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: Lauren Housley... Penelope Isles... Rachel Sermanni... Peggy Sue... Admiral Fallow... Lubomyr Melnyk... We Were Promised Jetpacks... BC Camplight... James Yorkston... Tommy Alexander... Rachel Baiman... Aoife O’Donovan... Brendan Benson... Heartless Bastards... The Surfing Magazines... Francis Lung... Josh Rouse + Vetiver... Smoke Fairies... Douglas Dare... Lael Neale... Left Lane Cruiser... Simone Felice... Efterklang... Dana Gavanski... Beans on Toast... The Sheepdogs... Keeley Forsyth... Spencer Cullum... The Happy Soul... Roddy Woomble... The Weather Station... Wyndow... Sam Amidon... Elkyn & S.T. Manville... Samana... Robyn Hitchcock... Federico Albanese... The Beths... Pictish Trail... Sondre Lerche... La Luz... William Fitzsimmons... Kristin Hersh... The Besnard Lakes... Tré Burt... Jake Xerxes Fussell... Andy Shauf... Charlie Parr... The Unthanks... The Lovely Eggs... The Handsome Family... The Dears...

When: 7pm on Thursday 25 November 2021
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

PLEASE NOTE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this show is postponed. We’re working on a replacement date – your ticket vendor will be in touch to confirm the new details shortly.

We’re delighted to welcoming Lauren Housley to the Deaf Institute!

Lauren Housley is a singer and songwriter hailing from Yorkshire; a young woman with a deep connection to great songs, the craft of storytelling and an emotive vocal performance.

Her love of music started early, ‘It was like magic to me, that music could have such an impact on the way I felt. It became my therapy. Being a deeply empathetic person led me to channel my emotions into poems and songs, with a hope that they would bring some comfort, joy and understanding to people.’

Lauren independently released her first two albums, Sweet Surrender in 2015 and The Beauty of This Life in 2017, quickly garnering acclaim from fans, critics and fellow musicians. Her single Ghost Town Blues was playlisted by BBC Radio 2, where fans include Bob Harris OBE, whilst The Waiting Game became Robert Elms’ favourite track of the year on his BBC Radio London Show (‘Absolutely monumental’). Rave press reviews included Q, Uncut (‘Her voice is potent and the emotional directness of her songs is estimable’) and RNR Magazine (‘Lauren Housley’s blend of material is both thrilling and tender, propelled by a voice that stirs and soothes’). Music journalist and broadcaster Paul Sexton sums it up with: ‘What I love about Lauren’s voice, and the music she makes with her stellar band, is that she brings such pure, spontaneous soulfulness to everything she touches. Both on record and on stage, she’s the real deal.’

Lauren was invited to perform at the 02 Arena in London as part of Bluesfest, alongside some of the artists that have inspired her, including Van Morrison & Tedeschi Trucks Band. As well as opening for Vintage Trouble, Jack Savoretti and Van Morrison, Lauren has performed with some of her favourite female contemporaries including Yola and Klara Soderberg (First Aid Kit).

‘I’m a huge fan.. I really love her music’ – Bob Harris

‘An Americana-tinged singer-songwriter with a Bonnie Raitt-style twang, a winning way with a yearning lyric. Housley is her own woman…she’s as convincing as they come’ – Q

Special guest is Robbie Cavanagh. A self confessed devotee of ‘real music’, Robbie Cavanagh is not defined by genres. The only rules are good musicians, real instruments, great microphones and performance with emotion. Capturing sound, not producing it. Robbie performs self penned, unscrubbed tales of heartbreak, loss, love and discovery, and when he puts pen to paper, he lives by his own words. ‘The more you wrestle with an idea, the more contrived it becomes’. Robbie writes with honesty, emotion, and, most importantly, instinct.

Though his latest record To Leave/To Be Left (At The Helm Records) has received high praise from fans and industry professionals, it’s Robbie’s live performance that has really turned heads and attracted much deserved attention. Stepping out on stage with his long hair, Levi’s and Stetson, a guitar over his shoulder and a well earned confidence in his chest, Robbie can hardly open his mouth without also opening his heart. Performance is Robbie’s way of channelling emotion and his passion and energy are incredibly contagious.

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: 7.30pm on Friday 26 November 2021
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has sold out! Watch this space for future Penelope Isles show in Manchester in early 2022.

We’re excited to be welcoming Penelope Isles back to Manchester!

Penelope Isles are centred around siblings Jack and Lily Wolter, originally from the Isle of Man, and for several years now based in Brighton.

Their debut album Until the Tide Creeps In was produced by the band at the Bella Union studios in London and Brighton. They create dynamic blissed-out moments soaked in fuzz-noise waves – their songs fragile yet ferocious. Indie-psych currents and lustrous melodies blend with the siblings’ voices.

To support the release they played over 150 shows all over the world, including 100 shows in 2019 alone and three tours in the USA. They’ve hit the road with The Flaming Lips, Wallows and The Magic Numbers. Loved by fans, DJs, tour mates and writers, this debut marks them out as one of the most exciting UK bands of the last few years.

Main support comes from Holiday Ghosts. Holiday Ghosts, quit your corporate job, put laptop in shredder, walk away, go outside, remember what the Clean, the Go Betweens and the Modern Lovers once promised you: a life cracked open with fresh new possibilities. Three songwriters revel in lyrics descended down from Ray Davies’ third person tales of landlords, bathing suits, shopping malls, the northstreet air. Based in Brighton via Falmouth on the south coast of England, Holiday Ghosts conjur the airy fun of Richard Brautigan if he had a band and was from England and wasn’t a hippie or a beatnick and he didn’t wear those big hats or have that mustache and his name wasn’t Richard, or Brautigan, and he wasn’t a writer or an artist of any kind.

FatCat Records · Holiday Ghosts – Off Grid

Opening this spectacular triple bill are DITZ. Formed back in late 2015, DITZ have been slowly building a cult following ever since by playing a long series of increasingly tight and vicious shows all over the UK and Europe. Over the years they slowly released a string of singles, later compiled as the 5 songs EP by Alcopop Records. Their long awaited debut album The Great Regression will be coming out in early 2022 preceded by a string of singles. The first, Ded Wurst, came out at the end of October along with its Jay Bartlett-directed video. The second, The Warden, follows almost a month later to continue the deluge.

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: 7.30pm on Saturday 27 November 2021
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re excited to be working with Rachel Sermanni for the first time!

Rachel Sermanni has shared her new single Travelled, the moody epic at the heart of her forthcoming EP Swallow Me. She has also announced a national headline tour for this November.

Out 2 June, the EP was written predominantly while the Scottish singer-songwriter was pregnant. Travelled finds Sermanni mourning a way of life that was about to slip away and stumbling in the face of the unknown. Speaking of the track, she said: ‘I was staying with a beautiful family in Portland when I wrote Travelled. This is definitely a depiction of the dark night of the soul situation I was having at that moment in coming to terms with my choices.’

Sermanni has always sung of the struggle and desire to flow, to love, to live and to feel. The looming spectre of motherhood though was a test for her spirituality, which was furthered during a period spent residing in a Buddhist monastery, like never before. Sermanni gave respect to every feeling and thought that arose during her pregnancy, riding them as if aboard a spooked horse, going whichever way they led her. ‘The thread that weaves most clearly throughout this collection is one of letting go. Jellyfish go where the current flows. It takes courage to be passive. If you can accept everything, you can embody the jellyfish.’

By sitting with these feelings and entertaining thoughts many would shirk, Sermanni grew content with her future, happy to surrender to wherever the tides would take her. Certain that this path was her path.

A prophetic and wise creature, Sermanni makes music that inspires gathering, a coming together. She is a central totem for you to project your anxieties on and by hearing her conscious untangling, you discover a clarity all your own.

‘Think Joni Mitchell meets Lisa Hannigan, with a delectably eccentric Scottish twist’ – The Guardian

Local support comes from Caoilfhionn Rose. Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin), is a singer, songwriter and producer who was born in Manchester, England, with family roots in Northern Ireland and Yorkshire. Emerging from a diverse music scene, she ties together remnants of Manchester’s musical past with its evolving present.

Caoilfhionn released her second album Truly on 9 April on Gondwana Records. It was co-produced by Kier Stewart of The Durutti Column. It moves through a tapestry of curious musical inflections; nods towards folk, jazz, ambient, electronica and even a subtle influence of psychedelia. Rose’s song writing draws from a diverse palette of influences, including Building Instrument, Rachel Sermanni, Alabaster DePlume and Broadcast.

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 Sunday 28 November 2021
Where: The Kings Arms, 11 Bloom Street, Salford M3 6AN

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until November 2021. Original tickets remain valid and all other details are the same. The show has since sold out – watch this space for future Peggy Sue shows in Manchester.

We’re delighted to be bringing Peggy Sue to the Kings Arms!

Peggy Sue are London-via-Brighton indie duo Rosa Slade and Katy Young. Founded in 2007, the band have released four albums on Wichita Recordings, culminating in the critically acclaimed Choir Of Echoes, and toured with the likes of Jack White, Local Natives and First Aid Kit.

Fifth album Vices, due autumn 2019, will be their first in four years and the first release on the band’s own Souvenirs Records. Slow Fade, a lo-fi celebration of restlessness (released impatiently in 2017), was an apt first taste of the melancholy optimism that fills the ten tracks of Vices. The single and upcoming album borrow in equal parts from the perfectly constructed pop songs of the 1960s and the understated, noisey guitar experiments of 90s indie bands including The Breeders and Blur.

Peggy Sue’s front-women Rosa and Katy have spent the past four years in the great company of all-female singing group Deep Throat Choir (Bella Union), building Vices gradually all the while in studios across London with the help of producer Jimmy Robertson (Choir of Echoes) and new recruits Dan Blackett (Landshapes), Ben Gregory (GRIP TIGHT) and Euan Hinshelwood (Younghusband).

Tour support comes from GRIP TIGHT. GRIP TIGHT is the musical project of London born, Berlin-based producer and vocalist Benjamin Luke Gregory. Creating darkly hypnotic songs using synthesisers and mutilated vocal samples, his music has garnered airplay from BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music, and has been described as ‘full-blooded and soulful contemporary pop’ (DIY). His debut album is scheduled for release later this year.

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: 7.30pm on Thursday 2 December 2021
Where: YES (Pink Room), 38 Charles Street, Manchester M1 7DB

We’re delighted to be working with Admiral Fallow for the first time!

Admiral Fallow (Louis Abbott, Kevin Brolly, Phil Hague, Sarah Hayes and Joe Rattray) released their much-beloved debut album, Boots Met My Face, in 2011 and its widely acclaimed successor, Tree Bursts In Snow, the following year. Their extraordinary third record, Tiny Rewards, was released in 2015. Heartbreakingly beautiful, sonically audacious and lyrically bewitching, it heralded a true progression in their creative approach.

Over their 13 years together, the band have taken their music around the world, touring the UK, Europe, North America and Australia. They have never been known to rest on their laurels; further career highlights include numerous festival appearances, a commission from Glasgow Film Festival, performing with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and creating an ambitious new chamber opera. Navigate The Blood was co-written with Gareth Williams and Sian Evans and toured eight Scottish distilleries in November 2018.

A group of versatile musicians all uniquely in demand for their skills, the individual band members also find the time to tour and record with renowned artists such as King Creosote, Emma Pollock, Field Music, Kris Drever, Karine Polwart and many others.

Admiral Fallow recently put the finishing touches to their much-anticipated fourth record with producer Paul Savage (Mogwai, Arab Strap, Deacon Blue) at the helm. In 2021 they make a triumphant return to the live circuit with a brace of new songs, alongside favourites from their three beautifully diverse albums.

Local support comes from Marouli. Marouli are one of the most exciting and fresh new outfits coming out Manchester – blending alternative melodic pop/jazz-infused songs, with influences including David Bowie, Randy Newman and Steely Dan. With their debut album recently recorded, and first single due later this autumn, it’s a name you’re definitely going to be hearing a lot more of!

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: 7.30pm on Saturday 4 December 2021
Where: St Michael’s, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 5DG

We’re delighted to be working with Lubomyr Melnyk for the first time!

Born in Ukraine in 1948, Lubomyr Melnyk fell for the piano at an early age. Given lessons as a young child after his family emigrated to Canada after the iron curtain came down, he was immediately transfixed by the possibilities of the instrument. ‘On the piano, you can create whole worlds,’ he reflects. ‘I realised that it could be an orchestra, a choir of sound.’

After studying classical piano and graduating with a degree in Latin and Philosophy from St Paul’s College in Winnipeg, in the early 1970s Melnyk found himself in Paris. Homeless and in desperate need of money, he supported himself by accompanying dance lessons for a company run by the experimental choreographer Carolyn Carlson. The experience became a kind of epiphany: watching Carlson’s dancers, he began to play a new kind of music, spontaneous and improvisatory – responding not to rigid classical conventions but the dance he saw unfolding. Using the sustain pedal to create echo and reverb, he transformed free-flowing cascades of notes into hypnotic waves of sound. Eventually he found a name for this new style: ‘continuous music’, which he uses to this day.

Critics have detected the influence of Ravi Shankar and other Indian styles in Melnyk’s music, along with the insistent, repetitive textures of minimalist pioneers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Melnyk himself cites his debt to the American composer Terry Riley, particularly the legendary 1964 work In C, which he says ‘opened the world for me’. But he adds that if you listen carefully, you’ll also be able to hear the lilting contours of traditional Ukrainian folk music.

It might be truer to say that there is genuinely nothing quite like Melnyk’s work: a unique musical pioneer, he has defiantly carved his own path. ‘I don’t say to people I’m a composer,’ he declares. ‘I don’t know what I am.’

Melnyk composes, as he plays, at the piano, feeling out lines and individual rhythmic cells that bubble, undulate and gradually expand into vast, interlinked frameworks. Asked to describe what it’s like to live inside his music, he says ‘my whole body is transformed as I play, it honestly feels like that. My fingers feel like the winds of the world; it feels like you’re physically transcending dimensions.’

This will be one of the first public concerts in St Michael’s since its recent re-opening, having been closed since 2004. The Roman Catholic church was founded in 1859 and became the heart of the Little Italy Community in Ancoats.

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

Buy tickets now. Tickets are 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 Sunday 5 December 2021
Where: Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5WW

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed and now takes place in December 2021. Original tickets will be valid and all other details will remain the same.

We’re delighted to be working with We Were Promised Jetpacks for the first time!

Sometimes you have to go back to basics in order to find yourself again. This is something Scottish rock band We Were Promised Jetpacks realised over the course of creating their fourth full-length album, The More I Sleep The Less I Dream. Lyrically, The More I Sleep The Less I Dream reflects a group of people who have grown up since they first emerged on the scene with These Four Walls in 2009. During the making of this album all four members turned 30, and felt like vastly different people to the four 20-year-olds that they were when they first started releasing music. It’s one thing to say you want to take a step forward, it’s a much more daunting prospect actually doing so. The More I Sleep The Less I Dream contains the essence of what the band have grown into, both as artists and as people. They’ve taken their experiences, both from their ten years as a touring band and from the changes in their personal lives, and forged them into an album that represents a new phase for the band.

That evolution continues as founding member, Michael Palmer, left the band in 2019. The remaining members navigate what it looks like to be a 3 piece for the first time since the band’s inception and dive in to writing their next studio record due out early 2021.

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

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 Wednesday 8 December 2021
Where: The Ritz, Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5NQ

PLEASE NOTE: This show has been postponed until December 2021. Doors are now 7pm, with an 11pm curfew, and original tickets remain valid. Here’s a message from Brian/BC Camplight:

‘I can hardly express to you how joyous this will be. Get your tickets and come be a part of the celebration.’

We’re delighted to be presenting BC Camplight’s biggest hometown show to date!

‘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 guests are Peaness. Formed late 2014 in Chester university digs, the three-piece band Peaness write catchy, fuzzy, harmony driven indie-pop songs about love, friendship, frustrations, Brexit and food waste. The trio have been playing together since summer 2015, and their fun, friendship-fuelled live performances have been winning the hearts and minds of people up and down the country. They have secured nationwide and international shows with bands such as The Beths, Kero Kero Bonito, The Cribs, We Are Scientists, The Big Moon and Dream Wife.

This show is for ages 8+ only. 8- to 13-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Dice.fmTicketline.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 Monday 13 December 2021
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to welcome James Yorkston back – this time, for a solo show at Gullivers!

James Yorkston is a singer-songwriter and author from the East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Since signing to Domino Records in 2001, James has released a steady flow of highly acclaimed albums, leading to him touring his music worldwide.

James’ 2021 album The Wide, Wide River was called ‘another fascinating, curious contribution to the Scottish musician’s constantly eddying catalogue’ by The Guardian, ‘a beautiful experience’ by Clash and ‘another career highlight’ by The Scotsman.

With his Yorkston / Thorne / Khan project, James explores his love of traditional and experimental music, mixing them with Indian Classical music. Y/T/K’s 2020 release, Navarasa, was the Guardian’s Folk Album of the Year.

James also runs a diverse club night Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer and hosts the music podcast 46-30, which explores ‘Quality Music of no fixed Abode’. James has had published two books – the novel 3 Craws, and the memoir It’s Lovely to be Here – The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent.

‘The finest song-writer of his generation’ – John Peel

Tour support comes from Viking Moses. Baltimore musician Brendon Massei’s fifth album, Cruel Child, was released in April 2019 on Epifo Music, nearly 13 years after his proper debut as Viking Moses. As one would expect from someone who is noted for having consistently toured since 1993, Cruel Child offers a dozen dusty and deep and wistful explorations of the soul, written in such a manner they could only have come from a master traveler of dark and imposing paths both literal and philosophical.

Yet in darkness, light; it would be wrong to fully assume that Cruel Child is an album that wallows in its misery. Yes, Massei sings with a deep and haunted voice reminiscent of Mark Lanegan, Will Oldham and David Eugene Edwards, but like those masters, Massei is adept at hiding beautiful, tender, and positive messages that are shrouded in mystery and melancholy. Cruel Child is an album of dark sounds, to be sure; it is a beautiful darkness, though – one that should not be feared, but embraced. It is an album that unfolds itself slowly; its foreboding and lonely trails growing lighter on subsequent listens, revealing hidden beauty and truth with every visit.

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 Saturday 8 January 2022
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re delighted to be working with Tommy Alexander for the first time.

After self-releasing alt-country LP Waves in 2020, Tommy Alexander found his record on numerous end of the year lists, including nods from KEXP and Magnet Magazine. By this point it is clear that Alexander has established himself as a facet of the indie music world from his impressive and burgeoning booking agency, Pilot Light Booking, to his own musical outpouring, Alexander pens timeless songs with a powerful and dynamic voice and an evolved grasp on dense and concise lyrical design.

Waves opens on the line ‘I been sittin’ alone with a troubled mind, thinkin’ bout better times / I’m pretty sure it’s too late to start this over…’ loping along on backfire snare and an amplified acoustic riff, bemoaning stagnation. In early December 2019 Tommy traveled to Enterprise, Oregon with various other Portland luminaries (TK & The Holy Know Nothings, to be exact) to record at OK Theater with Bart Budwig. He couldn’t have possibly known when he cut this, or the jam End Of The World that it, or something close to it — was right around the bend. That particular country-folk song is a presentiment to several points of view for what to do when… well, what seems like the end of the world nears.

But back to the mind: What if the refuse of failed relationships, decaying social contracts, and our own, crumbling, corporeal, carapaces are the compost fuel for the continuum – or betterment – of human life? What if lashing waves of guilt, anxiety, and depression are normal human experiences like happiness, togetherness, and success? What if we mistakenly imposed a value on success? What if failure holds the same secrets, and the same weight? What if you could offload it, organise it, source it, exchange it, craft it – all of it – into meaningful works of art? What the value of lived experience was the fact that it came and went in waves at all?

It seems like Tommy’s own hard working nature, musical contributions, and constant crafting have done just that. Waves sit right in the middle of his album like the thesis statement he’s been trying to write about his work. A brawler, a bawler, and a ballad about different levels of relationships — admiration and rock’n’roll, lived-in love and country-folk, and the title track: a woozy folk ballad for the worn. Where most artists catch a snag on trying to achieve a sound, Tommy lets the sound represent the song. Helped along here by Taylor Kingman (backup vocals, guitar), Adam Witowski (guitar, piano), Mike Coykendall (synth, bass, drums) Ian Wade (bass), Buddy Weeks (drums), Bart Budwig (trumpet, engineering), and Jon Neufeld (mastering), the album shapes up as the work of other talented, if unheralded, utility players from the Northwest.

So much of Waves will continue to accompany you after just one listen. Tears plays like a jukebox jingle, ready to spring on you when – inevitably – things get worse, and you find new ways to cry. I Blame Myself will be there when you lie down, and when you wake, encouraging you to take responsibility for what comes with the new day. As Tommy Alexander ends Waves, it’s mystifying how he could’ve presaged the current collective mood with the short Doing Things Together, singing ‘Doing things together sure beats doing things away from you, yes it’s true I’m missin’ you tonight.’

I’m not much for prophecy, but my mind surely wants to categorise this as an album to help us through hard times. Lately it seems everyone is experiencing loneliness, and despair, but they’re also finding ways to create opportunities for their community. Tommy Alexander’s Waves comes from the few important things we’re left with when illusions crumble: a chance at self reflection, the opportunity to be of service to others, and lived experiences that make good art.

Tommy & co. have been fortunate to share the stage with inspiring artists like Michael McDonald, Big Thief, Chaka Khan, Mac Demarco, Adrianne Lenker, People Under The Stairs and more.

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

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