Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Music Editor

From Irish hip hop to Afrobeat, absurdist punk to post-metal, this month’s music guide is a real melting pot.

Below, read about Kojaque, a Dublin rapper who fuses silky jazz beats with poetic lyrics about the issues that he sees plaguing his home city. With rumblings of an explosive future, catch him at Soup Kitchen before he graduates to larger stages.

Over at YES on the same night, Fuck Buttons co-founder Blanck Mass will be reflecting on the chaos of modern Britain. His recent Animated Violence Mild is one of the bleakest, most intense electronic albums of 2019, and is sure to make for a thrilling live show.

We’re also shining light on local talent this month, starting with Pijn, the city’s most distinctive post-metal band. Their debut album Loss has a pretty amazing backstory, which you can read about here before it’s performed in full at Soup Kitchen.

Manchester’s own MOLD, meanwhile, are a punk band with a tendency towards grim absurdism. Joined by three more Manchester bands, they’ll be dreaming of a black Christmas in the bowels of YES. Ahead of the gig, we caught up with the quartet to see why we should all check out the MOLD in the basement this December…

Nudging into the new year, London 8-piece Kokoroko are bringing their soul-shaking blend of neo-jazz and Afrobeat to Gorilla. They’ve been on our radar ever since Gilles Peterson closed his We Out Here compilation with their addictive ‘Abusey Junction’.

Besides all of that, you can read about Black Pumas, Hayden Thorpe, Omni, Whitney, Julia Jacklin and Stealing Sheep in our full music guide below.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Pijn at Soup Kitchen

    Joe Guppy

    Pijn at Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 6 December 2019, 7:30 pm–11:00 pm, from £5 - Book now

    One year on from its release, Manchester’s own Pijn are performing their celebrated post-metal album Loss in full at Soup Kitchen.

  • 2. MOLD at YES

    Dan Holderness

    MOLD at YES, Manchester, 13 December 2019, 7:00 pm–11:00 pm, from £5 - Book now

    Ahead of their gig at YES, we caught up with MOLD, who are making absurdist punk in the darkest corners of Manchester.

  • 3. Stealing Sheep at Kazimier Stockroom

    Stealing Sheep

    Stealing Sheep at Kazimier Stockroom, Liverpool, 12–14 December 2019, from £12 - Book now

    A triumphant final call on their extensive nationwide tour, Stealing Sheep’s tryptic of homecoming shows in Liverpool will be something special.

  • 4. Kokoroko at Gorilla

    Kokoroko at Gorilla, Manchester, 30 January 2020, 7:00 pm–11:00 pm, from £14 - Book now

    Don’t miss London 8-piece Kokoroko’s soul-shaking blend of neo-jazz and Afrobeat at Gorilla this December.

More in Music

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

This year-long celebration of outstanding pianists marks Chetham’s School of Music’s golden jubilee year.

Classical Music 19 September 2019–30 May 2020,

The Hallé 2019-20 Season

From a brilliant range of symphonies, concertos, vocal works, operas and more, we select our five top picks from the Hallé’s 2019-20 season.

BBC Philharmonic 2019 2020 season bridgewater hall manchester
Classical Music 21 September 2019–13 June 2020,

BBC Philharmonic 2019/20 Concert Season

An outstanding orchestra live in a world-class concert hall – read about the BBC Philharmonic’s 2019-20 season at The Bridgewater Hall.

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

From concerts to film screenings to operas, we select our top 5 highlights from the RNCM Autumn Season, whose thematic focus is Migration.

Northern Chamber Orchestra
Music 8 November 2019–15 May 2020,

Northern Chamber Orchestra 2019/20 Season

Northern Chamber Orchestra’s 2019/20 Season features the likes of violinists Chloe Hanslip and Anthony Marwood; pianist Martin James Bartlett; percussionist Colin Currie; and their President, cellist, Raphael Wallfisch.

Babies listening to a man play the guitar as part of My First Protest Song
Families 7 December 2019, 11:00 am–12:00 pm, FREE

My First Protest Song at People’s History Museum

People’s History Museum invites your babies and tots to sing Lennon, Dylan, Seeger and Strummer and celebrate the rebel in them all! 

Winter Festival Songs with Manchester Community Choir at Manchester Craft and Design Centre
Festivals 7 December 2019, 1:30 pm–3:00 pm, FREE

Winter Festival Songs with Manchester Community Choir at Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Take a trip through the magical world of winter festival songs with Manchester Community Choir at Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

Music 8–14 December 2019, from £21

RNCM Opera ‘Dialogues des Carmélites’ at RNCM

A powerful story of faith, bravery and redemption, Poulenc’s ‘Dialogues des Carmélites’ promises to be a highlight of the RNCM’s Autumn season.

Music 8 December 2019, 7:30 pm–11:00 pm, from £33.25

The National at First Direct Arena

Following their much-celebrated album, I Am Easy to Find, The National are bringing their melancholy alternative rock to Leeds’ First Direct Arena this December.

Culture Guides


We round up the best Christmas movies and new releases this December.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North


Top of our list of highlights this month, we’re looking forward to the opening of ‘Vivian Suter’ and ‘Theaster Gates: Amalgam’ at Tate Liverpool.

Family things to do. An art installation at Lightopia.


Check out our latest top picks of family things to do and enjoy some quality time together this autumn.

Jade Montserrat


There are plenty of magical live literature happenings in the run-up to, during and even after the festive season – and lots of book-buying opportunities, perfect for presents for friends and family, or even yourself.

Theatre in Manchester


Soaring aerial theatre, unique filmic performance and our pick of the pantos. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and the North. Taking in bars, restaurants and everywhere to go to eat, drink and get merry.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Get outdoors this winter or retreat into the warmth of a workshop with our December guide of Tours and Activities.

Things to do right now

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