Music in Manchester and the North

Johnny James, Music Editor

Yes, the summer sun is receding, but don’t dismay – you have an Autumn brimming with live music to look forward to! In the guide below we pick out the best gigs and concerts happening in Manchester and beyond. Here’s a taste:

We look forward to a truly exciting season of classical music from the Hallé, whose 2018-19 Season is filled with music that pinpoints vital moments in our cultural history. Including Janáček’s The Glagolitic Mass, these programmes are packed full of landmark pieces. Added to this, The Hallé at Christmas is enough to coax the Christmas spirit out of even the most po-faced scrooge! It includes film screenings of seasonal classics like The Snowman (accompanied live by the Hallé), as well as joyous festive celebrations like the Hallé Christmas Extravaganza!

On the more future-leaning side of classical music, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival returns this November, with a typically daring programme of events.

As for jazz, a new wave of genre-melding artists are breathing new vitality into the scene, and some of the best of these are heading our way this autumn. Manchester can look forward to Gogo PenguinKamaal WilliamsMammal Hands (supported by STUFF.), as well as Mercury Prize nominees Sons of Kemet.

On the cinematic side of things, John Carpenter casts a dark cloud over the same venue a few days later. David Byrne, meanwhile, will bring an altogether more joyous affair to the city with his amazing American Utopia show at the arena.

For the electronically inclined, Daniel Avery is curating a Warehouse Project event which showcases the best of the electronic underground. And if disco’s your thing, look no further than Parcels, who will light up Manchester’s Academy 2.

There’s more. Keep scrolling.

Here are our picks

  • 1. DRIFT at The Lowry

    Drift

    DRIFT at The Lowry, Manchester, 23 October 2018 - Find Out More

    Working in conjunction with The Lowry, the Drift_MCR project (Test Card, VAM and Meraki Collective) is commissioning a series of performance-based artworks from local artists. Considering how great their last event was at The Great Northern Warehouse, this is definitely one for the diary.

  • 2. Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2018

    Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2018 at Huddersfield Town Hall, 16–25 November 2018, from £9 - Book now

    Now in its 41st year, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival returns with a future-leaning programme of dusk-till-dawn events. Here are our top picks!

  • 3. Manchester Folk Festival 2018

    Manchester Folk Festival
    The Young ‘Uns, courtesy of Manchester Folk Festival

    Manchester Folk Festival 2018 at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 18–21 October 2018, from £6.00 - Book now

    Indulge in a long weekend packed with amazing gigs in great venues. Get involved in singing, songwriting and craft workshops. Grab your friends and dance a ceilidh. This festival is a chance to discover exciting bands, create something you’re proud of, relax with friends and make new connections.

  • 4. Jane Weaver: Loops in the Secret Society at the Royal Exchange

    Courtesy of Band on the Wall

    Jane Weaver: Loops in the Secret Society at Royal Exchange Theatre, City Centre, 21 October 2018, from £20 - Book now

    This first solo outing in five years by Manchester-based experimental pop musician Jane Weaver promises a uniquely atmospheric audiovisual take on the music from her two highly acclaimed recent albums, The Silver Globe and Modern Kosmology, in one of the city’s most unusual venues.

  • 5. In Good Company at Grand Central Hall

    In Good Company at Grand Central Hall, City Centre, 26 October 2018, from £20 - Book now

    Featuring American musicians Phosphorescent and BC Camplight, In Good Company is a new event taking place at Liverpool’s Grand Central Hall. With both acts joined by their bands – and more artists still to be announced – this promises to be an unusual and exciting use of this special venue.

  • 6. Eleanor Friedberger at Lancaster Library

    Get it Loud in Libraries

    Eleanor Friedberger at Lancaster Library, Lancaster, 27 October 2018, from £10 - Book now

    Part of Get It Loud In Libraries, an exciting project which puts on music events in beautiful libraries across the UK, Eleanor Friedberger’s gig at Lancaster Library is definitely one for the diary!

  • 7. Sons of Kemet at Band on the Wall

    Sons of Kemet

    Sons of Kemet at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 28 October 2018, from £14 - Book now

    Jazz titan Shabaka Hutchings brings his group Sons of Kemet to Manchester’s Band on the Wall this October, in support their Mercury Prize-nominated new album ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’.

  • 8. Mac DeMarco at Victoria Warehouse

    Mac DeMarco

    Mac DeMarco at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 30 October 2018, from £27.50 - Book now

    To celebrate Manchester promoter Now Wave’s 10th anniversary, Canadian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mac DeMarco plays Trafford Park’s huge Victoria Warehouse. The full line-up is to be announced.

  • 9. The Ligeti Quartet: Reich and Crumb at The Leadmill

    Mike Massaro

    The Ligeti Quartet: Reich and Crumb at The Leadmill, City Centre, 31 October 2018, from £5 - Book now

    Modern and contemporary music specialist The Ligeti Quartet presents a one-off concert in Sheffield, featuring two of the 20th Century’s masterpieces: Steve Reich’s Grammy Award-winning Different Trains and George Crumb’s iconic Black Angels. With a diverse programme of works by John Adams, John Zorn and Tanya Tagaq completing the programme, this looks set to be an exciting and unique evening at The Leadmill.

  • 10. David Byrne at Manchester Arena

    David Byrne

    David Byrne at Manchester Arena, Manchester, 2 November 2018, from £33.50 - Book now

    At this ‘American Utopia’ concert, David Byrne will draw on solo material as well as his days with Talking Heads. Don’t miss the chance to catch the legendary artist at Manchester Arena in November!

  • 11. RNCM Symphony Orchestra at RNCM

    RNCM Symphony Orchestra at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 2 November 2018, from £5 - Book now

    A wonderful concert featuring some of Richard Wagner and Sergei Prokofiev’s most original works. All before the concept of ‘originality’ is turned its head, with Ravel’s incredible arrangement of Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, as well as a brand new response from RNCM composer Aaron Breeze.

  • 12. Parcels at Manchester Academy 2

    Parcels

    Parcels at Manchester Academy 2, Manchester, 5 November 2018, from £16.50 - Book now

    Parcels are one of the most downright fun bands around at the moment. Fusing funk, disco and pop, they sound like an amalgamation of The Beach Boys and Chic. With a debut album just around the corner, now is the time to indulge in the hip swinging joy of one of their live shows.

  • 13. The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble at RNCM

    York Tillyer. All images are © 2015 Real World Records Ltd.

    Will Gregory Moog Ensemble at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 6 November 2018, from £20 - Book now

    Performing works by Bach, John Carpenter, and extracts from ‘A Clockwork Orange’, The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble will dazzle an RNCM audience with the possibilities of the analogue synthesiser.

  • 14. Kamaal Williams at Gorilla

    Kamaal Williams

    Kamaal Williams at Gorilla, Manchester, 6 November 2018, from £15 - Book now

    With characteristic effortless, Kamaal Williams’ trippy musical visions will weave a Manchester audience in and out of broken beat, hip hop, funk and drum and bass. Don’t miss your chance to watch the young virtuoso do his thing.

  • 15. Ana Silvera: Oracles at Manchester Jewish Museum

    Ana Silvera Oracles at Manchester Jewish Museum
    Ana Silvera

    Ana Silvera: Oracles at Manchester Jewish Museum, Cheetham Hill, 7 November 2018, from £10 - Book now

    Equal parts a musician and a poet, Ana Silvera draws from her own eventful life as well as from folklore and myth. At the Manchester Jewish Museum she will be performing her stunning album Oracle in its entirety.

  • 16. Mammal Hands at Royal Northern College of Music

    Royal Northern College of Music

    Mammal Hands at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 8 November 2018, from £16 - Book now

    Combining jazz, electronica, classical, north Indian, folk and ambient styles, Mammal Hands make achingly powerful music whose ebbs and flows take you on a deeply immersive and cathartic journey.

  • 17. Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project present ‘Special Edition’ at Mayfield Depot

    Image courtesy of Manchester International Festival

    Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project present 'Special Edition' at Mayfield Depot, Manchester, 3–11 November 2018, from £22 - Book now

    Featuring five performances in the atmospheric Mayfield Depot, ‘Special Edition’ boasts Swedish experimental pop artist Fever Ray, Bonobo (and friends), Manchester grime artist Bugzy Malone and Northern Irish electronic duo Bicep. Presented by Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project, the series is overseen by BBC 6 Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, with lighting design by Stuart Bailes.

  • 18. Sefiroth: Adio Kerida (Farewell Beloved) at Manchester Jewish Museum

    Sefiroth Adio Kerida Farewell Beloved at Manchester Jewish Museum
    © Monika Jakubowska

    Sefiroth: Adio Kerida (Farewell Beloved) at Manchester Jewish Museum, Cheetham Hill, 12 November 2018, from £10 - Book now

    Sefiroth are an international collective of musicians who explore and re-imagine traditional Sephardic (Judeo-Spanish) repertoire with a contemporary aesthetic. At the Manchester Jewish Museum they will be performing a brand new show: Adio Kerida (‘Farewell, Beloved’).

  • 19. GoGo Penguin at The Albert Hall

    GoGo Penguin by Emily Dennison

    GoGo Penguin at Albert Hall, City Centre, 17 November 2018, from £18.5 - Book now

    Taking a victory lap after the release of their critically acclaimed album A Humdrum Star, Manchester’s own jazz-but-not-jazz trio stop off at Albert Hall to revel in some well-earned hometown glory.

  • 20. James Holden & The Animal Spirits at the Royal Exchange

    Courtesy of Band on the Wall

    James Holden & The Animal Spirits at Royal Exchange Theatre, City Centre, 9 December 2018, from £20 - Book now

    For his third and latest album, electronic musician and DJ James Holden has recruited a band – The Animal Spirits – to supplement his custom-made modular synths with brass, woodwind and percussion. Experience the record live and in-the-round at the Royal Exchange theatre.

  • 21. The Stoller Hall Autumn/Winter season

    Image courtesy of Chetham's

    The Stoller Hall Autumn/Winter season, 6 July 2018–31 December 2019, from £6 - Book now

    Manchester’s newest concert hall continues to push boundaries with its upcoming Autumn/Winter season – from a brand new audiovisual work to celebrate 100 years of votes for women to a one-off staging of a dark adaptation of A Christmas Carol, via a visit by the world-renowned Gould Trio and a year-long series celebrating outstanding pianists who studied at Chetham’s.

More in Music

RNCM Autumn Season Creative Tourist
Music 6 September–19 December 2018, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

The RNCM Autumn Season is a showcase of originality, wherein a spotlight is shined on musical innovators from across the world.

bbc philharmonic 2018 2019 season at the bridgewater hall manchester
Music 29 September 2018–15 June 2019,

BBC Philharmonic 2018/19 Concert Season

Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country.

Music 11 October 2018–22 May 2019,

The Hallé 2018-19 Season

We look forward to a truly exciting season of concerts from the Hallé, whose 2018-19 is filled with music that pinpoints vital moments in our cultural history, from Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ to Janáček’s ‘The Glagolitic Mass’.

Autumn at the Science and Industry Museum - Distortions in Spacetime by Marshmallow Laser Feast
Exhibitions 18–28 October 2018, FREE

Manchester Science Festival 2018

Meet a real-life cyborg, immerse yourself in a black hole or one of 120 other events in 11 days … yes Manchester Science Festival is back.

Music 23 October 2018, from £6

The Music of the Primes at RNCM

PRiSM presents ‘The Music of the Primes’, a truly illuminating event from which you will gain an insight into the fascinating and often surprising links between music and maths. Don’t fear if it’s been a while since you’ve practiced your equations – you don’t need to be Pythagoras to take something interesting away from the evening!

Families 24 October 2018, from £6

Songs Across The Pond with David Gibb and Brady Rymer at The Met

A brand new musical show for families and children from our favourite family singer songwriter David Gibb and Grammy nominee Brady Rymer.

Exhibitions 25–27 October 2018, 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.

Cinema 26 October 2018, from £15

Safety Last! with Live Piano Accompaniment at Royal Northern College of Music

For the latest celluloid adventure at RNCm, Darius Battiwalla improvises on the piano in order to add an extra dimension to Harold Lloyd and co’s comic escapades.

Music 26 October 2018, from £15

Safety Last! with Live Piano Accompaniment at RNCM

Starring the inimitable Harold Lloyd, ‘Safety Last!’ features one of the most enduring images in all of cinema. With a live improvised piano score and an additional screening of Buster Keaton’s short ‘One Week’, this is going to be a real treat!

Culture Guides

Tours and Activities

In this month’s top picks of Tours and Activities in Manchester, we are featuring the guides who take you into the darker underbelly of the city, as well as some of the more macabre activities.

Exhibitions and art in Manchester

Exhibitions

Autumn is festival season in the visual art world. We preview some familiar favourites alongside a brand-new addition to the scene – brainchild of Manchester’s resident prize-winning peace activist, Qaisra Shahraz.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

For this month’s eclectic theatre guide we’ve hunted out exclusive dance events, durational performance and some hair-raising Halloween hijinks.

Cinema

It’s October, and the cinemas of Manchester and the North are taking the opportunity to host all manner of spooky screenings.

Families

Spaghettify yourself in a black hole at Manchester Science Festival, experience spectaculars at the Winter Droving in Penrith, Lightpool Festival in Blackpool and Light Up Lancaster. There’s a LOT to do folks.

Writer Eley Williams.

Literature

More spoken word nights are emerging to join our favourite regulars, there are lots of launches and one-offs and workshops and conferences and even walking tours, and tickets are selling like hot cakes for Manchester Literature Festival, the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival and Chester Literature Festival.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Manchester Folk Festival
Music 18–21 October 2018, from £6.00

Manchester Folk Festival 2018

Music 11 October 2018–22 May 2019,

The Hallé 2018-19 Season

Music 6 July 2018–31 December 2019, from £6

The Stoller Hall Autumn/Winter season

RNCM Autumn Season Creative Tourist
Music 6 September–19 December 2018, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

bbc philharmonic 2018 2019 season at the bridgewater hall manchester
Music 29 September 2018–15 June 2019,

BBC Philharmonic 2018/19 Concert Season