Is there a more depressing time of year? Here to lessen that bad mood is Getintothis’ Steven Doherty with some Manchester gigs to shake the ennui.
Wishing you all a tremendously happy 2019.
The start of any New Year is a time to reflect, so as this column discusses gigs in Manchester, I’d like to reflect on my very first one.
It’s 1991. Madchester is in full swing, it’s all Happy Mondays and Stone Roses in this part of the world, and like the super trendy 19 year old that I am, I’m in the only place to be seen at tonight, in the aircraft hangar-esque G-Mex (now The Central), about to watch one of the biggest acts in the world.
Sold out months ago, it was the hottest ticket in town. It was such an event even the support act had just had a number 1 single, it was that big an occasion.
The lights go down and this boy had never felt such an air of anticipation, there are children and adults alike screaming, an absolute wall of noise. It seemed to take an age for the music to kick in, then a further age for the hero of the story to finally arrive on stage, in a hail of smoke and strobes.
And there he was.
Hopefully tastes have improved since, and if this month is going to be your 1st or 100th Manchester gig, then here is what’s on offer.
Manchester Academy Live Emerging Fest, Academy, January 12.
What better to blow off those cobwebs by going to see a select handful of up-and-coming bands from Manchester (and further afield)?
Curated by local promoters Dusty Pop Entertainment, the bill includes Plain Navy, Cinnamon Dinner, Killjoys and Elephant and the Rider (amongst others), in Academies 2 and 3.
This is exactly the type of gig that should be encouraged, multi-act bills that people are going to go to because they stand more chance of one of them becoming their new favourite band. Even if you don’t like everything on the bill, there’s bound to be something of interest.
Chew Magna, Eagle Inn, January 18.
Using this gig as a launchpad for their recently released debut five-track White Hotel EP (available on Bandcamp for the bargain price of just £2), Manchester’s very own Chew Magna bring their scuzzy grunge to the Salford venue close to where it was recorded (and named after).
Supported by the equally fine currentmoodgirl, the EP (which was recorded as live) is sure to sound blistering in this small but perfectly formed room.
A racket, and a tuneful one at that.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Academy, January 19.
Saddled with what is probably the worst band name in musical history (just typing it makes me queasy), Denver-based Nathaniel Rateliff brings his soul combo to these shores once again in support of last year’s Tearing At The Seams album.
Part of a UK tour, culminating in a massive gig at the Apollo in London, the eight-piece’s take on retro R and B makes more sense live than on record, and this sold-out Academy gig follows on from a New Years Eve performance at the Grand Ole Opry on Nashville, showing off the variety in Rateliff’s output
The Streets, Apollo, January 24-25-26.
You know exactly what this will be like.
A nostalgia trip for a certain generation, pints will be thrown, a moshpit for the fast ones, mobiles in the air and blokes hugging blokes for Dry Your Eyes.
Mike Skinner replicates his nostalgia-driven but massively successful tour of 2018, by doing another 3 nights at the venue which hosted two sell-out gigs last time out.
The difference this year though is that there will be more new material, taken from his recently announced forthcoming as-yet-untitled album.
Skinner, who is one of the first few artists to self-confirm for Glastonbury 2019, is a natural live performer and the sheer quality of the material (especially the first two ground-breaking records) will be worth the entrance fee alone.
Azealia Banks, Ritz, January 24.
Yes, unbelievably, she’s still about.
Seemingly a career of false dawns, with planned (and then cancelled) releases a-plenty, she comes to these shores ahead of the (hopeful) release of the follow-up to her 2012 mixtape Fantasea, imagnitively entitled Fantasea II – The Second Wave.
Best known for her breakthrough single 212 some seven years ago now, this is certainly on paper the most intriguing gig of the month with so many unanswered questions (does she still have an audience, is the Ritz too big for her, will it be new material or past glories?)
One for the curious gig-goer.
The K’s, Academy 2, January 25.
If we are any judges of the zeitgeist (and of course we are), then The K’s biggest headline gig by far to date, will be a small speck of dust in the rear view mirror by the end of 2019. Big things lie ahead for the four lads from Earlestown and this (close to) hometown gig will be a stepping stone towards a summer of festival appearances and new material.
Last seen in Manchester playing to a very healthy crowd at Neighbourhood Festival in October, and with a trio of corking singles behind them, this is one not to miss, as people will be moaning about not being able to get a ticket for them by 2020.
Frank Turner, Victoria Warehouse, January 25-26.
The endearing, bewilderingly popular shouty troubadour comes to Manchester for two nights at The Victoria Warehouse on the back of last year 7th solo LP, the very-well received Be More Kind.
In a strange choice of support acts, they are joined by the infinitely superior survivors of emo, Jimmy Eat World and folk anarchist Grace Petrie.
Expect a night of sweat, passion, singalong choruses and anthems.
The Rifles, Night and Day, January 11.
Bad Suns, Deaf Institute, January 16.
Cake, Academy, January 20.
The 1975, Arena, January 24.
Snow Patrol, Arena, January 30.
White Room, Soup Kitchen, January 31.
Phobophobes, Night and Day, January 31.