Music News Digest, July 7, 2017

In one of the biggest shows of the London summer, Justin Bieber headlined the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park last Sunday. The sold-out show with an estimated 50,000 fans in attendance, was the Canadian pop superstar's Hyde Park debut, and came as part of his huge Purpose World Tour, running in support of his global #1 album.'s Steven McIntosh gave Bieber's performance a glowing review, concluding "It would be hard to go home in anything other than high spirits after a show like this."

Writing in The Independent, Roisin O'Connor gave the show a mixed 3-stars (of five) review. It read in part that "fans seem more than happy as they stream out of Hyde Park at the end of the evening – but you’re left wondering if Bieber actually enjoys any of this himself."

"Too often during the set it looks as though the 23-year-old is just going through the motions, with moves that appear half-hearted next to his outstanding backing dancers. This would be fine if this were a mid-level pop show, but disappointing for one of the biggest pop stars on the planet."

During his set, Bieber referenced suffering from a cold.  The Hyde Park concert was his last show in Europe before he heads back the US to continue his Purpose stadium tour. In the wake of the Manchester Arena terror attack, many fans had urged him to cancel the Hyde Park show, but no trouble was reported.

— U2's May 12 concert at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver was marred by a ticketing fiasco that saw fans forced to miss the opening act, Mumford & Sons. In recognition of the problem, both Ticketmaster and the venue are now offering a form of compensation.

The Vancouver Sun reports that "Ticketmaster is sending $50 gift cards for each ticket bought, for use against future events, and B.C. Place is offering free admission to a Vancouver Whitecaps or B.C. Lions game, with a $20 food and beverage voucher attached to each entry."

— One of Canada's most successful rock bands of the late '70s and early '80s, Streetheart has remained active on the classic rock circuit, going out as Kenny Shields and Streetheart. On FB this week, band member Jeff Neill announced that all the group's 2017 tour dates have had to be cancelled because of singer Shields' health issues.

Complications from heart problems were such that, according to Neill, "if not for emergency surgery on Monday, Kenny would likely not be with us today... Kenny is currently out of grave danger but will be in recovery for some time... He will no longer be able to fly or endure the physical demands of being on the road and playing live shows which brings us to this difficult end point."

The Saskatchewan-based Streetheart recorded six studio albums and one double live album, earning six gold and four platinum albums. In 2003, the band was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

— SOCAN hosted its fourth annual L.A. Family & Friends Canada Day party, at the Sunset Marquis Hotel Pool Deck in Los Angeles last week. There, the pro presented awards to the songwriters and music publishers of The Weeknd’s "Starboy,” Hedley’s “Hello,” and the score to The Good Dinosaur, among others.

— Sir Bob Geldof has announced that The Boomtown Rats will release their first new music in 33 years. The band’s original line-up split in 1986 but reformed in 2013 and have been playing festivals.

Geldof tells The Mirror that “we’ve done 26 tracks. We’re getting really excited, we think they’re great." With customary modesty, the former Georgia Straight scribbler will name the upcoming album Mega. No firm release date has been set.

— The 36th TD Grand Jazz Award of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has been awarded to The Allison Au Quartet, led by Toronto saxophonist/composer Au. She beat out seven other artists from across Canada for the prize. The award comes with a $5K grant and brings other festival showcase opportunities.

The Stingray Rising Star Award for best composition was given to Jazzamboka for their piece "In The Morning." They also receive a $5K grant plus Stingray airplay.

— The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St, Catharine's has announced the three nights of music in the third annual Hear! Here! Music Series. The season begins with Steve Strongman and The Mandevilles' Serena Pryne on Sept. 17,  followed by Lori Cullen & Kurt Swinghammer ( Oct. 29) and Danny Michel & Aaron Berger (Nov. 26).

Quality Block Party, the Saint John, NB-based music festival, is broadening its horizons by including out of province acts for its upcoming (second) edition, running Aug. 10-13. "What we really want is to be a destination festival, in the same way Sappyfest or Halifax Pop Explosion are," Abigail Smith, one of the festival's organizers, told CBC. Noted East Coast music industry veteran Peter Rowan is also involved.

Among this year's acts are Halifax's Like a Motorcycle, Ottawa's Catriona Sturton and Polaris Prize shortlister Julie Doiron. 

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