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: Mr Ben & The Bens... Heartless Bastards... Alice Boman... Skinny Lister... Brown Brogues... Jesca Hoop... Old Sea Brigade... Rachael Dadd... The Happy Soul... James Yorkston & Nina Persson... Stars... Siv Jakobsen... Weyes Blood... Jesse Malin + Tommy Stinson... Coruja Jones... Rozi Plain... Sweet Baboo... Kerala Dust... Sophie Jamieson... Will Sheff / Okkervil River... SLUG... Beans on Toast... Honey Harper... The Dream Syndicate... Rachel Baiman... Anna B Savage... Joshua Burnside... His Lordship... Unthank : Smith... Ailbhe Reddy... Neil Cowley... Eric Bibb... The Beths... The Burning Hell...

When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 30 November 2022
Where: YES Basement, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB

We’re excited to be bringing Mr Ben & The Bens back to Manchester – this time, to YES!

Ten years of work. Twenty releases released. Thirty million pounds banked. It’s a year for irrelevant milestones for Mr Ben & the Bens, as they return with a new album, which is just over forty minutes long.

On Good Day for Drying Ben airs out songs that have dwelt in his head for a while. Songs that have been waiting for a day when they can be put out there, on show, and left subject to the volatile weather of public opinion.

The album came together quickly, once Ben was no longer bound by finickity schedules, contractual obligations, and the unflinching demands of department store stock-buyers hungry for ceramics to flog to the kind of people who use digital platforms to scream ‘SHOP LOCAL’ but cross the road to avoid homeless people.

Having been written some time ago, many of these songs were test-driven during solo gigs throughout Sheffield in the first half of 2022. A week in the Tesla Studios in Meersbrook with Glover and Good Day for Drying was complete.

Local support comes from Juice Pops. Juice Pops are a Manchester based four-piece who play intricate and melodic indie-pop songs with a touch of psychedelia. They have been compared to The Shins, Jeff Buckley and the Beach Boys. Powered by songwriting couple Mike Edwards and Hannah Wheedon, supported by bassist Greg Chiche, the group released their debut EP, Juice Pops, in 2021 promoting it at gigs across Manchester, Hull, York and Sheffield. In 2022 they were joined on drums by Louis Garbutt, continuing to tour the EP and new material in Bristol and London before settling down for a summer of recording new music, with releases expected early 2023.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.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 Friday 2 December 2022
Where: Low Four Studio, Deansgate Mews, Great Northern, Manchester M3 4EN

PLEASE NOTE: This show now takes place on Friday 2 December – and is now at Low Four Studio on Deansgate Mews. Original tickets remain valid. 

This show has now sold out!

We’re excited to be working with Heartless Bastards for the first time!

On the new album A Beautiful Life, Heartless Bastards share a wide-eyed and radiant vision for harmonising a broken world. The Ohio-bred and Texas-transplanted band’s first new music since 2015’s Restless Ones, A Beautiful Life affirms frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom as a songwriter with the power to profoundly influence our state of mind, often by alchemizing her idealism into viscerally potent rock-and-roll songs. With its delicate coalescence of so many eclectic touchstones – French pop and Celtic folk, space rock and symphonic pop, Disney scores and post-punk – the result is an album that immediately lures the listener into a more receptive mindset, one that leads to deeper generosity, greater compassion, and a restored sense of possibility.

Co-produced by Wennerstrom and Kevin Ratterman (Strand Of Oaks, Jim James, White Reaper), A Beautiful Life finds Wennerstrom joining forces with the likes of guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo (Okkervil River), drummer Greggory Clifford (White Denim), multi-instrumentalist Jesse Chandler (Mercury Rev, Midlake), keyboardist Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), guitarist David Pulkingham (Patty Griffin), and longtime Heartless Bastards bassist Jesse Ebaugh. Although she debated releasing A Beautiful Life as a solo effort (as with 2018’s Sweet Unknown), the Austin-based singer/songwriter ultimately conceived the album as a continuation of the journey begun on the band’s breathlessly acclaimed 2005 debut Stairs and Elevators. ‘I loved the last iteration of Heartless Bastards so much – they’re like family – but the stars weren’t aligning for us to reconvene on this record,’ says Wennerstrom. ‘As the record came together I realised it’s always been my project, and I was determined to continue forth with that. I had so much faith in these songs and in myself, and in many ways it feels like a rebirth.’

Like many timeless songwriters before her, Wennerstrom channels her nuanced observation of the outside world into music that incites contemplation, catharsis, and a joyful sense of defiance. ‘It’s so easy to get caught up in the material goals that are prioritised by our society and the every-man-for-himself mentality of late-stage capitalism,’ Wennerstrom says of the album’s central themes. ‘That way of thinking presents a false idea of what a beautiful life is, and I think it’s so important that we as individuals all ask ourselves what it truly means to have a beautiful life.’

Throughout A Beautiful Life, Heartless Bastards guide their audience through an unhurried pondering of that very question, an exploration that begins with the soulfully expressed frustration of songs like How Low. ‘It’s becoming harder and harder to choose a simple life; so many people struggle to get ahead so they don’t get left behind,’ says Wennerstrom, who names the Jackson 5 as a key inspiration for the track’s jangly R&B grooves. ‘I believe that a truly elevated, conscious society is one that seeks to lift each other up – one where we work for the common good.’ On You Never Know, the band brings in elements of Brazilian bossa nova and yé-yé, arriving at a sweetly spirited anthem against jadedness. ‘As we get older and experience the pain of certain plans not working out, we can build up walls to protect ourselves,’ Wennerstrom says. ‘This song is a reminder to stay open, stay present, and keep taking chances.’

One of the most hypnotic moments on A Beautiful Life, Photograph unfolds as a sprawling psych-rock epic, speaking to the urgency of unconditional compassion. ‘There’s an extreme divide that’s developed in our society, but underneath it all I think we all want the same things,’ says Wennerstrom. ‘One of the biggest challenges I’ve dealt with is learning that I can’t control the energy that comes at me, but I can control my reaction, and try to take a compassionate approach with everyone.’ And on Went Around The World, Heartless Bastards elegantly merge hip-hop beats and high-drama strings in a mesmerising meditation on the inherent connectedness of all life. ‘I’ve toured for years and backpacked around in my off time, and through experiencing new situations I’ve gotten to know parts of myself I’d never known,’ says Wennerstrom. ‘It’s reinforced for me that it doesn’t matter what our race or religion is, or whether we’re male or female, straight or LGBTQ – we’re all connected to each other, and to the planet that sustains us. It’s all family.’

In the making of Heartless Bastards’ most elaborately realised body of work to date, Wennerstrom immersed herself in a highly experimental process that sometimes involved breathing new life into song fragments she’d first created decades ago. ‘There are little pieces of songs that I’ve had in my head for 20 years, and that finally found their place on this album,’ she notes. As she dreamed up A Beautiful Life’s finely detailed yet free-flowing sound, Wennerstrom repeatedly wandered down what she lovingly refers to as rabbit tunnels. ‘I call them tunnels instead of rabbit holes, because they take me somewhere instead of leaving me stuck,’ she says. ‘I allowed myself to really feel my way through things, trusting that I was going to get to where we needed to go. I never abandoned my vision, and because of that the album became everything I hoped it would be and then some.’

After recording some of the basic tracking for A Beautiful Life with Danny Reisch in Austin, Wennerstrom headed to Ratterman’s Invisible Creature studio in Los Angeles, assembling such singular musicians as Andrew Bird and Persian setar virtuoso Fared Shafinury (both of whom contributed to the wildly rambling folk of The River). ‘I made sure to pick people whose style I knew would be a perfect fit for these songs – that way I could tell them, “Hey, I just want you to be you,”‘ she says. As the album took shape, Wennerstrom and her collaborators discovered an undeniable chemistry that led her to invite Clifford and guitarist Gurgiolo into the lineup for Heartless Bastards’ upcoming live shows, marking the start of an exciting new era for the band.

For the final track to A Beautiful Life, Heartless Bastards chose a slow-burning piece called The Thinker, a gently galvanising plea to ‘see the beauty in everything’. ‘There’s a line in that song that sums up the whole album for me: “I did it all for love and I’d do it again,”‘ says Wennerstrom. ‘For me music is a gift – I do it because I love it, and because it helps me feel more connected to the world. I think we all long for a deep connection, and I hope this record adds to the conversation on how we as a species can stop seeing ourselves as separate. I hope it helps everyone to think about how we can look out for each other, take care of each other, and lift each other up.’

Support comes from Bobby Lee. Bobby Lee trades in a wide screen brand of cosmic country-folk, full of space and pawn shop guitars. There are touches of JJ Cale’s analogue Americana, the swampy groove of Tony Joe White and Richard Thompson’s sinewy, modal guitar work. Amps hum in the warm afternoon sun, kids and dogs snooze on the grass and broken drum machines keep time with the universe.

Bobby released his debut album, Shakedown in Slabtown, in August 2020, on his own Natural Histories imprint, which Mojo Magazine described as ‘word of mouth sensation amongst discerning heads’. It was swiftly followed by Origin Myths in March 2021, released on the legendary Tompkins Square Records, becoming album of the week on Huey Morgan’s BBC 6 Music radio show and gaining support from BBC’s Late Junction, No Depression, the Guardian, NTS and WFMU, amongst others. His new LP Endless Skyways is due Spring 2023.

This is a 14+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fm, 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 8 December 2022
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be bringing Alice Boman to Manchester!

Alice Boman has been thinking about space a lot lately. The silence between sounds, the unspoken bonds between humans, the enormity of the universe and her place within it. ‘Writing is still a way for me to understand myself,’ Boman explains. ‘As an overthinker, there’s this constant motion in my head, so it helps to sit down and write about it to actually understand what I feel or think. Or just to find stillness.’

You can follow these mini epiphanies on The Space Between, the Swedish singer-songwriter’s stunning new album. Ruminating on intimacy and existential angst, to listen is to hear Boman’s thoughts unfurl in real time, her quiet contemplations cocooned in sympathetic arrangements created in collaboration with producer Patrik Berger (Robyn, Lana Del Rey).

Berger also produced her 2020 debut album, Dream On, which received widespread praise for its immersive yet startlingly-intimate soundscapes. And yet, for all the acclaim, its ascent was ultimately impeded when the world shut down that March. ‘When COVID came, I had to cancel everything,’ Boman recalls. ‘And while I know some people used that time to go straight into writing, I just couldn’t find any inspiration.’

By the autumn of 2021 Boman had rallied, and that winter she and Berger started looking at song structures, recording a jamming session with drummer Nils Törnqvist. It proved such a productive experience they abandoned their initial plan to undertake a detailed pre-production, and instead booked a week at Berger’s studio in Stockholm, working intensively, with Boman even booking a chakra healing session, and a hotel next to the studio so she could remain in the creative sphere without having to break her flow. ‘It was such a playful process,’ she recalls. ‘Me and Patrik played together on separate synths on a lot of the songs — just improvising and trying out stuff. I think you can really feel that in the production.’

Though more pared back than originally planned, The Space Between still sees Boman working with a broader palette than that of Dream On. Imbued with an enveloping warmth which radiates from Boman’s gossamer-light vocals, arrangements are lightly embellished with shimmering guitar (Space), accordion (Night and Day), twinkling, music box effects (On and On) and muted brass, low in the mix (Soon). For Feels Like A Dream additional vocals were provided by Perfume Genius, a collaboration that came about via Instagram and was recorded at a distance.

‘I have been a fan of his for a long time,’ Boman explains. ‘I love his voice – it’s so special. Initially I wanted us to harmonise with each other but I love how the song turned out, with us each having our separate verses, and singing together at the end.’

With vocals left largely unadorned throughout, the focus falls squarely on Boman’s lyrics, which were written from the deeply personal perspective of someone settled within a relationship, and learning to be vulnerable with their partner.

The album is very much a journey, charting Boman’s progress from fear (Honey, Maybe) to the ‘place of tenderness’ she ultimately arrives at on Space, the album’s exquisite closing track. It’s a journey she hopes listeners will share in, finding comfort in community. Because as Boman knows all too well, when life gets too much, there’s always music.

Boman’s music has featured in smash Amazon series Transparent, HBO’s Wanderlust, and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.

Tour support comes from Australia’s Indira Elias. Indira Elias is a songwriter, composer and producer, working mostly in cinematic folk-noir. One of the Powerhouse Museum’s 2021 Generation Fellows, Elias has garnered support from Sydney’s Fbi radio, 2SER and Triple j Unearthed. Her debut album Songs from a Moon//Songs by the Sun was released to much acclaim, featuring as an FBi album of the week and receiving a nomination for FBi’s SMAC Album of the Year 2021. Dreamy Youth, third single from the album, was shortlisted in the 2020 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Comp.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7pm on Thursday 8 December 2022
Where: Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5WW

We’re excited to be welcoming Skinny Lister back to Gorilla!

Skinny Lister‘s fifth studio album A Matter Of Life & Love – released in October 2021 on Xtra Mile Recordings – ushered in an exciting new chapter in the band’s long and established career.

Written over the previous 18 months, Skinny Lister’s new album is in essence a collection of true stories and feelings that have really ‘mattered’ to them. While the album contains all the typically enlivening tales from the road that have made Skinny Lister the stuff of festival legend, from disturbing touring tales of being pulled over by Bavarian police (Bavaria Area) to full throttle airport drinking songs (Breakfast At Heathrow); dig deeper and you’ll find a record that might well be their most personal and profound yet.

Centrepiece and title-track, A Matter Of Life & Love, stands at the very heart of the album. Crystallising the record’s core themes with a Madness-esque playfulness, it’s a poppy and poignant reminder to recognise the moments in life that really matter, however trivial or throwaway they may seem at the time. ‘It’s a sentiment likely borne out of those months of enforced limited social contact endured over the past few months,’ reflects Dan. And one not likely to be taken for granted by anyone, or any band for that matter, any time soon.

The Skinnies’ admirable ‘in this together’ ethos is echoed through stirring anthems such as Shout It Out and Shoulder To Shoulder, which offer rousing singalongs primed and ready for a new age of live music. Skinny Lister’s adept ability for a heartstring plucking ballad also remains evident in tracks such as Embers, an elegant folky composition led by Lorna and destined to make Skinny fans everywhere crumble. Elsewhere, the celtic-tinged, string-adorned gem Bonny’s Eyes offers a touching tribute to the wonder of being a new parent.

And harking a return to the original rootsy Skinny Lister sound, Damn The Amsterdam is a straight-up sea shanty which echoes the style and stomp of John Kanaka from their first album Forge & Flagon. Written about a famous Hastings shipwreck, it features salty guest harmonies courtesy of folk pin-ups: The Longest Johns.

Bringing together all their influences and styles, from ska to rock and from folk-punk to traditional shanty, throughout its 12 tracks A Matter Of Life & Love is in many ways the distillation of everything that has seen the world fall for Skinny Lister’s charms. And yet, as the first record to be entirely written, produced, recorded and mixed by Skinny Lister themselves, it finds a band with a bolstered sense of confidence and a gleeful skip in their stride. Proving a unique opportunity for the band to create, experiment, and hone music of their own volition, it’s a process that finds a band in liberated form and realising the full Skinny Lister vision as they have always intended it.

Opening-up about recording the new record and what to expect, Dan Heptinstall says: ‘It’s great to have made it to album number five, and we can’t wait to see what further adventures lay in store for us as we get it out there on the road and into the world! This has been a very liberating experience, not only allowing us to employ all that we’ve learnt from the top producers of our previous four albums, but also truly realise our own vision of the tracks. We’re very proud of the results.’

An album about camaraderie and companionship through thick and thin, to cherishing the simple things freedom brings; A Matter Of Life & Love finds a band brimming with a zest for life, love, music and good-times.

The album is the latest instalment of the band’s career which has seen them passing the growing flagon of their experiences with every album and tour. They’ve led an endless parade gathering fans old and new, from the respected folk circuit to the riotous Download Festival, igniting pogoing mosh-pits at each. Over the past ten years they’ve travelled from rain-soaked London to the vast arteries of the USA, upgrading from narrow boat to Salty Dog Cruise, played huge tours across Europe and North America with Frank Turner, Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly as well as headlining themselves across festivals, sweatboxes and ever-larger venues.

Main support comes from Berries. A three piece with a penchant for effortlessly combining off-kilter melodies with guttural grunge, London-based Berries have been turning heads up and down the country for a number of years. Their vast array of singles have earned the band crucial support from the likes of Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy, as well as online championing from Louder Than War and Fred Perry.

Opening the show is Tom Jenkins. Tom Jenkins will be offering up another canny curveball and adding another string to his increasingly diverse and genre-hopping bow,  recently serving up a slice of feel-good pop-tinted indie-rock on latest single Under The Sun.

Age restriction: This is a 14+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7pm on Friday 9 December 2022
Where: YES Basement, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB

We’re excited to be promoting Brown Brogues’ much-anticipated reunion show!

Not the reunion you asked for, it’s the one you deserve! After a (pre-planned and) exacting seven year and two day hiatus, Brown Brogues are back on the 17th anniversary of the release of Ang Lee’s masterpiece Brokeback Mountain – 9 December – at YES.

There is too much misery in the world at this time. Come join us and forget about it for a few hours at the very least.

Support comes from Mister Strange – Manchester-based noisemakers with a sound that nods to rock, punk, and garage bands of the past. Mister Strange’s signature ‘Wunder-Fuzz’ takes you out of the ‘drags of life’ with their rocket-fulled appreciation of The Stooges and ritualistic burritos.

Having released their debut split in 2020 with Sydney label Third Eye Stimuli (Sunfruits, The Grease Arrestor, The Jim Mitchells), Strange quickly propelled forward to drop their debut EP I in the summer of 2021 with the Swedish rock ‘n’ roll label PNKSLM. The band have now progressed through the doom and gloom of winter to bring a no bullshit heavy and uncompromising second EP Nothing At All for 2022.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.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 Saturday 17 December 2022
Where: Hallé St Peter’s, 40 Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6BF 

We’re delighted to present Hey! Manchester favourite Jesca Hoop in one of Manchester’s hidden gems, Hallé St Peter’s.

California-born but now based in Manchester, Jesca Hoop is what you’d call a musician’s musician. Discovered by Tom Waits, and brought on tour by Peter Gabriel to sing in his band, it was a phone call from Elbow’s Guy Garvey that saw her move to the UK.

Her most recent album Stonechild, produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, This is the Kit), received huge acclaim from fans and critics alike, and it’s easy to see why: her beautiful songs, rooted in the folk tradition are intricately detailed, acoustic-led pieces that teem with ideas.

Special guest is Chloe Foy. Chloe Foy writes a brand of melodic, homegrown music bursting with colourful lyrical and textural inflections evocative of much of the music she loves. Taking inspiration from classical music as much as wider transatlantic trends in folk and indie, Chloe’s songs comprise of carefully constructed arrangements that delicately compliment her cryptic lyrics.

With her strikingly beautiful voice and emotionally direct songwriting, Chloe has captured the attention of rapidly growing UK and US audiences. With the release of her singles Asylum, Flaws, Oh You Are Not Well and In The Middle Of The Night, she has earnt the praise and airtime of the likes of NPR Radio’s Bob Boilen and the BBC’s Steve Lamacq.

In 2021 Chloe released her debut album, Where Shall We Begin, which continued to garner the acclaim of fans and critics alike. Tracks from the album regularly featured on BBC 6 Music, with support coming from Guy Garvey and Radcliffe & Maconie, and rave reviews came flooding in from the likes of Clash Magazine (8/10) and Line of Best Fit (9/10). With the album charting in the UK Folk Chart Top 40, Chloe truly cemented herself as an artist that flies the flag for the independent singer-songwriter with skill and finesse.

This is 14+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.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 Wednesday 25 January 2023
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LW 

We’re excited to be working with Old Sea Brigade for the first time!

Ben Cramer describes 5 AM Paradise, his vivid and moving third album as Old Sea Brigade, as a coming-of-age record: ten songs that balance youthful abandon with maturity and restraint, full of imaginative flourishes, evocative textures, and graceful melodies that lend magnitude to mundane moments.

Cramer first introduced Old Sea Brigade with his debut EP Love Brought Weight followed by his 2019 debut album, Ode To A Friend. He toured with artists like Passenger, Tall Heights, WildRivers, Joseph, Lewis Watson, and Luke Sital-Singh, developing an undeniable chemistry with Luke that carried over to the studio on the collaborative All the Ways You Sing in the Dark EP. At the same time, Cramer was establishing himself as a sought-after producer to artists from around the world who stopped by his Nashville home studio, including Australians Angie McMahon and Lawson Hull, London’s John Joseph Brill, Montreal’s The Franklin Electric, and rising talent from his local community like Braison Cyrus and Paul McDonald.

His 2021 sophomore album, Motivational Speaking, was called ‘some of the best quarantine art’ (Consequence) and ‘sharply written and infectiously propulsive’ (Uncut).

5 AM Paradise builds on those successes, as he revels in new sounds and ideas and explores the textures of everyday life in songs that make space for doubt and worry alongside joy and pleasure. He leaves his songs unresolved — posing more questions than he answers — so that they reveal more and more of themselves each time you hear them.

‘A warm, lovely dose of Americana’ – Brooklyn Vegan

‘A delightful slice of folk pop just perfect for a spring day, rain or shine’ – The East Nashvillian

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.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 Wednesday 1 February 2023
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LW 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this show now takes place on Wednesday 1 February. All other details stay the same and original tickets remain valid.

We’re excited to be bringing Rachael Dadd back to Gullivers!

On 14 October 2022 wildly creative free-form songwriter Rachael Dadd is to release her brand new studio album Kaleidoscope. The record is her second album for Memphis Industries and follows 2019’s Flux, which was released to much acclaim and which she was touring when the pandemic struck.

Like so many people disconnected from their communities and struggling through the lockdowns, Rachael turned inwards, seeking escape through music and connection through songwriting, and her hope is that when people listen to Kaleidoscope ‘they will feel held and find space to breathe, grieve and celebrate’.

‘This album is a lot more honest and personal than Flux,’ she shares, ‘but I feel the songs are universal as they are largely rooted in truth and love. If I had to pick a favourite album it would be this one because of the magical rekindling of human connection when me and my band got back in a room together again. All that magic went into these songs.’

‘Music for me usually comes from a place where I’m in a state of flow and free-child: playful and explorative and sparked by the infinite possibilities that creating it can bring,’ she continues, ‘so kaleidoscope, a toy with infinite possibilities of shape, colour and pattern, seemed like a really good title.’

Following on from taking part in the Super Cool Drawing Machine touring art exhibition, which raised money for small venues during lockdown, Rachael developed the album artwork by embroidering on her sewing machine. She created colourful geometric organisms, possibly depicting the patterns of a kaleidoscope, or musical sounds spread across a huge blue sky.

‘The image of the sky appears many times on the album, representing boundless freedom from the mundanity and struggles of being human,’ says Rachael. ‘Music, too, provides escapism and freedom, and I like that while both music and the sky can be boundless, they are also containers to preserve all the very best things. Here on Kaleidoscope they are vessels for truth and love.’

Having been kissed on the cheek and told to pursue music at the age of 14 by Tori Amos, who along with Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell lit up a new universe of possibility and magic for her, showing Rachael a way to translate her own inner world into words and music, she went on to discover John Cage, Steve Reich and John Tavner. Creating avant-garde feedback loop experiments at Alton College also left a big impression on her, as did WARP artists such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Plaid and Broadcast, and more recently Elsa Hewitt. ‘I love synth worlds and it’s been really great to explore this more deeply on Kaleidoscope,’ says Rachael, who also draws inspiration for the new record from Bristol’s contemporary jazz scene and artists like Ishmael Ensemble and Waldo’s Gift.

Co-produced ‘intuitively, boldly, and playfully’ by Rachael and Rob Pemberton (The Staves, Emily Barker, Maja Lena), Kaleidoscope includes musical collaborators such as Maja Lena (Low Chimes), long-time collaborator Emma Gatrill (Willy Mason), Alex Heane (bass), Charlotte West (synths), Alex Garden (strings) and Flux producer Marcus Hamblett (Villagers, James Holden, The Staves), giving the record ‘just the right colour combination, just the right pattern of shapes, plenty of space where needed and finally landing in a sound world that feels fresh and open and true,’ reflects Rachael.

Japanese aesthetics absorbed from her time spent living there are subconsciously woven into Rachael’s songs. ‘I first stepped foot in Tokyo in 2008, sparked by the adventure of such a rich and different culture and later on I lived on a small island and experienced an appealing and balanced way of life: the aesthetics, the art and the traditions,’ she recalls. ‘There was a lot of caring for each other, a lot of gentleness, and a lot of simple living in harmony with nature. Japan left its cultural mark on me and is now part of my inner world and I’m sure this comes out with the words and music I write.’

‘But overall,’ Rachael explains, ‘this is an album of homecoming and reconnecting to my own truth, to my community here, to the earthy land that I love and to the sky that I know.’

Over the years Rachael has toured across Europe and Asia including appearances at Green Man, Cambridge Folk and Glastonbury festivals. She has performed alongside Rozi Plain, This is The Kit, Alabaster DePlume, Francois and the Atlas Mountains and Michael Kiwanuka. ‘Many of my musical heroes are my best pals. I feel so lucky to have so many inspiring people close by and even luckier to be able to share music and stages together, particularly with all my band members and with Kate and Rozi of This Is The Kit, and Maja Lena who I am excited to be touring with this autumn.’

Kaleidoscope, including a limited edition DINKED vinyl with a bonus EP of non-album tracks featuring This is the Kit and Rozi Plain, follows Rachael’s critically acclaimed Flux album, which gained a coveted 6 Music’s Album of the Day and live sessions for Radio 4’s Loose Ends and The Roddy Hart Show on BBC Scotland.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.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 Saturday 4 February 2023
Where:
Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

PLEASE NOTE: Due to band members having several jobs and children, this show has moved to Saturday 4 February, and now takes place at Gullivers. Original tickets remain valid.

We’re pleased to be helping The Happy Soul launch their new single!

Join The Happy Soul as they launch their new double A-side, I Am Pulling My Eyes Out / Palindrome. Leading on from their critically lauded third LP, Golden Wander, the melodic four-piece begin a new journey which will reach completion with their fourth LP due for 2023, Everything is Horrible.

The Happy Soul have a curious blend of influences. At one moment soft and hushed, much like Nina Simone at her most blue, the next frantic and angular like the twin guitars of Television. Their understanding of the subversion of pop music is writ large across their back catalogue in bold, garish colours.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.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 7 February 2023
Where: 
YES Basement, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB

We’re pleased to be welcoming James Yorkston and Nina Persson to YES!

On 13 January, James Yorkston, Nina Persson and The Second Hand Orchestra will release The Great White Sea Eagle, the follow up to James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra’s The Wide, Wide River – a Guardian Top 10 Folk Album of 2021.

The record didn’t start life as a follow up; in early 2021, Yorkston began visiting his studio in Cellardyke, Fife and for the first time, starting writing songs on the piano as opposed to his usual guitar as he gazed upon the sea outside his window.

After sending the first five or six songs to Karl-Jonas Winqvist (the ringleader/conductor of TSHO), they began to discuss working on the music together. With Yorkston’s shift from guitar to piano, they thought about what other changes they could make to their process which led to the involvement of a guest singer and the legendary Nina Persson (The Cardigans) was brought into the fold.

They followed the same methodology as The Wide, Wide River – apart from James, Nina and KJ, none of The Second Hand Orchestra had heard the music prior to entering the studio – and the arrangements were made up on the spot. Yorkston summarises: ‘Everyone who was playing in The Second Hand Orchestra, in their own way they are all unique and colourful players. There was no-one there who didn’t know what to do. I would bring them the songs, we would start one – I would play it, and second time round people would start singing and playing, and by the time we had done it three or four times we would hit record and we would be ready to go. And the thing that they all had was the ability to give each other space and to come up with their parts based on what other people were playing naturally was a very quick process, and they were all so open, nobody was egotistical. Everything was just happy. I love the wildness in it.’

Ahead of its release, they unveil the first song from the forthcoming album, Hold Out For Love, a kind of Fife-gospel anthem with Yorkston and Persson’s vocals interwoven together over the lyrics: ‘You’ll have no regrets / If you hold out for love / Don’t sell yourself short / For the sake of a moment.’

James Yorkston, Nina Persson and The Second Hand Orchestra were joined by Philip Selway (Radiohead) to record a live version of the song, directed by Dah Dah Dit.

Whilst there is a lightness in sound to The Great White Sea Eagle, there is a dark humour throughout and the album conveys a rich message about life and grief, family and nature. James’ song for Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, A Sweetness In You, being one such moment.

The Great White Sea Eagle follows the release of Yorkston’s second novel The Book of the Gaels, recently declared Book of the Month in The Times.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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