Rob Beckett and Ed Byrne are having a laugh at York Barbican

What a Wallop!: Rob Beckett makes a speedy return to York Barbican

THE comedy year on York Barbican’s main stage will end with another dollop of Wallop! and a welcome dose of honesty.

After walloping the Barbican on October 24, comedian Rob Beckett returns on December 12 with his Wallop! show. The “Mouth of the South” cheeky chappie, 33, hosts BBC One’s All Together Now; does team captain duties on Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats; co-presents The Magic Sponge podcast and has joined Romesh Ranganathan for Sky’s Rob And Romesh Vs.

Ed Byrne: Playing York Barbican next week. Honestly, he is.

In his confessional If I’m Honest show on December 13, , ever observational 47-year-old Dubliner Ed Byrne takes a “long hard look at himself and tries to decide if he has any traits that are worth passing on to his children”.

Byrne last played York on his Spoiler Alert! tour at the Grand Opera House in March 2018. Fact.

Tickets for both 8pm gigs are on sale on 0203 356 5441 , at or in person from the Barbican box office.

Tom Taylor to headline Laugh Out Loud line-up at York Barbican

Taylor made: Harrogate comedian Tom Taylor spins his stories at York Barbican

HARROGATE comedian and Sitting Room Comedy promoter Tom Taylor hops over to York to headline the Laugh Out Loud ComedyClub line-up at York Barbican on December 20.

Taylor is an award-winning humorist and writer who featured on BBC Radio 4 in the BBC New Comedy Award with his offbeat musical comedy and droll one-liners.

MIke Newall: smooth-talking Manchester comic

Both a stand-up and character actor, Taylor has penned and performed two murder mystery solo shows, A Charlie Montague Mystery: The Game’s A Foot and Try The Fish/ The Man With The Twisted Hip, as seen at York’s Great Yorkshire Fringe.

Joining him in the Fishergate Bar will be casual, smooth-talking, story-telling Manchester comedian Mike Newall, whose Nineties’ Britpop haircut has gained him the nickname “The Real Magic Mike”.

Debra-Jane Appleby: no-nonsense northerner

Debra-Jane Appleby, former winner of the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year and Funny Women Comedy Award in 2005, completes the 8pm line-up with her no-nonsense northern take on the world.

Doors open at 7pm, and the host, as ever, will be Laugh Out Loud promoter Damion Larkin.

Tickets are on sale on 0203 356 5441, at or in person from the Barbican box office.

Why it’s mission impossible to see Milton: Impossible in Yorkshire next autumn

Milton on a mission elsewhere: Jones adds loads more gigs for next autumn, but not here in Yorkshire. Picture: Aemen Sukkar

MILTON Jones is adding a heap of extra dates next autumn for his 2020 tour show, Milton: Impossible, but not one of the 34 additions is in Yorkshire.

Panic not, the shock-haired matador of the piercing one-liner is booked in already for York Barbican on February 22, Victoria Theatre, Halifax, February 23, Hull City Hall, March 18 and Leeds Town Hall, March 19, on his initial January to April travels.

One man. One Mission. Is it possible? “No, not really,” says the Kew comedian, who will be performing 100 shows in total as he reveals the truth behind having once been an international spy, but then being given a somewhat disappointing new identity that forced him to appear on Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy and Dave’s One Night Stand.

“This is a love story with a twist, or at least a really bad sprain,” says Jones. “Is it all just gloriously daft nonsense, or is there a deeper meaning? Every man has his price. Sainsbury’s, where good food costs less.”

This adds to an earlier statement by the devotee of particularly bold Hawaiian shirt designs when he first announced his 2020 mission. “My latest show is called Milton: Impossible and is loosely based on a Tom Cruise film I saw once called something like Undo-able Task,” he said.

” This is a love story with a twist, or at least a really bad sprain,,” says comedian Milton Jones of his 2020 show, Milton: Impossible

“In it, I play a Milton who appears to just have a job in Asda, but at night he’s also an international spy involved in secret things and quite bad situations. But if daft jokes give you an allergic reaction and send you into a coma, then don’t come running to me.

“Also, at a difficult time for our country, I believe there’s a chance this show could unite the nation. Admittedly quite a small chance.”

Tickets for York Barbican are on sale at and on 0203 356 5441; Halifax,; Hull,; Leeds,

Those wishing to travel farther afield on their Milton mission next autumn can find out more at, with tickets going on sale from Thursday, November 28.

Jones, 55, has played York many times, both at the Grand Opera House and latterly at the Barbican, where he presented his Milton Jones Is Out There show on September 30 2017.

Charles Hutchinson

Country hotshots The Shires to play York Barbican next spring

The Shires: heading for Yorkshire

THE Shires, Britain’s biggest-selling country act, will return to York Barbican on May 20 2020.

The announcement coincides with today’s release of New Year, a taster single from their upcoming fourth album, Good Years, a title whose sentiment reflects on the impact of Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes’ two gold-certified albums and three top ten singles.

The Shires will be playing 25 dates, with York as the only Yorkshire destination, having last performed at the Barbican in May 2018.

As with 2015’s Brave, 2016’s My Universe and 2018’s Accidentally On Purpose, Good Years was recorded in the home of country music, Nashville.

Earle and Rhodes describe it as a poignant project after becoming the first British artists to win Best International Act at the CMA Awards.

“We’re so excited to be releasing Good Years, our fourth album recorded in Nashville, and also to announce our next UK tour,” say the duo, who played this July’s Platform Festival in Pocklington. “Honesty and storytelling have always been such an important part of our songwriting. We’ve poured some of the incredible experiences and life we’ve lived into these songs.

“We can’t wait to hit the road next year and play them live across the country. The songs mean so much to us personally, but there really is nothing like looking out at our fans in the crowd and seeing how much of an impact they can have in someone else’s life. It’s truly a very special thing.”

Tickets will go on sale on Friday, November 29 at 10am at, on 0203 356 5441 or in person from the Barbican box office.  

Good Years will be released on March 13 next year. In the meantime, you can listen to New Year at

The cynic returns as Romesh adds May gig at York Barbican

The arch cynic returns: Romesh Ranganathan adds a third York Barbican gig: Picture: Rich Hardcastle

HE may be a cynic, but Romesh Ranganathan knows when he’s on to a good thing.

Having sold out his two November gigs at York Barbican, the deadpan Crawley comic, actor and television presenter has wasted no time in adding a third night of The Cynic’s Mixtape next spring.

Ranganathan will complete his hattrick of Barbican performances on May 10 2020, when the 41-year-old star of Asian Provocateur, The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan, The Reluctant Landlord and Judge Romesh will deliver “a carefully curated selection of all the things he has found unacceptable since his last tour”.

Let the cynicism begin again: Romesh Ranganathan will have plenty more to moan about by next May

On his mind will be why trying to save the environment is a scam, why none of us is truly free, and his suspicion that his wife is using gluten intolerance to avoid sleeping with him.  

Ranganathan ditched his burgeoning career as a Maths teacher – maybe it just didn’t add up to much – in his early 30s to focus on comedy, with plenty to moan about in such subsequent shows as Rom Com, Rom Wasn’t Built In A Day and Irrational.

Agent provocateur Ranganathan and his Rob & Romesh Meet co-star Rob Beckett hosted the 2019 Royal Variety Performance on Monday at the London Palladium, to be aired on ITV in December. This was the first time that two comedians had hosted the event together in more than 30 years.

Tickets for Romesh Ranganathan: The Cynic’s Mixtape are on sale at, on 0203 356 5441 or in person from the Barbican box office.

Kim to go Wilde at York Barbican on Greatest Hits tour

Kim Wilde’s poster for next year’s Greatest Hits tour

EIGHTIES’ pop star Kim Wilde will play York Barbican on September 17 next year on her Greatest Hits 2020 Tour.

Wilde, 59, last performed there on her Here Come The Aliens tour in April 2018, her first on home soil in almost 30 years, after releasing a studio album that year inspired by a real-life close encounter in the gardening expert’s back garden in 2009.

Wilde subsequently released the live album Aliens Live, and next year she will be marking her 40 years in pop that began as “the voice of a generation of rebellious youth” with Kids In America.

Her Greatest Hits Tour will take in further hits such as Chequered Love, Water On Glass, View From A Bridge, You Keep Me Hangin’ On, Cambodia, You Came, Never Trust A Stranger and Four Letter Worn, complemented the less often aired A Million Miles Away and Love Is Holy. As in 2018, her band will include two drummers.

Her special guests will be fellow Eighties’ chart act China Crisis, best known for Wishful Thinking, King In A Catholic Style, Black Man Ray and African And White.

Tickets go on sale from Friday at 9am on 0203 356 5441, at or from the Barbican box office in person.

Yes to play York Barbican? Yes, they are…and it’s this Yes, not that Yes

Yes: lining up to play Relayer and Yes classics at York Barbican next May

YES are to play York Barbican next spring, but no, not the ‘Yes’ that performed there in June 29018 under the name Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman, as they now have to call themselves.

No, this Yes is the one that officially tours as Yes, with Steve Howe on guitars, Alan White on drums, Geoff Downes on keyboards, Billy Sherwood on bass guitar and backing vocals, Jon Davison on vocals and Jay Schellen on additional drums and percussion.

This Yes are booked into the Barbican for May 29 2020 as part of an eight-date May and June itinerary for The Album Series 2020 Tour, when the prog-rock veterans will perform 1974’s Relayer in its entirety, preceded by a set of Yes classic cuts. Expect “full production and a high definition video wall”.

Released on Atlantic Records in late 1974, Yes’s seventh studio album marked a slight change in direction as Patrick Moraz replaced Rick Wakeman on keyboards, bringing “an edgier, avant-garde feel” to the recordings.

The opening Gates Of Delirium, almost 22 minutes in length, battle scene et al, featured Moraz’s keyboard jousting with Howe’s guitar before the battle gave way to the ballad Soon, a prayer for peace and hope.

Further highlights on an album that reached number four in the British chart and number five in the US Billboard chart were Sound Chaser, a prog rock/jazz fusion experiment heavily influenced by Moraz’s style, and To Be Over, the calm and gentle closer, based on a Howe melody.

Yes’s poster for The Album Series Tour 2020

“We’re really looking forward to playing all of the Relayer album,” says Howe. “Having premiered The Gates Of Delirium this year, we continue by expanding our Album Series with all the tracks: The Gates Of Delirium, Sound Chaser and To Be Over.”

Howe adds: “During the first half of the evening, we’ll be performing a refined selection from Yes’s enormous 50-year repertoire. See you there.”

Drummer Alan White says: “I always enjoy coming home to England, so I’m especially looking forward to Yes’s upcoming Album Series 2020 tour. Relayer, I believe, is one of the most creative and interesting musical compilations in the band’s repertoire.

“Challenging and extremely enjoyable to play, I’m happy to be bringing this music back to live stages throughout Europe. I hope all who attend our shows will enjoy these cuts as much as we like performing them for our audiences.”

Tickets for Yes’s 8pm show are on sale on 0203 356 5441, at or in person from the Barbican box office.

Did you know?

ROGER Dean, designer of Yes’s iconic album artwork, will attend every show of the 2020 British and European dates. An exhibition of his work will be on show, and Dean will be available to chat with fans front of house, sign merchandise and take part in VIP meet and greets.

Charles Hutchinson

Katie Melua to play York Barbican next November on 45-date winter tour

Katie Melua: York date and Live In Concert album

KATIE Melua will play York Barbican on November 7 next year on her 45-date winter tour.

Tickets for the Georgian-born singer-songwriter go on sale on Friday, November 22 at 10am on 0203 356 5441, at or in person from the Barbican box office.

Katie last performed at the Barbican last December, where she was joined by the Gori Women’s Choir.

The tour announcement coincides with news of a Live In Concert double album, featuring the Gori Women’s Choir, recorded at the Central Hall, Westminster, London, last December.

This limited-edition collection is presented as an 84-page hardback book, containing never-before-seen photographs of moments on stage and behind-the-scenes, captured by photographer Karni Arieli. 

The book also contains illustrations created by the show’s creative directors, Karni & Saul, and opens with a foreword by Melua.

Born in the Georgian city of Kutaisi, Katie and her family moved to Belfast when she was nine years old. Now 35, she has released seven studio albums, the most recent being In Winter, the 2016 silver-certified set recorded with the Gori Women’s Choir in Georgia.

The new Live In Concert double album opens at Katie’s birthplace in Georgia with her solo rendition of the folk song Tu Asa Turpa Ikavi. Plane Song, performed with her brother Zurab Melua, speaks of their childhood in the city of Kutaisi, and is followed by Belfasttracing the family’s emigration to the United Kingdom. Here, Katie’s journey towards becoming a professional recording artist began, leading to her debut album, Call Off The Search, released in 2003 at the age of 19.

The show recording continues with songs from all Katie’s albums, works by writers that have inspired her, crowd favourites and tales from her past.

Through the blustery autumn, the still English winter, and eventually to the spring with the world in full bloom, the artists on stage finally bring the show to a hopeful, joyous and optimistic close with a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World.

Charles Hutchinson

Hackett seeks a light to the future while celebrating Genesis past

“I still remain cautiously optimistic about being at the edge of light,” says Steve Hackett

FOR the first time, former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is on the road performing his old band’s 1973 album, Selling England By The Pound, in its entirety.

Now 69, Hackett will be performing the venerated likes of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, Firth Of Fifth, Cinema Show and I Know What I Like (In My Wardrobe) at a sold-out York Barbican on Tuesday (November 19).

This will be complemented by further Genesis numbers, selections from Hackett’s Spectral Mornings album to mark its 40th anniversary and highlights from this year’s At The Edge Of Light release.

“The idea to do the whole of Selling England By The Pound came from recalling that, at the time, John Lennon said it was one of the albums he was listening to that year,” says Steve.

“By the time Sgt. Pepper came along, there were surprises around every corner in The Beatles’ music, so the challenge for me was always there, and I was rather hoping that Genesis would expand to an orchestra, but in fact they did the opposite and got smaller and smaller!”

He looks back fondly on Selling England By The Pound. “It was my favourite Genesis album that gave us our first hit,” he says.

“Then something special happened with Spectral Mornings, with my first touring band, and now I feel this year’s album, At The Edge Of Light, is special too, doing something political that I knew would be uncommercial, doing something that I wanted to do at a certain point, like when Queen and Led Zeppelin did creative things in an earlier era.”

As the title would suggest, At The Edge Of Light is a place still shrouded in darkness. “Much of the album does centre on that: the populist world view evinced by politicians, that dark times are ahead. It’s very worrying,” says Hackett.

“Look at the situation in so much of America. The man who was ‘going to make America great again’ has put 800,000 people out of work. That’s haunting.

“We don’t mention names, but much of the album is symbolic lyrically, but there are other things on there beyond politics: love songs and travelogues, so I don’t think it’s a one-horse-race album.”

Songs for this fully orchestrated album partly came out of conversations with his wife, Jo, suggesting lyrics, then Hackett coming up with melodies. In addition, he drew inspiration from the music of his youth. “I was born in 1950, and by the time the Sixties were in full cry, you had Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, doing wonderful versions of Dylan songs, with music carrying a deeper meaning without being didactic…though there’s nothing wrong with boy-meets-girl songs, but music changed for the better.”

Hackett urges people to make friends across the world, rather than for Britain to become insular in these toxic Brexit days. “The idea that we can just exist on our own, sailing off into the Atlantic…if that happens, I think there’ll be a rude awakening, once people realise what they have voted for. Be careful what you wish for. Look at what’s happening in America, with people queueing up for food in Washington. I don’t know what to say about that, but I hope people come to their senses.”

Nevertheless, the choice of the word ‘light’ in the album title indicates Hackett’s view is not all doom and gloom. “I still remain cautiously optimistic about being at the edge of light, rather than the edge of an abyss,” he says.

At The Edge Of Light is an album where Hackett “pulled no punches, gave it everything, but not in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink way”, and he had a “great time doing it as I thought ‘let’s give it the full monty’.”

He brought such a scale to his Autumn 2018 tour too, performing Genesis and Hackett material with a 42-piece orchestra, including an October show at London’s Royal Festival Hall recorded for the newly released Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live double album and Blu-Ray digipak.

Now he re-visits Genesis again, this time Dancing With The Moonlit Knight at York Barbican.

Steve Hackett, Selling England By The Pound, York Barbican, Tuesday 19 November, 7.30pm.

Charles Hutchinson