Blur playing in Newcastle ahead of release of first album since 2015
The alternative rock act’s ninth LP, The Ballad of Darren, is released on Friday, July 21, preceded by an online-only single, The Narcissist, out today, May 19.
The ten-trackalbum’s cover features a picture taken in 2004 by Surrey-born photographer Martin Parr of an outdoor swimming pool in Gourock in Inverclyde but that’s the extent of their dealings with Scotland for now at least as they haven’t got any dates lined up this side of the border.
The closest they’ll be getting is Newcastle City Hall next Sunday, May 28.
That’s one of four warm-up dates they’re playing ahead of festival dates in Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands in June and July and two shows at London’s Wembley Stadium in July, the others being in Colchester in Essex tonight, Eastbourne in East Sussex on Sunday, May 21, and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands on Friday, May 26.
Their Wembley shows, their first ever at the 90,000-capacity English national football stadium, are on Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9, and they’ll be followed by festival dates in.
July 8’s concert sold out in a matter of minutes but tickets for July 9’s, featuring a special-guest slot by rock veteran Paul Weller, are still available.
All 2,100 tickets for their Newcastle gig are also sold out but further details are available at www.academymusicgroup.com/o2cityhallnewcastle or www.blur.co.uk
“We really love playing these songs and thought it’s about time we did it again,” said frontman Damon Albarn.
Guitarist Graham Coxon added: “I’m really looking forward to playing with my Blur brothers again and revisiting all those great songs.
“Blur live shows are always amazing for me – a nice guitar and an amp turned right up and loads of smiling faces.”
Blur’s last Newcastle show was in 2009 at the old O2 Academy, now called NX, though Albarn, 55, played a solo show at the Boiler Shop in 2021, and their last Scottish date was at Glasgow’s Barrowland in 2015, Albarn also having returned to the city and to Edinburgh in 2021.
Formed in London in 1988 by Albarn, Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree, they’ve since racked up six UK No 1 albums – 1994’s Parklife, 1995’s The Great Escape, their untitled fifth long-player in 1997, 1999’s 13, 2003’s Think Tank and 2015’s The Magic Whip – and two chart-topping singles, 1995’s Country House and 1997’s Beetlebum.