Brit-pop stars Blur are planning a brief invasion of North America to
play three gigs in support of their new album, 13, due March 30.
The band currently has no plans for a full tour, according to Nikki
Wheeler -- a spokesperson for Creative Artists Agency, the company that
books Blur's concerts. "They're just going out to showcase the album,"
But in the meantime, Blur fans in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto will
be treated to club shows March 30, April 1 and April 6, respectively.
The band already has played similar shows in Europe, and if setlists
from those shows posted on fan websites are any indication, Blur's North
American dates will concentrate on songs from 13, with only a few
older hits thrown in.
In addition to the showcase performances, Blur also will appear on the
CBS-TV television program "Late Night With David Letterman" on March 29.
13, Blur's sixth album, is said to be a departure for the band,
who had its biggest U.S. hit to date with the raucous rocker
(RealAudio excerpt) from its self-titled 1997 LP. For 13, Blur
recruited producer William Orbit, who worked with Madonna on her Grammy-winning
Ray of Light album.
Orbit added drum loops and other electronic sounds to songs like
(RealAudio excerpt), which was the band's contribution to the soundtrack album for
the TV cartoon show "South Park." The London Community Gospel Choir
appears on at least one album track.
The first single to be culled from 13, "Tender," reached number
two on the British pop charts, blocked from the top spot only by Britney
Spears' indomitable "... Baby One More Time."
Other tracks on 13 include "Bugman," "Coffee & TV," "Swamp Song,"
"1992," "B.L.U.R.E.M.I.," "Battle," "Mellow Song," "Caramel," "Trimm
Trabb," "No Distance Left to Run" and "Optigan 1."
Blur -- singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James
and drummer Dave Rowntree -- came together in 1989 and released their
first album, Leisure, in 1991. The Kinks-influenced Brit-pop of
their subsequent albums -- 1993's Modern Life Is Rubbish and
1994's Parklife -- made Blur one of England's most popular bands
and earned them a cult following in the U.S. Meanwhile, the band's
public battles with rival rockers Oasis garnered them constant coverage
in the U.K. press.
1995's The Great Escape didn't sell as well as its predecessors,
but Blur finally won a mass audience in the U.S. with their self-titled
1997 album and the indelible "Woo-hoo!" chorus of "Song 2."
Blur's North American shows:
March 30; New York, N.Y., Roseland Ballroom
April 1; Los Angeles, Calif., Mayan Theatre
April 6; Toronto, Canada, Palais Royale