Music in Manchester and the North

Chris Horkan, Music Editor

As the days get shorter, Manchester’s music calendar gets busier – with the city’s music venues burst from the seams with live music for you to enjoy. So whether it’s an acclaimed classical ensemble or opera company in a world-renowned concert hall or that up-and-coming young artist in a packed, sweaty venue, we’ve got your gig-going plans covered – with occasional musical highlights from around the region thrown in for good measure…

Here are our top 5 picks

  • 1. La Vie Parisienne

    La Vie Parisienne

    La Vie Parisienne at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 07–17 December 2016 , from £21.00 - Book now

    RNCM Opera tackles Jacques Offenbach’s operetta La Vie Parisienne to mark the 150th anniversary of its premiere. While Offenbach’s popular original was set in 1860s Paris, this English version (by Scottish political satirist Alistair Beatonet) places this tangled tale of relationships in the 1930s. Full of wit and romance, it promises to be an intriguing retelling of this famous piece – for seasoned opera-goers and debutants alike.

  • 2. Coco Mbassi

    Coco Mbassi

    Coco Mbassi at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 10 December 2016, from £10.00 - Book now

    Cameroonian singer Coco Mbassi makes a rare visit to the city this month, as part of Band on the Wall’s monthly contemporary African music event series, Amani Live. With styles spanning soul, gospel and jazz, as well as Latin, pop and classical music, expect to be taken on a musical journey by Mbassi – who has toured the world and played the likes of Womad and Louisiana International Festival. Support comes from the Amani collective, featuring up-and-coming Congolese and Cameroonian musicians.

  • 3. Richard Hawley presents Disgraceland


    Richard Hawley presents Disgraceland at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 16 December 2016, from £12.50 - Book now

    Disgraceland, a new night curated and featuring musician Richard Hawley, includes both DJ and live sets. In December, Hawley is joined by pianist Henri Herbert, the blues pianist who previously played in the sadly defunct Jim Jones Revue. With comparisons to Jerry Lee Lewis, expect high-energy boogie woogie piano – alongside what is likely to be an eclectic DJ set from Hawley himself.

  • 4. Manchester Camerata: The Manchester Festive Happening

    Photo by Jack Kirwin - JK Photography
    Photo by Jack Kirwin - JK Photography

    Manchester Camerata: The Manchester Festive Happening at Albert Hall, City Centre, 18 December 2016, from £3.00 - Book now

    Now a fixture on Manchester Camerata’s calendar, this festive happening returns to the suitably grand Albert Hall. On the programme for 2016 are popular pieces Bach and Vivaldi, plus Corelli’s Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 – more catchily known as his Christmas Concerto. Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth will be directing this festive occasion, which also features a selection of traditional carols. Plus obligatory mince pies and mulled wine.

  • 5. Baked A La Ska: ‘Ska of Wonder’ Christmas Party

    Baked A La Ska: ‘Ska of Wonder’ Christmas Party

    Baked A La Ska: ‘Ska of Wonder’ Christmas Party at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 22 December 2016, from £10.00 - Book now

    Manchester’s own Baked A La Ska round off the year with their annual Christmas Party. The 11-piece, featuring three lead singers, a harmonica player, brass and rhythm sections, will be performing festive ska favourites such as When You Wish Upon A Ska and Harmonica for Christmas. End 2016 on a high with this ‘heavy heavy sound’.

Culture Guides

Image courtesy of HOME


Cinemas around the North are putting on their festive hats this month but don’t worry, there’s plenty going on even if you aren’t into the whole Christmas thing.

Intervention 15 by Edward Krasinski


100 artists feature in an exhibition celebrating the Bluecoat’s 300th anniversary, Edward Krasinksy is a surprise hit at Tate Liverpool and Manchester Museum looks at a world without bees. Our top exhibitions in Manchester and the North.

Credit Karen Wright


It may be blinkin cold but The Whitworth’s Frost Fair will warm your cockles, as will some tip top theatrical family classics – but not as you know ’em.



Plenty of festive fun, including some seasonal storytelling in Manchester and Liverpool, then much to add to your lily-white 2017 diary…



We’re breaking this month’s theatre picks into grit and glam. Glam because it’s the season of shiny, sparkly things, ­and grit because, well, we’re Northern after all.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

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Edward Krasiński
Exhibitions 21 October 2016–05 March 2017 , from £6.00

Edward Krasinski at Tate Liverpool

Not for Navigation
Exhibitions 07 December 2016–24 February 2017 , FREE

Not for Navigation at The International 3

Exhibitions 24 November–21 December 2016 , FREE

Tim Isherwood: Please Use The Intercom

Feed Me - Image courtesy of Rachel Maclean
Cinema 03–13 December 2016 , from £7.00

Film Season: I’m Too Happy

Film Season: Fade To Black – Generations
Cinema 25 November–09 December 2016 , from £5.00

Film Season: Fade To Black – Generations