Zeal & Ardor at Gorilla

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Matthias Willi

Zeal & Ardor at Gorilla, Manchester 5 December 2018 Tickets from £14 — Book now

It’s an exciting feeling when you stumble across music that’s as boldly creative as Zeal & Ardor’s. Taking the old and making it new, the band combine blues, gospel and… wait for it…


Masterminded by Swiss-American Manuel Gagneux, this music is predicated on a singular vision – an alternate history whereby American slaves renounced Christianity and turned, instead, to the devil. Specifically, Zeal & Ardor answer the question: what might a satanic spiritual sound like?

In 2016, upon the release of their sinister debut album Devil Is Fine, the band generated a significant buzz around the world. If you’ve not yet heard it, we strongly recommend that you give this record a spin; it’s unlikely you’ll have heard anything like it before. Gagneux’s roaring vocals embody a satanic chain gang, whose gruff howls sit atop a particularly atmospheric brand of metal which incorporates elements of blues, funk and electronic music. It’s a fusion that sounds almost faddish, but the way that Gagneux brings these disparate worlds together is utterly convincing. Check out the brilliant title track below.

After an international tour (whose shows advertised free red-hot-iron brandings of the band’s logo at the merch stand), the band unveiled album number two: Stranger Fruit. This record offers a more fully-realised version of what they laid out in Devil Is Fine, with both the songwriting and the production massively stepping up. Seething with rage, Gagneux seamlessly fuses Christian, Satanic and occult terminology as he delivers his characteristically tortured blues vocals. These betray the singer’s obsession with Alan Lomax’s field recordings, as well as the meticulous research of his niche subject matters. ‘Gravedigger’s Chant’, ‘Don’t You Dare’ and ‘Row Row’ are all highlights.

Currently touring the album, Zeal & Ardor are soon to be coming to the UK (along with, we assume, their branding iron). One of their stops will be the 500 capacity Gorilla in Manchester, which feels excitingly intimate considering the attention the band have been winning of late. So if you feel like dancing with the devil, he’ll be waiting beneath the arches on Whitworth Street on the 5 December.


Zeal & Ardor at Gorilla, Manchester 5 December 2018

Book Now

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
RNCM Summer Season 2023

As usual the RNCM Summer Season is filled to the brim with brilliant concerts. Read our highlights, with a little something for everyone.

free entry
Roger Waters at AO Arena

Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters brings his This Is Not A Drill tour to Manchester’s AO Arena, performing both solo and Pink Floyd material.

from £98.50
Darkside at New Century

Electronic producer Nicolas Jaar and guitarist Dave Harrington AKA Darkside bring their dreamy mélange of psychedelia, art rock and electronica to New Century.

from £31.42

Culture Guides


We look towards a summer filled with quality festivals, from cultural behemoths to grassroots gems.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.


We look at the ingenious, atmospheric outdoor screenings popping up across the North this summer.