In news that seems to have rocked social media and got everyone on the Manchester music scene talking, Blossoms and Rick Astley announced this week that they’re teaming up for two special gigs next month.
And if that collaboration wasn’t odd enough as it is, they’re only going to be performing songs by The Smiths.
Performing at Manchester’s iconic Albert Hall on Friday 8 October, before a second show at London’s 02 Forum in Kentish Town the following day, the popular Stockport indie band will become Astley’s backing band for a full set of The Smiths songs during the two intimate shows.
The announcement of the two gigs comes after Astley joined Blossoms on stage during the first of their three nights at London’s Kentish Town Forum earlier this week.
Videos of the performances have been racking up millions of views on Twitter.
“We’re going to do some songs by one of our favourite bands with a friend of ours from the North West, welcome our friend Rick Astley,” Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden said before they tore into The Smiths’ classics Panic and This Charming Man with Astley on vocals.
Later Tom also played an acoustic segment of Astley’s classic Never Gonna Give You Up.
Despite it seemingly being pretty hard for people to wrap their heads around the collaboration, with Blossoms themselves even admitting “we’ve had wilder dreams, but not many”, it makes a little more sense when you realise that Astley – who shot to fame in the 80s, but has also enjoyed recent success with his 2016 album going to number one – is a self-confessed The Smiths superfan.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2016, Astley promised to one day perform a set of just The Smiths songs in Manchester because he “absolutely loved them”.
However, he predicted that he would “probably get lynched for it”.
Speaking on the announcement of the unlikely collaboration, Blossoms’ frontman Tom Ogden said: “The Smiths have always meant so much to Blossoms, with even their rainiest songs complete with wry humour and soul-reaching musicianship and melody.
“Their poppier moments are pure, joyful, danceable poetry.
“Imagine backing Rick Astley to play the songs of The Smiths?
“We’ve had wilder dreams, but not many.
“We’ll barely be able to believe it until it happens, but the dates are set, we’re studying every note, line and beat to say ‘thank you’ to The Smiths alongside Rick and do both of them proud.”
Rick Astley added: “From the moment The Smiths emerged in 1983, I was hooked and it’s as a fan, with deep respect as a musician for Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce, that I’ll be joining the endlessly enthusiastic and talented Blossoms on stage to sing their songs.
“It’s no secret that it’s been an ambition of mine to turn an idea that first sounded crazy, making more sense as Blossoms and I talked about it and then rehearsed it, into a reality.
“These shows will be nights that I’ll never forget.”
Tickets for both shows happening next month are now on sale here.
The unique live concert will take place at City Airport in Manchester on Friday 14 July, just outside the city – the huge space surrounded by lush green fields will be transformed with epic light and sound productions.
You can expect a night of sing-along hits, good time grooves and Craig David classics.
Tickets will go on sale from 9am on Friday 31 March with Skiddle.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons
Rockstock, one of the UK’s biggest and best tribute festivals, returns to Stockport this May
One of the few pains of being a music fan is that no you can’t always manage to get tickets for the biggest bands in the world, certainly not if you’re looking to see them all in one place.
Moreover, not only is there only so many people you can fit on a big field, but tickets for the likes of Download, Slam Dunk, Reading and Leeds and so on seem to be getting pricier every year, meaning it can be harder and harder for some gig-goers to make it to all the shows on their list.
So, what’s the next best thing? Well, we don’t know about you but a super affordable tribute festival where dozens of acts play nothing but the biggest bangers from some of your favourite artists all weekend sounds pretty good to us.
In fact, we know it is: we’ve been to Rockstock before and we can well and truly vouch for this local cult favourite.
Rockstock is the two-day Stockport-based tribute festival created by the same minds behind Festwich, the biggest tribute festival held just down the road in Prestwich‘s St Mary’s Park every summer for the past 11 years.
Copying the winning formula set out by its popular predecessor, Rockstock 2023 returns for its third year on May 27-28, with more than 30 different bands turning up to not just imitate the greatest rock bands in the world, but sometimes put them to the shame. No, not exaggerating.
The tribute act scene is one we’ve always had a real affection for — there’s nothing quite like going down to your local and watching a bunch of often middle-aged musicians giving it their all as ‘Metalicker’ or ‘Iffy Byro’ — and it doesn’t get much better than this.
Organised by UK Tribute Festivals, their ethos is all about sparing no expense in creating the best possible festival experience possible and delivering the same high production value you’d get if you were going along to any to see the real thing, as well as making sure there’s all the usual festival attractions.
AC/DC, The Killers, Linkin Park, The Madness, Mötley Crüe and countless others are among this year’s Rockstock lineup. It drew a massive crowd in 2022 and is sure to do the same again this summer.
Although there will obviously be plenty of sunny beers enjoyed, just like at any festival, one of the reasons we like this festival is that it has always proven to be an extremely fun-filled and safe family environment, not to mention serving as a great way for the little ones to go along to their first rock show.
Last but not least, perhaps the best part about this lovely and not-so-little festival is that despite promising to be bigger and better than ever this year, admission will only set you back a tenner, with kids’ tickets costing just £3. Absolutely ace.
You can grab your tickets for Rockstock 2023 HERE.