Music preview: Sound ideas ahead in 2016

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.
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The New Year starts on a quiet note at the region’s music venues but there are a handful of highlights to look forward to during January.

Scarborough Spa celebrates the music of folk great Norma Waterson with a two-night Normafest, featuring her extended family and guests, on January 8 and 9.

Noisy Mercury Prize nominees Slaves should blow away a few cobwebs when they play at O2 Academy Leeds on January 10 – the show had to be rearranged after singer and drummer Isaac Holman dislocated his shoulder in November. The same venue also hosts the eagerly anticipated return of Massive Attack on January 27.

Irish singer Hozier, whose track Take Me To Church was voted Song of the Year at the BBC Music Awards, visits the O2 Academy Sheffield on January 11 while The Kooks promote their remix album, Hello, What’s Your Name? at York Barbican on January 20.

Long serving US alternative rock band They Might Be Giants, of Birdhouse in Your Soul fame, take a break from recording their latest children’s album, Why?, to visit Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on January 27.

Yorkshire’s arenas kick back into life in February, with American heavy metal giants Slipknot donning their masks to cause mayhem at the First Direct Arena on February 13 and Foals playing songs from their highly rated fourth album What Went Down at the same venue on February 20. Sheffield Arena has reformed hard rockers Thunder on February 19.

A busy month at O2 Academy Leeds sees Fun Lovin’ Criminals mark the 20th anniversary of their album Come Find Yourself on February 4; Bloc Party reveal their rejigged line-up on the NME Awards Tour on February 8; Suede celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14; Marina and The Diamonds are back in action on February 17; and scream band The Used will be toasting 15 years together with two shows on February 20 and 21.

Sheffield’s O2 Academy has Bowling For Soup on February 7 (they also play at Leeds Academy four days earlier) while The Leadmill welcomes BBC 6 Music favourites Villagers on February 6, flamboyant rock ’n’ roller Ezra Furman on February 17 and Power of Love chart-topper Gabrielle Aplin the same night.

Wendy James, once of 80s pop punk band Transvision Vamp, unveils material from her forthcoming solo album The Price of the Ticket at Brundell Social Club on February 6, Scottish classical/pop crossover artist C Duncan is at the same venue on February 21, hotly-tipped US alt-rock band Hinds are there on February 22 and US troubadour Ryley Walker, whose album Primrose Green featured in many best of 2015 lists, teams up with veteran double bassist Danny Thompson on February 26.

There’s more folk music at Leeds City Varieties with Fairport Convention on February 4. The same venue also hosts spiky-haired 80s synth pop star Howard Jones on February 19.

York Barbican has Rebecca Ferguson performing the Billie Holiday songbook on February 6 and Steel City balladeer Richard Hawley on February 19.

At Hebden Bridge Trades Club former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones performs on February 19 and shoegaze favourite Ulrich Schnauss is in action on February 20.

Unity Works in Wakefield has poet-turned-comedian-turned-actor-turned-DJ Craig Charles bringing his Funk and Soul Show on February 6 while indie rock band Cage The Elephant pay a visit on February 19.

The voice of M People, Heather Small, will be searching for heroes at St George’s Hall in Bradford on February 3; the venue also welcomes the UK’s premier female saxophonist Yolanda Brown on February 12.

The pick of the crop at Leeds Arena in March are Elle Goulding on February 15 and Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, late of The Beautiful South, on February 19. Ellie Goulding can also be seen at Sheffield Arena on February 12 while X Factor 2015 winner Louisa Johnson and co play at the same venue on February 11 (they’re at Leeds Arena on January 26 too).

Leeds Met graduates Piers Agget and Kesi Dryden return to the city’s Academy with their group Rudimental on March 1. The venue also has gigs from James Morrison (March 9), Wolf Alice (March 19) and The Stranglers on March 25. The Men in Black also play at Sheffield Academy on March 17.

Reformed Liverpudlian janglers The Coral are at Brudenell Social Club on March 7 and The Leadmill on March 11.

Also at the Brundenell, it’s the turn of Field Music on March 10 and Lee Scratch Perry and Mad Professor on March 16. TFI Friday favourites Reef are at Fibbers in York on March 18 while Peter Hook and The Light play Warehouse 23 in Wakefield on March 5.

80s stars Midge Ure, Nick Heyward, Big Country and Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot share the stage at St George’s Hall on March 8 and Lulu relights her fire on March 13.

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