Some artists become part of the soundtrack of your life and if you were around in the early 1980s then there’s every chance that Belinda Carlisle is an essential part of your musical memory of the era.
Having risen to fame in the early 1980s as the lead vocalist of the Go-Go’s, one of the most successful all female bands ever, (they sold 8 million albums in just three years), she went on to have a successful solo career with hits such as Mad About You, I Get Weak, Circle in the Sand, Leave a Light On, Runaway Horses, We Want The Same Thing, Live Your Life Be Free and of course, Heaven Is A Place On Earth.
She’s back on the road with a very special UK tour this Autumn – the Heaven 30th Anniversary
Tour – performing a selection of tracks taken from her 1987 solo album Heaven On Earth, which in the opinion of many critics sets the gold standard for slickly produced power pop.
There’ll also be room in the show for material from other albums and with her impressive back catalogue to choose from fans are promised a great show.
Belinda Carlisle plays Manchester Academy on October 6th. Tickets via the Academy box office on 0161 8321111 or www.manchesteracademy.net
There was a colourful and fascinating mixture of art, craft, music and dance on display on Saturday 9th September when the Minster and St James Square played host to the 3rd annual Grimsby Urban Arts Festival.
Titled ‘The Four Elements’ the festival celebrated the four essential components of the culture that originated in New York’s Bronx in the late 1970s, namely rapping, deejaying, break dancing and graffiti writing. Together these phenomena formed one of the most vibrant and exciting cultural movements of the twentieth century – Hip Hop – and their influence lives on and can be heard and seen in urban musical and graphic culture today.
There were nearly twenty graffiti artists from all over the country painting on the day, each with their own unique trademark style, plus a selection of art and craft stalls in the minster and music on the lawns and although the weather wasn’t kind there were always plenty of visitors in attendance to watch the artists at work.
The festival has certainly become one of our favourite events on the calendar and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for more next year!
Roland Gift, charismatic front man of the Fine Young Cannibals, is returning to the pop arena with a new solo album, the self titled Roland Gift and he’ll be making a return to the city where he went to school when he plays the Welly Club on Saturday 2nd December. Gift’s career has expanded in recent years to include film acting and musical score work but this album marks a triumphant return to pop music’s front line, where Gift’s talents and unique style have long established him as one of the genre’s trailblazers. A great voice never goes out of style, and Gift’s trademark vocal prowess is both timeless and strikingly ahead of his time.
During the making of the new album, Gift (whose film resumé includes Sammy And Rosie Get Laid, Tin Men and Scandal) took time out to work on the latest entry in his other career, appearing in the forthcoming The Island of the Mapmaker¹s Wife, directed by Michie Gleason. Roland put recording on hold for two months, while on location in Amsterdam with the production and readily admits to aiming for a happy balancing act between the two disciplines.
“When I first started, I wanted to be an actor. That’s one of the reasons I came down to London from Hull. But most people I know have been in a group sometime in their life. The first punk band I was in [the Acrylic Victims] got a bit of notoriety, released a couple of singles,my music focus grew from there.”
Roland Gift was recorded at a variety of locations, from demo studios to front rooms to Mayfair Studios, with producers David Z and Ben Barson. The album is reminiscent of the sparse, classic appeal that typified Roland’s work with the Cannibals, a sophisticated blend of pop and soul with jazz and even gospel flavours, with Gift’s own new spin for the 21st Century.
“The Cannibals sort of officially dissolved in 1996 so, in a way, up until then we were trying to do our third record. Then we came out with The Finest, which was a greatest hits set plus three new tracks that didn’t have a home to go to, but, it’s better to burn brightly for half as long than to be a dim lingering light, and I get a lot of good will from people – they say they still play the albums and they’re looking forward to hear what I’m doing next. I was asked to join Jools Holland and his a big band as a guest singer touring with them for a year, it was a lot of fun and made me want to take my own group out to play”.
Gift looks forward to more live shows, where he will perform the new songs from Roland Gift and some classic fan favourites. “There are a lot of people who liked the Cannibals who never saw songs like She Drives Me Crazy in concert, and since I wrote them as well, I’ll definitely do some Fine Young Cannibals songs.”
“It’s a great feeling when you’ve got a big record and you go out on stage and thousands of people have come to hear you play for them. It’s like having a party and loads of people come because they want to have a party with you.”
“Right now as well as the live shows I’m working on a stage musical called Return To Vegas with Bob Carlton who created the show Return To The Forbidden Planet. I’m well pleased by the way the Return to Vegas songs have been received in the live set sitting nicely alongside the FYC classics”.
Tickets can be purchased
via The Welly box office
Call 01482 221113
Grimsby Auditorium plays host to an evening of the music of the legendary Stevie Wonder.
Stevie Wonder is one of the most successful performers of the century, selling over 100 million records worldwide in a career that has spanned nearly sixty years.
If you love the man and his music then you’ll love Signed, Sealed delivered – A Tribute To Stevie Wonder.
Featuring back to back number ones including the Grammy award winning Signed, Sealed, Delivered as well as Superstition, Higher Ground, Master Blaster, Sir Duke, Part Time Lover, Isn’t She Lovely, and the biggest international hit of all time – I just Called To Say I Love You, plus many, many more!
To ensure audiences are dancing in the aisles the show features American singing superstar Lejaune André who will be joined on stage by a fabulous seven piece band, outstanding backing vocalists and top dancers.
So get ready for the wonder that is Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
To book tickets call
Box Office: 0300 300 0035
Book on line www.grimsbyauditorium.org.uk
Or book in person at the Grimsby Auditorium pay cash for no booking or transaction fees
Or call into the Cleethorpes TIC
*Booking/transaction fee may apply
Restoration levy included
Texas are one of the most successful British bands of the past thirty years. They formed in Glasgow in 1986 and since then they’ve released a string of hit albums and singles. They’ve sold 40 million albums, have had thirteen UK top ten singles, three UK number one albums and eight UK top ten albums.
Their debut album Southside, released in 1989, reached number three in the UK and number 88 in the US and in 1997 White On Blonde became their biggest success to date, entering the UK Albums Chart at number one. To date it has been certified six times platinum.
Follow up The Hush (1999) was also successful, topping the album charts again and certified triple platinum. The band’s Greatest Hits album, released in 2000, was another big seller, again debuting at number one and also being certified six times platinum.
Singer Sharleen Spiteri has enjoyed a successful solo career, releasing her debut solo album, Melody, in 2008.
The band’s ninth studio album, Jump On Board was released in May this year. Written and produced by Texas stalwarts Johnny McElhone and Spiteri herself, it’s the first new Texas studio album since 2013’s The Conversation and has been acclaimed as a pop classic.
The new single is Work It Out, with a great video featuring Thierry Henry and there’s another video to watch out for, for Tell That Girl, which features Rory McCann (who plays the Hound on TV’s Game Of Thrones) on drums.
Texas play Grimsby Auditorium on September 20th.
For more information on the tour and on Texas go to their website at www.texas.uk.com. For tickets go to www.grimsbyauditorium.org.uk.
If you like your comedy a little dark and with some political edge then the Caxton Players have just the thing for you this week as they present Alan Ayckbourn’s 2011 work Neighbourhood Watch.
It’s not quite satire, because the targets are too far down the political food chain, but it is an indictment of the quotidian prejudices and false assumptions that blight contemporary society. The Caxtons have been particularly prescient to put the production on during an election campaign in which the levels of so called ‘fake news’ have never been higher. The moral of the play is that if you tell people what they want to hear, which is mostly confirmations of what they already believe, (correctly or more usually incorrectly) then you won’t go far wrong.
On an upmarket estate whose back gardens offer a view down the hill to the local council estate (a place of dread for the characters in the play, filled with nameless horrors and working class people) a newly arrived brother and sister hold a sparsely attended housewarming. Here they meet a terrifying cross section of their new neighbours, including monomaniacal retired security consultant Rod (brilliantly played by Chris Dempsey), bewildered Welsh cuckold Gareth ( a terrific performance from Bruce Forster and the ill matched couple next door Luther and Magda (Kieron James and Tessa King who manage to be both disturbing and disturbed by turns).
The event culminates in a nasty case of mistaken identity, an assault and the theft of a clarinet (you didn’t see that coming), and the end result is increasing discontent on the hill, leading to the setting up of the titular neighbourhood watch.
So far so gentle but it’s here that the piece takes a surprising turn as the watch soon develops into a fascistic local policing system complete with road blocks, stocks and a public morality code. There’s a lot of sexual tension threatening to boil over too, particularly in the growing romance between Liz Drury’s sirenic Amy and Dean Wright’s Martin but there are other undercurrents too that don’t reveal themselves until later. It’s a bit like Neighbours meets 1984 with hints of Abigail’s Party in the mix for good measure and if it sounds like it’s all going to end in tears, well by Jesus it does.
All the cast are excellent and Debra West’s direction keeps the pace running just nicely so it doesn’t become too confusing and it’s certainly never dull. There aren’t many jokes as such but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more ironic and knowing piece of comedy on offer anywhere. Definitely worth a visit.
Imagine the best party you ever went to. Perfect venue. Great music over four stages. Excellent food. Add in some fairground rides and your favourite radio personalities to make the whole thing go with a swing. Arrange it so it’s free admission (albeit with some minor ticketing and transport expenses).
Then arrange for the sun to shine like it’s never going to stop.
Add that all together and you’ve pretty much got the Radio 1 Big Weekend which this year came to Burton Constable Hall, just outside Hull, as part of the City of Culture Celebrations, and in the opinion of many, the highlight of the whole cultural shebang.
The Peoples was lucky enough to get an invite and we were treated to fabulous performances by the likes of Little Mix, Rita Ora, Lorde, Kasabian, Imagine Dragons, Rag’n’Bone Man, Haim and of course the headliners, Kings of Leon and Katy Perry. What more could you wish for?
Well Alt-J, Biffy Clyro, Emeli Sande, Clean Bandit and Stormzy would be a start.
The line up offered something for all tastes, from synth beats to rock, from pure bubblegum to grime and hip hop, and from electro-folk to seventies disco (that last one courtesy of the extraordinary Christine and The Queens, all the way from France and absolutely brilliant).
Of course with such a line up spread over a huge field you can’t see everything and you can be sure that everyone missed at least one of their favourites, but hey that’s festivals for you, and at least at this one you could be sure that whoever you were missing them for was probably pretty great.
Of course it was all happening within the week of the Manchester attack and while no-one was going to let it dampen their spirits it was ever present, the elephant in the field. People were cautious and surprisingly well behaved. I didn’t see any trouble at all during the whole weekend and police reported no arrests. Security was tight at the perimeter but once you were in it was unobtrusive and everyone was helpful and the minutes silence was incredibly moving even to an old cynic like me. I felt really sorry for the guy near me who didn’t realise it had started and who suddenly laughed and swore loudly, only to be angrily shushed by everyone around him.
It was a day dominated by pop and all the better for it. I don’t get to shoot a lot of chart acts. I see a lot of punk and heavy metal and lo-fi and alt-country but pop just seems to pass me by so seeing the likes of Little Mix, Lorde and Clean Bandit was a big thrill.
In the end it was the women what won it. Some I’d seen before like Anne-Marie who played her own set early in the day in the Where It Begins big top and then came onto the main stage to join Clean Bandit for Rockabye. She gets better every time I see her. Some, like Dua Lipa and Charli XCX were new (or even news) to me but they were great and real ear openers.
Highlights? Well it seems a bit redundant to even talk about them because it was one highlight after another all weekend.
Best new (to most people) band: Life who I could only hear and not see from my position backstage. A great Hull band on their way to the top and with a new album out. The Amazons were good too.
Best new (to me) band: Alt-J. How did I manage to go this long without listening to Alt-J? I remember all the praise heaped on An Awesome Wave but for some reason our paths never crossed. I’m ashamed to admit that with the keyboard reference for a name I think I assumed they were another of those techno acts that play laptops and dance on tables. Anyway the good thing is I now have a new favourite band.
Best playing laptops and dancing on tables: Galantis and The Chainsmokers – joint winners. Impressive balancing skills.
Most awesome vocal: Rag’n’Bone Man. The man is a genius.
Best dancing: Lorde. I’m going to practice till I can do it too. Lorde also gets the most photogenic performance award. I could photograph Lorde all day and never get bored.
Nicest surprise: Little Mix. Little Mix pretty much sum up the kinds of bands I don’t get to see but they were great, even if they did get themselves temporarily thrown off the iPlayer. Ah, the exuberance of youth.
Best bubblegum bubble blown live on stage: Nathan Followill, drummer from Kings of Leon. Impressive size and symmetry and great breath control, blowing, bursting and retrieving all in perfect time to the music.
And the highlight of the weekend? Well that has to be Katy Perry. She brought the set from her world tour with her and just lit the evening on fire. It’s a fact that some performers don’t give it a hundred percent for festival stages, but Katy Perry gave it everything. Sensational. I can’t remember ever seeing a performance so perfect.
So thanks to Radio 1 for arranging the best party Hull has ever seen and if you could arrange to bring it back next year that would be just great.
Fusion Creative have now been based at St Martin’s Church on Scartho Road for more than a year and as part of the Pilot Project, Lincs Inspire committed funding towards the production of an original piece of artwork to celebrate their moving into their new home.
Our picture shows the unveiling of the finished piece, created by artist Vivienne May. Titled ‘The Sharing’ it is a representation of the story of St Martin who was famous for his acts of compassion to people outside of the mainstream of ordinary society. On seeing a beggar freezing by the road, he tore his own cloak in two, keeping enough of the garment to protect himself from the bitter weather and giving the beggar protection as well.
Vivienne’s sculpture represents this gesture of sharing, compassion and concern for others’ well being.
The Fusion Creative project at St Martin’s has the principles of sharing and reaching out to the community at its heart and the sculpture is intended to reflect those values. The artwork now stands proudly in the entrance of St Martin’s and is a beautiful reminder of the compassion and care demonstrated to others and its importance to our community and wider society.
For more information about activities at St Martin’s go to www.fusioncreative.org.uk or find them on Facebook.
Singing sensation Joe McElderry heading for the Auditorium in August
It has been a busy few months for X Factor winner Joe McElderry. He’s been back in the studio recording his new album Saturday Night At The Movies, scheduled for release in July but available for pre release on iTunes on Mothers Day and there’s a new single, Gloria, written by renowned songwriter and 10CC front man Graham Gouldman, released on March 6th.
The album includes iconic hits from film and theatre including I’m into Something Good, Love is All Around and Daydream Believer as well as the new single.
Number 1 and platinum selling artist Joe has already released four top 20 albums, two of which reached the UK top three. His debut single The Climb went to the top of the charts and was nominated for the Best British Single BRIT award in 2010.
To celebrate the release of his fifth studio album Joe will embark on a nationwide live tour where he will be joined on stage by special guests, X Factor’s Lloyd Daniels and Any Dream Will Do runners up Keith Jack and Ben James-Ellis who have all featured in the musical phenomenon that is Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.
You can catch the tour at the Grimsby Auditorium on Friday 11th August.
Tickets are on sale now and are available from the Auditorium Box Office on 0300 300 0035. There’s more information and online booking at www.grimsbyauditorium.org.uk
Alice isn’t a little girl any more. In fact it’s her fortieth birthday and it’s not going well. Her car has been stolen from outside her desolate tower block, she’s been fired from her job, there’s nothing in for tea and she has fallen out with her own daughter. Oh yes and her ex-husnad, with whom she is secretly still in love, is getting remarried.
Sounds like a cue for a song.
At least it does if you’re ready to be transported to Wonderland – but it’s not the old fashioned pastel hued Tenniel Wonderland we’re talking about here. It’s not Disney either and it’s definitely not Tim Burton.
This is a new, urban, technicolour Wonderland inhabited by a delightfully frenzied Cheshire Cat, a soulful caterpillar with some very chic detachable legs, a Mad Hatter with ideas above her station, a narcoleptic Dormouse, and a cunning White Rabbit who used to be a judge. There’s also a torch singing Queen of Hearts played by Wendy Peters (that’s Cilla from Corrie to you and me, and she’s in the image below) who steals the show with her off with their heads routine.
It’s full of great music too, (by Frank Wildhorn with lyrics by Jack Murphy), more pop than traditional stage musical, with a boy band number here, a power ballad there and a tea table that doubles as a disco floor. But with some of the best sets and costumes you’ll ever see this is a show that looks great and sounds great and it’s definitely well worth a visit to the Auditorium.
Wonderland runs at Grimsby Auditorium until Saturday 4th March. Tickets are available from the Auditorium website – www.grimsbyauditorium.org.uk
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