SIMPLY Red’s UK and Ireland tour, first planned for 2020, is moving to February 2022 with three Yorkshire gigs among the 17 dates.
Mick Hucknall’s Manchester soul band will play Hull Bonus Arena on February 4 and 5 and Leeds First Direct Arena on February 9.
Hucknall, 60, longs for a return to the stage after the pandemic-enforced hiatus. “I’ve spent most of my life going out and singing for people, so it feels strange not to have that,” he says. “I miss being able to express myself. It’s going to be wonderfully inspiring when people can go and see bands again. I can’t wait.”
Simply Red, whose last album release was Blue Eyed Soul in November 2019, are sure to revisit such hits as Money’s Too Tight To Mention, Holding Back The Years, Stars and Fairground.
Hucknall has been Simply Red’s songwriter and bandleader since their formation in 1985, aided by long-serving saxophonist Ian Kirkham since 1986. The present line-up has remained consistent since 2003, and the new tour will play to their core strengths.
“I want them to enjoy playing, for crowds to get up and move around, and everybody to put their heart into it. It’s all about capturing the groove,” says Hucknall.
South London soul singer and actress Mica Paris will be the special guest on all dates. Tickets are on sale at myticket.co.uk/artists/simply-red
SHED Seven’s Live After Racing gig at Doncaster Racecourse will come under starter’s orders for a third time on May 14 2022 after two false starts.
The York band’s outdoor Donny debut had to be scrapped twice, first booked for August 15 2020, then May 15 this spring, but each show was declared a non-runner under the Government’s pandemic lockdown restrictions.
The Sheds will now be chasing winners as well as Chasing Rainbows in the first post-racing Music Live event of the 2022 Doncaster Racecourse season.
Let Donny Races wax lyrical: “Enjoy a day out at the races, soaking up the British summertime [albeit in May] with a glass of something refreshing watching the horses race by, before the night sweeps in and the music kicks off.
“Finding fame within the Britpop scene in the ’90s, Shed Seven hit dizzying heights with their single Chasing Rainbows and their debut album Change Giver. They have released several albums since then, with Going for Gold – The Greatest Hits the latest release. [Not true, fact pedants. Live album Another Night, Another Night came out on December 18 2020. Going For Gold’s reissue on gold vinyl glistened in September 2019].”
Anyway, you were saying, Donny? “So don’t have your friends asking ‘where have you been tonight?’ We have ‘high hopes’ that ‘the heroes’ Shed Seven will deliver an outstanding night of music. ‘It’s not easy’ but you’d be stuck to find a ‘better days’ entertainment in Doncaster this summer.”
After that glut of Sheds’ song titles, here comes the tickets advice: “Secure your ticket early to guarantee entry as we are expecting huge sales for this massive band!” To book, go to: doncaster-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on/music-live-featuring-shed-seven.
Oh, and should Sheds fans be wondering what to wear, this is the official Donny Dress Code: “Most racegoers choose a smart casual outfit when attending the races and we discourage sportswear and ripped jeans. There are more formal dress codes in place for some of our premier ticket options as well as hospitality and restaurant packages.” Going for gold, maybe?
Shed Seven Live After Racing is the second Sheds’ open-air gig in Yorkshire to have a new date confirmed. Their all-Yorkshire bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax, has moved from June 26 to August 28 this summer.
Joining the Sheds that West Yorkshire day will be Leeds bands The Pigeon Detectives and The Wedding Present and Leeds United-supporting York group Skylights, plus the Brighton Beach DJs. Tickets for this Futuresounds Events concert are on sale at £42.50, premium seats £55, at lunatickets.co.uk, seetickets.com and gigantic.com.
JAMES are to release their “sweet 16th” studio album, All The Colours Of You, on June 4.
Billed as a “miraculous conception” by Clifford-born frontman Tim Booth, it was recorded in part before the Covid pandemic struck, with the Grammy award-winning Jacknife Lee on production duties with the Manchester band for the first time.
Lee has been at the desk previously for U2, REM, Taylor Swift, Snow Patrol and The Killers, and has brought a fresh approach to James’s sound. Working remotely from his studio, he liaised with vocalist Booth, his neighbour in Topanga Canyon, California, and bassist Jim Glennie in the Scottish Highlands, reimagining their demos and capturing the band in all their virtual glory.
“The result is a record with the most arena-ready and fresh tracks of their 38-year career; the sound of one of Britain’s best bands deconstructed and reassembled by one of the world’s most renowned producers,” proclaims the press release.
Booth says: “With all the s**t that went down in 2020, this was a miraculous conception and another big jump forward for us on the back of the last three albums. I hope it reflects the colours of these crazy times. Sweet sixteen is a proper album, no fillers and is up there with our best. With love, Tim.”
Glennie is pleased, proud and surprised by the record in equal measure. “Jacknife has pushed us and the songs somewhere new and it’s very exciting,” he says. “After all these years, we are still challenging ourselves and our fans. Enjoy.”
All The Colours Of You follows last December’s release of Live In Extraordinary Times, a live double album and DVD with a title twist on their 2018 studio set, Living In Extraordinary Times.
“As requested by many lovers of the band – a live DVD and album to capture the spirit of the gigs of the last few years,” said Booth at the time. “Hopefully, this will help us through the long nights of lockdown – reliving these gatherings of intimacy and passion. Thank you for coming along for the ride in the crazy world of James.”
All The Colours Of You will be James’s first album since being signed by joint managing directors Jim Chancellor and Mike Roe to Virgin Music Label & Artists Services, formerly Caroline International.
They have a new publishing home too in Kobalt Music, these changes “reinforcing the endless and restless ambition they have” as they approach their fourth decade as a band.
The track listing will be: ZERO; All The Colours Of You; Recover; Beautiful Beaches; Wherever It Takes Us; Hush; Miss America; Getting Myself Into; Magic Bus; Isabella and XYST.
From the first line on ZERO – “We’re all gonna die” – Booth addresses difficult subjects throughout the 11 tracks, with themes ranging from politics and climate change to dealing with the loss of a loved one during the pandemic.
Miss America examines that disunited country’s tarnished image through the eyes of a beauty pageant (“Miss America’s wearing thin, she’s all tiaras and glamour”), while Beautiful Beaches focuses on the fires that ravaged California and follows a vision Booth had of an earthquake that caused his family to flee for refuge (“That life we left behind, we’re racing down to those beautiful beaches”).
The title-track first single tackles the Trump years head on. Based in the USA for many years, Booth, 61, has witnessed at first hand the divisiveness and hatred stoked by the former President. Highlighting the sharp rise of white supremacy during Trump’s four years in office, the song nevertheless ultimately offers hope of a new and brighter future with the refrain “Love all the colours, all the colours of you”.
Recover, the album’s most poignant and delicate song, deals with the death of Tim’s father-in-law from Covid-19 in the UK. Uplifting and joyful in honouring a loved one’s legacy and spirit, it offers a celebration of life, not the sadness of death, affirming that “We will remember how to pass your spirit on”.
All The Colours Of You will be available in myriad formats: standard CD; D2C deluxe CD with bonus artwork, photos and pictures in a DVD hardback book package; standard LP; D2C deluxe LP on swirl coloured vinyl; D2C deluxe LP on picture-disc vinyl; indies and HMV deluxe LP on multi-coloured vinyl and even on cassette. Pre-orders can be made at: https://james.lnk.to/AllTheColoursOfYouSo.
James will open their seven-date 2021 tour at Leeds First Direct Arena on November 25, supported by fellow Manchester maverick institution Happy Mondays. “Soo looking forward to seeing you,” said Booth, when announcing the gigs last November on Twitter and at wearejames.com. “We’re playing with the brilliant Happy Mondays. Last played with them in 1988, hopefully this time they won’t steal our rider or try and spike my drink…”
The tour has sold faster than any previous James tour, chalking up 60,000 ticket sales for shows in Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Dublin, Manchester and London. Remaining tickets are available at: https://wearejames.com/live/
In the summer, James will headline the Saturday bill at Deer Shed Festival 11, confirmed to run from July 30 to August 1 at Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, near Thirsk. “In light of the recent Government unlocking roadmap, we are now working flat out to bring you an amazing festival,” say the festival team, led by director Oliver Jones.
“We will bring you the maximum possible fun in July and that currently looks like a full fat Deer Shed 11. The safety of everyone in attendance will always come first, and should circumstances change, none of our audience will lose out.” Tickets are available at https://www.deershedfestival.com/tickets/.
THE Felice Brothers’ postponed June 2020 gig at Pocklington Arts Centre is now in the 2021 diary for June 23.
Ian and James Felice, who grew up in the Hudson valley of upstate New York, are self-taught musicians, inspired as much by Hart Crane and Whitman as by Woody Guthrie and Chuck Berry.
They began in 2006 by playing subway platforms and sidewalks in New York City and have since released nine albums of original, lawless Americana, country and folk rock songs.
In 2017, they served as the backing band for Conor Oberst’s album, Salutations. Two years later came Undress, an album whose stand-out songs were trailered by Ian Felice in a solo show at The Winning Post, York, in October 2018.
Undress, their first studio release in three years, will be prominent in their Pocklington set list, when Ian and James will be accompanied by drummer Will Lawrence and bassist Jesske Hume.
Tickets are on sale at £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.