Music in Manchester and the North

Chris Horkan, Music Editor

Why not try some new music for the new year? Whether it’s a residency (or two) in a former mill, an original take on a film soundtrack, or the cream of Manchester’s current music scene coming together for an action-packed all-dayer, our top picks for the weeks and months ahead have it covered. We’ve even thrown in the odd summer festival to start filling up your 2017 calendar…

Here are our top 10 picks

  • 1. Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop at RNCM

    Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 31 August 2016, from £20.00 - Book now

    Jesca Hoop and Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam combine their considerable musical talent at the RNCM, having previously worked together on Hoop’s 2014 album, Undress. California-raised but Manchester-based, Hoop is no stranger to partnering up, with Willy Mason and Elbow’s Guy Garvey among previous collaborators. Here, Beam and Hoop will be performing refined folk and country songs from their acclaimed duet album, Love Letter For Fire.

  • 2. Animal Collective at O2 Academy, Liverpool

    Animal Collective at O2 Academy Liverpool, City Centre, 3 September 2016, from £15.00 - Book now

    While their 10th and latest studio album, Painting With, isn’t their masterpiece (with the exception of annoyingly catchy FloriDada), Animal Collective are still an exhilarating live prospect: all extended jams and trippy light shows, with classics from their extensive back catalogue emerging from the haze. Formed in Baltimore in 2003, the band’s membership has changed over the years and currently features Avey Tare, Geologist and Lisbon-based Panda Bear.

  • 3. Strange Waves 2016

    Strange Waves 2016 at The Ritz, Manchester, 9 September 2016, from £15.00 - Book now

    Manchester’s collaborative spirit continues with Strange Waves 2016, the largest joint venture to date by two of the city’s independent promoters, Strange Days and Now Wave (see what the did there?). Taking advantage of The Ritz’s lesser-known basement, as well as its main ballroom, this six-band bill is topped by Melbourne’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. They’ll be joined by Brighton-based the Wytches, London’s all-female quartet The Big Moon, plus METHYL ETHEL, The Parrots and shame. Head here for a night of rock ‘n’ roll revelry.

  • 4. Roy Harper

    Roy Harper at The Bridgewater Hall, City Centre, 9 September 2016, from £25.00 - Book now

    Rusholme-born and Ireland-based, Roy Harper’s career now spans a whopping 50 years, during which time he has gained fans including Kate Bush, Robert Plant, Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom – who invited him to join her on one UK tour. A legend in every sense of the word, boasting documentaries and lifetime achievement awards, the ‘retired’ folk rock musician is embarking on a short tour to celebrate his 75th birthday. Catch him while you can.

  • 5. The Moonlandingz

    The Moonlandingz at The White Hotel, Salford, 22 September 2016, from £11.00 - Book now

    The Moonlandingz are a fictional band. Featuring two members of Fat White Family, they were founded in response to the Eccentronic Research Council’s album Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine … I’m Your Biggest Fan. But with their song Sweet Saturn Mine attracting radio play, they’ve developed into a fully fledged musical project, with this short UK tour stopping at the city’s most underground venue, the White Hotel. Expect ‘cosmic synth krautabilly group doing fuzzy Joe Meek-style pop’, as Maxine Peake puts it.

  • 6. Steve Ignorant’s Slice of Life

    Dod Morrison

    Steve Ignorant’s Slice of Life at Aatma, Northern Quarter, 24 September 2016, free entry - Visit now

    Former Crass frontman Steve Ignorant plays an intimate acoustic show at Aatma – the backstreet venue formerly know as Kraak. Having replaced the punk noise of his legendary band with more acoustic arrangements for Slice of Life, his latest project, expect some personal, intimate late-night musing. When not performing, Ignorant is a lifeboatman in rural Norfolk.

  • 7. The Goon Sax

    Chapter Music

    The Goon Sax, 29 September 2016, from £7.00 - Book now

    Backstreet boozer the Eagle Inn is the unlikely host venue for the Manchester (or Salford, more accurately) debut by Aussie teen sensations the Goon Sax. The Brisbane trio, who make thoughtful indie-pop songs, count the Pastels, Talking Heads, Galaxie 500 and Arthur Russell among their influences – with their excellent debut album likely to end up on multiple end of year lists.

  • 8. Tor Festival 2016

    Tor Festival 2016 at Todmorden Unitarian Church, 30 September–1 October 2016, from £3.00 - Book now

    The West Yorkshire town of Todmorden hosts Tor Festival, a one-day music event featuring styles ranging from folk through to drone and psychedelia. This mini-festival takes place in the town’s Unitarian Church – with a warm-up show taking place at the Golden Lion pub the previous night. All in all, it’s great reason to pay a visit to this picturesque Pennine market town.

  • 9. Oxjam Manchester Takeover 2016


    Oxjam Manchester Takeover 2016 at Dulcimer, Chorlton, 30 September–2 October 2016, from £5.00 - Book now

    With weekend wristbands available from as little as a fiver, this event, spanning three days and six venues across Chorlton, is a bargain. Kicking off with a five-strong bill for the launch night, the main event continues throughout Saturday – headed up by local experimental duo O>l>A. Sunday’s closing party, meanwhile, features two exciting talents in Liam McClair and Chloe Foy. And it’s all in the aid of Oxfam.

  • 10. Meilyr Jones

    Meilyr Jones at The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 4 October 2016, from £9.00 - Book now

    Formerly the frontman of Race Horses, Meilyr Jones has also collaborated with fellow Welsh musical talents Cate Le Bon, Gruff Rhys and Euros Childs, as well as Stealing Sheep. Jones’ recent solo debut, 2013, maintains the same kind of pedigree – packed full of off-beat, witty pop songs. One of the highlights of this year’s Sounds From The Other City festival, he returns to headline the Deaf Institute. Support comes from Warrington’s Man & The Echo – a group themselves on the up.

Culture Guides


They say a picture is worth a thousand words – so, perhaps, can an object be, as our current selection of the very best exhibitions in Manchester and the North proves.


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Benjamin Myers by Julian Germain Dunelm.


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This month we’ve got something very old, a couple of things rather new, something borrowed from the Americans and something dressed in Oldham Athletic blue.


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Destination Guides