Johnny James, Managing Editor

GAIKA at YES, Manchester 30 May 2019 Tickets from £10 — Book now

MC and producer GAIKA’s darkly magnetic blend of gothic dancehall and industrial electronics is soon coming to YES. Here’s why you should be excited.

Raised in Brixton, schooled in Sutton and of Jamaican and Grenadian descent, GAIKA’s creative output has always straddled different worlds. Taking influence from academia, philosophy and political theory, he devours his influences and spits them out, tangled around personal tales of love, loss and rebellion. Similarly wide-reaching when it comes to genre, his singular ‘ghetto futurist’ style fuses grime, dancehall, garage, hip hop, R&B, trip hop and more. All of this is drawn together to paint pictures of stark, dystopian landscapes that feel like some kind of South London Mad Max.

After captivating listeners with a blistering pair of self-released mixtapes – Machine and Security, as well as WARP-released EP’s SPAGHETTO and The Spectacular Empire, GAIKA released his debut album just last year. Entitled BASIC VOLUME, it turns London into a site of bleak oppression, inhabited by a population of ghosts, fractured by drug wars and racial division. Ironically, this fractured London is delivered via collaboration, with GAIKA enlisting such forward-thinking contemporaries as SOPHIE, Aart and Dutch E Germ to help with production duties.

The SOPHIE-inflected ‘Immigrant Sons (Pesos & Gas)’ is one of the most instantly rousing tracks. Its bright cascading synths dance across a dramatic hip-hop bass line while GAIKA sounds a call to arms: “Young women with your heart in song/I wanna see you in rebellion/Stand up for yourself, don’t take no shit/Put your bombs on the grip, every boot, every kick”. Wonderfully cinematic, this track is matched by ‘Born Thieves’, whose brooding bass line and graceful, hook-filled vocals combine to hypnotise. And then there’s the fire-fuelled ‘Crown & Key’, whose muscular beats and trance-like synths ferry us through GAIKA’s grim London in characteristically disquieting style.

Take a listen to the album and you’ll see for yourself why GAIKA is being billed by many as one of the most arresting MC’s of his generation. At a tenner a ticket, don’t miss him at YES on the 30 May.

GAIKA at YES, Manchester 30 May 2019 Tickets from £10 Book now

Where to go near GAIKA at YES

Music venue
Joshua Brooks

Long-established Manchester bar and nightclub, Joshua Brooks is just off student hotspot Oxford Road. Open until 4am on the weekends with regular DJ-led club nights.

Middle Kingdom

A tip for affordable, consistently good food is Middle Kingdom, just outside Chinatown on Princess Street. It offers the full hot pot experience, where you and your friends order a bunch of ingredients and cook it yourselves at the table.

Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a relaxed, fun wine tour, full of the city’s best food and drink, led by an effortlessly engaging host.

The Dancehouse

From its charming Art Deco interiors to a quirky, highly original creative arts output, our theatre is firmly established within the city’s famously vibrant cultural scene.

Photo of people going through Cornerhouse's front doors

Cornerhouse on Oxford Street was an independent cinema, gallery, restaurant, bookshop – oh yes, and also a Manchester institution. It has now closed it’s doors, relocated and reinvented itself as HOME.

Bar or Pub
The Thirsty Scholar

Friendly pub under a railway arch serving vegetarian and vegan pub food, as well as hosting regular live music.

The Cotton Factory

This residency restaurant opened in summer 2019, at Locke Hotels’ Whitworth Locke. The first residency comes courtesy of Mexican specialists El Camino.

What's on: Music

DJ Gym at Hatch

Learn some DJ and production skills with DJ Gym Manchester, based in the culturally infused surrounds of Hatch.

from £269
Students playing in an orchestra
MusicOxford Road
RNCM Symphony Orchestra at RNCM

An exhilarating journey awaits as the RNCM Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage with a programme of Benjamin Britten, William Walton, Julia Perry and Keiko Abe.

from £8.50

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.