Sometimes quality should exceed quantity (except when it comes to England's remit to score goals next month - who cares how they go in?). This week's Fat Friday is rather plump-a-licious with half of this weeks tickets seemingly taken up by Status Quo's 567-date tour of each county (or so it appears) - they've got more dates than the Cleggers have got MPs. Without further ado, pull on a thong and dive right in with this lot (on sale at 9am, unless otherwise stated):
Ta-dah! Yes they are back - Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Babydaddy, Randy Real and Del Marquis have all been recording new music, scrapping it, starting again and then changing release dates. All in a year's work then, but life is never straight-forward when you are called Scissor Sisters, I guess. New album "Nightwork" is due for release at the end of June and a handful of UK dates have been confirmed - it looks like all systems go to me. They play Glasgow on the 16th June, Dublin on the 20th, Brixton on the 22nd / 23rd, Birmingham on the 25th and Manchester on the 28th with UK tickets going on sale at 10am, costing between £30 - £32.50. Tickets for Dublin cost 44.20 and are on sale now. This will be their first trip back to these shores since 2007 and demand is sure to be high.
Young Benjamin Drew has been a considerable success during the past 12 months - a number 1 album, top 10 singles and a starring role in pensioner-vigilante flick "Harry Brown", not bad for a man who actually came fourth in the BBC Sound of 2006 competition. He has just added some new October dates to his upcoming autumn tour including Margate (26th), Gloucester (27th), Leicester (28th), Sheffield (29th) and finally Liverpool on the 30th. Tickets cost around £15 plus fees. His next single is rumoured to be "Prayin'", due out in June.
Many sweaty brows and palms are in abundance when this band gets mentioned, particularly in the press. You can tell from the 5-star album review I gave them that they have something a bit special to offer. Their Royal Albert Hall date was a sell-out and I can guarantee their next batch of dates in November will do the same. And of course by November, "High Violet" will be sitting in many CD/ iPod/ record players getting played to death - possibly. Bristol is the first stop on the 24th, followed by Manchester on the 27th (on sale now!) and London's Brixton Academy on the 1st December. Bristol and London go on sale in the morning. Another song from the album is due for release as a single in June, the excellent "Anyone's Ghost".
Rock's finest ex-mullets and boogie-wizards by Royal Appointment, Status Quo is out to collect postcards of just about every town and city in the UK judging by their list of venues. Blimey lads, are you playing on Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well - a secret gig in Purley Sainsbury's in the turkey aisle? An acoustic strumalong on the top deck of the 109 to Addington? They'll probably turn up at my gaff and cook my dinner tonight if I ask them (I'd better finish up that filled-pasta, lads). Actually, I'm being glib - hard-working and honest throughout their musical careers, Rossi and Parfitt will cover most points of the nation with a cracking tour consisting of 29 (count 'em) gigs spread over 6 weeks or so, starting with Southend on the 9th November and ending in Bradford on the 19th December. Londoners have two dates to go for - Croydon (15th Nov) and Wembley (11th Dec). All tickets are around £35.
Much-fancied Brooklynites and experimental jagged-pop darlings Yeasayer are another hot ticket worth shelling out for, by what a few of my friends have told me anyway. Their recently-released album "Odd Blood" looks like a sure bet for a few end-of-year album lists, despite its flagrant flirtations with pop. If you tried to get a KoKo ticket and failed then why not have a crack at the London date during their October tour? They play Manchester on the 20th, then the Chalk Farm Roundhouse on the 21st, Newcastle on the 23rd and finally Glasgow on the 24th. I see that the 22nd is free (hmmmm, a second London date per chance?). Tickets start at £13.50 and good luck! You can also still get tickets for their Cambridge, Sheffield and Brighton dates in July.
It's always great to see dance acts surviving in this technology-stuffed day and age and you cannot deny the effect both of the above acts have had on the scene during the past decade or more. Groove Armada merged ambient chill-out with soul, techno and funk on their first album, beefed up the sound for their next few releases, founded the top-notch Lovebox Weekender and now have discovered pop - hey, it's not such a sinful thing. Catch them on tour in October from Leeds (7th) to Brixton (a double-date beauty on 15th and 16th).
Leftfield have released far less in the way of product, garnering respect for just two studio albums from the 90s (and a couple of soundtrack pieces). Apart from a welter of Festival appearances brought about by the recent reformation (of just Neil Barnes), Leftfield are also playing three headline dates in Belfast (just announced for 2nd June), Manchester (5th - tickets still available) and Sheffield (6th - a few tickets left also). Tickets are around £25. Previous partner Paul Daley is busy recording a solo album by the way (but probably not called Rightfield).
Ocean Colour Scene
And finally .... no it isn't more election news - Cameron hasn't hooked up with Clegg to record an album of gritty dubstep-anthems about how tough it was on the streets of Eton - it's the return of Ocean Colour Scene doing their funky Britpop thing all over again with a further injection of live shindigs up and down the country. Spurred on by their Isle of Wight appearance in June, the boys have added Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham, Norwich, Leeds and Glasgow to the existing tour. They always sell well and with the comeback of other Britrockers like James, Charlatans and Shed Seven, now's the time to bounce up and down to "Riverboat Song" one more time, eh?