Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Managing Editor

Autumn’s a fine old time for gigs in Manchester and the North, with pretty much every music venue pushing a packed calendar. From otherworldly folk to life-affirming soul, here are our top picks for October onwards.

New this month, Beth Orton heads to RNCM in support of her first album in six years, Weather Alive – the culmination of 30 years spent shapeshifting between folk, trip hop and brooding experimentalism.

At New Century, it’s R&B/soul trio Gabriels – a real discovery. Featuring the soaring, once-in-a-generation vocals of gospel singer Jacob Lusk and the smouldering production of Ryan Hope and Ari Balouzian, theirs is a sound of an era, and yet future facing.

A very different flavour in the form of Sigur Rós. Ahead of their first studio album in nearly a decade, the Icelandic post rock stars bring their rapturous and romantic, dramatic and alien music to the O2 Apollo.

Celebrating 30 years of their seminal album It’s a Shame About Ray, Boston band The Lemonheads will play the album in full at The Ritz the sun-kissed nostalgia we need as the chill sets in.

Then, unusually for this section, an exhibition. A world premiere at that. The Science and Industry Museum presents Turn It Up: The Power of Music – an interactive experience exploring the science of music’s mysterious hold over us, and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share.

What else? Alabaster de Plume and Rioghnach Connolly come together to perform a one-off show at Band on the Wall. Grandbrothers bring their electronic take on prepared piano to the same venue. Leading lights of the ’90s American underground Pavement play in Manchester for the first time in a decade, and quite possibly the greatest living rapper, Kendrick Lamar, stops by on his victory lap around the world.

Here are our picks

More in Music

Music Until 5 October 2022, from £5.50

Sounds of Nature at The Stoller Hall

The Stoller Hall has taken Sound of Nature as its new programming strand for 2022, with the aim of connecting audiences with nature through music.

Activity Until 31 December 2023, from £269

DJ Gym at Hatch

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

New Dawn Fades: A Play About Joy Division & Manchester at RNCM
Music 29–30 September 2022, from £19.00

New Dawn Fades: A Play About Joy Division & Manchester at RNCM

Set in the wake of the punk revolution of 1970s Manchester, this timely revival tells the story of the four ordinary lads who came together to create one of the most significant bands of all time.

The Color Purple at The Lowry
Music 11–15 October 2022, from £15.00

The Color Purple at The Lowry

With a soulful musical score and a jaw-droppingly talented cast, this moving musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-prize-winning novel should definitely be on your radar.

Music 11 October 2022 7:30 pm, from £9.00

Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano) & Simon Lepper (piano) at RNCM

Following their award-winning album of songs by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Elizabeth Llewellyn and Simon Lepper perform for RNCM’s 50th celebrations.

Exhibitions 14–29 October 2022, FREE

Lightpool Festival

Taking place during Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display, Lightpool is a celebration of spectacular art works and live, illuminated performance across the iconic town.

David Gibb's Family Jukebox
Families 15 October 2022 1:30 pm, from £11.00

David Gibb’s Family Jukebox

Experience musical delight for families with children of all ages at David Gibb’s Family Jukebox, part of the Manchester Folk Festival.

RNCM Young Explorers: Halloween Spooktacular
Families 16 October 2022 2:00 pm, from £8.00

RNCM Young Explorers: Halloween Spooktacular

Dress up in your creepiest costumes and get chills down your spine at the RNCM Young Explorers: Halloween Spooktacular on 16 October, featuring live orchestral music and lots of spooky delights!

Silhouette of people standing in front of an exhibit at Manchester Science Festival 2018
Activity 21–30 October 2022,

Manchester Science Festival 2022

Expect another action-packed programme of inspiring, entertaining and playful experiences as Manchester Science Festival returns, with interactive online events, thought-provoking talks and eye-opening exhibitions.

Culture Guides


David Bowie, Japanese classics and some early spooky screenings all feature in this month’s cinema guide.


Welcome the autumnal season with all of the art goodness that it brings – there are so many brand new exhibitions to see!


As we say bye to the summer holidays and begin to welcome in the cooler months, Manchester’s events and activities continue to bring joy and fun to families.

Author Thea Lenarduzzi


There are plenty of online readings and live launches as Manchester and the North welcomes some great writers with book festival season getting underway, and there are loads of new spoken word nights and open mics to check out…

Theatre in Manchester and the North


As the new theatre season gets ready to launch, we champion some of the star performances happening over the next few months.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North as we head into autumn.

Tours and Activities

Every season change is an excuse to try something new, and when it comes to tours and activities, autumn delivers!

Things to do right now

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Music Until 5 October 2022, from £5.50

Sounds of Nature at The Stoller Hall

Activity Until 31 December 2023, from £269

DJ Gym at Hatch

Road at OIdham Coliseum
Theatre Until 1 October 2022, from £7.00

Road at Oldham Coliseum

Gecko: Kin at HOME
Theatre Until 1 October 2022, from £10.00

Gecko: Kin at HOME