As festive season is upon us and the concert tour bus is well and truly parked, Getintothis’ Mark Rowley picks the best of what’s on in Manchester.
A quick perusal of the listings for December’s gigs provides a dearth of options compared to the two previous bumper months, in which there seemed to be a wide choice of who to see and where to go on just about any given night of the week!
With a little further digging (and tip offs from ‘in the know’ people), there’s still plenty to find betwixt the office Christmas night out and old friends’ holiday period get-togethers.
It was through our ITK Manchester musos that this column gave you the nod a certain band by the name of Cabbage (plus drum machine) was down to play a secret headline gig at Salford White Hotel’s All-Day Ordeal, last month. It was so secret, none of the other bands knew, but somehow we did … and told you too!
With most major tours tending to skip December and January, there are still a few gigs going on, along with a couple of residencies to recommend. We’ve highlighted some ‘under the radar’ acts playing smaller venues across the city, which you really should take the time to check out also.
Ray Blk – pic courtesy of Amaru Don TV
Ray Blk, Manchester Band On The Wall, December 3
Born in Nigeria and raised in Catford, South London, RnB singer-songwriter and English Literature graduate, Ray Blk brings her hip-hop infused, soulful vibes and spiky lyrics to Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Having collaborated with the likes of Wretch 32 and Stormzy; and citing Lauryn Hill as a major influence, this MOBO 2016 nominee and BBC’s Sound of 2017 winner should most definitely not be missed. Take a listen to My Hood, Doing Me and Patience, should you need any further convincing.
Plastic, Pale Rider, Astoria Four, Scratchy Joe, Manchester Night & Day, December 6
In what promises to be a fantastic showcase of new bands, get there early in order to soak up the full hit. In particular, don’t miss Liverpool rising stars, Pale Rider, as these fabulous four sonic sorcerers have created a massive stir on Merseyside, within a few short months and little over a handful of gigs.
The Orielles, Inland Taipan, Manchester Deaf Institute, December 8
Gardenback, Psyblings, Manalashi, Alfie Sky, Salford Sacred Trinity Church, December 8
Hover Squid (ft. Mutabase, The Plastic Other, Jo Mary, Wild Fruit Art Collective), Manchester AATMA, December 8
If your plans for the second Friday of December involve anything other than going to one of the above gigs, think again! There are numerous unsigned bands to recommend here; especially Gardenback, Jo Mary, Inland Taipan, Psyblings and Wild Fruit Art Collective.
The Cribs, Manchester Gorilla, December 8, 9, 10, 11
The Cribs December Residencies’ tour van will be calling in at Manchester Gorilla for four nights. More tickets have been released for these shows, but don’t hang around too long thinking about it!
The recently-released, Steve Albini produced album, 24-7 Rock Star Shit (which is the first top 10 album to contain a swear word since The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks was released in 1977) is likely to feature heavily during these shows, along with plenty of old scuzyz-rock favourites from their immense back-catalogue of albums.
There will be different support acts over the four nights, including Dream Wife, Demob Happy, PAWS, PINS and Peaness.
Dinosaur Jr, Manchester Gorilla, December 14, 16, 17
Massachusetts noise rock trio, Dinosaur Jr roll into town for a 3-date residency at Gorilla over the penultimate weekend before Christmas.
Reforming over 10 years ago (following a nine year split), the original band members have put their musical differences and legal battles behind them, and are arguably now as vital and relevant as ever. Expect to hear songs from their most recent album, Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not , along with numbers from albums spanning the last four decades.
Shed Seven, Cast, Manchester Academy, December 22, 23
A Britpop, indie-rock, ‘blast from the past’, double-header, from two bands past their sell-by date, but still with boundless energy and ability to entertain! Who takes any notice of ‘best before’ warnings anyway? (Especially on yoghurts)!
If you allow a bit of nosalgia into your life every now and again, … and let’s face it, if you can’t do so at Christmas, then when can you(!?) … head down to the Academy for a little trip down memory lane. This promises to be a belting night out, with singalong classics like Chasing Rainbows, Going For Gold , Alright and Magic Hour, and plenty more to exercise your vocal chords to.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all! (We’ll be back in early January for next month’s round up).