24 things to get excited about in 2024

Composite image of AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Bruce Dickinson and Wayne Kramer
(Image credit: AC/DC: A Bonecutter | Foo Fighters: Erika Goldring | Bruce Dickinson: John Mcmurtrie | Wayne Kramer: Sergione Infuso)

Farewell to 2023, a year in which rock music continued to flourish once again, after the buffer that was the covid interlude stopped everything in its tracks. Tours grew bigger and stronger – with fans now more confident that they would actually be taking place – and plenty of great albums were released. 

Last year also saw us say goodbye to Kiss (maybe). That year might be over, but worry not, another one has just started, and there’s plenty of rock’n’roll moments to look forward to:


A new Judas Priest album in march

Due on March 3, the long-awaited nineteenth studio album from Judas Priest, Invincible Shield, is among the releases of 2024 (that we know about) that we are dying to hear. The two singles released from it so far, Panic Attack and Trial By Fire, suggest that the album is going to be very special indeed.

The best of all worlds, aka the long-awaited Van Halen tribute tour

Yes, it’s really happening – in the United States, at least, and sadly without the participation of drummer Alex Van Halen, or indeed Edward’s son Wolfgang. Alex’s place is taken by Jason Bonham in a line-up completed by vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Michael Anthony and guitarist Joe Satriani. At press time no British shows were scheduled. But hey, we can pray.

Whisper it quietly… a new Guns N' Roses album?!

Last year was a busy one for Guns N' Roses, whose appearance at Glastonbury seemed to set the whole world talking (followed by a roaring headline set at BST in London’s Hyde Park). We hoped for a new album last year, and the year before that… So who knows? At least the band are drip-feeding us with some music, such as latest single Perhaps and its predecessor Hard Skool.

Could AC/DC go on tour?

Following their show-stealing appearance at the PowerTrip Festival in California – a concert they pulled off with apparent ease, despite Brian Johnson’s well-documented health issues and the fact that ‘schoolboy’ Angus Young is now 68 years old – it’s only natural that expectations of a tour would follow. And, sure enough, all sorts of rumours currently abound, including that AC/DC will play again at Rock In Rio in Lisbon, Portugal in September 2024, and that, according to Munich’s loose-lipped Mayor, a date is booked at the Olympic Stadium in the German city on June 12. Let’s see…

Slash feat. Myles Kennedy tour with Mammoth WVH

As well as his commitments to GN’R, the man in the top hat continues to tour and record with Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. Two years after the River Is Rising tour began, it resumes in Mexico in January, then arrives in Dublin on March 28, followed by five dates in England and Scotland in March and April. Support on all British and Irish dates comes from the aforementioned Wolfgang Van Halen and his band Mammoth.

Bruce Dickinson’s solo tour, plus his film and TV appearances

The Iron Maiden frontman steps away from the band for a chunk of 2024, not only releasing and touring The Mandrake Project, the singer’s first full solo project in almost two decades (it’s out on March 1), but also to star in Bjorn Of The Dead, a “blood-drenched gore fest” film based on the ABBA tribute band Abbatoir, written by his son, ex-Rise To Remain frontman Austin Dickinson. And no, this isn’t an early April Fool. Bruce’s five-date UK tour begins on May 18.

Priest, Saxon and Uriah Heep join forces in arenas

Eight years is a mighty long time to have waited, but in Glasgow on March 11 Judas Priest finally return to a British stage, for the first of six arena shows along with special guests Saxon and Uriah Heep. What a fantastic triple bill! The tour’s London stop is at Wembley Arena.

Foo Fighters UK dates

Dave Grohl and co. will be here again in the summer (with Josh Freese now on drums in place of the late Taylor Hawkins) to play seven stadium shows, kicking off in Manchester on June 13 and wrapping at Villa Park in Birmingham a fortnight later.

The Quireboys team up with Luke Morley

With Thunder sidelined the foreseeable future, while singer Danny Bowes takes the long road back to health, guitarist Luke Morley has stepped in to help out his old mates The Quireboys (Spike variety) on their forthcoming album, Wardour Street, and for festival appearances and tours – ostensibly as a replacement for Guy Bailey, who died last April. “Obviously I go way back with the Quireboys,” says Morley, “and I’ve always loved the band, so I’m delighted to be able to help the guys out while Thunder is taking a break.”

Tom Morello, Slash and William Duvall among the guests on a new MC5 album

A new album from Wayne Kramer and MC5 is released under the We Are All MC5 banner at the end of April. The first set of new studio recordings to carry the MC5 name since 1971’s High Time is titled Heavy Lifting and was produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice Cooper). It includes cameos from Slash, Alice In Chains frontman William Duvall, RATM guitarist Tom Morello and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid among many others, and original MC5 drummer Dennis ‘Machine Gun’ Thompson on two tracks.

Green Day return to the UK

American pop-punks Green Day release a new studio album, Saviors, on January 19 and play a huge tour across Europe and the UK, kicking off in May and concluding at Wembley Stadium on June 29. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong says that Saviors can be seen as one of Green Day’s defining moments, including 2004’s rock opera American Idiot and their 1994 breakthrough set Dookie.

U2 to make “an unreasonable guitar record”?

U2 bassist Adam Clayton has suggested that following a trio of similarly titled records, their next might be called Songs For Fighting – echoing claims from Bono that the Irish band could heavy things up in the studio. The singer wants to write what he calls “an unreasonable guitar record”, something with “great tunes, because that’s where U2 started – with big choruses, clear ideas. And let’s go back there, but do it with some petrol and some matches.”

Shows by Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer

American alt.rock stars Smashing Pumpkins play a six-date tour of the UK and Ireland in June, with support from Weezer. It’s their first full tour of Britain since 2013. Smashing Pumpkins have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, and given the length of time away the tour is bound to be a hot ticket.

'This Is Spinal Tap 2’ goes into production

Yes, really! Some four decades after the original spoof ‘rockumentary’, work is about to begin on a long-awaited sequel to This Is Spinal Tap. With Rob Reiner as director, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer have brought in a pair of very special guests: Paul McCartney and Elton John. The story will pick up with the widow of late road manager Ian Faith discovering that the Tap are contractually obligated to play one final concert. We literally can’t wait.

Download Festival 2024 to blood new(ish) talent

With Download’s organisers opting to take a chance on so-called ‘new’ talent (which isn’t strictly true, as Avenged Sevenfold have topped the bill twice before), this year’s other Download headliners are Queens Of The Stone Age and Fall Out Boy. Also on the bill are the reunited Pantera, Royal Blood, Machine Head, Babymetal, Biohazard, Fear Factory Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor, and more. Pack your wellies and your (hopefully necessary) sun cream.

Festivals a go-go!

Beyond the Download field, 2024 looks set to deliver a diverse selection of open-air live music events, including metal and hard rock (Bloodstock, Stonedead, Maid Of Stone), stoner rock (Desert Fest), Americana (The Long Road), country (Country 2 Country), melodic rock (the return of Firefest), alt.rock (Bearded Theory, 2000 Trees, Takedown), folk (West Coast Folk Festival), and more blues weekenders than you can shake a stick at.

Creed make a comeback

Preceded by a spot on their own Summer Of ’99 cruise in April, multi-platinum-selling American post-grunge band Creed are set to return to the stage via a 40-city North American tour for the first time in 12 years. Asked about adding to the dates already confirmed, and thus the possibility of European dates, singer Scott Stapp said: “We don’t have anything planned after that right now. It’s baby steps.” But he wouldn’t rule it out.

Justin Hawkins hits the road… without The Darkness

The effervescent frontman of The Darkness is taking his hugely popular podcast Justin Hawkins Rides Again on tour for the first time. Expect humour and insight in equal amounts. As an audience member, this is also your once in a lifetime opportunity to have a song that you wrote analysed by Justin on stage during a live music clinic. Can you handle it?

New music from The Kinks, and the band to re-form?

Kinks mainman Ray Davies says the collection of around 20 songs that he mentioned back in 2018 were “shelved” for a variety of reasons, but now he and brother Dave are in a position where, potentially, they could work together on the new material and, if successful, consider putting the band back together. “Ray and I have spoken about it – it’s possible!” Dave told The Independent.

The Damned reunite with Rat Scabies

Original drummer Rat Scabies has rejoined The Damned, alongside Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible and Paul Gray, reuniting the line-up that last played together in 1989. An 11-date UK tour begins in Newcastle on December 4. Besides the usual Damned standards, the set-list will revisit material from their third, fourth and fifth albums: Machine Gun Etiquette, The Black Album and Strawberries.

New bands on the rise

Rock’s lifeblood continues to pump away with gusto. Headed your way in 2024 are: Bad Nerves, The Hot Damn!, Black Smoke Trigger, South Of Salem, Brave Rival, The Gems, Lucifer, Kira Mac, Taylor McCall, Moon City Masters, Zach Person, Hannah Wicklund, Kit Trigg, These Wicked Rivers, Lions In The Street, Gen & The Degenerates, The Karma Effect, Dan Byrne and many more, both known and as yet unknown.

Yet more hot new albums

There’ll be something to cater for pretty much everyone’s taste among the new albums lined up for 2024, including Pearl Jam’s next LP (produced by Andrew Watt), Hell, Fire And Damnation from metal masters Saxon in January, Be Right Here from Blackberry Smoke in February, Stories From Time And Space from Hawkwind in April, and UFO singer Phil Mogg has finished his new solo album, Mogg’s Motel. Dream Theater will be back with Mike Portnoy back on the drum stool once again, and the Alter Bridge duo of Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy also hit the solo trail (separately, of course). 

Elsewhere there’s an embarrassment of riches from Nightwish, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Ace Frehley, W.A.S.P, Blondie, Sheryl Crow, FM, Magnum, The Wildhearts, Feeder, Steve Hackett, Lenny Kravitz, Kris Barras, Warren Haynes, Gun, Dan Patlansky, The Pineapple Thief, His Lordship, Hellacopters, Bokassa, The Lazys, The Cold Stares, Tuk Smith and many, many more.

And yet more tours

Once again, expect the full diversity of rock music to be pumped out live from stages big and small over the coming 12 months. Dates confirmed so far for include Nickelback, Tool, The Pretenders, Jane’s Addiction, The Hives, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Y&T, Manic Street Preachers, Yes, Joanne Shaw Taylor, The Gaslight Anthem, Jethro Tull, British Lion, Dirty Honey, Lucinda Williams, 10cc, Depeche Mode, Margo Price, Crowded House, Within Temptation, Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse and more. Oh, and Toto will be back, too! Get along to see some of them – support live music, and have fun.

Some big, big anniversaries to celebrate

As usual, anniversaries will continue to be big business, with either album reissues or via themed tours from those artists still able to do so. Albums due to celebrate birthdays include (in no particular order): Deep Purple’s Burn, the self-titled debuts from Bad Company, Rush and Kiss, Get Your Wings by Aerosmith, Big Country’s Steeltown, Second Helping by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sheer Heart Attack and Queen II by Queen, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now by Little Feat, Robin Trower’s Bridge Of Sighs, Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway by Genesis, Steely Dan’s Pretzel Logic, Relayer by Yes, Judas Priest’s Rocka Rolla and Irish Tour ’74 from the late, great Rory Gallagher.

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Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.