Leeds Gigs: Summer 2024

Well, July and August to be more accurate. Let’s hope the weather is on the side of those in Millennium Square and at Kirkstall Abbey this year.

Tom Grennan at Millennium Square on 6 July

Tom Grennan. Photograph by Nicholas O’Donnell

We’re only a week away from the duo of sold-out Sounds of the City show for TOM GRENNAN, at Leeds Millennium Square on Saturday 6th July. 

2023 was yet another phenomenal year for Tom. His album ‘What Ifs & Maybes’ went straight in at #1 on the UK Albums Chart – his second consecutive #1 album following his breakout record ‘Evering Road’ in 2021. The album followed Tom’s BRIT Award nomination in the Alternative Rock/Rock Act category, marking his third consecutive BRIT nomination following Song of the Year with Mastercard for his international smash hit ‘Little Bit Of Love’, and Alternative/Rock Act, at the 2022 ceremony. Tom has accumulated over 1.7 billion streams and over 9 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone.

Listen to key tracks: How Does It Feel / Little Bit Of Love / Remind Me

James Arthur at Millennium Square on 12 July

James Arthur

Following the success of his latest UK chart-topping album Bitter Sweet Love, multi-Platinum artist James Arthur has recently returned from his sold-out UK and Europe tour to celebrate his second #1 album after eight years in the industry: “I feel this is symbolic of all the highs and lows in my career – everything I’ve been through.  The Middlesbrough-born songwriter has scored four Top Ten albums, with 2016’s “Back From The Edge” hitting the No. 1 spot for the first time, three Brit Award nominations and collaborated with the likes of Anne-Marie, Sigala, Rudimental, Marshmello and many more.  

In addition to his triumphant return to hometown Middlesbrough, Arthur has also released a series of outdoor UK Summer shows kicking off in Millenium Square, Leeds.

Today, Arthur is one of the world’s biggest streaming artists, with more than 38 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. “Say You Won’t Let Go” became his breakthrough hit in the US, was officially the UK’s most streamed song in 2016, and has gone on to be enjoyed via four billion streams while the song’s official video has achieved 1.5 billion views on YouTube. Earlier this year, the track became his first RIAA Diamond Single with ten million certified units, making James one of just 100 recipients of an RIAA Diamond Single certification in the programme’s history.

Other hits releases include: “Impossible,” “Can I Be Him,” “Naked,” “Empty Space,” “Rewrite the Stars,” “Train Wreck,” and “Lasting Lover,” which are all certified Platinum records.
 
“His bluesy rasp comes into its own on aching ballad ‘A Year Ago’, while ‘Blindside’ recalls fellow North-Easterner Sam Fender. If Fender is the Geordie Springsteen, maybe Arthur is the ‘Boro Boss.” – Daily Mail 4*

“James has never sounded so in command, both of that compelling raspy voice and of his soaring songs.” – Daily Star

Honesty at Belgrave Music Hall on 15 July

Photograph by Barney Maguire

The Leeds quartet draw from ambient, electronic and dance music with an intriguing, exploratory nature” – Rolling Stone UK

‘U&I’ is a minimalistic, high-contrast cut that morphs from flickering living-room beats to expansive, stratospheric strings in its outro, and their ambition is equally as sprawling.” – DIY

“The music sits in a space between the club and solitary headphone listening; a place where dreamy soundscapes wrap themselves around beats as subtle melodies unfold.” – Loud & Quiet

The Leeds-based collective HONESTY released ‘BOX’, a 34 min continuous mix of new material, their first since last year’s acclaimed debut EP, ‘WHERE R U’.

‘BOX’ sees HONESTY venture further into an introspective, subversive, melting-pot version of club music and features appearances from Florence Shaw (Dry Cleaning), vocalist Ryan Cooke and verses from rising UK rappers Rarelyalways and Kosi Tides. The mix is out now via Partisan Records.

STREAM ‘BOX’ 
HERE || LISTEN TO “BOING” FEAT. FLORENCE SHAW HERE

Speaking about the new mix, which features the previously shared haunting and ethereal track “CEASE.”HONESTY said:

“BOX is like a prequel. It’s an audio mood board, and an examination of the processes that we go through when we’re experimenting and writing music. It’s a journey through the origins of this band emotionally and sonically, the dying embers of our old projects and the beginnings of this one.”

Watch the accompanying video directed by *UNCANNY here: https://youtu.be/r5-_A9ldMWw

With four core members – George Mitchell, Matt Peel, Josh Lewis and Imi Holmes – and a rotating cast of collaborators, HONESTY emerged as an exercise in doing things differently. The project was born in 2020, initially as a remedy to Matt and Josh’s frustrations with the creative restrictions of their previous bands. Out went defined parts and play-by-numbers riffs, in came fluid roles and studio experimentation. Tapping up friend George Mitchell who Matt had worked with in Mitchell’s previous band Eagulls, they went on the hunt for vocalists. Step up Imi Holmes, who moved in over marathon track edits and late-night McDonalds sessions. Based in Matt’s Leeds studio The Nave, HONESTY became friends through making music, hanging out their way to a sound that they still can’t put their collective fingers on.

These are the boundaries that HONESTY have set for themselves – the sound can go where it wants, as long as the sentiment supports it. Making this music, in the way they’re making it, is about much more than mining for renewed creative expression; there is a concerted effort to harness the vitality of new beginnings, and the urgency it demands – you are here, right now, and that’s all that matters.

Songs from their 2023 debut EP ‘WHERE R U’ pulse with the exhilaration of discovery, totally uninhibited by the weight of anything that’s come before. Listen to the EP here and watch the visualisers for “U&I”, “TUNE IN TUNE OUT”, “NIGHTWORLD”, and “SEAMS”.

Since releasing their debut body of work, HONESTY have captured the attention of key tastemakers, with press support from Rolling Stone UKLoud & QuietBrooklyn Vegan, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, DORK, So Young & DIYApple Music 1’s Matt Wilkinson premiered recent single “CEASE.”, saying, ‘this song is important; this band are important’. On BBC Radio 6 Music, HONESTY have picked up plays on Huw Stephens, Emily Pilbeam & The New Music Fix show. In 2023 and early 2024 HONESTY played their debut live shows, captivating audiences with their unique and powerful live electronic set up. Their Eurosonic set was once of the most talked about at the festival, with Clash calling HONESTY “one of the buzziest bands of the evening”.



Ben Brown at The Brudenell on 15 July

Ben Brown photo by Catalin Carvajal.

Produced by Ben’s friend and mentor Frank Turner, ‘Blue’ EP is out digitally on 12th July 2024. Whilst writing music for his first solo offering, Ben had a chance meeting with Frank Turner. After catching a performance at his neighbour’s barbecue, Frank invited Ben to record some songs in the recording studio at the bottom of his garden. Bonding over a shared enjoyment of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, together they set about capturing the songs Frank had heard – a process which turned into one of play and exploration. There were no arrangements other than voice and guitar initially – but together they layered vocals and drum machines to create recordings that sound like the songs heard at the bbq – but more!

Ben says of the session: “Many laughs were had at the recording and listening back to the performances you can really hear how comfortable I had become in Frank’s garden studio. At lunch time – Frank would cook me his signature dish … Pasta Surprise – which is apparently the only thing he can cook. Being a good producer is as much technical prowess as it is communication and personal skills. Frank has both of these. The songs themselves are sort of vignettes in my head – when I sing them, I can picture a scene. The way the camera would move, the grain of the film. I believe them to be well crafted – both structurally and melodically – they are more understated than my previous work; there is no loud drum kit or overdriven guitar to hide behind. For me, this is more vulnerable – and to be honest, more exciting!

Joe Goddard at Jumbo on 16 July

Joe Goddard by Louise Mason

 
Next month sees the release of Joe Goddard’s third album Harmonics out on 12 July A record rooted in instinct and empathy, across 14 tracks of left-of-centre dance music – touching on UK garage, house, hip-hop, pop, and disco –Goddard opens the floor for a number of collaborators.
 
Having previously shared two tracks from the album, today, Goddard shares “Follow You”, one of a handful of solo songs that capture the more reflective and inward-looking side of his music. “With all the different people on this record, I’ve been working on how to respect the contribution they make and not trying to be the one who has to lead everything,” Joe says. “That follows through into the songs where I’m singing. I tried to write words without having too much of an idea of what I’m trying to express, where I’m just writing a stream of consciousness.”

Watch the visualiser for “Follow You” here.
Stream “Follow You” here.

Goddard also recently shared the smooth 1-800 GIRLS remix of “Moments Die” – watch the visualiser here.
 
Elsewhere on Harmonics, the voice of Ibibio Sound Machine’s Eno Williams rides the afro-house groove of “Progress”, while starry-eyed boom-bap track “When Love’s Out of Fashion” features UK rapper Oranje. Former Wild Beasts frontman Hayden Thorpe lends his uniquely expressive vocal to the low-slung house of “Summon”, and Joe’s Hot Chip bandmates Alexis Taylor and Al Doyle both appear on the gleaming half-step ballad “Heal Your Mind”. Other guests on the album include Tom McFarland of the London dance-pop group Jungle, Bronx-raised singer Fiorious (“New World (Flow)”), Guinean vocalist Falle Nioke, Brooklyn singer Barrie (“Moments Die”) and UK jazz musician Alabaster DePlume.

This openness towards collaboration and the acceptance of people’s individual human nuances is where Harmonics gets its name from. The history of dance music is replete with words like ‘ecstatic’, ‘euphoric’, and ‘uplifting’ – but here, those words do not describe hands-in-the-air clichés, but the spiritual and human side that Joe explores in his music. “Part of the reason why I wanted to call this Harmonics is that I was trying to create something very inclusive and empathetic, something harmonious,” Joe says. “There’s a lot of aggressive division in the world, and I wanted this to be loving, romantic – and fun.” This is the soulful thread that runs through all of Joe Goddard’s favourite music – genres from soul and funk, to house and garage.  Harmonics is not just a title but also a promise fulfilled – an unbridled celebration of compassion, collaboration and creation.
 
Watch the video for “Moments Die” featuring Barrie here.
Watch the video for “New World (Flow)” featuring Fiorious here.
 

Bananarama at Millennium Square on 20 July

Photograph by Mark Mattock



The band’s series of live dates and HMV Instore events in 2024 – details
here.

STREAM THE REFLEX + LUKE MILLION REWORKS HERE || WATCH VIDEOS HERE


Bananarama’s official store exclusives include a deluxe vinyl and deluxe 3CD edition, both of which are accompanied by a book which features an introduction by broadsheet journalist Fiona Sturges, articles by Sara and Keren, and an in-depth exploration of Bananarama’s relationship with fashion and music by writer and trends expert Katie Baron. It also includes stunning still photography of many of Bananarama’s outfits and memorabilia from their personal collections. 
‘Glorious: The Ultimate Collection’ charts the lives of Bananarama members Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward via their personally curated career highlights. It takes them from the early days of breaking through with “Really Saying Something with Fun Boy Three through to their phenomenal ‘80s success (“Cruel Summer”,”Venus”, “Love In The First Degree”, “Robert De Niro’s Waiting… and many more), the ‘90s (“Only your Love”,  “Preacher Man”, “Movin’ On” and “Last Thing on My Mind”) and into 2005 when they were riding flying high in the singles chart with “Move In My Direction and the US dance chart smash “Look on The Floor (Hypnotic Tango)”. The past half decade has witnessed their 2019 album ‘In Stereo introduce them to a whole new generation with a show-stealing set at Glastonbury and win Classic Pop’s Best Pop Album award. Last year’s ‘Masquerade’ was their highest charting and most critically acclaimed album since the ‘80s. 

Of ‘Glorious: The Ultimate Collection’, Sara says: “We wanted this to be a unique collection, a celebration of all the twists and turns in our career. We compiled endless lists of songs, album tracks and hit singles and whittled it down to forty: our favourite tracks from the past four decades. Leafing through my early lyric books transported me back to that teenage girl writing poems and scribbles that would eventually be turned into songs. Each track … is a piece of the jigsaw and a connection to me. Together they create the bigger picture, the story of us as artists. It has been one almighty journey.” Keren adds: “At times we have maybe felt that we haven’t received the credit, respect, and recognition we deserve, certainly sometimes purely down to the fact we were born female. I feel the collection of songs we have amassed over the last four decades hopefully speak for themselves, so I don’t have to. Putting the music together for this project… made me realise how much we have achieved and how determined, tenacious, and hardworking we are.”

Madness Live at Kirkstall Abbey on 26 July

Leeds’ The Pigeon Detectives, The Zutons and Hardwicke Circus join Madness at this outdoor show.

Madness_01.jpeg

Yorkshire-based music and events promoters Futuresound have shared the full lineup for the opening night of their ‘Live At Kirkstall Abbey’ series of summer events, taking place within the grounds of the iconic Leeds landmark on Friday 26 July.

Kirkstall Abbey will welcome legendary Ska-pop veterans Madness, bringing their remarkable catalogue of much-loved songs to the historic venue for a headline set to remember. Joining Madness on the bill are a number of very special guests; Leeds’ own indie heroes The Pigeon Detectives, a long-awaited return from Liverpudlians The Zutons, and an opening set from promising Carlisle quintet Hardwicke Circus.

 Widely regarded as one of the most beloved and influential bands in British music history, Camden’s favourite sons Madness will perform material from their recent critically-acclaimed number one album ‘Theatre of The Absurd Presents C’Est La Vie’, while also bringing with them a wide selection of hits from their impressive collection such as ‘Our House’, ‘It Must Be Love’, ‘Baggy Trousers’ and more. 

Renowned for their exhilarating live performances at gigs and festivals across the UK and Europe, Rothwell quintet The Pigeon Detectives join the Live At Kirkstall Abbey lineup for their only Leeds show of 2024 following the release of last year’s album ‘TV Show’.

The Pigeon Detectives:

We’re totally buzzing to be playing this huge show in our home town with music legends, Madness. Special, one-off gigs like this are always such a great occasion and what better backdrop than Kirkstall Abbey? It should be a night to remember!

ON SALE NOW

Meanwhile having announced a much-celebrated return with their forthcoming new album ‘The Big Decider’, Mercury-nominated Merseyside 5-piece The Zutons will perform a range of fan favourites during what will be their first Leeds performance in five years.

Live At Kirkstall Abbey is an exciting new series of summer events set in the grounds of the 12th century Cistercian monastery, curated by Leeds-based promoters and Yorkshire’s largest live music brand Futuresound. Having worked on incredible concerts and festivals around Yorkshire for decades, Futuresound are the team behind events including Live At Leeds, Slam Dunk Festival and Ed Sheeran’s unforgettable performances at Roundhay Park, working with world-famous acts like Sam Fender and Lewis Capaldi from their very first shows in the region through to impressive arena performances and large-scale outdoor concerts. 

Elles Bailey at Vinyl Whistle on 13 August and The Brudenell on 1 December

Photograph by Rob Blackham

Ahead of her debut performance at Glastonbury this weekend, Elles Bailey has released new single ‘Ballad Of A Broken Dream,’ the latest single from her forthcoming album Beneath The Neon Glow, out in August on Cooking Vinyl Records.

A punchy, rock’n blues baller,‘Ballad Of A Broken Dream’ looks at the struggles of being a musician. “There is no denying the link between musicians and mental health and the toil that this chosen path can take on a creative,” Elles says of the single. “The track follows the story of a tortured artist who, though undeniably exceedingly talented, has ended his career playing dive bars where no one knows his name. This song is a very personal song to me. However, tragically it’s the story of so many incredible talents who struggle with their mental health.” Listen to ‘Ballad Of A Broken Dream’ HERE & watch the lyric video HERE.

Beneath The Neon Glow sees Elles intertwine British roots, Americana and blues across ten powerfully, uplifting tracks. Produced by Dan Weller (Enter Shikari) and recorded with Elles’ exceptional and trusted live band, the album is an exploration of love’s myriad forms. Through lyrically vulnerable and brutally honest songwriting, Elles delves into the depths of heartbreak, the resilience of friendship and the enduring power of love that spans a lifetime. From the fleeting moments to the love that withstands the test of time, she fearlessly navigates through the spectrum of human emotion, offering listeners an intimate glimpse into her journey.


Beth Nielsen Chapman at Leeds City Varieties on 30 August

Beth Nielson Chapman

Beth Nielsen Chapman is an American singer-songwriter, whose diverse body of work spans fifteen albums and seven #1 hits, including compositions that have been recorded by Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Neil Diamond, the Indigo Girls, and Keb Mo’ and her music has been featured in film and TV. This Kiss, ASCAP’S 1999 Song Of The Year, sung by Faith Hill, garnered her a Grammy nomination. Also nominated for a Grammy in 2012 for The Mighty Sky, she was Nashville NAMMY’S 1999 Songwriter of the Year and inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame in 2016.

Having lost her first husband to cancer in 1994, Chapman survived breast cancer herself in 2000 and a brain tumor in 2009 so in her concerts, workshops, and Keynotes, she draws from direct experience in her inspiring presentations about the fascinating dance between cognition, healing and the creative flow. Her songs take you on a journey through the depth, humour and the wonder of life.

Beth, an ambassador for the Buddy Holly Foundation, has taught songwriting and creativity masterclasses at universities internationally, including the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and the Berklee School of Music, among others.

Beth’s latest album is “CrazyTown” produced by Ray Kennedy on Cooking Vinyl

Leeds City Varieties
Friday 30 th August at 7.30pm
Tickets £27.50 (plus booking fees)
Bethnielsenchapman.com

Main image: Leeds’ Honesty. Photograph by Barney Maguire.

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