lincoln was shelved and forgotten until Jurado rediscovered it on an old cassette tape, inspiring him to gather up compositions that had never found proper homes. As a result, In The Shape Of A Storm became an archive of previously abandoned songs.

Jurado’s discography is filled with songs written as miniature movies, cinematic vignettes that capture people, the places they are from, and where they are going. By contrast, In The Shape Of A Storm is his first black and white picture, both a snapshot of two hours in a California recording studio and a document spanning 19 years and a life of music.

“I believe songs have their own time and place,” Jurado says. For these ten, that time has finally come on album number 14.

Tickets for Jurado’s 8pm Leeds gig, when he will be supported by Dana Gavanski, are on sale on 0113 243 0808 or at cityvarieties.co.uk.