2020: The Year Ahead in Pop, by Fiona Shepherd

There are some major live shows scheduled for 2020, and some notable albums dropping too, writes Fiona Shepherd
In 2020, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher and The Courteeners will headline TRNSMT PIC: Gaelle BeriIn 2020, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher and The Courteeners will headline TRNSMT PIC: Gaelle Beri
In 2020, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher and The Courteeners will headline TRNSMT PIC: Gaelle Beri

Winter: The music year officially begins when Celtic Connections offers up its usual rich and varied diet of events. This year, Roaming Roots Revue celebrates the music of Bruce Springsteen as he enters his eighth decade and Return to Y’Hup pays tribute to the late, great poet and songwriter Ivor Cutler with a line-up of Scottish indie talent and accompanying double album released on Chemikal Underground Records.

At a time when he could arguably be filling arenas, Tom Walker has chosen to play a string of intimate shows in his native Scotland. The Home Run tour takes in dates in Aberdeen, Strathpfeffer, Forres, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh with local support acts chosen by Walker.

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There are new album releases from the typically urbane Pet Shop Boys, whose latest one word title is Hotspot, and the effusive Green Day who return with the “manic anthemic” Father of All Motherf***ers, fuelled by a belief that “rock has lost its balls.”

Isobel Campbell’s new album There Is No Other has been a long time coming, thanks to lengthy legal wrangles. The equally rigorous La Roux breaks a silence of six years with her third album, Supervision, while Supernature creator Cerrone returns with his latest disco odyssey DNA.

The portion of the world that has been waiting for a new Huey Lewis and the News album can breathe easy. Spurred on by a diagnosis of inner ear disorder Meniere’s Disease, Lewis and gang have completed their first album of original music in 19 years. Weather is released on 14 February, though the real Valentine’s Day treat surely comes from debatable romantic Aidan Moffat who releases Au Pieds de la Nuit in his latest instrumental guise Nyx Nott.

Spring: Spring has sprung but not everyone is having fun, so Lewis Capaldi has resourced his debut arena tour with venue buddies to help those suffering from anxiety to enjoy a night out they might otherwise have foregone. See him at Glasgow’s Hydro on 5 and 6 March. Elsewhere, King Creosote provides an audio-visual tonic on a five-date reprise of his From Scotland With Love show.

These days, death is no barrier to touring. The latest artist to receive the hologram tour treatment is Whitney Houston, beaming into Glasgow on 1 March. For those who prefer their pop divas in the flesh, Susan Boyle plays a couple of rare Scottish dates later that week and Pussycat Dolls reconvene for a no doubt tasteful revue at the Hydro (11 April).

You wait ages for one US acting supremo and then two show up on the same night. Steve Martin does his credible bluegrass thang at the Hydro on 9 March, while William Shatner guests at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall – probably not singing, though we can but hope.

Festival season starts early with some indoor shindigs. Country 2 Country takes over Glasgow in mid-March, while the contrasting Wee Dub Festival of grassroots reggae coincides in Edinburgh. Glasgow’s Counterflows goes where other festivals fear to tread in early April, while Stag and Dagger rounds up indie and alternative rock talent at the start of May.

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Goldfrapp mark 20 years since the release of their debut album, Felt Mountain, at the Usher Hall (27 March) and Santana celebrate both the 20th anniversary of their Supernatural album and the half-century of Abraxas on their Miraculous tour (Hydro, 26 March).

Meanwhile, some artists actually release new albums. Deacon Blue’s City of Lovelands is out on 6 March and The Boomtown Rats release Citizens of Boomtown, their first new album since 1984, a week later. Does the world need another Boomtown Rats album, muses the press release, to which Bob Geldof replies “I couldn’t give a s***e.”

Maria McKee is back after an absence of 13 years with La Vita Nuova, Alanis Morissette returns after eight years with Such Pretty Forks in the Road on 1 May and lock up your pets – Deap Vally and Flaming Lips converge as Deap Lips on 13 March.

Summer: The great outdoors beckons and Falkirk Stadium is where it’s all happening in the 2020 summer season. The Killers play their only Scottish date of the Imploding the Mirage tour there on 28 May, with shows from Little Mix and Westlife to follow in late June.

Gerry Cinnamon takes on Hampden Park in July with little more than an acoustic guitar and his trusty baker boy cap. Last year, he was the toast of TRNSMT. So far the Glasgow Green weekender is playing it safe in 2020 with Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher and The Courteeners leading the charge, while boutique fandango Doune the Rabbit Hole has announced the rather more diverse Belle & Sebastian, Pussy Riot and Martha Reeves.

On the subject of Motown divas, Diana Ross visits the Hydro (4 July) on her Top of the World tour, while her former labelmates The Isley Brothers, led by founding member Ron Isley, celebrate their 60th anniversary with a visit to Glasgow (24 June) to ask Lulu if they can have their song Shout back.

Autumn: The diva assault continues with Celine Dion warbling her fans into submission across two nights at the Hydro (11 and 12 September) while the infinitely more refined Dionne Warwick disarms by stealth at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (24 September).

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As the year ends, the likes of Lana Del Rey, Sam Smith, Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus and Dixie Chicks should be another album older, John Lydon will engage as only he can on a spoken word tour, Elton John bows out on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour and, unless he reschedules for a third time, heavy metal trouper Ozzy Osbourne will fulfil the pledge of his No More Tours tour. 

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