Enjoying Live Music Again

Firstly, this month a little bit of blowing our own trumpet. Congratulations to Celeste, Hannah Peel and Sault who have all been nominated for The Mercury Prize and whose debut albums were all featured in this column. Congratulations too to Wolf Alice on their nomination, especially as I promised to eat my hat if their album Blue Weekend wasn’t nominated for the award.

At the time of writing live music and all the festivals are going ahead but with all the talk of “vaccine passports” it may be wise to reiterate that at present the festivals and venues are not asking for a passport as such but will require the following to demonstrate their COVID-19 Status before entering by providing either:

Proof of full vaccination – both doses received (with the second at least 14 days prior to the festival/event) or

Proof of a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test taken prior to travel on the day of arrival at the festival/event or

Proof of natural immunity based upon a positive PCR test within 180 days of the festival/event (including 10 days self-isolation following the result).

In short, not quite back to normal, but maybe enough to enable people to enjoy live music again. We may indeed have to wait until 2022 to be able to enjoy without, as it were a care in the world. With that in mind can we point you to two artists to make a point of seeing next year.

■ Imelda May

Globally revered Irish artist Imelda May has announced her first major UK tour in over five years in support of her highly anticipated new album ‘11 Past The Hour’. Tickets for the 2022 tour are on general sale. You can catch her on her only Yorkshire date at The Barbican, York on May 6th

Superstar singer and songwriter Imelda’s sixth studio album ‘11 Past The Hour’ – her first new music in four years – is a record that brims with sensuality, emotional intelligence, spirituality and intuition, marking a new chapter for Imelda and showcasing her at her most authentic. With pals and collaborators like Ronnie Wood, Noel Gallagher, Miles Kane & Niall McNamee, and with inspired contributions from feminist thinkers and activists such as Gina Martin and Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, the album is an invigorating blast of rock’n’roll, with a purpose. Her last album landed at No.5 in the UK Official Album Chart and she can count such artists as Bob Dylan and Bono amongst her fans. Last year, her 2008 album ‘Love Tattoo’ was named the bestselling album of modern chart history by a homegrown female Irish artist by the Official Charts Company. 

VIP packages including access to soundcheck and a Q&A with Imelda are also available for the first time on her UK tour.

■ Torres

TORRES’ fifth album Thirstier pumps the miraculous into the mundane. It is in open revolt against the grey drag of time, a searing and life-affirming eruption of an album that wonders what could happen if we found a way to make our fantasies inexhaustible. What if we got whatever we wanted and still wanted it, endlessly, with no threat of boredom and no danger of depletion? What could we become if we let ourselves grow incandescent with eternally renewing desire?

Since releasing her self-titled debut album in 2013, TORRES— the stage name of Brooklyn-based rock musician Mackenzie Scott —has used her pointed lyricism and disarming vocal presence to seek openings in the everyday, prying apart the walls of the real in search of escape. After a pandemic year that toggled relentlessly between numbing dread and active terror, Thirstier explodes the borders of imaginative possibility. It is Scott’s most exuberant and daring record to date, showcasing her in thrilling freefall. 

Recorded in the fall of 2020 at Middle Farm Studios in Devon, UK, Thirstier marks a turn towards a bigger, more bombastic sound for TORRES. The anxious hush that fell over much of Scott’s previous music gets turned inside-out in songs tailored for post-plague celebration. Scott co-produced the album with Rob Ellis and Peter Miles, drawing on her experience self- producing the acclaimed 2020 LP Silver Tongue to push her music onto an even broader scale. Guitar-driven walls of sound, reminiscent of producer Butch Vig’s work with Garbage and Nirvana, surge and dissipate like surf in high winds, carrying Scott’s commanding voice to the fore.

TORRES starts her UK tour on March 12th 2022 at The Brudenell

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