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: The Lovely Eggs... Gratis: Seazoo... Joan Shelley... Andy Shauf... Angel Olsen – Leeds... Alice Boman... Lindsay Munroe... Mr Ben & The Bens... Penguin Cafe... Erland Cooper... Peggy Sue... Honey Harper... Núria Graham + Francis Lung... the glowe... Happyness... Douglas Dare... Joep Beving... Leif Vollebekk... The Lovely Eggs... Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom (of The Burning Hell)... The Dears... Scott Matthews... BC Camplight... Tokyo Police Club... Aoife O’Donovan... Dana Gavanski... Born Ruffians... The Handsome Family... Pictish Trail... Smoke Fairies...

When: 7pm on Friday 17 July 2020
Where: Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5WW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been moved from April to July. All other details are the same, and original tickets remain valid. It’s still sold out – but if any tickets are returned, we’ll post updates on social media.

We’re delighted to be welcoming The Lovely Eggs back to Gorilla!

The Lovely Eggs are back on the road in 2020 as they announce a string of tour dates around the UK!

With observational and often surreal lyrics about life The Lovely Eggs have a powerful raw sound that creates the sonic illusion of a band twice their size. The result is a mix of heavy psych, pop and strangeness and they have become known for their ferocious yet joyous live performances.

Their new single This Decision is out on 10 January, followed by their new album I am Moron – produced by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, MGMT, Tame Impala, Mogwai) – in the Spring.

With much support from BBC 6 Music and Radio 1, the band continues to sell out gigs across the UK without the help of management, booking agent or record label support. They are selling out bigger and bigger venues and more eggheads are joining them in their crusade against bullsh*t.

Catch them live in April 2020 for the “I am Moron” UK album tour.

Main support comes Thick Richard. Thick Richard has been pedalling his potty-mouthed poems at festivals and clubs up and down the land since 1999. His cynical, lyrical, jet-black humour, intelligent wordplay, well-crafted verse, and occasionally acerbic, well-targeted comic attacks have earned him much respect from artists and audiences from Edinburgh to Glastonbury. He has supported acts including; Kate Tempest, The Fall, The Courteeners, Jerry Sadowitz, John Hegley, Arthur Smith and Frank Sidebottom. Thick Richard has been heard a number of times on BBC radio, including presenting and writing BBC 6 Music’s Beat of the Day and performed live on the channel for National Poetry Day. He is a regular headliner of Hammer and Tongue nationwide poetry tours and is usually to be found performing a wide variety of live music and cabaret venues. He has also had a sell-out tour of his solo show Swear School.

Opening the show is Dog Daisies. Dog Daisies is a widescreen lo-fi indie-pop project based around the home-studio adventures of Lancastrian songwriter Stephen Hudson. Inspired by motorways, midnight walks, 1980s films and the Lancashire coast, Dog Daisies released the debut LP Eagletism at the end of 2019 to glowing press reviews and repeated airplay on BBC 6 Music. Described as ‘Stand by Me put to music and set on a motorway’, it is a record brimming with imagination and melody; it touches on themes of time-travel and the great outdoors whilst inviting comparisons to bands like Grandaddy, Guided by Voices and Mercury Rev.

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

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been moved from April to July. All other details are the same, and original tickets remain valid. It’s still sold out – but if any tickets are returned, we’ll post updates on social media.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 9 April 2020
Where: The Eagle Inn, 19 Collier Street, Salford, M3 7DW

PLEASE NOTE: This show is being postponed to a future date, TBC. Updates will appear here and on social media, and those who have reserved tickets will also received an email notification about the new date shortly.

We continue our series of free entry shows at the Eagle Inn – with a rare headline show by H!M favourites Seazoo!

Welsh noisy indie-pop maestros Seazoo announce their return with upcoming sophomore album set for release early next year.

Recorded at Big Jelly Studios with Mike Collins the group’s second full-length effort demonstrates a fresh approach and follows critically acclaimed 2018 debut LP TRUNKS, shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize alongside acts including Boy Azooga, Gwenno, Gruff Rhys and Manic Street Preachers.

Heavily influenced by the likes of Yo La Tengo, Courtney Barnett and Grandaddy, the rousing five-piece have enjoyed significant support throughout the tastemaker community (Q Magazine, DIY, The Line Of Best Fit, Clash, Dork) and across the airwaves (BBC Radio 1, 6 Music), with their glowing reputation as an exceptional live act leading to appearances at SXSW, The Great Escape and Green Man and slots with IDLES, The Lovely Eggs and Circa Waves.

‘Magical indie-pop’ – DIY

‘A five-part indie-pop explosion…an absolute riot’ – Clash

‘Wobbly synths and retro-feeling guitars that sparkle with nostalgia’ – The Line Of Best Fit

Support comes from Melin Melyn (acoustic). According to SWN Festival: ‘Melin Melyn create catchy and eccentric vintage pop reciting weird stories, like a psychedelic kids tv show – combining elements of surf, folk, country and summery psychedelia, the band encourage a curious atmosphere stretching from one magical world to another.’

Advanced bookings are now full. We expect some drop outs so feel free to head down on the night – but note that we can’t let anyone in once we’ve hit capacity.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Monday 31 August 2020
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been moved from May to August, and now takes place at the Deaf Institute. All other details are the same, and original tickets remain valid. Additional tickets have been released – see below for links.

We’re delighted to be welcome Joan Shelley back!

Joan Shelley is a songwriter and singer who lives near Louisville, Kentucky, not far from where she grew up. Like the River Loves the Sea is her fifth album. She draws inspiration from traditional and traditionally-­minded performers from her native Kentucky, as well as those from Ireland, Scotland, and England, but she’s not a folksinger. Her disposition aligns more closely with that of, say, Roger Miller, Dolly Parton, or her fellow Kentuckian Tom T. Hall, who once explained – simply, succinctly, in a song – ‘I Witness Life’.

She’s not so much a confessional songwriter, although Like the River… gets closest to such subjectively emotional impressions as perhaps any album to date, and she sings less of her life and more of her place: of landscapes and watercourses; of flora and fauna; of seasons changing and years departing and the ineluctable attempt of humans to make some small sense of all – or, at best, some – of it. Her perspective and performances both have been described, apparently positively, as ‘pure,’ but there’s no trace of the Pollyanna and there’s little of the pastoral, either: her work instead wrestles with the possibility of reconciling, if only for a moment, the perceived ‘natural’ world with its reflection – sometimes, relatively speaking, clear; other times hopelessly distorted – in the human heart, mind, and footprint.

Since the 2015 release of her album Over and Even, Shelley has crossed the US and Europe several times as a headlining artist, sharing shows with the likes of Jake Xerxes Fussell, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Doug Paisley, Daniel Martin Moore, the Other Years and Michael Hurley. She has opened for Wilco, Chris Smither, Andrew Bird and Richard Thompson. Jeff Tweedy produced her previous record at The Loft in Chicago, and her current record Like the River Loves the Sea was recorded at Greenhaus Studios in Iceland.

Tour support comes from James Elkington. Chicago songwriter and guitarist James Elkington – who has collaborated with everyone from Richard Thompson to Jeff Tweedy to Tortoise – has announced his new album, Ever-Roving Eye, out 3 April on Paradise of Bachelors. He recorded his sophomore album at Wilco’s Loft, expanding upon his ‘beautiful, complex, and assured’ (Pitchfork) 2017 debut Wintres Woma, as well as his recent production and arrangement work for the likes of Steve Gunn, Nap Eyes (he produced their upcoming Snapshot of a Beginner) and Joan Shelley. Casting glances back to British folk traditions as well as toward avant-garde horizons, these brilliant new songs, as accessible as they are arcane, buttress Elkington’s brisk guitar figures and baritone poesy with strings, woodwinds, and backing vocals by Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station.

This is a 14+ show. 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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When: 7pm on Tuesday 1 September 2020
Where: Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5WW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed from March to September. Original tickets are valid and all other details remain the same. Here’s a message from Andy:

‘Dear fans,

‘I am very sorry to announce that we have had to reschedule our upcoming European dates in light of the recent developments with the COVID-19 virus.

‘It is frustrating for us as a band as I’m sure it is for everyone holding tickets and for all of those that have worked hard to make these shows happen. Despite this, we feel that it is the safe response to what has become a pandemic.

‘All tickets will be honoured for the new dates, while refunds are also an option and available at the point of purchase.

‘Thanks for your understanding and stay safe,

‘Andy’

We’re delighted to be bringing Andy Shauf back to Manchester – this time, to Gorilla!

Andy Shauf will release The Neon Skyline, his most direct and emotionally-rich work yet, on 24 January via ANTI-, with a European tour following in March and April.

The interconnected songs on The Neon Skyline, all written, performed, arranged and produced by Shauf, follow a simple plot: the narrator goes to his neighbourhood dive, finds out his ex is back in town, and she eventually shows up. As with Shauf’s last solo album, 2016’s The Party, The Neon Skyline is densely layered with an abundance of charming moments. His characters are all sympathetic here, people who share countless inside jokes, shots, and life-or-death musings when the night gets hazy. He offers the first taste, Things I Do, which examines the dissolution of the narrator’s past relationship over tense and jazz-minded instrumentation.

For The Neon Skyline, Shauf chose to start each composition on guitar instead of his usual piano. Happy accidents like Shauf testing out a new spring reverb pedal and experimenting with tape machines forced him to simplify how he’d arrange the tracks. Over the course of a year-and-a-half, Shauf ended up with almost 50 songs all about the same night at the bar. Though paring down his massive body of work to a single album’s worth of material was a challenge for Shauf, the final tracklist is seamless and fully-formed.

Shauf’s attention-to-detail in his writing on The Party evoked Randy Newman and his unorthodox, flowing lyrical phrasing recalled Joni Mitchell. Though that album, which followed different attendees of a house party, was his breakthrough, his undeniable songwriting talent has been long evident. Raised in Bienfait, Saskatchewan, he cut his teeth in the nearby Regina music community. In 2018, his band Foxwarren, formed over a decade ago with childhood friends, released a self-titled album where Pitchfork recognised how ‘Shauf has diligently refined his storytelling during the last decade’.

On top of heartbreak, friendship, and the mundane moments of humanity that define his songwriting, Shauf makes music that explores how easy it is to find yourself in familiar patterns and repeat the same mistakes of your past. His characters wonder, ‘Did this relationship end too soon? Would going to another bar cheer my friend up?,’ or ‘How hard is it to give a shit?’ The songs on The Neon Skyline ultimately take solace in accepting that life goes on and things will be okay.

This is a 14+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. This show is a co-promotion with the Brudenell.

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

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from 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: 7pm on Thursday 3 September 2020
Where: Leeds Beckett Students Union, Portland Building, Portland Way, Leeds LS1 3HE

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been moved from June to September. All other details are the same and original tickets remain valid.

We’re delighted to be welcoming Angel Olsen back – this time, to Leeds!

The descent into darkness is a trope we find time again across history, literature and film — a protagonist plunging further and further into the depths. But there is also an abyss above. There is a winding white staircase that goes ever upward into the great unknown — each step, each turn, requiring a greater boldness and confidence than the one before. This is the journey on which we find Angel Olsen.

Olsen’s flight is both upward and inward. Olsen’s artistic beginnings as a collaborator shifted seamlessly to her magnificent, cryptic-to-cosmic solo work, and then she formed bands to play her songs, and her stages and audiences grew exponentially. But all along, Olsen was more concerned with a different kind of path, and on her vulnerable, Big Mood new album, All Mirrors, we can see her taking an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations. In the process of making this album, she found a new sound and voice, a blast of fury mixed with hard won self-acceptance.

‘I guess you could say some bold and unexpected things have happened in my life,’ Olsen said. ‘It feels like part of my writing has come back from the past, and another part of it was waiting to exist.’

All Mirrors gets its claws into you on both micro and macro levels. Of course, there’s that singular vibrato, always so very close — seemingly simple, cooed phrases expand into massive ideas about the inability to love and universal loneliness. And then suddenly — huge string arrangements and four horsemen bellowing synth swells emerge, propelling the apocalyptic tenor. Throughout All Mirrors, Angel fully lets in the goth tones that always lurked at the ends of her song craft.

‘In every way — from the making of it, to the words, to how I feel moving forward — this record is about owning up to your darkest side,’ Olsen said. ‘Finding the capacity for new love and trusting change, even when you feel like a stranger. This is a record about facing yourself and learning to forgive what you see. It is about losing empathy, trust, love for destructive people. It is about walking away from the noise and realising that you can have solitude and peace in your own thoughts, that your thoughts alone can be just as valid, if not more.’

The first step of All Mirrors, was conceiving a back-to-basics solo record, which she recorded with producer Michael Harris in Anacortes, Washington. Soon after that was completed, a more ambitious version of the album began to percolate in her mind. This second, more maximalist version of All Mirrors evolved slowly with producer John Congleton, arranger Jherek Bischoff, Swiss Army Knife musician/arranger Ben Babbitt, and a 14-piece orchestra.

‘I was determined to keep it bare bones in order to contrast with the not yet recorded full band record,’ Olsen said. ‘I wanted to have versions of these songs that are completely raw and real in the way some of my earlier recordings are, so that I could have the choice to play alone or with a band.’

While remaking the album with full production and new collaborators, Olsen developed a new relationship with control. And in that process, she developed an even clearer vision of herself as an artist.

‘It’s scary to be your own compass, to trust new faces, to be a stranger — but sometimes that’s the only way forward,’ she said. ‘When you’ve been in a repetitive cycle so long it’s difficult for anyone to see you as someone who could come out of it. When you’ve made an example of yourself that people expect, some voices remind you of that example even when you know in your heart you’ve made changes.’

‘As I see it, in order for an artist to survive some kind of change, change needs to be a constant. For myself that constant change means having some kind of epiphany or clarity expressed in song. I don’t know if it’s something I inspire or attract, or if it’s just in the way I’m looking at my surroundings, but drama is something that surrounds my world and always has. I’m at least happy that I’ve learned to write it down.’

This show is a co-promotion with Now Wave and the Brudenell.

Buy tickets now.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 3 September 2020
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been rescheduled from February. 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: 7pm on Thursday 10 September 2020
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed from May, and now takes place at Gullivers. Original tickets are valid and all other details remain the same.

We’re excited to be promoting Lindsay Munroe’s biggest show to date!

Lindsay Munroe is a captivating new alt-indie artist based in Manchester. Bold and unflinchingly honest, she pairs swelling synths and swaggering guitars with painfully introspective lyrics, evoking acts like Sharon Van Etten, Laura Marling and Marika Hackman. At once assured and startlingly vulnerable, her music invites you into her world, but on her terms.

After teasing new material at a sell-out hometown show, Munroe is gearing up for the 2020 release of her debut record, produced by Chris Hamilton (LUMP, Torres) and featuring Fern Ford (The Big Moon). Played heavily on BBC Introducing in 2019, she has recently performed at Dot to Dot Festival and toured with the likes of Luke Sital Singh and David Kitt.

‘The Manchester acoustic scene’s most exciting young graduate’ – David Sue, Manchester Evening News

‘A hugely promising debut from an extremely talented new artist’ – IndieLondon

This show is a co-promotion with DHP.

Book tickets now. Tickets are also available from Seetickets.com, Wegottickets.com and Dice.fm.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Monday 14 September 2020
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed from April until September. 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 from April until September. 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.

Attend on: Facebook


All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Monday 21 September 2020
Where: Royal Northern College of Music Concert Hall, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD

We’re delighted to working with Penguin Cafe for the first time!

Avant-pop from musician, composer, and producer Arthur Jeffes and his Penguin Cafe ensemble, performing music from their Handfuls of Night record and back catalogue.

Combining elements of folk, classical, and minimalism in a style distinctive to the Penguin Café Orchestra, Arthur Jeffes and his cohorts craft a vivid series of panoramic sonic landscapes, as rich in cerebral poignancy as they are in emotional depth.

Following in his father Simon Jeffes’ footsteps, and performing music from both the Penguin Cafe Orchestra repertoire alongside the new Penguin Cafe material, this talented array of musicians make use of a variety of instrumentation – gut-stringed violins, viola, cello, bass, percussion, upright and grand pianos, synthesiser, harmonium and more – to bring an effervescent and thoughtful sound.

Book tickets now. Tickets are also available in person from the RNCM box office, online via Rncm.ac.uk, Ticketline.co.uk and on 0161 907 5555

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 24 September 2020
Where: Hallé St Peter’s, 40 Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 6BF

We’re delighted to welcoming Erland Cooper back – this time, to one of Manchester’s hidden gems.

Erland Cooper has announced Hether Blether, the third and final album in a trilogy of releases shaped by the islands where he grew up – due for release on vinyl, CD and digitally on 29 May 2020 via Phases. In addition, Erland has announced a UK tour for the autumn.

Cooper has also shared the first track from the album, Longhope. Featuring new poetry by John Burnside, written after a trip to Orkney with Erland (documented on the BBC Radio 4 programme Wild Music), as well as spoken word from the award-winning musician Kathryn Joseph plus ambient tape and modular synth work from Hiroshi Ebina, the track draws us into Erland’s world with a slow moving portrait video directed by long time collaborator Alex Kozobolis.

Hailing from the archipelago of Orkney in Scotland, the contemporary composer and multi-instrumentalist has so far explored the birdlife (2018’s Solan Goose), the sea (2019’s Sule Skerry) and, on Hether Blether, he turns his attention to the land and its people. Named after a hidden island in folklore, said to rise green and fertile from time to time from the foam. Inspired, in essence, by Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown, filmmaker Margaret Tait and composer Peter Maxwell Davies before him, this final album is a celebration of the Islands’ memory held in timeless landscape, community, myth and mythology. The album looks to the past through the stories of the island and to the present and future through its people.

Hether Blether weaves elements of Solan Goose and Sule Skerry, bringing them together in a full circle around the cycles of the changing seasons. Throughout the triptych, Cooper explores a restorative path in the rhythm and poetry of the every day, deep within a land and community at the edge of the world. On Hether Blether, as on the albums before, song titles are taken from local dialect and nod to the places and stories of the island (Noup Head, Rousay, Longhope) as well as the people themselves (Peedie Breeks, which translates as ‘children’).

Hether Blether’s opening track, Noup Head, introduces the listener to the story of the title track’s hidden island via a young girl that went missing one day. Her family found her in a storm, on an island emerging from the fog. On the new island, she was grown-up, with children of her own. She gives her family a stake to enable them to return to see her, but it was lost in the sea, forever. ‘A cold sting on her skin/that takes her back/to something she forgot/ in childhood,’ reads Kathryn Joseph, deep longing in her delivery of Burnside’s words.

The girl reappears, as memories do, as Hether Blether ebbs and flows. She’s there in Burnside’s poetry on the beautiful Longhope, in ‘the echo of a child/suspended in a web/of kelp and feathers… a long-lost sister, waiting for the tide/to guide her home’. She’s there in the swell of the Arco string quartet on Rousay, named after the island on which the girl was born. She’s also there in the album’s title track, where Erland sings his lyrics against the soft swell of his piano and Moog. ‘From time to time you rise out of the sea,’ Erland sings, himself. ‘Never take your eyes off of me.’

Erland’s own voice is a point of strength and vulnerability on this final part of his trilogy: Solan Goose didn’t feature his vocals at all; Sule Skerry only featured them briefly. Here, they are given room to breathe, to invite us new paths of discovery and exploration. When they hymn ‘a sweet isle in my life’ on Hildaland, we go along with them, finding the inhabitants that were said to retreat to a secret undersea kingdom every winter (just as Erland retreated from the real world through the soft waves of his music).

Hether Blether ends with Cooper singing a lyric borrowed from celebrated film composer Clint Mansell on a song with a title that sounds full of intent: Where I Am Is Here, a work all about time and memory, its repeated phrase ‘love now more than ever’ feels like an urgent demand for our times. It’s a natural end-point for a project that began with one man needing to retreat from the chaos of everyday life, to return to where he came from, taking all of us with him, to the very roots of ourselves.

Its last line, ‘time will show you how’, also reminds us how the past and present have always connected in our lives, bringing our experiences full circle. It also reminds us how deeply we have dived, how we have fished in such rich, vivid water, in the few short years since we met the Solan Goose, ventured bravely to Sule Skerry, and headed further to Hether Blether.

But Cooper hasn’t left the Orkneys behind him just yet. ‘It’s still with me,’ he says. ‘I’m only just coming to terms with where it’s taken me – from a place of necessary escape, to a very different world.’

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.

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

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from 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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