Hey! Manchester promotes gigs by folk, Americana and experimental bands from around the world in Manchester, England. Read more here, see below for our latest shows, check out our previous shows, contact us, or join our mailing list, above.

Upcoming shows: Little Scream... Michele Stodart... Irma Vep... Miracle Legion... Kevin Morby... Julianna Barwick... Kiran Leonard... Karl Blau... Hey! Manchester at Festival No.6... Danny & The Champions Of The World... Eleanor Friedberger... Dan Michaelson and The Coastguards... John Murry... Meilyr Jones... Skinny Lister... Angel Olsen... Jenny Hval... Peter Broderick... Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker... Amber Arcades... Haley Bonar... The Lovely Eggs... Will Varley... Ryley Walker... Beans on Toast...

When: 7.30pm on Friday 1 July 2016
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be working with Little Scream for the first time!

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Little Scream‘s Cult Following arrives in the UK this summer via Merge Records. Cult Following sees Mary Margaret O’Hara, Sufjan Stevens, Sharon Van Etten, Aaron and Bryce Dessner from the National, Owen Pallett and Kyp Malone all make guest appearances on the album -but the world they inhabit is entirely Little Scream’s. Her voice acts as a tour guide through lush sonic landscapes carefully constructed with her creative partner, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.

Little Scream says she began conceiving Cult Following while visiting a friend in a small intentional community in northern Brazil that was on the verge of becoming a cult. ‘People were running around reading auras, interpreting each other’s dreams, and “living on light” instead of eating – which was as compelling as it was absurd. I became very aware of the entropy of belief. You could feel the magnetism of ideas take shape and pull people into their centre like a black hole… a thing so filled with light that its own gravity means that none of it can escape.’

That experience laid the groundwork for Cult Following, a lush, expansive, retro-leaning gem that straddles intimate fragility with bombastic dancefloor-ready songs. Listening to it is like reading an epic novella – part fairy tale, part ecstasy, and part human folly. Right from the start, you know you’ve entered a universe with its own rules—dazzling, dark, and whimsical, not unlike Willy Wonka’s gated factory. From the candy-filled ballroom of Love as a Weapon (which is as accessible as it is emotionally complex), you are invited onto the comforting ship of the warm ballad Evan, only to find that ‘the waves are falling/they’re falling in faster, and the ship has no master… here comes disaster!’

When the shipwreck subsides, you find yourself in the dark depths of the song Wishing Well, where Mary Margaret O’Hara makes a stunning, subtle vocal appearance. Mary Margaret is one of several guests to appear on this record, along with Sufjan Stevens, Sharon Van Etten and Kyp Malone. Encountering them is not unlike having cameo stars within a film, but the world they inhabit is entirely Little Scream’s, and her voice acts as a tour guide through lush and sometimes terrifying sonic landscapes carefully constructed with her creative partner, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.

Cult Following is a record that deserves to be listened to from start to finish, with each song having been constructed to meld seamlessly into the next. There may be those who listen only to the record’s obvious catchy hit, but they would be missing out on the depth of stunners like Wishing Well and Someone Will Notice. Like a classic novella, you must pass through all of the record’s stages to fully experience a triumphant hero’s journey.

Support comes from Sally Mason of Taylor & the Mason, performing here as a trio with percussion and violin. Watch this space for the duo’s debut album – a dynamic production, recorded and mixed by The Travelling Band’s Adam and Jo at Pinhole Studio. It features the both the full band, the rich, vibrant sound of their voices, and the duo in their stripped back acoustic finery. Their close-nit harmonies, chiming guitars and delicate melodies compliment their heartfelt songs.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Common (no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Billetto.co.ukWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: 7.30pm on Friday 8 July 2016
Where: The Eagle Inn, 19 Collier Street, Salford, M3 7DW

We’re delighted to be helping The Magic Numbers’ Michele Stodart launch her new album!

Michele-Stodart-Eagle-Inn-Salford

Michele Stodart‘s new album Pieces will be released on 8 July via One Little Indian. To celebrate she is playing a special launch show at the Eagle Inn.

Over a decade since The Magic Numbers landed in the top ten with their double-platinum-selling debut album, Michele has taken temporary leave of the band she formed with her brother Romeo, to release her second solo album.

Released four years after her solo debut, Wide-Eyed Crossing, the nine songs that comprise Pieces confirm that, almost by stealth, Michele has turned into an artist whose work bears strong comparison to some of the touchstone songwriters that helped shape her outlook.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Common (no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Billetto.co.ukWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: 7.30pm on Monday 1 August 2016
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re delighted to presenting a rare headline show with Irma Vep – plus guest dbh!

Irma-Vep-Castle-Manchester

Irma Vep is a loner, a joker, a roamer, a ribald construct riddled with both earnest anxiety and mercurial songwriting talent birthed by a young Edwin Stevens in Llanfairfechan, North Wales. Having since fully grown into Irma Vep and now residing in Manchester, Stevens’ discography has expanded to document every aspect of his music, from ecstatically free group experiments to bare, sparse songwriting that cuts to the quick, shorn of ornament or pretence.

Much Irma Vep feels like what ‘classic’ music should feel like if it weren’t so Classic. Each record, each song and each performance exists as an evolving drama. Instant classic The Jerk (Great Pop Supplement) is a case in point. Heightened by Velvets-style violin scrapings and Stevens’ silky guitar improvisations, the song’s real power is the towering insecurity turned into an thrilling, hypnotic storyline. Irma Vep’s latest LP Disappointment (Golden Lab) contains both Stevens’ most wild excursions into avant-guitar landscaping and his most ‘accomplished’ songwriting. The title track flirts with Richard Thompson-esque guitar and rhythms, with Stevens’ cracked vocal recalling a more introspective Bill Callahan, but Irma Vep’s delivery, off-the-cuff and vibrant, is all his own. At other times the listener is taken deep into a wormhole of tranced-out rock music on the fringes of chaos.

Having bedded down into Manchester’s bourgeoning DIY scene, Stevens moonlights in several other groups (Sex Hands, Klaus Kinski, Desmadrados…), bringing with him a instantly recognisable guitar language. However it’s in Irma Vep that his most life-affirming, troubling and thrilling music is made.

– Michael Kasparis, 2015

Special guest is dbh. Awesome composer and man-of-many-bands, this understated virtuoso can also boil it all down to just one guitar. He released the marvellous Time Flies LP on Crowfoot Records, and, recently, the possibly even more marvellous Mood, on Thread Recordings.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from the bar, Common (both no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Billetto.co.ukWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 18 August 2016
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

We’re delighted to be working with Mark Mulcahy’s Miracle Legion!

Miracle-Legion-Deaf-Institute-Manchester

While singer-songwriter Mark Mulcahy would go on to make a name all of his own, his career actually started with Miracle Legion; one of the original ‘college rock’ bands who formed in 1983 and became something of a cult hit following acclaim from the likes of NME and Melody Maker, and the release of their debut album on Rough Trade Records.

Almost two decades since their last full-length release Portrait of A Damaged Family, the band back together on UK shores this summer.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Common (no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Billetto.co.ukWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: 7.30pm on Monday 22 August 2016
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

We’re delighted to be working with Kevin Morby once again!

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Singing Saw is a record written simply and realised orchestrally. In it, Kevin Morby faces the reality that true beauty – deep and earned – demands a whole-world balance that includes our darker sides. It is a record of duality, one that marks another stage of growth for this young, gifted songwriter with a kind face and a complicated mind.

In the autumn of 2014, Kevin Morby moved to the small Los Angeles neighbourhood of Mount Washington. The move would shape Singing Saw, Morby’s first album for new label Dead Oceans. Previous tenants at Morby’s new home happened to leave an upright piano behind, with a few mysterious pieces of sheet music and an introductory book of common chords stacked on top. Thankful to finally be in one place for an extended spell, Morby, a beginner at the piano, immediately sat at the new instrument and began composing the songs that would form Singing Saw.

Alongside, he began taking long walks through the winding hills and side streets of the neighbourhood each night, glimpsing views of both the skyline’s sweeping lights and the dark, dried out underbrush of the LA flora. The duality of the city itself began to shape a set of lyrical ideas that he would refine with the sparse accompaniment of piano and acoustic guitar.

What is a singing saw? It is an instrument that creates ethereal sounds, but it is also a tool: basic and practical while also being fearsome, even destructive. Morby watches the singing saw in its eponymous song; that instrument of eerie soft beauty cuts down the flowers in its path and chases after him, while his surroundings mock and dwarf him, Alice in Wonderland style. And in a singing saw, we can understand music as something more powerful than its inviting, delicate sound. No wonder Morby talks about a ‘songbook’ in his head as something he needs to take up the hills so he can ‘get rid of it’. Heavy themes are nothing new for Morby, whose previous records (2013’s Harlem River and 2014’s Still Life, both released on the Woodsist label) dealt with their own eerie visions and damning prophecies.

The arrangements of Singing Saw trace back to Morby’s experience playing in The Complete Last Waltz, a live recreation of The Band’s legendary last performance. There, Morby developed a fast friendship with producer/bandleader Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine, Yellow Birds), which led Morby to forgo recording in Los Angeles and take the nascent songs of Singing Saw to Isokon Studios in Woodstock, New York. There, in a converted A-frame house, they set about creating a record that would bring a sonic balance, intricacy and depth to match these songs and all that inspired them.

Sam Cohen added a multitude of instrumentation to the record (guitar, bass, drums and keyboard), and were joined by fellow Complete Last Waltz alum Marco Benevento on piano and keyboard, fleshing out Morby’s original compositions and upholding the vision for a cohesive piano sound that serves as a touchstone for the entire album. Backup vocalists Hannah Cohen, Lauren Balthrop and Alecia Chakor contribute soaring harmonies; Nick Kinsey (Elvis Perkins) adds drums and percussion; Justin Sullivan, a longtime Morby collaborator and staple of his live band, contributes drums; Oliver Hill and Eliza Bag lift numerous songs with string accompaniments, and Alec Spiegelman on saxophone and flute and Cole Kamen-Green on trumpet bring dramatic swells. Finally, John Andrews (Quilt) adds the eerie lilt of the album’s promise, providing saw on the Cut Me Down and Singing Saw.

‘Front porch strums are upscaled with elegant strings and gritty, sophisticated arrangements. It’s done with such finesse that the rich layers of texture and emotion recall the country gospel lushness of Gene Clark’s No Other‘ – MOJO

‘Evoking The Band‘s warped Americana, Morby’s serene folk-rock moves back and forth through time… Black Flowers typifies his songwriting prowess, its cryptic lyrics twinned with a gorgeous melody that is both pristine and familiar’ – The Observer

This show is a co-promotion with Now Wave and Comfortable On A Tightrope.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 23 August 2016
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

We’re delighted to be working with Julianna Barwick – this time, at the Deaf Institute!

Julianna-Barwick-Deaf-Institute-Manchester

Julianna Barwick is pleased to share new tour dates in support of her critically acclaimed album Will, which came out in May via Dead Oceans.

Conceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the ominous, compelling Will is a departure from 2013’s Alex Somers-produced Nepenthe. If that last record conjured images of gentle, thick fog rolling over desolate mountains, then Will is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds looming and restorative all at once.

The electric current that runs through the album takes on various shapes of intoxicating instability. Featuring contributions from Thomas Arsenault (Mas Ysa), Dutch cellist Maarten Vos and percussionist Jamie Ingalls (Chairlift, Tanlines, Beverly), Will is largely a product of ups and downs, a reflection of a life lived somewhere in between transience and standing still. The beguiling, beautifully complicated Will is the result of that curiosity, and proof of Barwick’s irresistibly engaging talent as a composer and vocalist.

‘The consistent loveliness of [Barwick’s] approach remains, and both longtime fans and newcomers should be glad to know that’s also true of…Barwick’s upcoming, self-produced Will’ – Pitchfork

‘Will is an irresistibly immersive set piece’ – Uncut (8/10)

This show is a co-promotion with Now Wave.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 25 August 2016
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

Following his sold-out show in March, we’re delighted to be working with Kiran Leonard once again!

Kiran-Leonard-Deaf-Institute-Manchester

Kiran Leonard has signed to Moshi Moshi, and announced details of his new album, Grapefruit, released 25 March 2016. He has also shared its lead single Pink Fruit – the album’s 16-minute centre-piece – which will be released as a strictly-limited one-sided etched 12” vinyl single on 12 February 2016.

Stereogum, who premiered the single, said: ‘A lot of Pink Fruit is a widening sound collage, with the meandering improvisational and commercial quality of Broken Social Scene, except it all comes from one person’s mind… It’s a worthwhile trip, one that justifies its long runtime.’

Influences on the new Kiran Leonard single Pink Fruit include:

‘deerhoof; shellac; dirty projectors’ “the getty address”; vasco da gama (RIP); enablers; death sentence: panda!; the end of eraserhead where [spoiler] the baby dies and the whole of henry’s apartment fills with mashed potato; set design and costumes in alan bennett’s the madness of king george iii; a lack of professional percussion equipment (seriously, anybody who’s ever bought a cabasa is a fool of a took: just wrap a piece of sandpaper round a block of wood and scratch the surface with a washing-up brush. it’s exactly the same noise); warren ellis’ 4-string guitar playing on grinderman’s disgustingly underrated second album grinderman 2 (which for my money is the best album nick cave’s ever been a part of); old friends & new; contrasts & the past & the future;’

‘[…] and i think that the root of it was more connected with cowardice than with malice. it was just pathetic posturing […] “he belittles her because he is afraid that if he doesn’t, they will say that he is a pussy and start to belittle him instead.” this is the inspiration behind the song’s central motif, of the squid in the hollow abdomen. i don’t want to tell you why exactly […] god almighty a school is such a terrible place to spend your formative years […] boy who used to call me a long-haired faggot and punch me in the kidneys in biology classes, this one goes out to you.’

Kiran Leonard is a mercurially talented 20-year-old musician from near Oldham, Greater Manchester. In the wake of numerous Bandcamp EPs and homemade CDR releases, Grapefruit is the follow-up proper to his 2013 acclaimed debut album Bowler Hat Soup.

Main support comes from Secret Admirer, the new solo-project from Nick Ainsworth of Former Bullies and Dinner Party fame. He has recently released a 20-song self-titled tape via Belfast’s CF Records.

Opening the show are Duds. The Manchester-based no wave band make a terrific racket.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Common (no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Billetto.co.ukWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 1 September 2016
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re delighted to be working with Bella Union’s Karl Blau for the first time!

Karl-Blau-Castle-Hotel-Manchester-2

On Introducing Karl Blau the enigmatic vocalist charts a new vision of country music. A Northwest indie hero, Blau channels darkness and hope in a cinematic collection of Nashville country hits from the 1960s and 1970s. Produced by Tucker Martine, the record features performances by Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Laura Veirs, Jon Hyde, Eli Moore (Lake), Steve Moore (Earth, SunnO)))), among others.

It all started with cutting a 7” single, a cover of the 1969 Tom T. Hall hit That’s How I Got to Memphis. Blau, whom Martine had come to know from sessions with Laura Veirs among others, asked if he could try singing it. ‘I knew what a special artist Karl was, but I had no idea what a powerful interpreter of songs he was,’ Martine says. The collaboration, pairing Blau’s deeply sonorous voice with Martine’s warm, modern arrangements, recast the Nashville hit in a new light. ‘He was able to communicate the essence of the song in such a moving way that we started dreaming of making a whole record based around our excitement for that collaboration.’ The result was the single and, now, Introducing Karl Blau.

Martine and Blau worked for years on shaping the narrative of the record. ‘I feel like I am starring in this country-western movie, written and produced by Tucker, and it tells a story,’ says Blau. A sense of emergence from the shadows of loss, loneliness, infidelity, and melancholy runs through Introducing Karl Blau. ‘We’ve threaded a story through the record,’ says Blau. ‘My character is moving through this dark place, but there is always this light of hope.’

The record, all covers, is a crate-digger’s feast of forgotten hits and deeper cuts; most of them from the Nashville country-soul renaissance in the late 1960s and early 1970s – Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bond, Allen Reynolds. Other songs are from the Bee Gees (To Love Somebody), Link Wray (Fallin’ Rain) or Townes Van Zandt (If I Needed You). The project was a labor of love for Martine, the son of a Nashville songwriter who grew up listening to many of these songs.

Karl Blau is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and DIY icon who helped turn his hometown of Anacortes, Washington, into an indie-music mecca. He has released more than 40 records in 20-odd years, many self-released in handmade packaging and mailed to subscribers, and others on iconic indie Northwest labels K and knw-yr-own. Blau has also toured and recorded for years with Laura Veirs, the Microphones, Little Wings, D+ and Earth.

Special guest is Canada’s Nick Ferrio. The Ontario-based musician, who plays with The Burning Hell, has recently released has album Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs on Headless Owl Records/BB*ISLAND.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from the bar, Common (both no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Billetto.co.ukWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: Thursday 1 – Sunday 4 September 2016
Where: Portmeirion, Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales, LL48 6ER

We’re excited to be involved in Festival No.6 this year – programming the Lost in The Woods stage on Saturday 3 September!

Hey-Manchester-Festival-No-6

For our Saturday evening session at the excellent Lost in The Woods stage, we’ve invited some of our favourite artists – including The Wave Pictures, The Lovely Eggs, Trembling Bells, Laura J Martin and Manchester’s own MOTHER.

The four-day festival takes place in and around the picturesque Italiante village of Portmeirion and is named after No.6, Patrick McGoohan’s character in the classic 1960s TV series The Prisoner, which was filmed in the village.

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Find out more and book tickets at festivalnumber6.com

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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 6 September 2016
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be working with Danny & The Champions Of The World for the first time!

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There’s something to be said for hitting the ground running, with a good tailwind behind you. Danny Wilson agrees. And his new album is the proof.

Wilson and his band, Danny & The Champions, spent much of 2014 on the road, playing shows all over the world, the kind of legendary, life-affirming rock and soul revues (with country fringing) that have seduced them a global following, and which they finally committed to wax on last year’s glorious concert double-album, Live Champs! When their touring schedule drew to a close at the end of the year, you might have thought Wilson and his Champs would hunker down on the sofa for a few weeks, get some much needed R’n’R. But that’s not how Champions roll.

‘We’d been playing festivals all summer, did 17 shows in Scandinavia in September, and another 25 shows in October,’ Wilson remembers. ‘We had all of two days off, and then we went into the studio (Chris Clarke’s Reservoir Studios). I had a hacking cough, everyone was ill, but I told everyone, we’ll be in the studio two weeks and then it’ll be Christmas and we can all collapse.’

The momentum they’d accrued on the road carried them through, though, and the music they cut during those two weeks – What Kind Of Love, the album you’re holding in your hands now – is some of Wilson’s very best. There’s a glint in his eye as he talks about the vibe within the Champs camp right now. ‘We’re a bit more of a gang than we used to be,’ he grins. ‘It’s not hard for a band to feel like a gang, because generally you’re up against it, but you keep on at it because you’re dogged and in love with it. And it feels amazing, like my old bands Soul Green and Grand Drive did back in the early days.’

The songs contained therein started life on the road, at soundcheck or back at the hotel after the show, and saw Danny writing many songs with his bandmate Paul Lush instead of penning tunes on his lonesome, as is his usual MO. ‘We wrote songs in Scandinavia, in Nashville, in the Preston Travelodge,’ he explains, proud as a new dad. ‘Going down the pub or partying after the show… you can’t really sustain it on tour, and sharing a bottle of wine and writing a song together in the hotel room is really cool. This line-up of the Champs has been together for some time now,’ he continues, observing that the group that started out as ‘a loose, lawless thing,’ a floating collective contrasting to his then-band, Grand Drive, is now a more solid organisation. ‘Everyone brings so much to the table,’ he adds, ‘I wanted them to be a part of it all.’

The songs are rich, joyful and moving, opener Clear Water another Wilson classic-in-the-making, with its tale of finding yourself far from the ones you love but still feeling the strength they give (When life gets crazy / I see you, runs the hook). The celebratory horn peals suggest the celtic soulfulness of Dexys Midnight Runners, and the reference is no accident, Wilson admits. ‘We started playing Seven Days Is Too Long [the Chuck Wood northern soul burner Dexys covered on their debut LP] at soundcheck on tour, and I’d often lapse into Kevin Rowland impressions,’ he grins. ‘Kevin’s amazing, I’ve massive respect for him. He’s a huge Van Morrison fan, and there’s a definite Van Morrison influence to our music.’

Tour support comes from Dean Owens. Velvet-voiced Dean Owens is one of Scotland’s most acclaimed and established singer songwriters, with fans including Bob Harris, Irvine Welsh and Russell Brand. His latest album, Into the Sea, was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Neilson Hubbard and a whole host of amazing US musicians, including award winning guitarist Will Kimbrough and renowned singer-songwriters Kim Richey and Suzy Bogguss.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from the bar, Common (both no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Billetto.co.ukWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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