THE door may now have closed on a memorable year in pop but there are already plenty of exciting musical events to look forward to in Yorkshire in 2014.
At Leeds’s impressive First Direct Arena the spectacle begins on February 28 with the Australian Pink Floyd Show recreating the likes of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Division Bell.
Expect plenty of whiz bang when X Factor’s Class of 2013, including winner Sam Bailey and Leeds-born finalist Luke Friend, roll into the £80m Arena on March 12, while the Manic Street Preachers, who ventured into acosutic territory for the first time with their 2013 album Rewind the Film, head for the 13,500-capacity venue on March 28.
Over at the O2 Academy Leeds “groove metal giants” Lamb of God kick off the new year with cheerfully named tour mates Decapitated on January 13.
Dallas Green was once the singer and guitarist in Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire; as City and Colour he’s now an acoustic troubadour who plays at the Academy on January 25.
X Factor 2012 winner James Arthur waded into a homophobia row with a recent rap and Twitter spat with fellow former contestant Lucy Spraggan, for which he subsequently apologised.
He will attempt to refocus his career with a nearly sold-out tour which visits Leeds Academy on January 21.
Meanwhile Justin Currie brings the re-formed Scottish alternative rock group Del Amitri to the Academy on January 27.
The band are best known for their 1989 album Waking Hour, which contained the top 20 hit single Nothing Ever Happens.
Two of the most exciting discoveries of 2013, Settle soulboy John Newman and Nottingham electronic trio London Grammar, both have eyes on the international market.
But there’s a chance to see them on home shores, at Leeds Academy in February. Newman plays on February 4 while London Grammar stop off on February 12.
A busy month at the Academy also includes singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner on February 15, all-female US indie rock band Warpaint on February 19 and the quirky Presidents of the USA on February 27.
Likeable Brighton rap duo Rizzle Kicks, of Mama Do the Hump and Lost Generation fame, showcase their latest album, Roaring 20s, at the Academy on February 28.
March sees the return of Bombay Bicycle Club, with their fourth album in five years, So Long, See You Tomorrow. They play at Leeds Academy on March 2
Two of punk’s so-called heritage acts are also due to visit the venue in March. Stiff Little Fingers are due to perform on March 12 while The Stranglers mark their 40th anniversary with a show on March 21.
Older hands Maximo Park and Franz Ferdinand will also be back on the live scene in March. Newcastle’s Maximo Park accompany their new covers album Too Much Information with a date at the Academy on March 13 while Franz Ferdinand, whose bass player Bob Hardy hails from Bradford, play on March 26.
Devon electronic group Metronomy herald the arrival of their much anticipated fourth album Love Letters with a gig at Leeds Academy on March 18.
Other highlights include OneRepublic, whose single Counting Stars topped the UK charts, on March 20 and American R&B star Jason Derulo on March 27.
A stone’s throw away, at Leeds Metropolitan University students’ union, there’s the welcome return of Anna Calvi, a former Mercury Prize nominee who continued to enhance her reputation with her excellent second album, One Breath. She plays in Leeds on February 4. Young bucks The Strypes will be reviving the spirit of 60s rhythm and blues at the same venue on February 17 and enduringly popular Sheffield agit rockers Reverend and the Makers play there on February 25.
Over at the University of Leeds, hip-hop meets street poetry duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip will perform songs from their latest album Repent Replenish Repeat on January 24, UK jazz hero Courtney Pine drops in on February 15 while Temples herald a psychedelic revival on February 28. We Are Scientists – with former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows in tow – play at the LUU on March 8.
Bradford-based Scars on 45 will be road-testing new material for their upcoming album at The Cockpit on January 17 and Hannah Trigwell, once a familiar face busking on Leeds streets, is at the same venue on January 18. Welsh emo-rockers The Blackout call in on January 21.
Future highlights include Florida’s Mayday Parade on February 4, the fast-rising Lonely The Brave on February 5, rapper Mikil Pane on February 7, the much-hyped Toy on February 23 and Birmingham indie hitmakers The Twang on February 27. Hotly-tipped Foxes appears at The Cockpit on March 6.
The Brudenell Social Club, in Hyde Park, which celebrated its centenary in 2013, welcomes Stephen Malkmus, late of 90s alt-rock favourites Pavement, and his latest band The Jicks on January 13.
Deer Tick visit the same venue on January 21 while February attractions include reformed punk band The Members on February 1, an evening with John Bramwell of I Am Kloot on February 7, The Boxer Rebellion on February 15, Welsh singer Cate Le Bon on February 16, and avant garde outfits About Group on February 23 and Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra on February 26.
Alex Paterson’s ambient dub crew The Orb play on March 21 and Pauline Black and Gaps Henderson lead the indefatigable Selecter on March 22. Over at Leeds’s newest venue, the Belgrave Music Hall, the pick of the coming months sees Nathaniel Rateliff call in on January 23, Cuban band Son Yambu on January 25, Basia Bulat on February 13 and NME favourites Fat White Family on February 19.
Meanwhile the 360 Club, which stages gigs by up-and-coming local acts at The Library on Woodhouse Lane, is to be featured in Independent Venues Week. A bill led by Allusondrugs is due to be broadcast on BBC 6 Music on January 31.
A little bit of folk
For folk lovers, there’s a chance to see Oysterband at Leeds City Varieties on March 18 and Fairport Convention play at the same venue on February 21.
US country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman, whose songs have been covered by Wllie Nelson and Faith Hill, performs at Harrogate Royal Hall on February 13.
And Laura Cantrell, the country-folk singer much loved by John Peel, is at The Wardrobe on February 21.
Performance poet John Cooper Clarke, a notable influence on Arctic Monkeys, appears at Leeds Town Hall on March 1. Ethereal Irish folk acts Clannad and Mary Black team up at the Town Hall on March 12.
Tenor Frank Fairfield, who once supported Fleet Foxes, will perform music ranging from soaring hillbilly songs to murder ballads at the Howard Assembly Room on January 11 while Arthur Jeffes keeps alive the spirit of his father Simon’s Penguin Cafe Orchestra at the same venue on February 22. Grammy nominees Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, from Mali, pay a visit on March 19.