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: Fuzzy Lights... BC Camplight... Mr Ben & The Bens... Alice Boman... Kiwi Jr... The Handsome Family... Gwenifer Raymond... Tokyo Police Club... Jesse Malin... Adrian Crowley... A.A. Williams... Anna B Savage... Holy Moly & The Crackers... Sebastian Plano... Chloe Foy... Erland Cooper... Scott Matthews... Francis of Delirium... King Hannah... Jesse Marchant... Dog Daisies... bdrmm... The Burning Hell... Ben Caplan... Joep Beving... Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip... Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys... Willy Mason... Saint Sister... Lindsay Munroe... Natalie Bergman... Seatbelts... Moulettes... Skinny Lister... Lauren Housley... Penelope Isles... Rachel Sermanni... The Dears... Peggy Sue... Admiral Fallow... Kaia Kater... We Were Promised Jetpacks... BC Camplight... James Yorkston... Tommy Alexander... Rachel Baiman... Aoife O’Donovan... Brendan Benson... Heartless Bastards... The Surfing Magazines... Josh Rouse + Vetiver... Smoke Fairies... Douglas Dare... Efterklang... Dana Gavanski... The Sheepdogs... Roddy Woomble... The Weather Station... Sam Amidon... Robyn Hitchcock... The Beths... Pictish Trail... La Luz... William Fitzsimmons... The Besnard Lakes... Tré Burt... Andy Shauf... The Lovely Eggs...

When: 7.30pm on Friday 29 October 2021
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to welcome Fuzzy Lights back – for their first Manchester show in eight years!

Fuzzy Lights were formed in Cambridge in 2004 as a duo of Rachel and Xavier Watkins. From initial experiments with violin and guitar loops they expanded into a four-piece for their near-instrumental debut album A Distant Voice in 2008.

In 2010 they released their second album, Twin Feathers, as a settled quintet, weaving together elements of pastoral psych-folk and noise-rock. The album received critical acclaim, being named ‘Underground Album of the Month’ in MOJO and receiving four-star reviews in Uncut and Artrocker. Several tracks from the record featured across BBC 6 Music shows, and the same year they played at the End of The Road Festival.

In 2011, they retreated to a farmhouse in Dedham Vale to write new songs, and the fruits of these sessions were later recorded live to tape at a Limehouse studio. Released in February 2013, Rule of Twelfths was a more direct album, cinematic in essence while carrying the ghosts of wall of sound productions. It too was well received, with Uncut magazine declaring ‘a work that sweetly lulls the listener with delicate folk numbers before ambushing them with surging orchestral noise. It’s this contrast… that makes Rule of Twelfths so effective’.

Following on from a series of events performing semi-improvised film soundtracks the group went into hibernation for a number of years, emerging only briefly to act as soundcarriers for legendary former Can frontman Damo Suzuki.

Behind the scenes, Fuzzy Lights worked on intertwining improvised jams with deliberate and personal songwriting, re-emerging with Burials, a collection of delicate yet weighty tunes that is the band’s most compelling statement to date.

‘The musical battle between the fuzzy and the lights makes Fuzzy Lights special’ – MOJO

‘Subverting genre expectations and folk melodies’ – Financial Times

Book tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fm, Ticketline.co.uk, 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 Thursday 29 July 2021
Where: Soup, 31-33 Spear Street, Manchester M1 1DF

PLEASE NOTE: This show has now sold out! Fear not though, as BC Camplight plays the Ritz on Wednesday 8 December – info and tickets at heymanchester.com/bc-camplight-12

We’re excited to be presenting an intimate hometown show for BC Camplight!

‘This is an examination of madness and loss,’ says Brian Christinzio, the inimitable force behind BC Camplight. ‘I hope it starts a long overdue conversation.’

Fired by his ongoing battle with mental illness, Shortly After Takeoff is the final, and finest, chapter of what Christinzio calls his ‘Manchester Trilogy’, following 2015’s How To Die In The North and 2018’s Deportation Blues. All three albums were created after the native Philadelphian had moved to Manchester. Like Deportation Blues, Shortly After Takeoff spans singer-songwriter classicism, gnarly synth-pop and ‘50s rock’n’roll, with Christinzio’s similarly distinctive, flexible vocal carrying a fearless approach to lyrical introspection, but the new album is a major leap forward in songwriting sophistication and lyrical communication.

‘It’s important to stress that this isn’t a redemption story,’ he says. ‘I’m a guy who maybe lives a little hard and I’m in the thick of some heavy stuff. But as a result, I think I’ve made my best record.’

The ‘heavy stuff’ has come thick and fast for Christinzio. Just days before How To Die In The North was released, he was deported and banned from the UK because of visa issues. Estranged from his new home, his girlfriend and his dog, unable to promote his album and back home with his parents, Christinzio sunk deep into the dark. An Italian passport, care of his grandparents, eventually allowed him to re-settle in Manchester, but then just days before Deportation Blues was released, his father Angelo unexpectedly died.

‘I went into a spiral that was worse than any time since my twenties,’ he recalls. Hence the title Shortly After Takeoff: the feeling of being suddenly thwarted by what life throws at you. Making matters worse was a neurological disorder that returned after years in remission: ‘I see TV static, and it messes with how my brain interprets everything from sound to my own feelings.’

One way to process tragedy is comedy, which elevates Shortly After Takeoff to a heightened plateau, from grief-stricken vulnerability to armoured bravado, from the black dog of depression to gallows humour. None more so than Ghosthunting, which opens with an extraordinary (fabricated) passage of Christinzio doing a stand-up routine, centring on the memory of hallucinating his father’s ghost. ‘I want to drag the listener into this world and hopefully they question why they feel uneasy,’ he explains.

‘I also wanted to make a record totally free of whimsy and irony, that was just clear and open and honest. I don’t think you really heard the chaos in Deportation Blues, but in Shortly After Takeoff, I can hear I’m finding undiscovered places to go, only because I was so lost. Lyrically, I wanted people to hear and understand me this time. Before, if I would have written about my father dying, I would have made up some weird bullshit, like an analogy about a tree shedding leaves or something. That Brian is gone. I have a direct line to the listener now. I have a direct line to myself too. It’s a benchmark moment for me.’

Bleak comedy is evident from the album’s first song. I Only Drink When I’m Drunk features Christinzio’s trademark ‘keep you on your toes’ style. He describes it as ‘Hank Williams on cough medicine being awoken by ferocious guitars’. Ghosthunting similarly changes tack, between serene melody, classical harps, and pounding passages: Cemetery Lifestyle appears to feed on The Four Seasons and crunchy new wave. Though the Nilsson-esque I Want To Be In the Mafia (Christinzio’s favourite lyric on the album) and the elegantly sombre Arms Around Your Sadness are less changeable, the way Back To Work trades dreamy AOR and robotic funk ‘sums up this record perfectly,’ Christinzio feels. ‘The verse seems to make sense, then out of nowhere, boom boom… just when you think you have it figured out… It’s the never-ending cycle of mental illness.’

Christinzio says his love of stylistic shifts is also linked to a ‘pretty low attention span. I’m always stirring the pot, I never let it settle’. His personal life is similarly restless. Few might risk everything and abscond from the safety of home in Philadelphia, where he had released two albums, occasionally played live with local faves The War On Drugs – whose current members Dave Hartley and Robbie Bennett were part of the original BC Camplight live band – and guested on Sharon van Etten’s Epic album. ‘If I’d stayed, I’d be dead. Period,’ he once mused, and what was Philly’s loss became Manchester’s gain.

There, Christinzio has his friends, and his band. On record, Shortly After Takeoff is ’95 per cent’ Christinzio, plus Adam Dawson (drums) and Francesca Pidgeon (backing vocals, sax, clarinet) and guests on cello and violin. Dawson and Pidgeon are also members of the current live BC Camplight, alongside Tom Bellini (guitar), Stephen Mutch (bass) and Luke Barton (synths, acoustic guitar).

Christinzio couldn’t tour How To Die In The North because of his deportation, but the shows following Deportation Blues played to increasingly larger audiences. Christinzio’s bombastic and intense live performances have earned him an ever-growing legion of devotees (and a recent nomination for Best Live Act by the Independent Music Awards) that see Brian as an ‘anti-rockstar’, an unfiltered talent.

‘I’m pretty sure the BC Camplight live experience isn’t something you can find elsewhere,’ he declares. ‘It is a journey every night. One moment, I’m basically doing a stand-up routine and the next, the band and I are playing like we plan on dying that evening, giving our everything. Then I’m on speakerphone to my Mom on stage before assaulting my piano. I’m very thankful that, after all this time, the audience is finally there.’ One regret is that his father never saw Christinzio experience any level of success. ‘I wish he could have seen what I’ve started to do here,’ he says. ‘I certainly gave that guy more grey hairs than he deserved. He would have liked to see this.’

Shortly After Takeoff ends with the gorgeously tender 93-second Angelo, ‘a little fleeting moment for my dad. I wanted his name on the album, and something that sounded like a goodbye. It ends with the drums, like a heartbeat stopping…’

That’s Christinzio and Shortly After Takeoff: his best, most honest, open and frequently heartbreaking record.

Special guest is Paige Kennedy. Paige Kennedy is an artist and producer based in Manchester, where they have been playing their energetic mix of funk, electronic and indie infused alt-pop for two years. Recently they made the top 5 out of over 3000 applicants for the Green Man Rising Competition 2021.They’ve also received wide support from BBC introducing and 6 Music, particularly Tom Robinson. Kennedy has been working on new material during lockdown, and is releasing an EP this summer, supported by two singles. The second single Arthur is dropping on 12 August.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 1 September 2021
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until September 2021. Original tickets are valid and all other details remain the same.

We’re delighted to be welcoming Mr Ben & The Bens back to Manchester!

After the celestial adventures of Mr Ben & The Bens’ previous issue, band-leader Ben Hall finds all the magic he needs on earth with his new album. On 2019’s Who Knows Jenny Jones?, Hall plotted the story of a young, shy Pitsmoor woman who returned from an alien encounter newly armed with serious disco-dancing know-how. Released through Bella Union on 10 July 2020, Life Drawing looks closer to home – Sheffield and thereabouts – for 12 brightly plaintive, character-driven vignettes, set to warm, acoustic, indie-folk-pop backdrops after its predecessor’s close encounters of the synth-driven kind.

A ‘cloudy thread of narrative’ is present, Hall explains, but this time it’s left open for listeners to map routes through it. ‘The idea with the title is that the songs are character sketches, and their stories coalesce in a place that has a bit of all the towns in the North of England I’ve lived in. Bits of myself in the stories came out unintentionally, so I’d like it if the listener could find those semi-truths from the songs and place them into their own experiences.’

Vibrant invitation to start exploring arrives with album opener On the Beach, where Hall’s tender vocal and dreamy organ provide simpatico companions to a wistful tale of a visit to a beach charged with memories – one of many evocative locales on the album. How Do You Do? brings to mind Belle and Sebastian at their dreamiest, while seeding enviro-metaphors – suns and moons, storms and tides, rain and snow, Whatever the weather may do – that figure strongly throughout the album’s every-day rhapsodies.

While these motifs provide consistency, a tremendous sense of DIY musical dynamism is at work elsewhere on Life Drawing, colouring in the fringes and shading the edges. ‘I spent a lot longer on this album, in fact the longest I’ve spent on any project in my life,’ he says. ‘Hopefully that gravity comes across! I have the curious ability to make and move on way too quickly when making music and art, so hopefully this record’s got a bit more staying power.’

Plenty of melodic sticking power propels the urgent Danny, where beaches and seas provide backdrops for a character study about someone reaching out for connection. At the opposite extreme, the gorgeous Astral Plane is a sweetly psychedelic lament, images of waves and shores lapping gently against the tale of a ‘barely functioning’ character. Faithful Hound is a country-sad ballad, Minor Keys a retro doo-wop-ish reverie about a character blithely ‘at sea’ and wasting the day away, all set to a waltzing-Wurlitzer melody.

Elsewhere, Metronomy-esque outsider-pop laments (Beast in the House), jaunty pop miniatures (Walking to an Open Sky) and pin-drop-delicate folk-pop lullabies (Irish Rain) emerge with range and empathy, attuned to the earthy hopes, dreams, sorrows and pleasures of their subjects. Closing Time sets a writer’s (‘“In the town, that you write into life on to pages so white’) to a reverberant piano, before Watering Can closes the album on notes of brassy uplift. ‘I go,’ sings Hall, drawing forward momentum from the stories he digs up.

For Hall, Life Drawing is a rich, rewarding step forward in a still-young career.

‘Upbeat, psychedelia-tinged pop’ – Secret Meeting

‘An intoxicating mix of perfectly fitting melodies and vocal strafes’ – Clash Magazine

Main support comes from Manchester’s own Ivan Campo. Ivan Campo’s story began in 2000 when the band met whilst studying Contemporary Music at UCLAN. After graduating, they put together their first EP, Clippings 2, which was self-released in 2004. Since then they have performed at a variety of venues and festivals throughout the UK and have played three tours around Spain. Their collection of laid back songs tell tales; inspired by life, love and literature. Having been on hiatus throughout 2019, the band have been busy writing material for their 10th album which will start to be showcased to audiences from February 2020.

Opening the show are Family Selection Box – a northern roasted blend of DIY indie.

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until April 2021. Original tickets are valid and all other details remain the same.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from the bar (no booking fee), 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 2 September 2021
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until September 2021. Original tickets remain valid and all other details are the same.

We’re excited to be working with Alice Boman for the first time!

‘It’s a powerful feeling when you’re in that world and you lose track of time,’ says Alice Boman of the deeply hypnotic state she entered when making her mesmerising and long-awaited debut album, Dream On. This transfixed state is one that she also seamlessly plunges her listeners into. Her deeply textural, atmospheric and immersive sounds – coupled with her fragile yet engulfing and ethereal vocals – create something of a vortex that listeners are sucked in by. A world where ambient, dream pop and folk merge into a unique new form.

The profound sense of quietness that can be heard in her music stems from its simple roots. Initially a project that started at home when she was a teenager, the songs she was making were just ‘sketches’. Yet as soon as other people heard them, it was clear that there was so much more to her talents than simple home tinkering. Two EPs followed, 2013’s Skisser and 2014’s EP II, as did a wave of critical acclaim and an array of TV placements for her music on shows such as Transparent, Wanderlust and 13 Reasons Why. With her new reach, the Swedish songwriter captivated listeners one-by-one.

A period of reflection and concentration on songwriting followed, as did a run of stirring one-off singles made with producer Fabian Prynn: Heartbeat, Dreams and End of Time. Boman now finds herself in a place far away from the artist she started out as. ‘It’s like two different worlds,’ she says. ‘I didn’t even realise that this was something I could do for a living. Things feel a bit more certain now and it’s nice to be able to dive into it fully.’

Despite her debut album feeling fuller and richer, as well as being her most accomplished work to date, Boman’s intimacy remains intact. ‘I didn’t want to lose the nerve of intimacy,’ she says. ‘That’s an important thing for me.’ The songwriting for the album initially began in a similarly isolated and autonomous way. ‘I took instruments and recording equipment to a house in the countryside of Sweden for a few weeks to get away from everything,’ Boman says. ‘To just focus on writing and playing. No distractions. Sometimes you need that distance to get into a flow.’

Local support comes from Matthew Fortunati. Influenced by the music of Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Pedro The Lion, Bright Eyes and many more, Matthew Fortunati is an Italian American songwriter and composer based between Manchester (UK) and San Gemini (Italy). He first went on stage in March of 2015, supporting anti-folk Canadian artist Oldseed during part of his Italian tour. In May of the same year, he won the Indiepolitana music contest on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Fano, a town in the Marche region of Italy. The award of the contest consisted in five shows through the country, which gave him visibility and the chance to book further gigs the same year.

In the summer of 2015, he released his first EP, The Best You Can Is Good Enough, with three independent labels: Astio Collettivo, Periferica Produzioni and Waves for the Masses. The fifteen-minute extended play reached the channels of Rolling Stones Italy and Rockit. In August of 2018, with the help of diNotte Records and General Soreness, he releases Super Taller, an eight-track album inspired by the life of his grandfather. In the summer of 2019, shortly after graduating from the University of Salford in creative music technologies, he was commissioned by New Creatives North and Arts Council England to produce a composition for BBC Arts, where he experimented with binaural field recordings, classical ensembles and electronics.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from the bar (no booking fee), 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 Wednesday 15 September 2021
Where: The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1DA

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been moved to September 2021, and now takes place at Stoller Hall. Original tickets remain valid, and your ticket outlet will be touch to confirm these new details.

We’re delighted to be working with the Handsome Family again – this time, at Stoller Hall!

The Handsome Family have written some of the most haunting and beautiful songs in American music. During a 30-year career, Brett and Rennie Sparks have created songs that transform the mundane landscape of modern life into a place of mysterious portent.

Handsome Family songs take place in parking lots and big box stores, under overpasses and in airports. They sing about Custer’s last stand and automatic lawn sprinklers in the same song. Rennie’s lyrics often focus on the myriad creatures that live at the edges of the man-made world: the sparrows, rats, cockroaches and crows that share our cities.

Many great songwriters have covered their work, among them Jeff Tweedy, Jason Lytle and Andrew Bird as well Christy Moore. David Bowie wrote the words, ‘The Handsome Family’ in a notebook right before his death. Who knows what could have been?

Handsome Family shows are famously relaxed. Their songs can be dark, but there’s always laughter on stage. Rennie sings as well as plays Autoharp, banjo and uke bass. She often introduces songs with seemingly unrelated stories. Brett, with his stentorian voice, is a powerful presence at centre of the stage.

There are a lot of new faces at shows these days, lured by Far From Any Road, which became a global hit after it was used as the theme to season one of True Detective. Both Bruce Springsteen and Guns ’N Roses and have used Far From Any Road as walk-in music.

In 2020 Loose Music will release their first two records, Odessa (1995) and Milk & Scissors (1996), on vinyl LP. This will be the first time these records have been released in Europe. A tour of Europe in spring of 2021 is planned.

About the making of their first records, Brett says:

‘I tried to form a band when we first moved to Chicago in 1992. After rehearsing with a string of mullet-headed yacht-rockers, I gave up and decided to make a band with my wife Rennie playing bass and my friend Mike Werner on drums.

‘Rennie and Mike were new to their instruments and my guitar playing was very limited. But that was back in the post-punk days and you could do what you wanted, it didn’t matter if you were technically good, as long as you had songs and ideas.

‘We were influenced by early country and DIY indie rock, and played both kinds of songs in the same chaotic, distorted style. We played every no-pay gig on Chicago’s Division Street we could book.

‘At one of these shows we were all wearing sailor outfits and drinking heavily. My glasses fell off my face and when I stomped on a distortion pedal I broke them in half— that was the night Patrick Monaghan of Carrot Top Records asked if we wanted to put out a record on his new label. That same night Dave Trumfio offered to record a free, professional “demo tape” for us.

‘We were astounded that anyone was paying attention to our songs given our chaotic stage presence.’

For Handsome Family fans these records are a must. Odessa reveals the early style of the band and Milk & Scissors illustrates how their songwriting transformed after Rennie began writing lyrics. On their spring 2020 tour they plan to play selected gems from these new/old records.

Tour support comes from Daniel Knox. With a baritone as dynamic as it is indestructible, Daniel Knox narrates compositions with a perverse and sometimes comical wit, guiding the listener through sprawling worlds that exist just out of frame. His work has inspired a diverse cast of collaborators that lie inside and outside his realm of alternative Americana, such as Jarvis Cocker, Thor Harris (Swans, Freakwater) and The Handsome Family with recent performances that include the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Andrew Bird and Swans.

One year on from his critically acclaimed grand, holistic album Chasescene – an album which confirmed his posItion as both a ‘rare talent’ (Loud and Quiet) and as a ‘master storyteller’ (The Observer) – Daniel Knox has announced a new mini-album, I Had A Wonderful Time. The mini-album will be released on 13 December via Knox’s own label H.P Johnson Presents, alongside the reissue of his 2015 self-titled album – an incredible work of world-building and song-craft, under-appreciated at the time but now reissued on blue vinyl. Knox lives and works in Chicago.

The Stoller Hall is a new, high-spec concert hall situated within Chetham’s School of Music in the centre of Manchester. It opened in April 2017.

This is an all ages show. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Stollerhall.com, 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 Saturday 18 September 2021
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re delighted to be working with Gwenifer Raymond for the first time.

Gwenifer Raymond began playing guitar at the age of eight shortly after having been first exposed to punk and grunge. After years of playing around the Welsh valleys in various punk outfits she began listening more to pre-war blues musicians as well as Appalachian folk players, eventually leading into the guitar players of the American Primitive genre.

She released her sophomore LP Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain at the end of 2020 to rapturous response. Her debut You Never Were Much Of A Dancer emerged on Tompkins Square to the same response in 2018. She has found herself equally embraced by fans of old-west and equally, by left-field/experimental audiences.

Appearances throughout the UK and the EU as well as the US marks her out as one to watch.

‘Just about anybody with an interest in the new school of American primitive will tell you that Welsh guitarist Gwenifer Raymond is one of its most promising proponents’ – Stereogum

‘On an album richly influenced by her birth country, she tries to invent a new style: Welsh primitive, she calls it, infused with folk horror, conjuring up coal trains steaming along the foot of her garden and tall, eerie trees, black against the grey sky’ – the Guardian

Buy tickets now. Tickets are 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: 7pm on Sunday 19 September 2021
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until September 2021. Original tickets are valid and all other details remain the same.

We’re delighted to be working with Tokyo Police Club for the first time!

After more than five years away, Tokyo Police Club are making their eagerly anticipated return to the UK and EU.

‘Sorry,’ says keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright of the lapse. ‘We kept meaning to “come back next year”, but the whole operation sort of fell victim to the big black hole of uncertainty that was swallowing everything for a minute there.’

He’s referring to the period of indecision that befell the group after they finished touring their twin 2016 EPs, Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness Parts 1 and 2. By that point it had been more than ten years since the band, then not even in their 20s, burst onto the scene. Their debut EP, A Lesson In Crime, was only 17 minutes long, but it launched them on a stratospheric ascent that saw them tour the world many times over and grace the stages of festivals from Coachella to Glastonbury.

The band’s star continued to burn bright over the ensuing years, but as the first decade of their career came to a close they found themselves unsure of their position in the ever shifting music industry, and indeed of whether or not they wanted to continue. All of them, that is, but singer and bassist Dave Monks, who implored his bandmates to not just walk away, telling them ‘Fuck no. We at least gotta go make Abbey Road first, and go out with a bang.’

The others listened, and after a series of fruitful writing sessions in a decommissioned rural church, they decamped for Los Angeles to work with producer Rob Schnapf. Schnapf, famous for his work with Beck, Elliott Smith and The Vines, had previously worked with the band on their 2010 fan favourite Champ – an LP which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. That ‘bang’ eventually coalesced into the band’s latest long player, the semi self-titled TPC. But a funny thing happened somewhere along the way: suddenly, they didn’t feel like ‘going out’ at all.

‘The feeling that we were so close to breaking up gave us the freedom to enjoy each other more, to enjoy making music together,’ says drummer Greg Alsop. ‘If we’re not doing it for the sake of being a successful band, but just trying to make an album we’re happy with, it takes the pressure off. The expectation was just that we’d do something that would make us happy.’ And, by all accounts, it did.

Rather than serving as a victory lap, the TPC tour saw a rejuvenated and re-energised Tokyo Police Club playing a setlist packed with old favourites and new hits to sold out venues across Canada and the United States. And now, at long last, they’re bringing the show back across the Atlantic.

‘I’m still annoyed that we took so long,’ says Wright. ‘But it does feel right that we’re coming back now. We toured there a lot when we were a new band, and in a way we kind of feel like a new band again.’

This show is a co-promotion with Tokyo Industries.

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

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Dice.fm, Ticketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 8pm on Wednesday 29 September 2021
Where: Night & Day Cafe, 26 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JN

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until September 2021. All other details are the same, and original tickets remain valid.

We’re delighted to be welcoming Jesse Malin back to Night & Day!

Jesse Malin — whom the Times says ‘writes vivid songs with killer tunes and sings them with scary conviction’ — and Lucinda Williams — the southern troubadour once named ‘America’s best songwriter’ by Time magazine — first met in the early 2000s at a jazz club in NYC’s West Village. In a joint 2017 Rolling Stone interview, the two discussed their ‘shared love of miscreants, misfits, the misunderstood and the mysteries of everyday lives binds them across the Mason-Dixon line’.

‘From the early frontier days of hardcore in New York to all the punk rock and singer/songwriter touring,’ says Malin, ‘it’s all been about survival and reinvention. I wanted to make an open-sounding record with the space to tell these stories. I like to write about characters and people I meet along the way. The dreamers, schemers, hustlers, romantics, lovers, leavers and believers.’ Many of the dreamers, schemers and so on from Jesse’s own life contribute to Sunset Kids, his new album of highly personal songs being released 30 August 2019 on Wicked Cool Records.

Sunset Kids first took shape at The Hollywood Bowl, when Jesse accepted Lucinda’s invitation to see her open for what turned out to be Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ final concert. The bittersweet experience inspired one of the new album’s highlights, Shining Down, a rainy day jangle about ‘keeping alive the spirits of the ones we’ve lost’. During that same visit, the idea came about of three-time Grammy-winning Lucinda producing Jesse’s next record.

‘Lucinda has a great eye for finding the beauty in broken things and a knack for always picking the right take. Once she started dancing in the control room, we knew we had it.’

In addition to this rare turn in the producer’s chair for Williams, she co-wrote and sang on the evocative country-flavoured Room 13, which Malin calls ‘the heart of the record in a lot of ways, about those meditative moments far away from home, where you’re forced to reflect on the things that really matter’.

The album also features Chemical Heart, an upbeat pop basher located at a mythical point on Queens Boulevard where Paul Simon and The Ramones intersect, namechecking Bernie Taupin and Jake LaMotta among others. Shane is a gentle ballad about one of his heroes, the lovably shambolic Shane MacGowan of The Pogues.

‘My first album, The Fine Art Of Self-Destruction, was about finding glory in the wreckage,’ says Malin of the album which was upon release Uncut’s Album of the Month. ‘Sunset Kids is about owning it. The failures, the victories, the moments. And moving up from there.’

After reflecting on his life while walking the streets of London, jamming riffs in an East Village basement and writing songs in Florida hotel rooms while visiting his ailing father, the ambitious 14-song album was recorded on both coasts between the two artists’ touring schedules.

It opens with the pre-apocalyptic confession Meet Me At The End Of The World Again, which includes backing vocals by Malin confidante and collaborator Joseph Arthur. Another key guest contribution comes courtesy of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, who co-wrote and sang on Strangers & Thieves.

‘Billie Joe was in town and I showed him where we hung out when we were kids in the hardcore days,’ Malin recalls. ‘A couple days later, I got a text and he had finished the song. He went into the details of his experience in the Bay Area with that scene, and also my experiences, which were very parallel in New York.’

Those early days found a young Jesse ‘riding the subway trains from Queens to the record stores and nightclubs in dirty, pre-Disney New York City’ and never looking back. His band Heart Attack put out the first New York hardcore single God Is Dead when Malin was 14 years old. He later went on to acclaim as the frontman for the fast and loud D Generation, whose albums were produced by Ric Ocasek, Tony Visconti and David Bianco.

Bianco is one of the Sunset Kids referenced in the album’s title. The engineer, who won a Grammy for his pristine sonics on Tom Petty’s Wildflowers and produced the first major-label release of Jesse’s career, passed away suddenly after overseeing the initial sessions for Sunset Kids in his L.A. studio.

‘Playing music is something I need to do. Singing under those hot lights every night is a great exorcism. We get to put together this pirate ship of characters and go around the world making trouble and singing our guts out.’

As the line in crucial cut When You’re Young says, ‘Don’t waste your life on things that don’t get better’. Malin concludes: ‘It’s about finding ways to survive and navigate through all this stuff. Being compassionate and loving in a world that will break your heart. But you’re still here. You wake up again and put one foot in front of the other and live every day like it could be your last.’

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

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When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 29 September 2021
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re excited to be working with Adrian Crowley!

One stormy night in Ireland, Adrian Crowleys brother brought home a wounded crow. After taking care of it for a time, the crow flew away on its own, leaving an impression behind: Crowley wrote a story, which would later become the aptly titled Crow Song on this, his brand new record & ninth studio album The Watchful Eye of the Stars. He sings, ‘And I was joyous for you, but shattered none-the-less.’

Suffused with a hazy and surreal quality, Crowley describes Watchful Eye’s poignant narratives as those which insisted themselves upon him. After the fact, it seemed these songs came to him more or less fully formed. ‘It’s a beautiful and mysterious thing,’ he says. Perhaps it is a tendency to hold onto memories (‘It’s taken me so long to write to you / Well I just couldn’t find a pen,’ he laments in Bread and Wine), that allows him to unleash them lyrically in completion. For Crowley, the creative process is an organic event rather than a practice he feels compelled to regulate or control. He approaches lyrics much like he does short story writing. ‘The songs straddle the conscious and subconscious world and some are even psychedelic in my mind, but to me they are all at once true stories and born of another place,’ he shares.

In making the album, Crowley moved between studio and at home recording, while John Parish (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey) produced. The pair worked from tracks made initially by Crowley on a charity shop three-quarter-size nylon string guitar or Mellotron: ‘In this way, John wanted to keep some of the magic of that first take’, says Crowley. Contradictions and complexities are left intact, initial recordings were limited to one or two takes, and the songs feel more like a dream recounted upon waking.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Dice.fm, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 30 September 2021
Where: Hallé St Peter’s, 40 Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6BF

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until September 2021. All other details are the same, and original tickets remain valid. 

We’re delighted to working with A.A. Williams for the first time!

Making her stage debut in April 2019 and selling out her first headline show at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre less than a year later, A.A. Williams has hit the ground running. Similarly, the acclaim for her performances and her music has been unanimous from the start. After one self-titled EP and the 10-inch vinyl collaboration Exit in Darkness with Japanese post-rockers MONO, the London-based singer-songwriter has signed to Bella Union and made a stunning debut album, Forever Blue.

A rapturous blend of post-rock and post-classical, Forever Blue smoulders with uncoiling melodies and haunted atmospheres, shifting from serenity to explosive drama, often within the same song. Williams is a fantastic musician as well as songwriter, playing the guitar, cello and piano, and her voice has the controlled delivery of a seasoned chanteuse whilst still channelling the rawest of emotions.

Forever Blue is named after a song that didn’t make the album’s final cut, ‘but it still encapsulated these songs,’ Williams explains. ‘It sounded timeless and in the right place.’ The album’s threads encapsulate the anxieties and addiction of love and loss with haunting detail, for example Glimmer (‘I wasn’t meant to see the sun washed out and pale / I wait undone / I wasn’t meant to be the one hollow and hurt and meant for none’), though Williams admits the theme was shaped more by her subconscious than any grand plan.

‘The lyrics come at the end, they fall into place, rhythmically, and link together,’ she explains. ‘And then it’s my job to decipher what I’ve written! I want the words to get my point across but still let the listener map on their own experiences. I find it really therapeutic.’

Therapy is intrinsic to Williams’ approach: to not just express and unpick her feelings of longing and loss but to work through them. ‘Verbalising something, you feel a weight has been lifted,’ she says. The transition can be mirrored in the dynamic shift from ‘quiet’ to ‘loud’, as on Glimmer and arguably at its most euphoric on Melt. ‘There’s something very satisfying and elating about songs that have that drop in them, to stomp on the guitar pedal on and let it all out.’

It’s testament to Williams’ skills, and those of husband and bassist Thomas Williams, that Forever Blue’s commanding sound was largely captured at the couple’s two-bedroom flat in North London. Drums by Geoff Holroyde were added at engineer Adrian Hall’s studio in South London, with guest vocals from Johannes Persson (Cult Of Luna), who adds his deep-trawling growl to Fearless (‘he sounds like Tectonic plates moving,’ Williams feels), Fredrik Kihlberg (Cult Of Luna) on Glimmer and Tom Fleming (ex-Wild Beasts) on Dirt.

Williams can scarcely believe she’s in such exalted company, or that her band has toured with Cult Of Luna, Russian Circles, Explosions In The Sky, Nordic Giants and Sisters Of Mercy, whilst performing with MONO at their 10th anniversary show. It’s not because she doesn’t trust her own worth but that Williams only became a singer-songwriter by chance.

Having taken music lessons from the age of six and been immersed in classical music, Williams’ life was forever changed when she discovered Deftones in her mid-teens, ‘and after them, all things heavy,’ she recalls. ‘It was music that made me feel included, that tapped into me.’

Yet it was only years later, when she found a guitar in the street with a note attached, ‘please take me, just needs work,’ that Williams started playing guitar, and only started writing songs as a way of learning how to play. ‘I wrote in different styles to find a sound I was comfortable with,’ she says. ‘Likewise, with singing. I’d never before thought of singing with a microphone in front of other people. It’s been quite a journey.’

That journey was thrown off course by the Coronavirus lockdown, but Williams’ response has been the Songs From Isolation video project, solo renditions of songs suggested by her fans. At the time of writing, she has performed Radiohead’s Creep (‘to take on a song like that, you either have to be brave or dumb, and I thought, let’s be brave!’), Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind and Nick Cave’s Into Your Arms.

As Songs From Isolation keeps posting intimate messages from a place of solitude, Forever Blue will spread the news of A.A. Williams’ extraordinary talent far and wide – and once lockdown is over, she and her band will be taking the next steps on her journey by touring the record. She’s already come so far but this story is only just beginning.

Hallé St Peter’s, located on Blossom Street in Ancoats, is a Grade II-listed, deconsecrated church, which was built in 1859. Having stood empty for decades, it was recently restored to provide rehearsal and recording space for the Hallé orchestra.

This show is sold as unreserved seating. This show is a co-promotion with Form.

Age restriction: 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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