The nights are drawing in and the night outs are getting ever more plentiful, Getintothis’ Steven Doherty tries to narrow them down.
This month is my 12th column, unbelievably, a whole year writing about the best gigs that Manchester has to offer, and it’s fair to say that this month’s selection is the best one yet.
But first, how we ended up here.
I had no burning desire, no dream to become a writer, never written a thing before.
Always loved giving my opinion after a gig though, usually to my bored wife or eye-rolling mates about the fantastic/awful (delete as applicable, never usually ‘just okay’) thing we’d just seen.
And then two fateful things occurred.
Firstly I read a review that incensed me so much it made my teeth itch.
It was a gig I’d thought about going to but didn’t, so was intrigued to see what I’d missed out on.
The review told me nothing, they’d done no research so knew none of the songs (whilst freely admitting this), didn’t seem remotely interested in the music, gave no opinion on the events, the list goes on.
It stuck with me and from then on I started to think, ‘I might be able to do better than that’.
And then the second event happened.
Sam Allardyce was appointed manager of Everton Football Club.
Which I admit doesn’t sound like the obvious catalyst for someone to find their love of music writing, but I’ll explain.
In late 2017 to early 2018, I’d kinda fell out of love a bit with music. There wasn’t much that spoke to me, I was going to less and less gigs.
So, in the months leading up to the May Bank Holiday 2018, I had decided to sell the Sound City tickets I’d bought on a whim some months before, and go to the match as usual.
But by then, Big Sam’s “style” of football was that bad by then, that was quite enough to make me change my mind.
These two random, non-connected happenings made me realise that I could do, and wanted to, share my opinion with everyone else (a big sorry to everyone else).
I wrote to Getintothis and here we all are.
I implore you if you’ve ever considered writing, to do exactly the same.
Or if like me, you’d never even considered it.
Anyway, enough about me, onto this month’s absolute crackers.
It’s very much a month of bands on the cusp of big things, so dig in.
Black Country, New Road: Yes, October 2
Fresh from releasing two of the most special singles of the year, the great hopes for the future that are Black Country, New Road arrive in Manchester for a long since sold out show at Yes.
If venues did season tickets, we’d be getting one for Yes this month, and this gets us off to a flier.
If you’re not yet familiar with them, then you’re in for an absolute delight.
Knowing and clever lyrically, with swirling jazz-like backing, the two vignettes we’ve had so far leave us in anticipation for the delights that are to come.
2020’s brightest stars, you read it here first.
JOHN: Castle Hotel, October 4
On a (mostly) sold out UK tour and last seen in Manchester supporting Mclusky on one of the true gig highlights of the year, London’s JOHN are about to take off as they release their album Out Here On The Fringes on the same day as this gig.
They’ve also announced that prior to their performance, they will be doing a Q and A session with 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins at 33 Oldham Street.
You won’t see them in places as small as this for a long time, so enjoy their crushing riffs in a cosy setting one last time.
Deja Vega: Gullivers, October 4
Already with a back catalogue of really strong singles, Winsford’s very own Deja Vega play a special small gig in celebration of their upcoming self-titled debut album release on October 12.
Support for this one is from The Hot Soles, and this will be a thriller, Deja Vega are incendiary live to say the very least.
They are already making future plans, and have sold out the much larger Deaf Institute in February 2020 already, so another case of catching them in smaller places whilst you still can.
Neighbourhood Festival: Various Venues, October 12
Much going on here, and if it’s as half as good as last years, then this will be some all-dayer.
Hundreds of bands spread over some of the city’s finest venues, and it’s not just the headliners that are the big draws.
Miles Kane and The Sherlocks are the major names but the real nuggets are to be found lower down on the poster.
Read the full preview here.
The Murder Capital: Yes, October 18
Yes again strikes gold, with one of the discoveries of the year so far, in the form of Dubliners The Murder Capital.
Following the summer release of their Top 20 debut album When I Have Fears, they are in the midst of another UK tour, their 3rd of the year so far.
Having been fortunate enough to catch them on the previous two, they are absolutely not to be missed.
Next year’s Mercury nomination is an absolute shoo-in.
Ladytron: Ritz, October 19
Who’s have thought we’d all live long enough to see Ladytron described as the ‘old timers’ of the column?
One of only three UK gigs that they are doing on this run, they’re still in support of latest comeback, self-titled record.
You know this is going to be a joy, and the full preview is here.
Black Midi: White Hotel, October 22
2019’s most divisive band.
They return to local parts in support of their recent Mercury Music Prize nominated album Schlagenheim.
People’s views on the band seem to range from the “greatest new band of the decade” to sounding like “having the vocal style of an angry Punch and Judy show” and all points in between.
Go along and then decide where on the scale you fit in.
Orville Peck: Yes, October 30
The above fantastic promo picture would be reason enough to end this month with another Yes mention, but the fact is that the mysterious Orville Peck has released one of the albums of the year in the shape of Pony.
It’s a moody, sad-feeling record, so it will be really intriguing to see how it translates live.
A goth-country masterpiece that is something far away from the other gigs this month, but still will be brilliant, trust us.
Also downtown this month:
Misty’s Big Adventure: Hive Bar, October 4
Bill Ryder-Jones: Band On The Wall, October 6
Richard Hawley: Albert Hall, October 7
Pip Blom: Gorilla, October 7
Two Door Cinema Club: Victoria Warehouse, October 7/8
Bis, Liines: Night And Day, October 11
Slowthai: Academy, October 16
Rory Wynne: Zombie Shack, October 18
The Divine Comedy: Albert Hall, October 18
Gruff Rhys: Yes, October 20
A Boogie Wit A Hoodie: Academy, October 20
Working Men’s Club: Yes, October 26
Battles: Gorilla, October 28
Charli XCX: Albert Hall, October 30