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: Angel Olsen... Aldous Harding... The Besnard Lakes... Julie Byrne... Tom Williams... Guadalupe Plata... Saint Sister... Nikki Lane... Mt Wolf... Sweet Baboo... Kiran Leonard... Sam Outlaw Band... Hannah Nicholson... Adam Torres... Laura Gibson... Parker Millsap... Jens Lekman... John Murry... H.Hawkline... Danny & The Champions Of The World... Avec Sans... Michael Nau... Dotan... Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton... The Dears... The Lovely Eggs... Julie Byrne... Daniel Romano... Will Varley... Leif Vollebekk... Lowly... Jesca Hoop...

When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 23 May 2017
Where: Stylus, Leeds University Union, Lifton Place, Leeds LS2 9JT

We’re delighted to be welcoming Angel Olsen back to Leeds!

Angel-Olsen-Club-Academy-Manchester

Anyone reckless enough to have typecast Angel Olsen according to 2013’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness is in for a sizeable surprise with her third album, My Woman. The crunchier, blown-out production of the former is gone, but that fire is now burning wilder. Her disarming, timeless voice is even more front-and-centre than before, and the overall production is lighter.

Yet the strange, raw power and slowly unspooling incantations of her previous efforts remain, so anyone who might attempt to pigeonhole Olsen as either an elliptical outsider or a pop personality is going to be wrong whichever way they choose – Olsen continues to reign over the land between the two with a haunting obliqueness and sophisticated grace.

‘Her lyrics have the conviction of someone like Fiona Apple: a profoundly individual presence that centers, above all, on self-reliance, on searing autonomy, on the act of becoming. My Woman does this more vividly and lucidly and daringly than before’ – Pitchfork

‘Here she sounds more assured, even in her darker moments, and her strong, versatile voice is as extraordinary as ever’ – The Observer

Tour support comes from Tim DarcySaturday Night, the first proper solo album from Tim Darcy (Ought), comes from one of those crossroads-type moments in life where one has to walk to the edge before knowing which way to proceed. Darcy actually almost bailed on the session at the start of day one, but was thankfully convinced to make the jump and record a crop of songs he had been amassing over the years – an initial set, curated from a much wider catalogue of young songs. A personal meditation reveals itself across these songs as you feel a poetic, thoughtful person attempting to reconcile a schism, one that grows more expansive as Saturday Night flows along. It is a journey, but it’s a really fun, gratifying one; like a poem where you’re not supposed to know exactly how to feel at that last line and you’re left just bursting with a wonderful emptiness.

This show is a co-promotion with Please Please You and the Brudenell.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from the Brudenell bar, Jumbo Records, Crash Records, Wegottickets.com and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 24 May 2017
Where: The Ruby Lounge, 28-34 High Street, Manchester M4 1QB

PLEASE NOTE: Due to exceptional demand, this show has been upgraded to The Ruby Lounge! Original tickets remain valid, and all other details stay the same.

We’re delighted to be working with Aldous Harding again – plus guests H.Hawkline and Katie von Schleicher!

4AD welcomes Aldous Harding, a remarkable talent from New Zealand. Today, she presents a powerful opening statement with a new song Horizon and startling companion video.

Aldous Harding’s music is not for the faint of heart. Disarming in its desolate imagery and stark instrumentation, her songs draw from the core facets of life: death, birth, grief and love. There are few happy endings, but the power is in how Harding enters into battle; with a dancer’s grace and a boxer’s stance.

Harding initially ignited interest with her eponymous debut album released just two years ago. With echoes of folk luminaries Vashti Bunyan and Linda Perhacs, Harding’s work is one step removed from the modern world, but lies in more savage terrain than her forebears, wrought with a wry wit and tenacious gall.

For her 4AD debut, Aldous – real name Hannah – Harding has been working with award-winning producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse), and Horizon offers an enticing preview of that collaboration. The confrontational accompanying video, directed by Charlotte Evans, and produced by Evie Mackay, stars a combative Harding and her mother in the New Zealand hinterland.

‘Compelling, gothic-folk first from NZ newcomer’ – Uncut

‘Soft chanting and singing saws add mystery to a beguiling debut’ – Mojo

Main support comes from H.Hawkline. H.Hawkline (Huw Evans), who releases his new album I Romanticize on Heavenly Recordings on 2 June 2017, has previously played with the likes of Foxygen, Gwenno and long-time cohort Cate le Bon. He also recently announced a run of shows with Devendra Banhart, Aldous Harding and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, as well as a number of festival appearances over the summer.

Opening the show is Katie von Schleicher. Katie Von Schleicher’s Bleaksploitation was an accident, years in the making. While interning at Ba Da Bing Records, owner Ben Goldberg offered that she make a cassette for the label to release. It could be anything, demos or a live performance, but she took it a bit more seriously than Goldberg intended. The result was her first self-produced and engineered effort, a strange, hazy, pop-laden tape. Doing her own press under a pseudonym and referring to it as an ‘album’, Von Schleicher garnered enough attention for Bleaksploitation to see it released on vinyl in Spring 2016.

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

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 25 May 2017
Where: The Ruby Lounge, 28-34 High Street, Manchester M4 1QB

We’re delighted to be working with The Besnard Lakes once more – with an extended encore to mark the 10th anniversary of The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse!

Besnard-Lakes-Deaf-Manchester

The story of The Besnard Lakes begins at Besnard Lake: a spectacular yet secluded water feature in rural Saskatchewan which the Montreal group’s husband and wife core, Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, visit each summer for inspiration and escape. This year the couple’s campsite was surrounded for a worrying few days by forest flames, a literal ring of fire which informed the devil-may-care spirit of their exuberant fifth album.

‘Besnard Lake is usually the place where we get the germination of ideas,’ explains Jace. ‘We set up a small recording rig in the trailer we have up there .This time there were also helicopters with giant water tanks flying over us while we were fishing on the lake!’

Armed with demos and memories from their trip, the pair returned to the city and entered Breakglass Studios. Co-founded by Lasek a decade ago, this popular recording facility has long been a hub for Montreal’s fertile, collaborative and proudly DIY music community. Having met and fallen in love in Vancouver, where Jace was a photography-trained art student and Olga a bass-slinging star on the underground rock circuit, the pair relocated at the turn of the millennium. Vancouver had gotten too expensive. By contrast, ‘Montreal was super cheap because there had been the Quebec referendum in 1995 and a lot of the Anglos had left. There was a political teeter-totter happening, so there were tons of empty places. We moved out here and were able to live, rehearse and record in a loft for next to nothing.’

The predominantly French-speaking province’s economic depression birthed an ever-evolving scene that’s become internationally renowned for such disparate independent avatars as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and The Arcade Fire. Unique among their furrowed brow peers, The Besnard Lakes are unafraid to marry textured, questing headphone sonics to the honeyed pleasure of radio hits past: the rapture of My Bloody Valentine entwined with the romance of Fleetwood Mac. (Echoing prime FM they actually now have two girl/boy couplings in the line-up, keyboard player Sheenah Ko and guitarist Robbie MacArthur joining powerhouse drummer Kevin Laing and non-touring studio axe hero Richard White.) Imagine dreamy Beach House riding Led Zeppelin dynamics, with unabashedly androgynous vocal harmonies. This melodic yet mountainous soundworld was sculpted at Breakglass, their own modest Paisley Park. As the longterm sporter of a Love Symbol tattoo, Prince’s pop alchemy is especially potent for Jace.

‘You look on the back of his early records and it’s produced, arranged, recorded and performed by Prince. When I realised that as a 12-year-old I was like, Oh fuck! So this kid can make a record all by himself. So then why can’t I? He was also the guy who made me realise that it was ok to sing high. Just throw caution to the wind. He’s not concerned about being super macho. Once I started getting into punk rock in high school, Prince was still there. He didn’t lose relevancy for me. Prince was still there when I started getting into prog rock, too. We’re just absorbed in music of all sorts.’

Olga, meanwhile, has been exploring a new creative outlet via her domestic interpretation of the occult, inspired by a Disinformation lecture given by comic book writer Grant Morrison. ‘He was talking about sigils,’ remembers her adoring partner. ‘It was really personal for Oggy, like a meditation she would do in the morning, and also just a fun thing. She developed these 11 sigils, which you can see on the inside of the record’s jacket. For the deluxe edition she’s hand engraved them onto these little tags. The meanings are very simple: one is love, another is empathy. That leads back to this whole idea of mystery and the myth of the band.’

Channelling their obsessions with the paranormal – Jace was a teenage ghost hunter – as well as the dark arts, A Coliseum Complex Museum is populated by cryptozoological creatures (The Bray Road Beast, Golden Lion) while also luxuriating in natural phenomena and beauty (The Plain Moon, Nightingale). These themes are sincere yet good-humoured. The LP’s title jokily refers to a landmark-heavy road sign spotted on tour in Texas, the varied emotional impulses within reflected by its environmentally warped artwork.

‘For a long time we were trying to keep secret that we love being out in nature,’ admits Jace. ‘Because it’s kinda cliché. But with this record we decided to stop fighting what we love so much. So the front cover actually has a lake on it, but it’s also got this giant orb shooting light into the water, which is creating a hole that’s opening a portal to the coliseum complex museum. It’s kinda fucked.’

As an added bonus, the band will perform a special encore set featuring a performance of the entire album The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse, to celebrate its 10 year anniversary.

Tour support comes from Oliver Wilde. Tread carefully in to Oliver Wilde’s bewitching world because you’ll need your wits about you. The Bristol-based artist’s extraordinary songs are as dark as they are uplifting, as unsettling as they are soothing and as harrowing as they are hauntingly beautiful. Getting lost their warm wooziness is easy, but the deeper you delve in to their sensual layers of carefully-orchestrated, analogue-aided electronica, the more they reveal. Emerging with your emotions unscathed isn’t an option.

That the reclusive bedroom boffin never meant for his music to be made public is key to understanding its intimacy. Both his critically lauded debut album, 2013’s A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Lightyears, and its equally-feted follow-up, 2014’s Red Tide Opal In The Loose End Womb, were recorded with no other purpose than to help him make sense of his life.

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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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 25 May 2017
Where: The Wonder Inn, 29 Shudehill, Manchester M4 2AF

PLEASE NOTE: This show has completely sold out! For information about future Julie Byrne shows, join the mailing list above.

We’re delighted to be working with Julie Byrne again – this time, at the Wonder Inn!

American wanderer Julie Byrne‘s second album Not Even Happiness (released earlier this year to widespread acclaim) vividly archives what would have otherwise been lost to the road – bustling roadside diners, the stars over the high desert, the aching weariness of change, the wildflowers of the California coast, as well as the irresolvable mysteries of love.

A more confident beast than her 2014 debut Rooms With Walls And Windows, adding atmospheric instrumentation and electronic flourishes to Byrne’s unusual guitar tunings and fingerpicked melodies, moving the songs from the front-porch into subtle anthemia.

In the live arena she enchants, leaving rooms and festival crowds mesmerised by her voice and warm presence, who find a real connection with Byrne’s intimate songs. This feeling is often shared: ‘When the show has that magical spirit every person has contributed, even unknowingly, in creating a space of responsiveness to each other through vulnerability, through our unified experience and honesty about our sorrow and our emergence.’

Jim Ghedi is a six- and 12-string guitarist and folk singer from a mining village on the outskirts of Sheffield. For two years he has toured the United Kingdom in support of his debut album, Home Is Where I Exist, Now To Live & Die, which was released by the Welsh label Cambrian Records.

Having amassed a collection of material inspired by the rural communities and landscapes visited over the last year he’s currently putting the finishing touches to his next collection of songs – combining finger-style guitar composition, orchestral parts and traditional folk song.

The Wonder Inn is a new venue and creative space within a listed building on Shudehill, on the edge of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

PLEASE NOTE: This show has completely sold out! For information about future Julie Byrne shows, join the mailing list above.

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When: 7.30pm on Monday 29 May 2017
Where: The Eagle Inn, 19 Collier Street, Salford, M3 7DW

We’re delighted to be working with Tom Williams again – this time, with his band, at the Eagle Inn!

Following the release of the BBC 6 Music-playlisted single Everyone Needs A Home, Tom Williams, formerly helmsman of Tom Williams & The Boat, is heading off on a four date tour of the UK this May.

In conjunction with this announcement, Tom has also revealed a captivating acoustic session of the single that perfectly highlights the quality of both the song writing and lyricism of the track.

The single, with its intense, soaring strings and Williams’ unmistakeable vocal is an exciting taste of what is to come from the new album. Demonstrative of a new, more refined approach to song writing and with the influences of 70s American rock echoing throughout, the track was written in December 2015 and is an angry and impassioned response to the global refugee crisis and the rise of right wing populism in the UK, as Williams explains:

‘The full horror of the refugee crisis was fully unfolded on all our screens. Friends of mine who run the charity The Worldwide Tribe were in The Jungle, handing out food, clothing and supplies. We were moving house ourselves and I was in a back room surrounded by boxes piled high all around me. The words are simultaneously aggressive but also defeatist. The song is plea for more “We” and less “Me”.’

‘A blistering rock return’ – Clash

Special guest is Sam Airey. Like many other songwriters, when pressed, Sam Airey finds his own music a particularly difficult thing to define. For Sam, his writing is a vehicle that often serves to document darkness, but predominantly is also concerned with finding beauty, however hard that may be. A multi-instrumentalist, his songwriting process is personal (perhaps sacred), often cathartic but rarely a collaborative experience. However in terms of recording and performance, Sam has very much an open-door policy, inviting friends to join him wherever and whenever possible.

While Sam may claim otherwise, his music feels inextricably bound in the concept of ‘hiraeth’, a Welsh-language word for which there is no direct translation. This idea is something that constantly and perhaps subconsciously informs and underlies his work; a sense of nostalgia, homesickness tinged with grief, and a longing for the past – maybe more specifically his own past and upbringing on Anglesey, an island off the north-west coast of Wales. However, Sam would argue his music rarely exists in just one place, whether in a geographical or musical sense. It is both stark and expansive, something he hopes is also reflected in the live show when joined by a full band, while still retaining the pin-drop reverie that his solo performances have been credited with.

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

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 1 June 2017
Where: Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear Street, Manchester M1 1DF

We’re delighted to be working with Guadalupe Plata again!

If the Spanish town of Úbeda had its own rogues gallery honouring the misfits and outlaws whose boots had scuffed its dusty ground, three ‘Wanted’ posters would surely hang; a trio of mug shots simply referred to as ‘Guadalupe Plata’ – the most deathly delta blues outfit to ever emerge from Andalusia.

‘Our name comes from our hometown’s patron, the virgin of Guadalupe, so she protects us as we play the devil’s music,’ they say. ‘Our music inhabits that place in our collective imagination where the demonic force straddles the blues and cante jondo.’

Make no mistake – the music of Guadalupe Plata derives from the murkiest of depths. Channelling red hot passion for the blues into Hispanic roots, theirs is a sound that lingers in the sunset like a voodoo curse. Using flamenco terms, they describe their process as straining to be podrío; to be rotten, and talk of ‘involution’, ‘duende’, and ‘hechizo’ – supernatural terms of invocation, and, well, goblins. But then again, that’s what you’d expect – concocted in a town famed as a location for Spaghetti Westerns, the band’s unique blues sits like a cowboy soundtrack pulled from a zombie’s grasp by the Mississippi Blues greats, Os Mutantes and Jon Spencer.

It is a pounding sound, blending blues, bebop and rockabilly to the Andalusian tradition, which draws from Romany, Sephardic and Moorish strains of music. Lyrically casting spells via a curious mythology centred around dogs, the devil, Christ, rats, black snakes and cats, where all the lovers are Frankie and Johnny. It bewitches listeners who may have never walked Úbeda’s mean streets, as it is possessed by the sense of space, sex and the magic of the night which belongs to both rock’n’roll and blue-collar folk art.

‘We’ve listened to every kind of musical style since we started playing,’ they say. ‘In the beginning we listened to psychedelia and 60s blues. From Canned Heat we went backwards; our sound arises from an chemical experiment that mixes the edge of Hound Dog Taylor’s well wheel, Skip James’ darkness, Jon Lee Hooker’s hypnotic rhythms, Screaming Jay Hawkins’ craziness, Tampa Red’s sweetness, Elmore James’ killer slide and Son House’s essence.’

Whilst it’d seem Guadalupe Plata’s underground origins couldn’t be further removed from Spanish tradition, the band equally draw on music closer to home – something that has solidified the band as stars in their home country and Mexico. From the fast and furious punk kids Los Bengalas, the infinitely inventive blues duo Crudo Pimento, Seville’s own Pata Negra, Mexican composer José Alfredo Jimenez, and legendary flamenco guitarist Sabicas exiled from Spain after the Civil War. It’s a musical journey that has seen the trio perform hundred of gigs each year since they formed in 2007, everywhere from working men clubs to strip joints, not to mention the odd trip to a graveyard in between (an interpretation of which can be seen on the album’s cover, felt tipped by guitarist and singer Pedro.

‘Culturally rich, and instantly identifiable as excellent, this one’s an extra-hot essential’ – Mojo

‘Hardcore Andalusian psychobilly blues’ – Uncut

Tour support comes from Lonesome Shack. Lonesome Shack started in the early 2000’s when songwriter Ben Todd developed his musical voice in the isolation of rural New Mexico. After moving to Seattle in 2007, Todd teamed up with drummer Kristian Garrard and they found an instant chemistry. As a duo they released Bound To Die (2008) and Slidin Boa (2010), and brought their primitive boogie to every corner of the USA. In 2011, Lonesome Shack were joined by bassist Luke Bergman and the trio released the live album City Man (2012), which was recorded in one night at their favourite neighbourhood bar, Cafe Racer. With More Primitive (2014), Lonesome Shack continued to hone their skills as an elemental rock group: stripped down, raw, expressive and danceable. Lonesome Shack’s latest album, The Switcher, is their most ambitious and complete work yet. The Switcher’s 14 songs add dimension to the band’s vision. The album is by turns dirty and raucous or slow and expansive, with resonant lyrics and inventive songwriting.

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

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When: 7.30pm on Friday 2 June 2017
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be working with Saint Sister for the first time.

Saint Sister, formed in November 2014, is the new project from Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty. Their music draws from early Celtic harp traditions, 60s folk and electronic pop to create ‘atmosfolk’ – a mix of soulful vocal harmonies, dreamy synth and electro-acoustic harp.

Following their debut performance on Irish television, they opened for Arcade Fire’s Will Butler in Whelan’s. April saw them support San Fermin, and tour Ireland with Dublin band Spies. In August, the band entered the studio for the first time to record their debut EP with Alex Ryan (bassist with Hozier), which was released on 13 November on Trout Records.

Over the coming weeks they commence two Irish tours with O Emperor and Wyvern Lingo. They finish 2015 with their first London showcase, and play their first US performance at SXSW 2016.

‘Bewitching, that’s Saint Sister. It’s a striking, at times quite intense piece of work; it unfolds patiently, with a rare sense of grace’ – Clash Magazine

Tour support comes from Rosie Carney. Rosie is a 20-year-old singer/songwriter, originally from Hampshire, and currently based in Downings, County Donegal. She has already been compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell, and Crack In The Road described her music as ‘heart-wrenchingly beautiful’.

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

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When: 7pm on Thursday 8 June 2017
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

We’re delighted to be working with Nikki Lane again!

Nikki-Lane-Deaf-Institute-Manchester

Nikki Lane’s stunning third album Highway Queen, out 17 February 2017, sees the young Nashville singer emerge as one of country and rock’s most gifted songwriters. Co-produced by Lane and fellow singer-songwriter Jonathan Tyler this emotional tour-de-force was recorded at Matt Pence’s Echo Lab studio in Denton, Texas as well as at Club Roar with Collin Dupuis in Nashville, Tennessee. Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars and vintage Sixties country-pop swagger, Lane’s new music will resonate as easily with Lana Del Rey and Jenny Lewis fans as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty.

Highway Queen is a journey through heartbreak that takes exquisite turns. The record begins with a whiskey-soaked homage to Lane’s hometown (700,000 Rednecks) and ends on the profoundly raw Forever Lasts Forever, where Lane mourns a failed marriage – the ‘lighter shade of skin’ left behind from her wedding ring. On Forever and the confessional Muddy Waters, Lane’s lyrics align her with perceptive songwriters like Nick Lowe and Cass McCombs. Elsewhere, Companion is pure Everly Brothers’ dreaminess (‘I would spend a lifetime/ Playing catch you if I can’). She goes on a Vegas bender on the rollicking Jackpot, fights last-call blues (Foolish Heart) and tosses off brazen one-liners at a backroom piano (Big Mouth).

‘Love is the most unavoidable thing in the world,’ Lane says. ‘The person you pick could be half set-up to destroy your life with their own habits – I’ve certainly experienced that before and taken way too long to get out of that mistake.’

In 2014, Lane’s second album All or Nothin’ (New West) solidified her sandpaper voice beneath a ten-gallon hat as the new sound and look of outlaw country music. Produced by Dan Auerbach, the record’s bluesy Western guitars paired with Lane’s Dusty Springfield-esque voice earned glowing reviews from NPR, the Guardian and Rolling Stone. In three years since her Walk of Shame debut, Lane said she was living most of the year on the road.

Growing up, Lane used to watch her father pave asphalt during blistering South Carolina summers. She’d sit on the roller (‘what helps smooth out the asphalt’) next to a guy named Rooster and divvy out Hardee’s lunch orders for the workers. ‘My father thought he was a country singer,’ Lane laughs. ‘He partied hard at night, but by 6.30am he was out on the roads in 100-degree weather.’ That’s the southern work ethic, she says. ‘We didn’t have a lot of money, but I was privileged with the knowledge of how to work hard, how to learn and to succeed when things aren’t set up for me.’ Creativity was an unthinkable luxury, she adds. ‘When people told me I should try to get a record deal for songs I was writing, I was like, “that’s cute – I’ve got to be at work at 10am”.’

‘Becoming a songwriter is one of the most selfish things I’ve ever done,’ Lane says plainly. She describes writing her first song at age 25 like it was a necessary act of self-preservation after a devastating breakup. Many of her early songs, she said on Shame and Nothin’, were about the fleetingness of relationships she believed were permanent, she says. Lane’s main line of work in those days was a fashion entrepreneur (she’s currently the owner of Nashville’s vintage clothing boutique High Class Hillbilly). It brought her to cities around the country, New York to Los Angeles to Nashville. And like a true wanderer, Lane’s sound crisscrosses musical genres with ease, while the lonesome romantic in her remains. Even a soft song like, Send The Sun, with its lilting downward strum, is flush with bittersweet emotion. ‘Darling, we’re staring at the same moon,’ Lane sings lovingly. ‘I used to say that to my ex,’ she says with cheerful stoicism, ‘to try to brighten the long nights, stay positive.’

Highway Queen is poised to be Lane’s mainstream breakthrough. ‘Am I excited to spend years of my life in a van, away from family and friends? No, but I’m excited to share my songs, so they’ll reach people and help them get through whatever they’re going through. To me, that’s worth it.’

Lay You Down is one of those unexpected moments for Lane. ‘That song was inspired by something Levon Helm’s wife posted on Facebook when he was sick with cancer,’ Lane says. ‘I was just so moved by her telling the world how much love he felt from people writing to them, and moved that because of the Internet, I was able to see that love ­– even from a distance.’ The song became surreal for Lane and her band when her longtime guitarist, Alex Munoz, was diagnosed with cancer while they were playing it. ‘It deepened my perspective and the importance of keeping everyone safe,’ says Lane.

On the record cover, Lane looks out on wide, unowned Texan plains, leaning on the fearsome horns of a massive steer. Wearing a vintage Victorian dress, the stark photo invokes a time before highways existed. The symbolism isn’t lost on Lane. Highway Queen was a pioneering moment for her as an artist.

‘I was always a smart girl, always had to yell to be heard,’ she says, ‘But this was the first time in my career where I decided how things were going to go; I was willing to take the heat.’ Lane included the bonus track Champion as a small testament to that empowerment. ‘It makes a point,’ Lane says with a smile, ‘that I appreciate what you’re saying, but get the fuck out of my way.’

Tour support comes from Ruby Boots. Ruby Boots’ music will stop you in your tracks. The rising Australian star, now based in Nashville TN, possesses a red wine-stained soulful voice that crackles with swagger and sorrow. Her fiercely honest lyrics strike deep into your heart while her music delivers an alluring mix of Americana, rock, folk and blues. Leaving home at a young age, to work on pearling boats, is where she found the distance, space and time needed to hone her songwriting skills.

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

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When: 7.30pm on Friday 9 June 2017
Where: The Eagle Inn, 19 Collier Street, Salford, M3 7DW

We’re delighted to be working with Mt Wolf again – this time, at the Eagle Inn!

Having impressed the online tastemakers with their early releases that continuously entered the top of the Hype Machine chart, Mt. Wolf are set for their debut album release on 26 May 2017.

Grouped as a formidable three-piece, with singer and guitarist Sebastian Fox, guitarist Stevie McMinn and drummer Alex Mitchell, the band’s hallmark splicing of electronic and acoustic elements and layered sounds has earned them comparisons to the likes of London Grammar, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros.

With a live sound that both fractures and unites the audience as the lyrics move through deterioration to rejuvenation, the band are primed to build on the enormous success and recognition of their history and move into a new thrilling phase.

‘Ethereal acoustic guitar with atmospheric electronics; Justin Vernon of Bon Iver meets M83… emotionally intense… awesome…a band to speak to your soul?’ – KCRW

‘Enough hypnotic electronica to keep bassheads interested, while their folky roots and classical string instruments add depth to satisfy any weary soul’ – MTV

‘Subtle soundscapes, haunting vocals and broody bass’ – Clash Magazine

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

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When: 7.30pm on Sunday 18 June 2017
Where: Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear Street, Manchester M1 1DF

We’re delighted to be working with Sweet Baboo once again!

Moshi Moshi are excited to announce the new album from Sweet Baboo, aka North Wales’ musician Stephen Black, on 2 June. “When you feel the need for space, run away from place to place,” he sings, offering an irresistible invitation: “Here’s two train tickets, let’s go!” After the Harry Nilsson-esque love songs of 2015’s The Boombox Ballads, Black embarks on a new mission on Wild Imagination: to find the perfect pick-me-up antidote to the winter of our discontent.

The result is a bright, wry, melodically buoyant and sweetly melancholy tonic from the North Wales (born in Trefriw, near Snowdonia; now Cardiff-based) singer: a tribute to the joys of travel and the warming return home alike. Previously, Black’s co-travelling collaborators have included Carmarthenshire’s Cate Le Bon. But his sweet sentiments and winning melodies have been constant companions for all open-hearted listeners since 2003. And they prove so once more on Wild Imagination, with impeccable timing.

“I think everyone agrees 2016 was a pretty shitty year,” Black explains. “I kept thinking about my son (he’s nearly 3) and wanting to protect him from the world, so I decided to try and make an album full of positivity because that’s what I know I can do. And at the moment, I don’t know what else to suggest. As an aside, the album was originally going to be called Positive Recordings.”

The ten positive missives assembled for Wild Imagination are fully alert to the transporting and restorative possibilities of pop music. The lovingly nurtured, brass-warmed introduction of The Gardener is Black’s attempt to mimic the insta-pep opening of The Beach Boys’ California Girls; co-conspirator Paul Jones provided the arrangement, Black and multi-instrumentalist Rob Jones played the music. Another influence was Moog wizard Mort Garson’s 1976 LP Plantasia, an album made for tending plants to: tending one’s garden being very much on Black’s mind here.

The brightly melodious title-track is a love letter to Black’s son, couched in the enlivening appeal of good music. With elegant beauty, Black integrates snapshots from father/son moments with openly declared debts to his forebears. “I’ll lift you up towards the edge of the moon/ Pretend you are flying,” he sings, while adding a hint of his own aspirations: “I put on some Beatles and some old rock’n’roll…”

“You may as well aim high,” Black explains. “As with a lot of this album, I wanted to convey the sense of hope and joy I feel when I listen to Robert Wyatt or Arthur Russell singing. Musically, I love the mix of Jeff Lynne acoustics, cheap drum machine, Talking Heads keyboard riffs and Wings guitar licks. The middle eight is lifted straight from the Euros Childs songbook.”

Black’s church of pop uplift is a broad one. While Boombox looked to everyone from Nilsson to Scott Walker for inspiration, Wild Imagination frames Black as a gently inquisitive psych-pop explorer of pop classicism’s outer reaches, forever seeking out fresh melodies to brighten the perspective on a darkening world.

Stereolab’s warmly chic pulse informs Swallows, the first song written for the album; Paul suggested the French-pop feel, Rob provided the flugelhorn. The Casio-dreamy reverie of Badminton takes a dolefully introspective turn, not unlike Richard Hawley, while the mantric Clear Blue Skies reaches for a state of zero-gravity transcendence. “It’s a song about me and my son blasting off into space,” Black says, name-checking Nick Drake’s Pink Moon and Arthur Russell’s World Of Echo by way of another god-like sonic explorer. “I love the new age, Eno bit in the middle that’s held for about a minute. I’m hoping this section might grow into a monster live. I’m also holding out for a pregnancy test sync.”

A user-friendly spirit is sustained with a second-half segue in the shape of The Night Gardener, another instrumental. Hold On, meanwhile, is a lovingly intimate pick-you-up delivered with an abundance of charm. “Hold on to that smile, that smile makes coming home worthwhile,” sings Black, summing up the joys of returning home after time on tour.

With home’s appeal thus established, Black looks to travel for inspiration. Pink Rainbow is a frisky hit of funk-pop psychedelia, invoking the Super Furry Animals at play as it hymns the pull of a good train. “It’s full of coal and runs on romance,” Black says, a sweet sentiment born of innocent influences. His son’s favourite song when writing was Kermit the Frog’s Rainbow Connection. “The world can be a pretty dreary place so you may as well step out on to a pink rainbow,” explains Black, adding: “Credit must be given to [Lancaster garage-pop spouses] The Lovely Eggs’s son Arlo, who pretty much wrote the lyrics to the second verse after explaining a documentary about the Flying Scotsman to me.”

A spirit of romance continues to fuel Black towards the album’s close. On Humberside, he counts his blessings and suggests a trip to Yorkshire to ease the soul. Finally, he ventures out to America’s West Coast and back for Californ-I-A, a gently lapping lullaby for the weary traveler or child and a lovingly Nilsson-esque send-off for an album rich in warmth and wonder.

Either way, by train or ship, bag a ticket and hop on board. If 2017 is getting you down, a little Wild Imagination might just lift you out of it for a while.

Local support comes from Douga. Douga combine a love for melody and classic songwriting with influences from the worlds of experimental and improvised music. They’ve previously supported artists such as Omni, H Hawkline, Meg Baird, Quilt and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete. Their music has been played on BBC 6 Music and Radio 3. They’ve steadily been building a reputation for their live shows which showcase their knack for interesting textures and expansive arrangements. Expect songs interspersed with soundscapes, drones, feedback, and a stage littered with pedalboards and bashed up Casios. The band recently completed a second album, due for release in the autumn.

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

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