Has it really been three years since the last Sparks album, “A Steady Drip, Drip Drip?” It seems like only yesterday, but I still need a copy since when it was released, I was completely unsure of my employment prospects as we were entering uncharted waters with the onset of the pandemic. I dared not to buy any music for most of 2020 owing to the uncertainty of it all. Now that we know everything’s fine, [with only 6.8M deaths worldwide] I guess I can finally buy a copy. Besides, I like wearing a mask.
But new albums weren’t the least of their adventures in 2021, with the cinematic one-two punch of both their film with Leos Carax, “Annette” the talk of Cannes, and their beloved documentary “The Sparks Brothers” by Edgar Wright consolidating their acclaim; it’s been heartening to see Sparks finally get the love and appreciation due to them. With their albums hitting the UK Top ten charts again, it felt like their mid 70s UK pomp was having another pass. So what better time for the band to return to the Island Records mothership that launched their first wave of fame …49 years ago?
Their next album will be released on May 26th, 2023 and it’s called “The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte.” It’s still to early for cover images and track listings. Not to mention available formats, so we’ll get to that once they send out the call on the Sparks Maeling List. In the interim, they have released their…
SPARKS 2023 WORLD TOUR DATES
The band will be on the road to visit many major centers of world culture lasting from May to July this spring/summer. If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium! The pair of Royal Albert Hall dates have already been released and are sold out, so those are there for taunting purposes only. But the American equivalent gig has just been announced for The Hollywood Bowl, and the Special Guest for the high-profile gig is none other than the like minded and congruent They Might Be Giants. Where are the rest of those dates? Thought you’d never ask.
- TUE 23 MAY | New Theatre Oxford | Oxford, UK
- WED 24 MAY | Liverpool Philharmonic Hall | Liverpool, UK
- FRI 26 MAY | SEC Armadillo | Glasgow, UK
- SAT 27 MAY | The Bridgewater Hall | Manchester, UK
- MON 29 MAY | Royal Albert Hall | London, UK • SOLD OUT•
- TUE 30 MAY | Royal Albert Hall | London, UK • SOLD OUT•
- FRI 2 JUNE | Primavera Sound Festival 2023 | Barcelona, Spain
- THU 8 JUNE | Primavera Sound Festival 2023 | Arganda del Rey, Spain
- SAT 10 JUNE | NOS Primavera Sound 2023 | Porto, Portugal
- TUE 13 JUNE | Le Grand Rex | Paris, France
- WED 14 JUNE | Tivoli Vredenburg, Grote Zaal | Utrecht, Netherlands
- FRI 16 JUNE | Store Vega | Copenhagen, Denmark
- SUN 18 JUNE | TEMPODROM | Berlin, Germany
- TUE 20 JUNE | Cirque Royal | Brussels, Belgium
- TUE 27 JUNE | Beacon Theatre | New York (NYC), NY, US
- WED 28 JUNE | Keswick Theatre | Glenside, PA, US
- FRI 30 JUNE | Lincoln Theatre | Washington, DC, US
- SAT 1 JULY | The Wilbur | Boston, MA, US
- MON 3 JULY | The Danforth Music Hall | Toronto, ON, Canada
- WED 5 JULY | Copernicus Theater | Chicago, IL, US
- THU 6 JULY | The Pabst Theater | Milwaukee, WI, US
- SAT 8 JULY | Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland | Kansas City, MO, US
- SUN 9 JULY | Boulder Theater | Boulder, CO, US
- WED 12 JULY | Texas Theatre | Dallas, TX, US
- THU 13 JULY | Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater | Austin, TX, US
- SUN 16 JULY | Hollywood Bowl | Hollywood, CA, US [Special Guest: They Might Be Giants]
- MON 24 JULY | Namba Hatch – なんばHatch | Osaka, Japan
- TUE 25 JULY | LINE CUBE SHIBUYA | Shibuya, Japan
My Spidey-Sense™ tells me that with only one North American West Coast date and nothing in the Southeast, don’t be shocked if there’s another leg announced later this year to take in the rest of the Pacific Coast and Southeast population centers. The days of scanty, angst-producing Sparks US tours have fallen by the wayside, I suspect. I remember how it took nearly 20 years of patient waiting for them to crack the Southeast with some dates so I could finally see them, and since then, they have been patiently building their audience. With their popularity currently reaching appropriate levels, I’m sure we will see more tour dates later. From America’s most beloved musical artists, I’d expect no less.
The question of course is whether it’s a full-band lineup. Saw them as a duo a few years back, and while it was satisfying to check a Sparks gig off the to-do list, it was an underwhelming show. It’d take some Gleaming Spires/Franz Ferdinand action (or a reasonable 2023 equivalent) to lure me back.
JT – The 2013 tour was a one-off duo thing. Every tour since then has been a full band show. Madre de dios! Has that been a decade ago already?
I saw that duo tour – even interviewed Russell Mael about it for the alt.weekly I write for – and I found it delightful. That said, I’d love to a full-band tour, and that’s what we’re getting. They’re coming to Austin, thankfully.
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Michael Toland – I concur. In fact, I was impressed with the extreme physicality of Russell’s performance! I had to remind myself that he had just turned 65 the week prior.
It looks like they do have a (semi)permanent full band for their tours these days — guitar, bass, second synth, and drummer — in addition to the Maels.
Two of my three absolute favourite “quirky” bands playing on the same bill?*
I have some US travel already planned for June, and again in August … can I somehow swing a third trip in three months to afford/miraculously pull off a chance to see this dream teamup?
Inquiring minds want to know!
PS. As mentioned in your original report on the Variety Playhouse gig, I also enjoyed that intimate evening with Sparks, and even got to chat briefly with them afterwards. I’ll just throw in that also in attendance that evening was the lovely Murray Attaway, who graciously remembered me from my younger days and also spoke with Mr and Mrs Monk.
A great evening all around from back when they were still “underground.”
*In no particular order: TMBG, Devo, Sparks.