Bob Geldof’s Boomtown Rats announce York gig and first album in 36 years

Here come the Citizens Of Boomtown: Bob Geldof, second from right, and The Boomtown Rats are to play York Barbican next spring

BOB Geldof’s punk old guard, The Boomtown Rats, are on their way to York Barbican on April 25 2020 on their Citizens Of Boomtown tour.

Tickets go on sale at 11am on Friday (December 13) on 0203 356 5441, at or in person from the Barbican box office.

Next spring’s tour will complement the release of a new album, Citizens Of Boomtown,  the Rats’ first studio work since In The Long Grass in May 1984. Full details will be announced “very soon”.

Irishman Geldof, now 68, formed The Boomtown Rats in Dublin in 1975, touring in their early days with The Ramones and Talking Heads en route to achieving BRIT, Ivor Novello and Grammy awards.

Lanky, lippy frontman Geldof, pianist Johnny Fingers and co became the first Irish band to top the UK charts with Rat Trap in 1978 and made number one in 32 countries with I Don’t Like Mondays in 1979.

The Boomtown Rats recorded six albums, The Boomtown Rats in 1977; A Tonic For The Troops in 1978;The Fine Art Of Surfacing, 1979; Mondo Bongo, 1980; V Deep, 1982, and the aforementioned In The Long Grass two years later.

That year, Geldof formed the Band Aid charity supergroup, co-writing the chart-topping single Do They Know It’s Christmas (Feed The World) with Ultravox’s Midge Ure and later organising the Live Aid and Live8 fund-raising concerts in aid of Ethiopian famine relief in 1985 and 2005.

He played solo gigs at the Grand Opera House, York, in November 2002 to promote his Sex, Age & Death album, and at Harrogate Royal Hall in May 2012 after releasing How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell in 2011. It didn’t sell, ironically, peaking at number 87 in the British album charts.

His last stage appearance in York should have taken place in a line-up alongside Alan Johnson MP, Nicky Morgan MP and David Dimbleby in June 2016 at Central Hall, University of York. He was to have spoken on behalf of the Remain campaign on the last Question Time before the EU Referendum, but recording of the BBC1 show was cancelled after the death of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox.

It would have marked the Irish knight, famine relief crusader, entrepreneur and rock veteran’s return to the Central Hall stage for the first time since 1986. That year Geldof had encouraged the audience to dance at a Boomtown Rats show despite a no-dancing rule in the contract.

“Since that day, only students have been allowed to attend York university gigs,” he recalled in an interview in 2002. “I only invited them to dance! We were a ******* dance band, for Christ’s sake.The student union sued us, but it was sorted out.”

How? “We ignored it! But I better not remind them – though they would have to sue the Rats, not me!”

Charles Hutchinson

Gill Landry exposes his skeletons on new album ahead of York gig

“I found it to be a good place for seeing the forest through the trees,” says Gill Landry, who wrote Skeleton At The Banquet while staying in a French village

GILL Landry, the two-time Grammy-winning American singer, songwriter and guitarist, is booked into The Crescent in York for February 12 2020 on his ten-date British tour.

The Old Crow Medicine Show alumnus and founder member of The Kitchen Syncopators will be promoting his fifth solo album, Skeleton At The Banquet.

Released on Loose Music on January 24 2020, Landry’s follow-up to 2017’s Love Rides A Dark Horse was preceded by his November single, I Love You Too.

Recorded and produced in Los Angeles by Landry and Seth Ford-Young, who has worked previously with Tom Waits and Edward Sharpe, Skeleton At The Banquet features Landry on vocals, guitars, pedal steel, keys and harmonica, Ford-Young on bass, Josh Collazo on drums, Stewart Cole on trumpet and Odessa Jorgensen on violin.

The album artwork for Gill Landry’s new album, Skeleton At The Banquet, to be released next month

“This album is a series of reflections and thoughts on the collective hallucination that is America, with a love song or two thrown in for good measure,” says Landry. who also uses the stage name of Frank Lemon, by the way.

“I wrote it from within the refuge of a small flat in a small village in western France, where I spent last summer. I found it to be a good place for seeing the forest through the trees, so to speak.”

Landry, originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, will open his British dates at the Americana Music Association UK’s festival in London on January 28.

Tickets for February 12 are on sale at £12 at Earworm Records, Powells Yard, Goodramgate, York, from The Crescent or online via the

Landry will play a further Yorkshire gig at The Lantern, Halifax, on February 16. Box office: 01422 341003 or

Dionne Warwick to tour One Last Time. Say farewell at York Barbican

She’s back! New album, new tour, as Dionne Warwick says farewell to packing her trunk next autumn

THE clue is in the title for Dionne Warwick’s show at York Barbican on October 6 2020. “She’s back: One Last Time,” says the poster.

The six-time Grammy Award winner will be playing her farewell British and European tour next September and October, by when she will be 79.

Retirement, however, is not on her mind. “After almost six decades, I’ve decided it’s time to put away the touring trunk and focus on recording, one-off concerts and special events. 

“I still love performing live, but the rigours of travelling every day so far from home, sleeping in a different hotel each night, one concert after the other, is becoming hard. So, I’ve decided to stop touring on that level in Europe,” says Dionne. “But I’m not retiring!” she insists.

Indeed not. In May, she released She’s Back, her first studio album since Feels So Good in 2014.

The tour’s UK leg will open at The Waterfront in Belfast on September 19 2020 and her shows will encompass her monumental career, not least the peerless Warwick/Burt Bacharach/Hal David recording catalogue: I Say A Little Prayer, Do You Know The Way To San Jose, Anyone Who Had A Heart and Walk On By.

Warwick previously played a North Yorkshire concert on her An Evening With Dionne Warwick, Me And My Music tour at Harrogate International Centre in February 2008.

Tickets for One Last Time go on sale on Wednesday, December 4 at 9am on 0203 356 5441, at or in person from the box office, should you walk on by the Barbican.

Lionel Richie, Madness and Westlife are “perfect line-up” for first ever York Festival

Hello…is that York Festival calling? Lionel Richie says yes to playing at York Sports Club

AMERICAN soul icon Lionel Richie, British ska legends Madness and Irish pop stars Westlife will headline the first ever York Festival next year.

Mounted by Cuffe and Taylor, the three-day music festival will be held at York Sports Club, Clifton Park, Shipton Road, from June 19 to 21 2020.

Three-day passes, giving access to every night, are available at £129 from today at Tickets for each night go on sale at £39.50 at 9am on Thursday.

Opening-night headliners Madness, the Camden Town Nutty Boys with a music-hall wit and ska roots, will be joined by Ian Broudie’s Lightning Seeds; BBC radio presenter Craig Charles, for a funk and soul DJ set; Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction and rising York act Violet Contours.

Westlife will play York Festival on the Saturday as part of their Stadiums In The Summer Tour. Billed as “Britain’s top-selling album group of the 21st century”, they will combine such hits as Swear It Again, Flying Without Wings and You Raise Me Up with songs from their November 15 album, Spectrum.

Joining Westlife in the June 20 line-up will be All Saints, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, indie rock band Scouting For Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald for a DJ set.

On the closing night, Lionel Richie, 70, will be the star attraction as the four-time Grammy Award winner performs both solo and Commodores material.

Good sports: Madness sign up to bring the nuttiest sound around to York Festival at York Sports Club

Promoters Cuffe and Taylor present the Scarborough Open Air Theatre concert programme each summer, bringing Lionel Richie, Madness and Westlife to the East Coast in past years, as well as the likes of Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Sir Elton John and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

They also staged Rod Stewart’s York Racecourse concert on June 1 this summer, drawing 35,000 to a specially erected amphitheatre in the centre of the Knavesmire course.

Director Peter Taylor says: “This is the very first York Festival, so we wanted to make this a very special debut year.

“To have Lionel Richie, Westlife and Madness as headliners – alongside many other brilliant chart-topping artists – is a real coup. We feel this is the perfect line-up for the first year of what we hope will become a major annual event in this wonderful and historic city.

“We cannot wait for Friday, June 19 and opening night. This really is going to be a weekend to remember.”

York Festival will be staged at York Sports Club, the home of York RUFC, York Cricket Club, York Tennis Club and York Squash Club, where The Best Of York Music Festival was held on May 26, The Big Nineties Festival on October 25 and Oktoberfest on October 26.

Nigel Durham, Trustee of York Sports Club and Chairman of York Cricket Club, said:“We are delighted to be hosting the first York Festival, a major new event for the city of York.

Full Spectrum: Westlife will perform songs old and new at York Festival next June

“An historic city the size and stature of ours truly deserves a high-profile music festival like this. And to be attracting such massive stars as Lionel Richie, Westlife and Madness is just brilliant.

“And with the festival being staged in the heart of the city, right here at York Sports Club, this really will capture the imagination and be a great thing for the city, residents, local businesses and visitors.”

Cuffe and Taylor are working closely with City of York Council and Make It York, whose role is to showcase and promote the city around the world.

Championing the inaugural York Festival, Sean Bullick, managing director of Make It York, says: “York Festival will be a brilliant addition to the city’s already busy calendar of summer events for both residents and visitors to enjoy.

“Welcoming such music legends and chart-topping artists, as well as showcasing local talent, is another step forward for York’s cultural offer and we are delighted to help spread the word to audiences.”

In addition to three-day passes and day tickets, a range of VIP offers are available. For more information, go to

Charles Hutchinson

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.

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