It’s going to be far from a winter of discontent as Getintothis’ Rick Leach and Amelia Ward pick the best gigs in Manchester this January.
January is always a crap month. The joys of Christmas are but a distant memory and New Years Eve passed a long time ago in a befuddled haze. Remnants of turkey hang around forever and the mince pies have lost their allure. Everyone’s skint and the weather is well, January-ish.
However, there is an upside.
Two in fact.
First off, it’s 2017 and that means at the very least, it’s not 2016. Just like the Christmas pudding, 2016’s fucked off and vanished, never to be seen again. It’s a fresh start and we just know in our hearts that 2017 is going to be whole lot better.
Second, there always music and music makes everything alright. And live music makes everything that was just alright rather good indeed.
We at Getintothis are here of course to cheer you up and chase those glum January blues away. So step with us through what undoubtedly will be the rain-sodden streets of Manchester, turn those frowns upside down and see what live delights are just around the corner and waiting for you with open arms.
Camera, Castle Hotel, January 14
With their third album, Phantom of Liberty fresh off the presses, Berlin band Camera, who play the Castle Hotel on January 14 are more than an enticing prospect. Yes, there are echoes of German legends Faust, Neu! and La Düsseldorf in there and maybe we shouldn’t expect nothing less. The insistent and manic percussion combined with off-kilter synths is a joy to hear and in a live context it promises to be so much more.
Yet there’s a looseness and random element to Camera’s work that makes them sound like 2017 rather than something of the past and now’s the time, more than ever, that we should be rejoicing in a shared love of music with our friends from Europe. This’ll be a good one to be sure.
Lee Fields and the Expressions, Gorilla, January 13
Since his first release in 1969, North Carolinian soul legend Lee Fields has toured with artists from Kool & The Gang to Little Royal, amassing a collection of albums that showcase some of the best R&B songs ever created.
Still creating original music, Lee and his band released their latest studio album ‘Special Night’ this year, a textured, soul based collection. The perfect combination of intimate venue and huge talent, this really is a stand out gig for Manchester this January.
King Creosote, RNCM, January 17
With over 40 albums to his name, Scottish electronic/folk legend King Creosote (aka Kenny Anderson) is so prolific that he makes the late Prince look as if he was dragging his heels. He also finds time to run his own record label, compose soundtracks for films and collaborated with Jon Hopkins for their 2011 Mercury Music Award nominated album Diamond Mine. On top of this he’s an active member of the Scottish/Canadian band, The Burns Unit. You do wonder if he ever finds time to sleep.
On a huge tour of the UK, he’s at the RNCM on January 17 on the back of the widely praised 2016 album, Astronaut Meets Appleman; his second album of the year of course.
With a massive portfolio of songs to choose from, this King Creosote gig promises to be one to remember.
The Vryll Society, Deaf Institute, January 19
Currently in the midst of recording their debut album for Deltasonic – and one that promises to be a cracker – The Vryll Society head down the M62 for a gig at the Deaf Institute on January 19. Having had a 2016 to remember with festival gigs throughout the summer, a UK tour and a homecoming gig at Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory in December, then January seems to be the right time for them to cast their shimmering spells into Manchester.
Meshuggah, O2 Ritz, January 19
On the other hand, you may prefer a dose of Swedish Metal to lighten up your January. (We’re not talking about nipping into Ikea for a cutlery set at this juncture.) Meshuggah are treading the boards of the Ritz on the very same night The Vryll Society are at the Deaf Institute. You are really spoiled for choice here.
Meshuggah’s most recent album, their eighth to date, The Violent Sleep of Reason, released only in October 2016, garnered praise from critics across the world for an almost perfect combination of complex maturity and punch-you- in-the-face aggression. Really, what more do you need?
J Chambers, Band on the Wall, January 20
Hotly-tipped Manchester hip hop artist J Chambers plays a special gig at the Band on the Wall on January 20 in advance of the release of his album Moment of Silence II: The Road to Perdition.
With a precision which makes him stand out from the crowd, he’s clearly destined for bigger things and you feel that 2017 is going to be a special year for Chambers.
Having supporting the likes of Roots Manuva, Dead Prez and Oddisee and with a string of independent releases behind him, this opportunity to hear the album in full a month prior to release is one not to be missed.
The Woodentops, Soup Kitchen, January 24
The Woodentops released one of the great underrated albums of the 1980s with their debut album, Giant on Rough Trade. Famed for their high-tempo, frenetic tunes and passionate performances they were an act not to be missed either on record or in a live setting.
After a long hiatus between 1992 and 2006 while the band went their separate ways and front man Rolo McGinty had a remarkable change of direction, becoming heavily involved in the Ibiza scene, they reformed and for the past decade have been playing sporadic gigs throughout the land.
Seeing them at the Soup Kitchen will be a chance not to see or discover some has-beens from the past living on tired old glories but to witness a genuinely exciting band that’ll have you bouncing for days.
The Flaming Lips, Manchester Academy, January 22
As Getintothis love the fabulous Flaming Lips we just simply have to include them in this months guide. Wayne Coyne and the lads turn up at the Academy on January 22 for a hotly anticipated show.
And as we all know, the Flaming Lips do know how to put on a show.
Expect plenty of crowd-pleasing tunes such as Do You Realise??? and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots as well as tracks for the soon to drop new album Oczy Mlody (released on January 13, so save your Christmas gift vouchers for that one). There’ll be glitter, balloons, stuff to make your head spin and put a goofy grin on your face. It’s a fairly safe bet that Mr Coyne may use the words ‘Trump’ and ‘fuck’ in the same sentence as well.
Dream Wife, Night and Day, January 24
Starting out as a performance art project, Dream Wife was initially an ironic take on a girl band stuck in the 90s, the Brightonian/Icelandic trio bring their gritty soft pop to the Night & Day. Citing influences across femme culture, from Debbie Harry to Grimes, the band gained a loyal following, releasing EP01 earlier this year. Fantasy has merged with reality, as Dream Wife exist somewhere between mocking and applauding the medium they are known for.
Horsebeach & Documenta & Yucatan, Soup Kitchen, January 29
As part of Independent Venues Week, 2017 ambassador Tim Burgess’ label, O Genesis, is set to put on a mini tour across the UK. With each band headlining at their hometown shows, local lo-fi four-piece Horsebeach, will top the bill at Soup Kitchen on 29th January. Taking their turn to support on the final leg of the tour are Belfast based space poppers Documenta and the Welsh enigma that is Yucatan.
exmagician, The Castle Hotel, January 29
With their debut album from 2016 Scan the Blue, under their belts, the Belfast duo of Danny Todd and James Smith play the Castle Hotel on January 29.
Known for their David Holmes produced album as Cashier No.9, in their exmagican guise, these two songwriters/performers seamlessly meld guitars and synths together to conjure up scuzzy yet dreamlike grooves which will send January packing.
It might be a short month, but there’s lots on to tickle your fancy in February.
Conor Oberst promises ‘an intimate solo perfomance’ at Albert Hall on February 2 and Julian Cope plays Gorilla on February 10. Cabbage also play Gorilla on February 11 while young Mancunian acoustic hip hop trio Prose play the Ruby Lounge on February 18.
Australian Julia Jacklin brings her dark country inflected sounds to The Soup Kitchen on February 23 and Desperate Journalist (who we love just for their name alone) turn up at The Live Room on February 25.