Monthly Gig Guide: Picks for August

Chris Horkan
Photo of the Sun Ra Arkestra playing jazz in colourful outfits

For the sixth in our monthly series, Hey! Manchester brings you the picks of the best live gigs Manchester has to offer.

Sing Our Songs for Gaza

Featuring the cream of Manchester’s grassroots music community, this recently announced event is a real treat for gig-goers. With all involved donating their time for free, the likes of Honeyfeet – one of the city’s greatest, most under-rated bands – plus Liz Green, Paddy Steer and Walk will be helping to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). MAP is a non-political organisation that delivers aid to those caught in the ongoing conflict, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or religion. This fundraiser, weighing in with five hours of live music and DJs, promises to be a worthwhile Sunday night outing. Antwerp Mansion, Sun 10 Aug, 7pm. Tickets £5 adv.

Undressed

August is a notoriously difficult time of year for gigs, what with the good weather, summer holidays and endless stream of money-sapping festivals – so Undressed aims to offer something more unusual to the casual gig-goer. Hey! Manchester’s first two-day event takes place in a couple of recently refurbished churches in Ancoats: Hallé St Peters – which was brought to the public’s attention as the venue for last year’s Manchester International Festival production of Macbeth – and the lesser-known St Michael’s, which has only recently re-opened following a 10-year closure. The line-up features some of the city’s best folk acts: headliners The Travelling Band and Jesca Hoop topping off a bill that also includes Josephine, Liz Green, Bird to Beast, Olympian, Matthew Whitaker and Cavan Moran, who will be giving the venues’ acoustics a workout. With Salford brewery First Chop supplying the ales, and the two churches just a stone’s throw from each other, it’s set to be the kind of occasion fickle summer audiences demand. Hallé St Peters and St Michaels, Sat 16 & Sun 17 Aug, 5pm. Tickets £15 one day or £25 for two days adv.

Sun Ra Centennial Arkestra

Marking the arrival a century ago of revered bandleader Sun Ra, this concert at Band on the Wall features his “Arkestra”, who continue to spread the good word. Under the direction of 90-year-old alto saxophonist and long-time Ra collaborator Marshall Allen, the evening will feature uplifting, energetic jazz penned and performed by the “cosmic philosophy”-obsessed musician before his departure from Earth in 1993. With sets often lasting up to three hours, this is likely to be an epic tribute to one of music’s most adventurous composers. Band on the Wall, Sun 17 Aug, 7pm. Tickets £18 adv.

Jeffrey Lewis & The Jrams

Considering New Yorker Jeffrey Lewis is one of the hardest-working musicians out there, it’s somewhat surprising that this is his first Manchester club show in three years. Since his last appearance, he’s recruited a new band, The Jrams – the latest in a series of live incarnations that has included The Jitters and The Junkyard in the past. One of the mainstays of the so-called anti-folk movement, Lewis – described by Jarvis Cocker as “the best lyricist working in the US today” – combines his acute observational wit with punk-inspired folk music. For his ever-evolving live sets, he often incorporates “low-budget movies” – or hand-drawn comics – covering topics as varied as the history of Rough Trade Records and Communism. The Deaf Institute, Sat 23 Aug, 7pm. Tickets £9 adv.

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO

Just one outlet of a 30-strong Japanese collective of musicians who live by the slogan “Do Whatever You Want, Don’t Do Whatever You Don’t Want”, Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO play free-form music, incorporating elements of American psych rock, drone and world music. On tour, they tend to play as a more manageable (but no less fun) five-piece – featuring members including “cosmic joker”, “dancin’ king” and “speed guru”. The Ruby Lounge, Tue 26 Aug, 7.30pm. Tickets £10 adv.

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