Billy Bragg has confirmed a 2019 U.K. (and Ireland) tour entitled “One Step Forward. Two Steps Back.” In each town Bragg will perform three unique shows on consecutive nights. The first night’s performance will feature Bragg’s current set, which ranges across his 35 year career. The second will see Bragg perform songs from his first three albums: his punk rock debut Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy (1983), its similarly raw follow-up Brewing Up with Billy Bragg (1984) and Talking with the Taxman about Poetry (1986). The third performance will see Bragg perform songs from his second three albums: the positively jangled Workers Playtime (1988), the pop classic Don’t Try This at Home (1991) and the back-to-basics William Bloke (1996).
Says Billy: “After more than three decades of travelling around the world in a van, or spending all day flying vast distances to play a gig, I’m looking forward to having some time to explore cities that I usually only get to see between the soundcheck and the show. And this three night stand format is a way of keeping things interesting, both for me and the audience. I tried it out in Auckland recently and had a lot of fun revisiting my back pages.”
Billy Bragg has been a fearless recording artist, tireless live performer and peerless political campaigner for over 35 years. Politicised by a Tory government operating without love or justice, this previously adrift young man from Barking, whose failure at national exams had reduced his career opportunities to two, eventually bought himself out of the British Army in 1981 (‘the best £175 I ever spent’), determined to make a living out of song.
Governments rise and fall, fashions come and go, pop stars are built up and knocked down by a fickle media, and Billy Bragg adapts to survive: the one-time Luddite and failed handyman has embraced New Media and engages with fans directly via Facebook and Twitter, uploading songs when a headline strikes. His enemies remain essentially the same: craven politicians, inhumane corporations, plus assorted racists, fascists, bullies, reactionaries and people with floppy fringes.
Don’t miss the orator, entertainer, rabble-rouser, negotiator, pamphleteer, the fabled ‘Bard of Barking’, Billy Bragg, across three extraordinary evenings.
The full list of shows is:
JULY 5 PORTSMOUTH The Wedgewood Rooms 6 PORTSMOUTH The Wedgewood Rooms 7 PORTSMOUTH The Wedgewood Rooms 10 BRISTOL Fiddlers 11 BRISTOL Fiddlers 12 BRISTOL Fiddlers 29 DUBLIN Whelan’s 30 DUBLIN Whelan’s 31 DUBLIN Whelan’s
AUGUST 3 BARNSLEY Underneath The Stars Festival
NOVEMBER 6 GLASGOW St Luke’s 7 GLASGOW St Luke’s 8 GLASGOW St Luke’s 11 MANCHESTER Academy 2 12 MANCHESTER Academy 2 13 MANCHESTER Academy 2 16 SHEFFIELD The Leadmill 17 SHEFFIELD The Leadmill 18 SHEFFIELD The Leadmill 21 LONDON Islington Assembly Hall 22 LONDON Islington Assembly Hall 23 LONDON Islington Assembly Hall 26 CAMBRIDGE Junction 27 CAMBRIDGE Junction 28 CAMBRIDGE Junction
DECEMBER 1 BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute 2 2 BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute 2 3 BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute 2
3 night package tickets go on sale from 10am on Tuesday 5th Feb from www.musicglue.com/billy-bragg/. Single night tickets will be available at 10am on Friday 8th Feb.
Billy Bragg has been making waves for over 35 years. Among the former Saturday boy’s albums are his punk-charged debut Life’s a Riot With Spy Vs Spy, the more love-infused Workers Playtime, pop classic Don’t Try This At Home, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee-timed treatise on national identity England, Half-English, and his stripped-down tenth, Tooth & Nail, his most successful since the early 90s. The intervening three decades have been marked by a number one hit single, having a street named after him, being the subject of a South Bank Show, appearing onstage at Wembley Stadium, curating Left Field at Glastonbury, sharing spotted dick with a Cabinet minister in the House of Commons cafeteria, being mentioned in Bob Dylan’s memoir and meeting the Queen. At their best, Billy’s songs present ‘the perfect Venn diagram between the political and the personal’ (the Guardian). Bragg has recently added best-selling author/musicologist to his CV with the success of his acclaimed 2017 book ‘Roots, Radicals & Rockers – How Skiffle Changed The World’.
Billy Bragg last toured the UK on his acclaimed ‘Bridges Not Walls’ tour in 2017.