The sun’s out, beer gardens are open, and live music is very nearly a thing again. 2021, you old rascal, you’ve only gone and done it.
As you’ve now come to understand, we are extremely excited about the return of all things holy (see above). But in the flurry of event announcements, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. So we’ve done it for you.
Below, we write about the tastiest gigs coming up in Manchester, including Secret Night Gang at The Blues Kitchen, Folly Group at YES, The Untold Orchestra at Escape to Freight Island and Jenna G & Werkha and Meat Free at Escape to Freight Island.
We also get that some people don’t feel ready to head out just yet, and so we also write about the best gigs that you can stream from your living room (with a can of warm Carlsberg in hand, perhaps, just for that authentic gig experience?).
New streams this month include Scruff of the Neck TV: Egyptian Blue and Joey Maxwell, The Untold Orchestra: Four Women, Band on the Wall: Live-ish from fivefourstudios and Björk Orkestral – Live From Reykjavík, with plenty more to explore below.
We’ve also updated our Lockdown Listens playlist with our favourite releases from 2021 so far:
Here are our picks
Manchester Psych Fest, an all-day celebration of alternative music and art, returns in September 2021. Topped by Stereolab, the line-up is super strong and wildly eclectic, ranging from abrasive Irish post-punks Girl Band to Afrobeat/jazz fusion outfit Kokoroko.
Stockholm-based post punk band Viagra Boys’s new album Welfare Jazz sees them further explore the grubby underbelly of society, championing the world’s underdogs while taking aim at subjects like toxic masculinity and misogyny.
Spotlighting an instrument that usually remains in the concert hall shadows, Psappha invites sitar virtuoso Jasdeep Singh Degun to lead a wonderfully varied programme at Hallé St Peter’s.
Psappha’s 2020–21 season explores the sharpest and smartest sounds in contemporary classical music, presented in concert and streamed online for free.
My First Protest Song goes online. Round up the family and join Matt Hill for this live-streamed event full of toe-tapping tunes.
Presented by the BBC’s Petroc Trelawny and conducted by Stephen Bell, the Hallé celebrates classical music on the silver screen.
The Hallé are joined by virtuoso pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, plus Sibelius’s magnificent Third Symphony.
The Hallé will be joined by Paul Lewis, one of the country’s most distinguished artists, for a dazzling programme in which he directs from the piano.
The Hallé performs a varied programme of Grazyna Bacewicz, Aaron Copland and Dmitri Shostakovich under the baton of new Assistant Conductor, Delyana Lazarova.
The Hallé is joined by Stephen Hough for Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, before the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ Second Symphony.
Experience Moston and Harpurhey in a brand-new way through an app on your phone.
It’s the March edition of the Food and Drink Guide to Manchester and the North and things are slowly starting to feel more promising. Spring is here, the weather is mostly warming up and in just a few weeks we’ll be allowed to eat and drink outside at venues with outside space.