What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond in the wild, on stage, canvas and dancefloor. Hutch’s List No 20, from Gazette & Herald

What’s All The Fuss About?, Will Palmer’s photo of Arctic walrus Thor on the Scarborough harbour slipway, from the British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition at Nunnington Hall. Courtesy of National Trust

WILDLIFE photography, Rodgers and Hammerstein romance, a Strictly couple and a Scottish double bill send June into full bloom for Charles Hutchinson.

Ryedale exhibition of the week: British Wildlife Photography Awards, Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, until July 7

CELEBRATING the diversity of British wildlife and wild spaces, this exhibition aims to raise awareness of British biodiversity, species and habitats. On display are award-winning images selected from 14,000 entries in more than a dozen categories, including film and three for juniors.

Look out for What’s All The Fuss About?, taken by Scarborough photographer Will Palmer, who captured the headline-making Arctic walrus, Thor, when resting ashore on the harbour slipway cobbles on December 31 2022. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30am to 5pm; last entry at 4.15pm. Tickets: nationaltrust.org.uk/nunnington-hall.

Courtney Broan’s Ado Annie in Pickering Musical Society’s Oklahoma! at the Kirk Theatre, Pickering

American classic of the week: Pickering Musical Society in Oklahoma!, Kirk Theatre, Pickering, running until Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

LUKE Arnold directs Pickering Musical Society in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 love story of Curly (Marcus Burnside) and Laurie (Rachel Anderson), set in the sweeping landscapes of the American heartland. 

Further roles go to Courtney Broan as Ado Annie, Stephen Temple as Will Parker, Michael O’Brien as Mr Carnes and Rick Switzer-Green as Ali Hakim, joined by dancers from the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance. Box office: 01751 474833 or kirktheatre.co.uk.

Nadiya & Kai: Strictly dancers venture Behind The Magic at York Barbican

Dance show of the week: Nadiya & Kai , Behind The Magic, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm

STRICTLY Come Dancing professionals Nadiya Bychkova and Kai  Widdrington go Behind The Magic on a journey through the world of dance, from childhood memories and competition days, to dancing on Strictly and beyond.

The Ukraine-Southampton couple and their cast will be highlighting the influence of 20th century dance legends, creatives and artists alike. Expect “fabulous outfits, wonderful music and sensational dancing”. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Ceramicist Emily Stubbs: Exhibiting with sister Amy and father Christopher in Stubbs3 – Canvas, Clay and Cloth at Pyramid Gallery, York

Family exhibition of the week: Stubbs3 – Canvas, Clay and Cloth, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, June 15 to August 3

FAMILY artistry unites in Stubbs3 – Canvas, Clay and Cloth, a unique exhibition featuring works by sisters Emily Stubbs and Amy Stubbs, regular participants in York Open Studios, alongside their father, Christopher Stubbs, from Hepworth, West Yorkshire.

Their first-ever joint showcase brings together diverse artistic media in a celebration of family creativity. Contemporary ceramicist Emily Stubbs works from PICA Studios, in Grape Lane; Amy specialises in textile and surface pattern design in a range of homeware and wearable art; Christopher will be exhibiting framed paintings and sketches. All three will attend Saturday’s launch in a Meet The Artists session from 12 noon to 2pm.

Amy Stubbs: Homeware and wearable art

Vintage gig of the week: Ben Beattie’s After Midnight Band, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 8pm

BEN Beattie’s After Midnight Band celebrate the greats and the lesser known, from honking jump blues to hypnotic Latin beats, joyous African township sounds to the smoky jazz normally to be found in a Chicago speakeasy at 3am. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Ben Beattie: Heading to Helmsley with the After Midnight Band

Film music of the week: A Tribute To Hans Zimmer and Film Favourites Illuminated, Grand Opera House, York, Sunday, 3.30pm and 7pm

EXPERIENCE cinema’s most iconic soundtracks performed by the London Film Music Orchestra in an immersive tribute to Hans Zimmer and more besides in an immersive illuminated setting.

The chamber orchestra will be performing music from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Gladiator, E.T., Pirates Of The Caribbean, Jaws, Interstellar, Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List and Inception. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Simple Minds in Scarborough: Charlie Burchill, left, and Jim Kerr are off to the Yorkshire coast on Tuesday. Picture: Dean Chalkley

Coastal gig of the week: Simple Minds and special guests Del Amitri, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 18; gates open at 6pm

SOMEONE somewhere in summertime, namely Simple Minds in Scarborough on Tuesday, finds Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill’s band revisiting such hits as Promised You A Miracle, Glittering Prize, Alive And Kicking, Sanctify Yourself, Don’t You Forget About Me and, aptly for Scarborough, Waterfront.

Opening the Scottish double bill will be fellow Glaswegians Del Amitri, led as ever by Justin Currie. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com/simpleminds.

Wannabe: Spicing up the Grand Opera House, York

York tribute show of the week: Wannabe – The Spice Girls Musical, Grand Opera House, York, June 20, 7.30pm

WANNABE, the “world’s longest-running” Spice Girls tribute stage production, celebrates three decades of girl power in a nostalgic journey through the Spice World.

The show charts the English girl group’s meteoric rise, from July 1996’s debut number one, Wannabe, to Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Posh’s reunion at the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony. Expect “meticulously crafted costumes, unique vocal and musical arrangements exclusive to Wannabe, iconic dance routines and stunning visual flair”. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Tim Ainslie: Leading his three-piece band in Malton

Blues gig of the month: Ryedale Blues Club, Tim Ainslie and The Vibes, Milton Rooms, Malton, June 27, 8pm

TIM Ainslie and The Vibes head up to Malton from Suffolk for a night of blues, jazz and funk, crossing over into country and rock too, making it hard to pigeonhole his three-piece’s style.

Ainslie, who turned professional in 1997, will be showcasing his original material and guitar-playing prowess that has seen him tour home and abroad with Steamboat To Chicago, Steel Street, Swagger, Groove Doctors, Delta Groove and American guitaristsBuddy WhittingtonandLightnin’ Willie. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

The poster artwork for Rick Witter and Paul Banks’s acoustic Shed Seven gigs at Huntington Working Men’s Club in December

Show announcement of the week: Shed Seven’s Rick Witter and Paul Banks, Huntington Working Men’s Club, York, December 21 and 22

RENASCENT York band Shed Seven will end their 30th anniversary celebrations with a brace of intimate acoustic concerts by frontman Rick Witter and guitarist Paul Banks at Huntington WMC, supported by a DJ set by Sheds’ bassist Tom Gladwin.

Tickets will go on sale at 9am today (12/6/2024) for these homecoming gigs: the York postscript to the Sheds’ 23-date 30th Anniversary Tour, their biggest ever “Shedcember” itinerary from November 14 to December 14. Box office: store.shedseven.com.

Shed Seven to close 30th anniversary with December 21 and 22 gigs by Rick Witter and Paul Banks at Huntington WMC

Shed Seven’s Paul Banks and Rick Witter: Playing intimate acoustic sets at Huntington Working Men’s Club on December 21 and 22

SHED Seven will end their 30th anniversary celebrations with a brace of intimate acoustic concerts by frontman Rick Witter and guitarist Paul Banks at Huntington Working Men’s Club, York, on December 21 and 22.

“We are genuinely thrilled to announce a pair of very special homecoming shows,” says Rick. “And where better to end our 30th anniversary year than in Huntington, where me, Paul and Tom first met back in the ’80s and the story first began.” Tom, as in Sheds’ bassist Tom Gladwin, will do a DJ set each night.

Tickets will go on sale at store.shedseven.com at 9am on Wednesday (12/6/2024) for this York postscript to the Sheds’ 23-date November and December tour, their biggest ever “Shedcember” itinerary.

Yorkshire venues will be Sheffield Octagon, November 14 (sold out); Victoria Theatre, Halifax, November 18; Hull City Hall, November 19, and Leeds O2 Academy, November 30 (sold out).

The year began with the Sheds’ first ever number one album, A Matter Of Time, followed by vinyl chart-topping single Let’s Go Dancing, and next up will be two sold-out outdoor shows on July 19 and 20 as part of Futuresound Group’s four-day festival at York Museum Gardens.

On September 27, they will release Liquid Gold, an album of orchestral re-workings of 12 Shed Seven hits and live favourites, reimagined by the band in collaboration with arrangers Fiona Brice and Michael Rendall.

Brice’s credits include Liam Gallagher and Placebo, while Rendall worked with the Sheds on 2017’s Top Ten comeback album Instant Pleasures and A Matter Of Time.

Shed Seven’s 2024 line-up: Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield, left, Paul Banks, Rick Witter, Tom Gladwin and Tim Wills

For the richly reinventive recording sessions, Shed Seven teamed up with a full orchestra, brass section, gospel singers et al.

Released on Cooking Vinyl, Liquid Gold spans the band’s career, from Speakeasy and Ocean Pie, off 1994 debut album Change Giver, to Better Days, from Instant Pleasures, via a soaring, sweeping Disco Down.

It also revisits the Sheds’ landmark second album, 1996’s A Maximum High, for Getting Better, Going For Gold, On Standby and a dramatic new take on Parallel Lines, described playfully by Paul Banks as “sounding like Shed Zeppelin”.

The more luxuriant scale is encapsulated in Devil In My Shoes. Originally a slow-burning highlight of 1998’s Let It Ride, this new account adds a cinematic sheen: its new-found grandeur providing a shimmering contrast between the initially downbeat melancholy and the full force of optimism that beams through the crescendo.

Liquid Gold is completed by All Roads Lead To You, a new composition written specifically for this project, and a new version of Instant Pleasures-era bonus track Waiting For The Catch, now featuring Issy Ferris, from the UK Americana Award winners Ferris & Sylvester.

“This year we celebrate 30 years as recording artists and, after reminiscing about our career, we thought we’d celebrate the milestone by revisiting some key songs from our past,” says Rick.

“The idea being that if we cherry picked a hatful of songs and recorded them now, it would be a coherent stroll down memory lane but also sit sonically beside our recent number one album A Matter Of Time. A logical next step.”

The cover artwork for Shed Seven’s September 27 album of orchestral reinventions, Liquid Gold

Rick continues: “We see this record as a gateway into the world of Shed Seven. We also felt that adding an orchestra to each track would lend the whole project a unique slant. The songs have become widescreen, full of colour.

“The original recordings will always hold a special place in our hearts but re-recording the chosen songs was an exciting prospect for us. It’s a gift from the band to our loyal supporters and will hopefully introduce some golden moments throughout our career to a whole new audience. Enjoy, and here’s to the next 30 years!”

The Sheds gave a taster of Liquid Gold at their May 30 appearance on BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room, when they performed Chasing Rainbows, Talk Of The Town and a cover of Duran Duran’s Planet Earth live at Maida Vale with the BBC Concert Orchestra, conductor Chris George and arranger Fiona Brice.  

Liquid Gold is available to pre-order at shedsevenn.lnk.to/LiquidGoldPR, where the Sheds’ official store offers exclusives in the shape of a splatter vinyl with unique artwork, a different colour CD and a cassette, while all bundles also add a signed postcard.

Other retailer-specific formats include silver vinyl, from Assai Records, blue vinyl, from HMV, and yellow vinyl, from select indie stores.

After their open-air summertime shows in York and at Blossoms’ Big Bank Holiday Weekend at Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, on August 25, the 30th anniversary Tour will run from November 14 to December 14. Expect the Britpop-era hits, fresh favourites from A Matter Of Time and surprise guest appearances, plus support from special guests The Sherlocks. To check ticket availability amid a raft of sold-out shows, head to gigst.rs/SS24.

Liquid Gold track listing:

Getting Better; Speakeasy; Devil In Your Shoes; On Standby; Going For Gold; Waiting For The Catch, featuring Issy Ferris; Better Days; Parallel Lines; Disco Down; Ocean Pie; All Roads Lead To You; Chasing Rainbows.

The poster artwork for Shed Seven’s Rick Witter & Paul Banks gigs at Huntington Working Men’s Club

How Rachel Hill brought her passion project to fruition with Futuresound’s York Museum Gardens concert series this summer

Rachel Hill: Project manager for Futuresound’s July concerts at York Museum Gardens

FUTURESOUND events promoter and project manager Rachel Hill has long had her eye on putting on concerts in the Museum Gardens in her home city of York.

This summer that aspiration becomes a reality when chart-topping local heroes Shed Seven play sold-out 30th anniversary shows on July 19 and 20, bookended by Anglo-Italian singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti on July 18 and Sugababes’ original girl group line-up of Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy on July 21.

“I used to come to the Museum Gardens as a kid, to sit in the gardens and muck around,” recalls Rachel. “As I got older and Mr H [Tim Hornsby] took me under his wing at Fibbers, I realised I wanted a career in music in some capacity. I remember thinking, ‘the Museum Gardens would be the perfect place for gigs: the landscape, the history, the location. It’s just beautiful.”

Rock and pop concerts are not unprecedented in the Museum Gardens: Hawkwind in July 1971; Roxy Music in July 1973, when they parked their tour van in Marygate; Procol Harum in July 1976 and Wendy Wu’s New Wave band The Photos in June 1980.

Since then, the Gardens have played host to the York Mystery Plays (most recently in 2012), light installations, children’s storytelling days, birds of prey displays and operatic soprano Rebecca Fewtrell’s York Proms concerts since 2017.

Jack Savoretti: Topping the Futuresound bill at York Museum Gardens on July 18

“We’re going to follow the same template as the York Proms because York Museums Trust knows that template works well,” says Rachel. “That’s why the stage will be set up in front of the Yorkshire Museum, rather than by the St Mary’s Abbey ruins [where the York Mystery Plays were staged from their revival for the Festival of Britain in 1951 onwards].

“St Mary’s Abbey might happen in the future, but in order for us to make it work this summer, it was right to use the York Proms template.”

The Futuresound Group, a music management and promotion company based in Munro House, Duke Street, Leeds, already runs the two Live At Leeds festivals (In The Park and In The City) each year, along with the pop-punk, emo and metal Slam Dunk Festival at Temple Newsam, Leeds and Hatfield House, Hertfordshire (May 25 and 26 2024), as well as owning The Wardrobe venue in the thriving Quarry Hill arts, media and education quarter of Leeds.

The four-day York event is the latest addition to the portfolio, as Rachel’s passion project comes to fruition. “York Museum Gardens lend themselves to staging concerts. I’m really passionate about this, and I wanted them to be put on by a local person, a Yorkshire company, with a relationship with the local community,” she says.

“It’s been in the pipeline for a while as a venue for Futuresound. It was about finding the right format, the right dates, taking into consideration what goes on at the Hospitium in the gardens [such as wedding parties]. It came down to careful planning, and thankfully the stars aligned.”

Shed Seven’s Paul Banks, left, Tim Wills, Rick Witter, Tom Gladwin and Rob’Maxi’ Maxfield, in front of St Mary’s Abbey, York Museum Gardens. Two sold-out gigs await in July

Shed Seven’s 30th anniversary was the perfect opportunity. “I know them from when they first performed at Fibbers, when I started working there for Tim Hornsby, and I still see them around town, though we don’t see each other in pubs these days. It’s now in supermarkets – and not even in the booze aisle!” says Rachel.

The chart-topping success of the Sheds’ January album A Matter Of Time gave further impetus to their 4,000-capacity Museum Gardens gigs, both selling out rapidly. Rachel then added Jack Savoretti and 2024 MOBO Award-winning Sugababes too.

“It was really important to have contrasting concerts,” says Rachel. “I’m very aware that York is a really diverse city culturally, and I really wanted to expand the genres over the four days. That was important to Futuresound’s head promoter, Andy Smith, too, who’s followed my lead on it, and that’s why we’ll have local opening acts.

“York singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich will be on the Jack Savoretti bill, along with Irish musician Foy Vance, and we’ll be announcing the Sugababes’ supports over the next few weeks.

“The Sheds curated their own bill, which was important for them, with Libertines’ co-frontman Peter Doherty on both nights; The Lottery Winners and Serotones [Rick Witter’s son Duke’s band] on July 19, and Brooke Combe and Apollo Junction on July 20.”

Sugababes: Playing York Museum Gardens on July 21

Rachel has past experience of working with Doherty, one of rock’s legendary wild men. “We assisted on Rock’n’Roll Circus with The Libertines a couple of years ago. You just have to mother him!” she says. “He’s got a great relationship with the Sheds, especially with Rick [duetting with him on A Matter Of Time’s closing track, Throwaways].”

Rumour has it that Doherty will not be the only contributor to A Matter Of Time likely to be making an appearance at the Sheds gigs. “I believe Rowetta will doing the shows too,” says Rachel, referring to the Happy Mondays’ singer, who plays the female foil to Witter on In Ecstasy.

Rachel believes in the importance of building relationships, especially with an eye to establishing Futuresound’s open-air shows as a regular component of the Museum Gardens summer. “York Museums Trust [which runs the Yorkshire Museum] have been very supportive of us running a four-day event, and we’ve been engaging with the local residents too with two community engagement evenings.

“The first one was at the Hospitium and the second one will be held in the Fairfax Room in the Yorkshire Museum, open to those who live in close proximity to the gardens. I’ve done all the letter drops myself. We would really like to keep doing these concerts; that’s something very close to my heart.”

The last word goes to Shed Seven’s Rick Witter in praise of Futuresound. “We’ve really enjoyed the experience of working with them as they’re really forward thinking,” he says. “They like to go down the unusual route, like having us play in the Museum Gardens. That’s something different from playing York Barbican or the new football stadium.

“They’re thinking outside the box by not putting on two more nights with more indie bands but appealing to people who like other types of music by having Jack Savoretti and Sugababes.”

Shed Seven to finish chart-topping 30th anniversary with November and December tour. When do tickets go on sale?

Shed Seven: 23 dates in November and December, including Sheffield, Halifax, Hull and Leeds. Picture: Barnaby Fairley

YORK chart toppers Shed Seven will conclude their 30th anniversary celebrations with a 23-date tour – their biggest ever – in November and December.

Yorkshire gigs on their now traditional biennial “Shedcember” itinerary will kick off with the tour-opening Sheffield Octagon on November 14, followed by Victoria Theatre, Halifax, November 18, Hull City Hall, November 19, and Leeds O2 Academy, November 30.

The tour’s closing night will take the Sheds to Brixton O2 Academy, London, on December 14. Keeping it Yorkshire, the support band at all shows will be The Sherlocks, Kiaran & Brandon Crook’s indie band from Bolton upon Dearne, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Tickets for the 30th Anniversary Tour will go on general sale on Friday (22/3/2024) at gigst.rs/SS24. Fans who sign up to the Shed Seven mailing list at shedseven.com/signup by 12 noon tomorrow (19/3/2024) can access an exclusive presale on Wednesday.

“The tour promises to be our biggest yet, as we revisit cities and towns that have been instrumental in shaping our journey over the past three decades,” says the Sheds’ website. “Each night will see the band deliver a career-spanning set, as well as featuring tracks from our number one album, A Matter Of Time.”

The poster for Shed Seven’s 30th anniversary tour

“Expect some surprise guest appearances along the way too,” they tease. “This tour will be our way of saying thank-you to our incredible fans, both old and new,” says frontman Rick Witter. “So, whether you’ve been with us from the beginning or are just discovering/re-discovering our music, we would love you to join us for what will be an unforgettable celebration of 30 years of Shed Seven.”

The Sheds now line up with stalwarts Witter on vocals, Paul Banks on guitar and Tom Gladwin on bass, joined by 2022 recruits Tim Wills on keyboards and Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield, once a member of Banks’s band The Rising, on drums.  

The Sheds’ 30th anniversary celebrations kicked off with the maximum bang when sixth studio album A Matter Of Time topped the official UK album charts in January, a feat matched by latest single Let’s Go Dancing in the vinyl, seven-inch, and Scottish singles charts.

Should you be wondering why York is absent from this winter’s tour, the Sheds will be playing two sold-out home-city gigs in the York Museum Gardens on July 19 as part of Futuresound’s four-night outdoor festival, bookended by Anglo-Italian singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti on July 18 and hit-laden London girl band Sugababes on July 21.

‘Genuine icons’ Sugababes to play York Museum Gardens on July 21. Tickets on sale

Sugababes in 2024: Mutya Buena, left, Siobhan Donaghy and Keisha Buchanan

SUGABABES will complete Futuresounds’ debut line-up for Live At York Museum Gardens in their second outdoor appearance in the city.

The London girl band’s original line-up of Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy will perform on Sunday, July 21, following up their July 23 performance at the York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend two summers ago.

They join London singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti on July 18 and chart-topping York titans Shed Seven on July 19 and 20 (both sold out) in the four-night run.

Futuresound Group’s Rachel Hill says: “We are thrilled to finally announce the completed line-up for our first year in the beautiful Museum Gardens with the incredible Sugababes.

Shed Seven: Playing sold-out shows at York Museum Gardens, supported by Peter Doherty, on July 19 and 20. Friday gig will feature Lottery Winners and York band Serotones, fronted by Rick Witter’s son Duke. Picture: Barnaby Fairley

“It’s so exciting to have some genuine icons join us while being able to showcase some of York’s brilliant local artists. With such an eclectic line-up, this will really offer the residents of York a weekend of live music to remember.”

A full supporting line-up of special guests for July 21 will be announced soon. Tickets will be available first via a postcode presale event from 10am today, open to YO1, YO24, YO30, YO31 and YO32 residents at https://futuresound.seetickets.com/event/sugababes/york-museum-gardens/2953107?pre=pc.

General sales will open at 10am on Friday at https://futuresound.seetickets.com/event/sugababes/york-museum-gardens/2953107.

Formed in 1998, Sugababes have topped the singles charts with Freak Like Me (2001), Round Round (2022), Hole In The Head (2003), Push The Button (2005), Walk This Way (with Girls Aloud, 2006) and About You Now (2007), while 2005’s Taller In More Ways and 2007’s Change hit the album chart peak too.

Jack Savoretti: Playing York Museum Gardens on July 18, supported by Foy Vance and York singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Top ten hits came their way with Overload (2000), Angels With Dirty Faces (2002), Too Lost In You (2003), In The Middle (2004), Caught In A Moment (2004), Ugly (2005), Red Dress (2005), Easy (2006), Girls (2008), Get Sexy (2009), About A Girl (2009) and Wear My Kiss (2010).

The Sugababes line-up changed three times – Heidi Range, Amelle Berrabah and Jade Ewen joining at various points – before Buena, Buchanan and Donaghy reunited in 2011.

Live At York Museum Gardens is Yorkshire promoters Futuresound’s latest addition to a portfolio that has embraced Live At Leeds, Slum Dunk Festival and Ed Sheeran’s August 16 and 17 2019 performances at Roundhay Park, Leeds.

Futuresounds will present Madness on their C’est La Vie itinerary at Kirkstall Abbey, Kirkstall, Leeds, on July 26, supported by The Zutons. What a Yorkshire panoply of outdoor concerts is in prospect that night when Kaiser Chiefs will play York Racecourse and James will return to Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

Tickets: Madness, https://futuresound.seetickets.com/event/madness/kirkstall-abbey/2835070; Kaiser Chiefs, yorkracecourse.co.uk; James, scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

The poster announcing the postcode presale for Sugababes’ show at York Museum Gardens

Let’s Go Dancing is the next step for Shed Seven as 30th anniversary celebrations keep on the move with red vinyl single

“Dancing is a way of reminding ourselves there is love in the world,” says Rick Witter of Shed Seven’s new single, Let’s Go Dancing

SHED Seven release anthemic slow burner Let’s Go Dancing today as the latest single from their chart-topping sixth studio album A Matter Of Time.

Already a fan favourite from the York band’s recent sold-out shows, the song is a plea for one final chance when all appears to be lost, a message of hope at a time when the odds seem stacked against you.

“Dancing, depending on the style of course, can be personal or indeed involve multiple people,” says lyricist and singer Rick Witter. “It may include a certain amount of close contact and can create unforgettable moments.

“It can be filled with romance or alternatively it could be an opportunity to let your hair down and get loose. In this day and age, where we are potentially only six feet away from some kind of hatred and negativity, it’s a way of reminding ourselves there is love in the world. I can hear music and I can see lights, so let’s go dancing…”

Let’s Go Dancing is accompanied by a video animated by Nicolás Morera, of Digifish, and directed by Paul Banks, Shed Seven guitarist, erstwhile art college student and creative director of Digifish, the York and Manchester music video production company. To view, head to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUDzUx31iDE

From March 1, the single is available from https://store.shedseven.com/ in a limited-edition run of 500 7” red vinyl copies, each signed individually by the band and hand numbered. The B-side will be a demo of Let’s Go Dancing.

The Sheds’ 30th anniversary kicked off with A Matter Of Time becoming their first ever number one in the UK Official Albums Chart. This summer’s celebratory outdoor concerts at York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20 sold out almost instantly, bolstered by the intriguing prospect of support slots by special guest Peter Doherty, from The Libertines, after his vocal collaboration with Witter on A Matter Of Time’s closing track, Throwaways.

Also in the diary is the Sheds’ appearance at Blossoms’ 30,000-capacity Big Bank Holiday Weekend at Wythenshawe Park and Gardens, Wythenshawe, Manchester, on August 25. A Shedcember winter tour will be upcoming too.

First, Shed Seven two-nighter, now Jack Savoretti confirmed for July 18 at Museum Gardens. Fourth gig to be announced soon

Jack Savoretti: First York appearance since 2017. Picture: Supplied

JACK Savoretti is to headline July 18’s triple bill at York Museum Gardens with support from special guests Foy Vance and York singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich.

General ticket sales open at 9am this morning at https://futuresound.seetickets.com/event/jack-savoretti/york-museum-gardens/2929799.

London-born acoustic singer-songwriter Savoretti, 40, has released seven studio albums and one compilation, Songs From Different Times, since 2007.

Savoretti, whose exotic full name is Giovanni Edgar Charles Galletto-Savoretti, previously played York in an intimate gig at Fibbers on July 16 2017, when promoter Mr H, alias legendary York club boss Tim Hornsby, enthused: “He’s a class act, a modern-day troubadour, a thrilling performer, a giant.

“Our hero may have started as a lonely acoustic troubadour, relying on not much more than his songs and that careworn growl, but we’re now witnessing a gorgeous widescreen sweep, drawing on a rich Italian heritage, with Morricone-like flourishes and battlefield last stands.”

Storytelling Bangor bluesman Foy Vance

Such sentiments still stand, rubber-stamped by the chart accolade of Savoretti hitting number one with his past two studio albums, March 2019’s Singing To Strangers, recorded at Ennio Morricone’s studio in Rome, and June 2021’s Europiana, conceived in lockdowns at Jack’s Oxfordshire home. A deluxe edition, Europiana Encore, followed in 2022.

In an Instagram post last November, Savoretti revealed he was “in the studio, where we are putting the final touches to the new album”.

The title and release date details are yet to be announced but CharlesHutchPress’s early request for an interview elicited this response from Chelsea Bakewell, marketing manager for concert promoters Futuresound: “Jack’s team mentioned they are pausing on interview until the album is out so this isn’t something which can be facilitated at this moment in time I’m afraid.” Watch this space!

Northern Irish storytelling bluesman, survivor, rocker and folk hero Foy Vance, 49, will be returning to York for the first time since headlining York Barbican on his Signs Of Life tour in August 2022.

Now living in Tottenham, London, York singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich, 34, will release his fifth studio album, Some Things Break, next Friday on Dirty Hit Records, his regular home since becoming the label’s first signing at the age of 21 in 2011.

Composed over the past two years at locations across the globe, from London to Nashville, Washington to Stockholm, Some Things Break was produced by Grammy Award-winning Jimmy Hogarth and features collaborations with fellow songwriters Mikky Ekko, Jamie Squire and Jon Green.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich: New album to be released on February 9. Picture: Harry Pearson

The track listing will be:  I’m Always Saying Sorry; Moon Landing Hoax; Break In The Weather; New York; Some Things Break; Spokane, Washington; God’s Best; A Love Like That; Only You and Don’t Give Up on The Light.

“Learning to hold onto certain things and let go of others, with as much grace as possible, I feel like I’m hiding less on this record,” says Leftwich. “Ultimately, I think it’s a record about a kind of slow acceptance that some things break and, for me, sometimes that’s necessary for healing.”

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Leftwich will open his eight-date spring tour at Leeds Brudenell Social Club on April 4, where he will be accompanied by The 1975’s Jamie Squire on piano. For tickets, head to:  www.benjaminfrancisleftwich.com

Leftwich has played myriad concerts in York over the past 15 years, none more contrasting than an exclusive, intimate album launch gig for Gratitude at the 50-capacity FortyFive Vinyl Café, Micklegate, on March 15 2019, followed only a fortnight later by York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.

Savoretti’s concert will be part of a four-night run of Futuresound promotions at York Museum Gardens. York’s revitalised Britpop survivors, Shed Seven, will ride in on a crest of a wave for sold-out 30th anniversary gigs on July 19 and 20, with The Libertines’ Peter Doherty in support, after topping the album charts for the first time with A Matter Of Time on January 12.

The fourth concert will be announced soon.

The poster for Jack Savoretti’s July 18 concert at York Museum Gardens

After 30 years Shed Seven hit THE maximum high as ‘the stars align’ for A Matter Of Time to top the album charts

Shed Seven’s Tim Wills, left, Paul Banks, Rick Witter, Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield and Tom Gladwin announce hitting number one for the first time in a post on X

SHED Seven have become the first York band to top the album charts, 30 years since their Change Giver debut surfed in on the crest of the Britpop wave.

A Matter Of Time, released last Friday on their new home of Cooking Vinyl, has hit the chart peak after a concerted campaign that began last autumn with pre-sale packages and has continued with myriad versions of the album on vinyl, CD, cassette and digital download packages, accompanied by an on-going ten-venue tour of record stores for meet & greet and signing sessions and stripped-back performances.

Outselling Lewis Capaldi and Taylor Swift over the past seven days, the Sheds celebrated the success of their sixth studio album by posting on X (Twitter) in the past hour: “We’ve waited 30 years for this announcement, but the stars have finally aligned, and we’re thrilled to announce that our album ‘A Matter Of Time’ is number one on the official UK album charts!”

The Sheds have secured their place in offical UK chart history by becoming the British rock group with the longest gap between their debut release and first number one album: a total of 29 years and three months from September 5 1994’s Change Giver to January 5 2024’s A Matter Of Time.

Shed Seven notched 15 Top 40 hits between 1994 and 2003, while their albums A Maximum High (1996), Let It Ride (1998), Going For Gold: The Greatest Hits (1999) and Instant Pleasures (2017) all made the Top Ten.

A Matter Of Time, the Sheds’ first studio release in six years, also was the best-selling album of the week in British independent record shops.

It’s only a matter of days before Shed Seven will know if they have made number one for the first time after 30 years…so buy NOW!

Feel the heat: Shed Seven could be hot news this week in the album chart

YORK band Shed Seven are on the cusp of hitting the maximum high after 30 years of chasing rainbows. New album A Matter Of Time is standing proud at number one in the midweek chart.

Their sixth studio album and first for their new home of Cooking Vinyl is on course to see the Britpop alumni become the first York group to top the UK album chart, giving them the perfect start to their 30th anniversary celebrations. Come Friday afternoon, all will be revealed.

Earlier today, the Sheds posted on Facebook: “We’re over the moon to confirm that A Matter Of Time is #1 in the midweek album chart!! Thank you all SO MUCH for buying the album and getting us to this amazing position.

“It’s not a done deal yet as we’re against the usual major label artists, so now more than ever, if you can buy a copy or download the album, it makes a huge difference to our chart position. Unfortunately streaming doesn’t make a big difference. https://shedsevenn.lnk.to/AMOT

“We’d also be the first ever artist from YORK to get a #1 album, so let’s bring it home!!!!” they added.

That claim is not strictly true, however: All of 60 years ago, York-born composer John Barry wrote the score for the James Bond film Goldfinger, whose soundtrack album topped both the British and American charts, knocking The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night off its perch in July 1964.

The promotional campaign has caught fire from the pre-sale start last autumn. All test pressings? Sold out. Limited-edition Blood Records vinyl edition? Sold out. Live edition of the album? Sold out.

Album release shows at Pryzm, Kingston upon Thames, on January 25, HMV Empire, Coventry, on January 26 and Project House, Armley Road, Leeds, on January 27 – the only times the Sheds will play A Matter Of Time in its entirety, coupled with a greatest hits set – all sold out too.

Timed to coincide with the album’s release last Friday, a ten-day record store tour began with meet & greet and signing appearances at HMV York, in Coney Street, and earlier that day at The Vinyl Whistle, in Headingley, Leeds, where the Sheds performed in stripped-back mode.

Shed Seven’s Paul Banks, left, Tim Wills, Rick Witter, Tom Gladwin and Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield in York Museum Gardens, where they will play two sold-out 30th anniversary shows this summer

The tour takes vocalist Rick Witter, guitarist Paul Banks, bassist Tom Gladwin and 2022 recruits Tim Wills, keyboards, and Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield, drums, to London, Southampton, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Leamington Spa, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and back to London.  

At the weekend, Witter and Gladwin joined hosts Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer in Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch studio, “chatting and cooking on gas”, followed later by a full band performance at the end of the show. “It will be the talk of the town!” they promised beforehand, in a reference to one of the album tracks.

Time matters, but it is not too late to support Shed Seven’s quest for the number one spot. A Matter Of Time is available to buy at shedsevenn.lnk.to/AMOTPR, with a range of album bundles and a new Going For Gold coloured vinyl LP format, exclusive to Banquet Records and limited to 300 copies.

Standing on the edge of achieving a new peak, the Sheds have returned to their roots with a deluxe digital download format that combines A Matter Of Time with Changed Giver, a stripped-back unplugged re-make of their 1994 debut album, Change Giver, recorded at Reel Studios in Elvington.

While Shed Seven have been a mainstay on the album charts over the past 30 years, their highest-charting record to date is 1999’s Going For Gold. That greatest hits collection peaked at number seven although 1996’s A Maximum High, 1998’s Let It Ride and 2017’s Instant Pleasures all made the Top Ten.

This summer, the Sheds will mark their 30th anniversary by playing two homecoming shows in York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20  that sold out rapidly. Their special guest will be Peter Doherty, who contributes harmonies to the new album’s closing song, Throwaways.

Sheds’ vocalist Rick Witter enthuses: “Can you believe that after 30 years in the business, this album will be our highest-charting entry? We are also within reach of potentially getting our first number one album – we’d be the first band from York to reach the top! Thank you for all the support over the years and for A Matter Of Time. It’s genuinely appreciated. We have lots more planned throughout the year.”

Confirmed already is Shed Seven’s appearance at Blossoms’ Big Bank Holiday Weekend at Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, on August 25.

Expect more anniversary celebrations to be announced soon.

Shed Seven at last Friday’s meet & greet and signing session upstairs at HMV York

More Things To Do in York in 2024…and beyond. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 1 for the New Year, from The Press, York

Shed Seven: Launching new album with meet & greet at HMV, York, on Friday

WHAT lies ahead in the New Year? Charles Hutchinson picks his path through highlights across the city’s venues.

It’s only A Matter Of Time before: Shed Seven release their new album

YORK band Shed Seven will mark the January 5 release of their sixth studio album, A Matter Of Time, on new home Cooking Vinyl with a meet & greet/signing session that day at HMV, in Coney Street, York, at 4.30pm (tickets: shedsevenn.lnk.to/instores). Their midday appearance and stripped-back performance on the same day at Vinyl Whistle, in Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, has sold out.

In the summertime, when the weather is hopefully fine, The Sheds will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a brace of outdoor concerts in York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20, supported by Peter Doherty, no less. Both have sold out already. Box office: seetickets.com.

Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company cast members peer out through and beneath the JoRo curtain in Curtains

It’s Curtains for…Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 7 to 10, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

WHEN the leading lady of a new musical mysteriously dies on stage, a plucky local detective must solve this 1959 case at Boston’s Colonial Theatre, where the entire cast and crew are suspects in Kander & Ebb’s musical with a book by Rupert Holmes. Cue delightful characters, a witty and charming script and glorious tunes in the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s staging of Curtains. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Steve Mason: Independent Venue Week gig at The Crescent. Picture: Gavin Watson

Beta times ahead: Brudenell Presents Steve Mason, The Crescent, York, January 30, 7.30pm 

SCOTTISH indie songwriter Steve Mason, founder of The Beta Band, returns to The Crescent as part of Independent Venue Week. Combining a rare melodic gift with an itch to experiment, as heard on his 2023 album Brothers & Sisters, he investigates where the boundaries lie between the craft of songwriting, technology and free expression.

Taking part in Independent Venue Week too will be Leeds band English Teacher, whose January 28 night of dreamy pop and post-punk noise has sold out already. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Monster show: The Apatosaurus in Jurassic Live, bound for York Barbican

Dinosaurs take over York: Jurassic Live 2024 World Tour, York Barbican, February 16, 5pm; February 17, 11am and 3pm; February 18, 1pm

LIFE-SIZED monstrous beasts roar into York in an interactive all-star theatrical spectacular featuring the world’s only Tylosaurus in a giant tank (new for 2024), the last flying Pterodactyl, a Tyrannosaurus Rex called Suzie and more dinosaur species than any other show on Earth.

Join little Amber, Ranger Joe, Ranger Nora and the rest of the Jurassic Live rangers on  a musical journey to help save the day from an evil man who is trying to shut down the Jurassic facility. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Amber Davies’s Hollywood prostitute Vivian Ward and Oliver Savile’s wealthy businessman Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman: The Musical at Grand Opera House, York

Most anticipated touring musical: Pretty Woman: The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, February 20 to 24, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday

BILLED as “Hollywood’s ultimate rom-com, live on stage”, Pretty Woman: The Musical is set once upon a time in the late 1980s, when Vivian (Amber Davies) meets Edward (Oliver Savile) and her life is changed forever.

Strictly champ Ore Oduba’s Happy Man/Mr Thompson and Natalie Paris’s Kit De Luca will be in the cast too for a musical featuring original music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and a book by Garry Marshall and the film’s screenwriter, J.F. Lawton. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

The tour poster for Wise Children’s Blue Beard, opening the bl**dy door at York Theatre Royal from February 27

World premiere of the season: Emma Rice’s Wise Children in Blue Beard, York Theatre Royal, February 27 to March 9, 7.30pm and 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees

BLUE Beard will be Wise Children’s fourth visit to York after Wise Children, Malory Towers and Wuthering Heights, this time in a co-production between Emma Rice’s Bristol company, York Theatre Royal, Birmingham Rep, HOME Manchester and the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh.

Rice brings her brand of theatrical wonder to the beguiling and disturbing folk tale of Bluebeard meeting his match when his young bride discovers his dark and murderous secret. Summoning all her rage, all her smarts and all her sisters, she vows to bring the curtain down on his tyrannous reign. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Rob Auton: At his most Rob Auton in The Rob Auton Show at The Crescent, York

Welcome home: Rob Auton, The Rob Auton Show, Burning Duck Comedy Club, The Crescent, York, February 28, 7.30pm

AFTER nine Edinburgh Fringe shows on themes as diverse as the colour yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair, talking, time and crowds, York writer, comedian, artist and actor Rob Auton delivers his most autobiographical work, exploring the memories and feelings that create his life on a daily basis. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.

Rhod Gilbert’s poster for his tour show with a Giant Grapefruit at York Barbican

Comedy comeback : Rhod Gilbert & The Giant Grapefruit, York Barbican, June 20, 8pm

IN his last show, The Book Of John, firebrand Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert dealt with “some pretty pungent life citrus” and an idiot called John. Little did he know that things were about to turn even more sour.

Gilbert, 55, required surgery for metastatic cancer of the head and neck as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, receiving his first clear cancer scan in October after undergoing treatment.

“Not bitter, he’s bouncing back and feeling remarkably zesty”, returning with a dark, passionate and way-too-personal tour show that squeezes every last drop out of life’s latest curveballs…with a little help from an old adversary. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Jason Donovan: Doin’ fine at York Barbican in…wait for it…2025

Even further ahead: Jason Donovan, Doin’ Fine 25 Tour, York Barbican, March 8 2025, 8pm  

IF 2023 was the year of Kylie, all that attention on Tension, Padam Padam and ITV’s An Audience With, then 2025, yes 2025, promises a York date with her Neighbours beau, Jason Donovan, in celebration of his “incredible ride” through 35 years in music, theatre, film and television.

His long-awaited sequel to Doin’ Fine 90 will feature Jason’s most beloved songs from his stage shows, nods to his TV times in Neighbours and Strictly Come Dancing and his biggest pop hits. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

In Focus: York Actors Collective in Beyond Caring, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, cleaning up from February 6 to 10

Neil Vincent, left, Clare Halliday, Chris Pomfrett, Victoria Delaney and Mick Liversidge in rehearsal for York Actors Collective’s February production of Beyond Caring

YORK Actors Collective follows March 2023’s debut production of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane with Beyond Caring, a play that highlights the social damage inflicted by zero hours contracts. 

Devised by Alexander Zeldin and the original Yard Theatre cast in East London in 2014, later transferring to the National Theatre, the story of agency cleaners at a meat factory will be directed in York by Angie Millard, working with a cast of Victoria Delaney, Clare Halliday, Mick Liversidge, Chris Pomfrett and Neil Vincent.

Over 90 unbroken minutes, Beyond Caring follows two women, Becky and Grace, and one man, Sam (replacing Sarah from past productions in a directorial decision), as they confront the reality of low wage, zero-hour contract employment, never sure of how many hours they have to work, when they will be paid and whether their ‘job’ will continue.

Director Angie Millard says: “This play is remarkable in its structure and power. It totally represents 2024 where many workers are on the breadline, trapped in employment with no guarantee of further work and no way to improve their position. 

“What drew me to the play, however, is the message it conveys about people surviving and keeping a sense of humour. I loved the intensity of the piece with its silences, its disappointments and its determination to get pleasure out of the smallest things. It gave me hope.”

Stage managed by Em Peattie, Millard’s production will play nightly at 7.30pm, Tuesday to Friday, followed by Saturday shows at 2.30 and 5.30pm. “Ticket sales for our first production indicated that a Saturday matinee was very popular,” says Angie.

“We thought that having two early Saturday performances would give the audience an opportunity to see the show and still have time to go for a drink or meal afterwards, making a night of it.” Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Chris Pomfrett and Victoria Delaney in rehearsal for Beyond Caring