Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Managing Editor

From rising stars playing basement sets to open air shows by your favourite bands’ favourite bands, there are some gems in this month’s music picks.

Thrillingly experimental and drawing on a potpourri of influences, Sorry are an ambitious band, but cover their tracks well; their 2020 debut album 925 was laced with all the irony and begrudging cool that the North London scene buzzes off these days. But that’s all smoke and mirrors; Sorry are brilliant songwriters, and an exciting live prospect at YES’ intimate basement venue.

Tirzah has been at the centre of the underground British RnB scene for the better half of a decade, her songs offering up hallucinatory celebrations of recovery, change and love. It’ll be great to catch them performed live in a venue as acoustically on-point as The Stoller Hall later this month.

Pixies, one the most influential and pioneering bands still operating today, blazed the trail for everyone from Pearl Jam to Nirvana to Radiohead. This summer they return to Castlefield Bowl, supported by Manchester live favourites The Slow Readers Club and Dutch alt-pop trio Klangstof.

Whether or not you subscribe to the idea that The Strokes “saved rock music”, it’s hard to imagine what the noughties would have looked or sounded like without them. A breathing avatar of New York City, the twin punch of their whip-smart garage rock and their perfectly dishevelled, elegantly wasted aesthetic made a massive cultural imprint. And their latest album, The New Abnormal, proves they aren’t going anywhere. Well maybe Lytham Festival in July.

What else? The best flora-themed hypno-folk-metal collaboration you’ll have heard in recent months (Richard Dawson and Circle), a qanun player whose music offers up a personal journey through the war in Syria (Maya Youssef), and a rundown of the best summer festivals in the North.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Sounds of the City: Pixies at Castlefield Bowl


    Sounds of the City: Pixies at Castlefield Bowl, Manchester, 5 July 2022, from £50.50 - Book now

    Pixies, one the most influential and pioneering bands still operating today, are returning to Castlefield Bowl, supported by Manchester live favourites The Slow Readers Club and Dutch alt-pop trio Klangstof.

  • 2. The Strokes at Lytham Festival

    The Strokes
    Jason McDonald.

    The Strokes at The Proms Arena, Blackpool, 8 July 2022, from £61.85 - Book now

    The Strokes, darlings of the early noughties indie rock scene, are heading to Lytham Festival this summer – their only North of England date this year.

  • 3. Richard Dawson & Circle at Gorilla

    Antti Uusimäki

    Richard Dawson & Circle at Gorilla, Manchester, 8 July 2022, from £21.00 - Book now

    Geordie troubadour Richard Dawson performs with Finnish Heavy Metal band Circle in support of their collaborative album — the greatest flora-themed hypno-folk-metal record you’ll have heard in recent months.

  • 4. Summer Festivals

    From all-nighters to family-friendly fun via considered, thought provoking weekends, we select out top picks from the many, many festivals taking place in the North this summer.

  • 5. Manchester Psych Fest 2022

    Manchester Psych Fest

    Manchester Psych Fest at The Ritz, Manchester, 3 September 2022, from £45 - Book now

    Manchester Psych Fest, the UK’s leading psychedelic music and arts festival, returns this September, and with the second wave of artists now announced, the 9th edition of Psych Fest is set to be the best yet as it takes over Manchester for one day only.

  • 6. Bluedot 2022 at Jodrell Bank

    Bluedot Festival 2022 at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Macclesfield, 22–24 July 2022, from £59.75 - Book now

    After two years without Bluedot, we’re super excited for its return in 2022, and the just-announced line-up is well worth the wait.

  • 7. Manchester Folk Festival 2022

    The Drystones

    Manchester Folk Festival at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 13–15 October 2022, from £13.20 - Book now

    Manchester Folk Festival is back with a huge line-up and a new venue on the books. We take a look at the artists playing at this year’s city-wide festival, from Grace Petrie to Lady Maisery.

  • 8. Sounds of Nature at The Stoller Hall

    Image courtesy of The Stoller Hall

    Sounds of Nature at The Stoller Hall, Manchester, Until 5 October 2022, from £5.50 - Book now

    This year, The Stoller Hall aims to connect audiences with nature through music, getting us thinking about everything from climate change to our relationship with the animal kingdom. Take a look at our highlights from their Sounds of Nature programme.

  • 9. BADBADNOTGOOD at Albert Hall

    Jamal Burger

    BADBADNOTGOOD at Albert Hall at Albert Hall, City Centre, 10 December 2022, from £17.50 - Book now

    In support of their expansive 2021 album Talk Memory, BADBADNOTGOOD play their biggest show in Manchester to date, at Albert Hall.

  • 10. New Century

    New Century, Mayes Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 4ES - Visit now

    From Jimi Hendrix to Pink Floyd, Manchester’s iconic New Century Hall once played host to some of the most influential artists on the planet. Following a £10m transformation, the ’60s dance-hall is returning this summer. Take a look at what’s in store.

More in Music

Interruptions: Sounds – Online with Holden Gallery, Manchester
Exhibitions Until 5 August 2022, FREE

Interruptions: Sounds – Online with The Holden Gallery, Manchester

‘Interruptions: Sounds’ is an online collection of new audio works by seven artists, spanning spoken word, ambient sound and musical tracks.

Music Until 8 July 2022, from £0.00

RNCM Lunchtime and Spotlight Concerts

It’s not just Symphony Orchestras or big name artists that perform as the RNCM, their lunchtime and spotlight concerts showcase the best student performers in more intimate settings.

Music Until 5 July 2022, from £12

RNCM Summer Season 2022

Read our picks for the exciting months ahead at the RNCM.

Activity Until 11 July 2022, FREE

Klezmer Tune Club at Manchester Jewish Museum

Bring an instrument and learn with the best Klezmer players in Manchester with Klezmer Tune Club at Manchester Jewish Museum.

Music 5 July 2022 7:30 pm, from £15.00

Manchester Camerata with RNCM Students and Robin Wallington (conductor)

Manchester Camerata performs by side with RNCM students in a concert featuring works by Jessie Montgomery, Antonín Dvořák and Felix Mendelssohn.

Music 7–24 July 2022, from £12

Buxton International Festival

One of the UK’s leading arts events, Buxton International Festival is a glorious summertime celebration of opera, music and books.

Music 8 July 2022 7:30 pm, from £5.00

The 21c Global Orchestra at RNCM

Watch a one-of-a-kind concert at the RNCM this July, with young musicians from leading music conservatoires around the world coming together to perform as an international ensemble: The 21c Global Orchestra.

Viva la Diva at Buxton Opera House
Festivals 10–23 July 2022, from £25.00

Viva la Diva at Buxton Opera House

Packed with laughs, cross-dressing and cases of mistaken identity, this is a brand-new English version of Donizetti’s comic opera, adapted by renowned screenwriter Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

Refract Festival 2022 at Waterside
Childrens 21–30 July 2022,

REFRACT Festival 2022 at Waterside

Now in its fifth year, Trafford’s flagship arts festival returns to Waterside for ten days of experiential performance and cultural delight.

Culture Guides


Explore Hollywood history, queer rarities and squirm-inducing horror across the big screens of Manchester and the North this month.

The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics


Let’s make the most of early summer, with this month’s selection of brand new art exhibitions from across the North!

Geronimo Festival 2022


Festivals, shows, museums, and much, much more – there’s plenty of summer fun to be had for families in Manchester and the North, whatever the weather. Here are our top picks.

Poet Caroline Bird


There’s plenty of sunshine-drenched reading to immerse yourself in from established names and emerging talent, poets and prose writers alike, both in real life as well as online.

Theatre in Manchester


Eclectic theatre festivals, silly slapstick and dreamy outdoor shows, there’s lots of brilliant performances happening inside and outside over the summer.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Baekdu Korean BBQ Restaurant

Food and Drink

Plan for July’s food and drink outings at some of the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

Get out in the sun this month with tours and activities that will have you engaging positively with the climate, taking the plunge in Salford Quays and getting creative.