The Sound Cafe
Gareth Dunlop 2023 UK & Republic Of Ireland Tours As Special Guest Of Lucy Spraggan & Bonnie Raitt
By Stevie Connor. Photo Credit: Daniel Morton
Northern Irish singer-songwriter and producer Gareth Dunlop has announced seventeen UK and Republic of Ireland dates spread across two support tours in May and June, plus an additional London headlining appearance in mid-May, as he continues to promote his 2022 album, ‘Animal’.
The tours are as the special guest of two very different female artists, commencing with nine May shows opening for English singer-songwriter and LGBTQ+ icon Lucy Spraggan (who will be releasing her own new album in late April), followed by eight more in June with US blues and Americana legend Bonnie Raitt as she continues to promote her Grammy Award winning current album, ‘Just Like That…’. Of the latter artist, Dunlop states that “I was fifteen when I first heard Bonnie Raitt. A friend’s father had just bought a DVD of ‘Best of the Old Grey Whistle Test’ and I burned through it in an evening, then went back to watch again and again. There was one performance that ignited something in me and always got an instant rewind and replay, which was Bonnie’s ‘Too Long At the Fair’. There was just something about her voice grabbing the blue notes outside of the melody and her incredible guitar playing that gave off this effortless attitude. Putting my own music out into the world has thrown up some unexpected and surprising twists and turns over the years but I never thought opening shows for Bonnie Raitt would be one of them. I’m absolutely stoked to have been asked!" Dunlop will play his own headlining show on 17th May at PizzaExpress Live in Holborn, London.
TOUR DATES with LUCY SPRAGGAN 04.05.23 GLASGOW SWG3 05.05.23 NEWCASTLE University Student Union 06.05.23 MANCHESTER Albert Hall 09.05.23 CARDIFF Tramshed 11.05.23 BRISTOL O2 Academy 12.05.23 BOURNEMOUTH O2 Academy 13.05.23 BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute 18.05.23 LONDON O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire 19.05.23 SHEFFIELD Foundry with BONNIE RAITT 01.06.23 DUBLIN Vicar Street SOLD OUT 03.06.23 LONDON Palladium SOLD OUT 06.06.23 BOURNEMOUTH Pavilion Theatre 07.06.23 OXFORD New Theatre 09.06.23 GATESHEAD Sage One 11.06.23 GLASGOW Royal Concert Hall 14.06.23 MANCHESTER Bridgewater Hall 15.06.23 BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall
Soulful and anthemic, 'Right About Ready' is among a diverse set of songs to be heard on ‘Animal’, which also includes the similarly evocative yet timeless 'Look Back Smiling', the atmospheric ‘Sorrow' and 'Prisoner Of My Past', the ‘60s dream-pop of ‘Humans', plus a title song that adds an electro-bounce to its subtle groove. ‘Right About Ready’ has a nifty looking karaoke-themed video, with Dunlop explaining that “the further I got into putting ‘Animal' together the more I realised how retro-synth it was going, with ‘Right About Ready’ really leaning into that style. I started discussing visuals with my regular director Jamie Niesh and he took what I thought would be a basic lyric video and turned it on its head.” Niesh adds that “there is a style and a self-assuredness about this song. We love bringing in things that we have known over the years into our videos, and this song just sat right for us to have some fun with, lean back into our ’90s childhoods and not take it too seriously. It is a really simple concept that relies on Gareth giving it all he's got, which thankfully he always does.”
‘Animal’ was recorded in Sycamore Studios in Belfast during a period that also saw Dunlop produce new records by his friends and compatriots Foy Vance and Lee Rogers. He toured the US, UK and Ireland with them both during 2022. Dunlop and Rogers have also been earning plaudits for their current collaborative single 'The Past Is Never Dead’, which is included in a brand new documentary about the novelist William Faulkner and has been played across BBC radio. Dunlop has been recognised as an accomplished talent ever since the BBC tipped him as ‘one to watch’ in 2010 when he was not long out of his teens. In the decade prior to ‘Animal’, he released several singles, a handful of EPs and an acclaimed debut record that were all musically eclectic and showcased his soulful voice. Several of his songs have subsequently featured in hit TV shows such as ‘Nashville’ and ‘Lucifer’, ads for Disney and Subaru, and more. In addition, he has writing credits for stars such as T.I., Tim McGraw & Faith Hill and John Oates.
Dunlop has also forged a reputation as a magnetic and charismatic performer on frequent headlining tours and support slots to the likes of Van Morrison, the late Jeff Beck, Snow Patrol, James Morrison and Foy Vance.