Manchester Gigs of the Month – May 2016

Spring King

Spring King

Festivals galore and a plethora of gigs to catch in Manchester this May, Getintothis’ James Sullivan has a go at picking some highlights.

This May in Manchester starts as it means to go on. By now ‘festival season’ is about as uncomfortably long as an Alex Turner hip shake, but this month really does see things kick off properly.

On May 1, Sounds from the Other City sees the streets of Salford transformed into a buzzing, fuzzing hive of industry. Bands and artists take over the bank holiday Sunday including the likes of Hooton Tennis Club, Gwenno, The Big Moon, Man and the Echo, Martha and loads more.

Read our preview of seven things to see at Sounds from the Other City

But what else do Manchester’s darling pubs of May have on offer? Two festivals dominate the city centre’s venues over separate weekends while elsewhere there are more hometown heroes than a Bruce Springsteen lyric book and enough oddball outsiders to put them on the inside, thus rendering the rest of us on the outside looking at them through the window on the inside and oh god my nose is bleeding.

Enough jibber jabber, here are five top gigs for you!



1. Manchester Psych Fest: Night & Day Cafe and Aatma, May 14

Back for a fourth year – and this time split between Night & Day and Aatma (formerly Kraak Gallery) – Manchester Psych Fest may lack the scale of its Liverpool cousin, but it shares a similarly discerning ear.

Liverpool Psych Fest 2015: Day One review

At the time of writing there are still loads more acts to be announced, but sitting on top of a particularly spiky and twisted-looking tree (presumably rooted firmly in the leftfield) is Liverpool’s own Clinic. Without a new album since 2012’s Free Reign, they will surely be arriving armed with a bunch of new songs up the sleeves of their surgical gowns.

Also on the bill are Telegram, and while it may feel like they’ve been around for ages, debut record Operator only came out this year. The delay doesn’t exactly harm their brand of glammy, spiralling, mid-70s psych all sung in a charming Welsh burr.

Throw is some California reverb from Triptides, Manchester Krautrock instrumentalists Plank and Bristol noise-nutz Spectres, and Manchester Psych Fest continues to improve with age.

For more information, click here.  

The Hyena Kill

The Hyena Kill

2. The Hyena Kill: Deaf Institute, May 20

A two-headed monstrosity of filth and sleaze feasting on the sludgy rainwater that collects under Manchester Way.

The duo’s debut album Atomised out May 16 and so this night at the Deaf Institute is its launch party.

The band mix heavy Deftones and Tool inspired riffs with a surprisingly acute ear for melody. Remaining a truly DIY effort, they’ve been dragging themselves up and down the country since their debut EP in 2012, all the while building up a serious head of steam.

Support comes from fuzzy, hard rock band Sky Valley Mistress and Stockport psych-heads thing.

For more information, click here.

Thomas Truax

Thomas Truax

3. Thomas Truax and Vinny Peculiar: Eagle Inn Salford, May 20

The same night as The Hyena Kill, across town in Salford, a meeting of mixpot madness sees two brilliant curios on the same bill.

Thomas Truax makes instruments. Or rather, he makes things which make noise and sings over them. Led by his bike-wheel-turned-drum-machine Mother Superior and the customised gramophone known as the Hornicator, his oddball pop songs can either see him howling at the moon or offering a twisted take on the strange tale of Joe Meek and Buddy Holly.

Meanwhile, Vinny Peculiar offers a less off the wall, more Salfordian take on life. The humdrum, the mundanities that afflict and obsess – all performed with the wit and poignancy of The Auteurs or Roger McGough.

For more information, click here.

The Franklys

The Franklys

4. The Franklys: Gulliver’s, May 21

Anglo-Swedish-American garage rock from London. The four-piece are a mish-mash of surf, garage beat and bubblegum played with a winning scrappiness.

Starting out in 2012, they’ve become fixtures on the garage scene of London and are out on tour this time in support of their new single Comedown.

Riotous, stylish and raw.

For more information, click here.

Sundara Karma

Sundara Karma

5. Dot to Dot Festival: Various venues, May 27

Dot to Dot is back once again, taking over the Northern Quarter’s many venues with a huge array of bands and solo acts, before shipping them on to Bristol the next day, and then the festival’s home of Nottingham on the Sunday.

But Friday night belongs to Manchester. An ever-growing line-up currently has Mystery Jets, Augustines and Rat Boy at the top.

NME Awards Tour 2016 review featuring Rat Boy, Bloc Party, Drenge and Bugzy Malone

But below the surface there are rarer treasures to be found. Twitchy, Arcade Fire-inspired anthems from Sundara Karma; jet-fuelled pop from Spring King; twisted synth from Bleeding Heart Pigeons; and propelling stadium pop-rock from Pleasure Beach. And that barely scratches the surface.

For more information click here.

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