Grammy Debut - Joni Mitchell will make her Grammy Awards performance debut at this year's show on 4 February. The singer-songwriter is nominated for best folk album. She has previously won nine Grammys and received a lifetime achievement award in 2002. The 80-year-old only recently returned to performing after suffering a near-fatal brain aneurysm in 2015. In June, she played her first headline show in more than 20 years after she re-learnt how to walk, talk and play guitar. Billed as a ‘Joni Jam’, Mitchell performed for nearly three hours and was accompanied by famous admirers like Annie Lennox, Marcus Mumford and Brandi Carlile.
In 2002, when collecting her lifetime award at the Grammys, she was described as "one of the most important female recording artists of the rock era" and "a powerful influence on all artists who embrace diversity, imagination and integrity." Over the years she has been nominated for 18 Grammy awards.
Here & Now - A musical featuring the music of pop group Steps will open later this year. Called Here & Now, it will run at the Alexandra in Birmingham from 9-24 November. It has a book by Shaun Kitchener and is being directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with choreography by Matt Cole and sound design by Adam Fisher. It is produced by the band and ROYO with Pete Waterman.
Steps, comprising Claire Richards, Faye Tozer, Ian ‘H’ Watkins’, Lee Latchford-Evans and Lisa Scott-Lee, said: “We’ve searched for the perfect story for our music and we’ve found it in the aisle of a seaside superstore, where four friends set out on their own Summer of Love. It’s a story of friendship, romance and community; packed with our biggest hits and sure to have everybody laughing, crying and dancing in the aisles.”
Wireless - Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, J Hus and Doja Cat have been confirmed as headline acts for Wireless festival. The three-day event returns to Finsbury Park, London, between 12 and 14 July. Savage, who just released third album American Dream, says he is "so happy to be returning home and headlining Wireless for the very first time". Other artists confirmed for the line-up including Future, Ice Spice, Asake and Tyla.
Exhaustion - The singer Morrissey is being treated for "physical exhaustion" after cancelling two concerts in the US. A statement posted to his Instagram account said the singer had "been ordered to rest for two weeks". It added that the former frontman of The Smiths would remain in Zurich where he was receiving "medical supervision". Morrissey had been due to perform in California on 26 and 27 January to mark the 20th anniversary of his album, You are the Quarry.
The venues in Anaheim and Inglewood said the concerts had been cancelled due to "unforeseen circumstances". His tour dates in February have also been cancelled, according to his website. The singer had been due to perform in Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil next month.
Luton Calling - Radio 1's Big Weekend will be held in Luton this year. Headliners for the 2024 event, which starts on Friday 24 May, are yet to be announced. Last year Lewis Capaldi, Jonas Brothers, and The 1975 topped the bill in Dundee. It will be the first time the festival has run across three full days, and 100,000 tickets will be available.
Farewell - Melanie Safka, the American singer-songwriter known as Melanie who had a global hit with Brand New Key, has died aged 76. Her children Leilah, Jeordie, and Beau Jarred announced her death on social media, describing her as “one of the most talented, strong and passionate women of the era and every word she wrote, every note she sang reflected that”.
Along with Janis Joplin and Joan Baez, she was one of only three solo women appearing at the Woodstock festival in 1969 – “an unbelievably frightening day”, she later said. “I never even felt like I was a hippy, I didn’t like the term. If anything, I was the beat generation – people in the Village expressing themselves in so many ways, not being pigeonholed.”
(Jim Evans)
30 January 2024

Latest Issue. . .