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: Beans on Toast... PowerSolo... Martha Tilston... The Umbrellas... Nick Harper... Chris Brain... Mr Ben & the Bens... Daudi Matsiko... Jolie Holland... Christof van der Ven + Niamh Regan... Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom... Giant Sand... Melanie Baker... Sophie Hutchings... Jerron Paxton... Ghostly Kisses... Sounds From The Other City 2024... Francis of Delirium... The Buffalo Skinners... The Handsome Family... His Lordship... Florry... Dana Gavanski... Caoilfhionn Rose... The Lovely Eggs... Rain Parade...

When: 7pm on Saturday 24 February 2024
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ

We’re excited to be welcoming Beans on Toast back to Band on the Wall!

The captivating troubadour known as Beans on Toast embarks on a joyous musical escapade in early 2024. Captivating hearts and minds with his tales of love, politics and the human experience, Beans is unafraid to challenge the status quo with his irreverent wit and soul-stirring lyricism.

Like a modern-day minstrel, Beans on Toast takes to the road on a captivating journey across towns and cities of the UK. His songs, the celebration of the human spirit and a call for unity resonate deeply in the hearts of listeners, leaving them inspired and moved. Inviting us to reflect, laugh and remember that amidst the chaos, there is still hope and beauty to be found.

This tour will be the debut outing for the new ‘Beans on Toast Band’ – a collection of musical misfits and talented troublemakers from around the country, who will be smashing out tunes from his highly acclaimed new album The Toothpaste and the Tube alongside a long list of bangers from his insanely huge back catalogue of songs about the human experience.

Members of the new band will also perform on the night, performing their own songs and poems. These include Scottish guitar wizard and folk songsmith Memphis Gerland, Honky Tonk Royalty King Killership, and festival poet extraordinaire, Bassie Gracie.

This will be a night like no other, a thoughtful celebration of life, friendship and music.

Everyone’s invited.

This is a 10+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 28 February 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be working with Denmark’s PowerSolo for the first time!

PowerSolo had a few decades of confrontational badassery behind them already when they descended on a barn in the Isle of Mön to record Jambalaya – Xtra Spicy, their 8.5th studio album. The concept was clear: let’s boil up a crazy stew with all the ingredients that the fanbase knows and loves. Kind of a return to the roots and the early albums in the mid 2000s It’s Raceday… and Egg. Let a bunch of very diverse songs simmer together and create a beautiful dish that is both xtra spicy, surprising, complex yet super yummy. Like a Jambalaya: distinctly American fare, but not main stream at all. We’re talking Creole and Cajun food influenced by African as well as French cuisines and made by the ingredients at hand – some high end and some cheap and maybe even gone a bit stale. Seafood, chicken and smoked pork sausage combined in a vibrant, tasty and utterly unique mouthful. Yes, the metaphor promises a lot, but the album provides.

Like the aforementioned LPs as well as the break through hit album The Real Sound from 2014, Jambalaya – Xtra Spicy was recorded, mixed and produced by Ulrik Petersen and Jesper Reginal (aka The Great Nalna and Yebo of The Tremolo Beer Gut infamy) at Dark Side of The Möön / Kondi Frost Studios. The musical crew consisted of main man Kim Kix as well as his right hand man Anders “Peasoup” Pedersen. The drums were alternately manned by none other than former PowerSolo member JC Benz and live drummer Mike “ZACK” Sullivan.

A pinch of South American spice was added by Flavia Couri of The Courettes on the duet “If I Could Fly” and every dish deserved a bit of French sugar. It was applied on “She’s A Trucker” by none other than Phoebe Killdeer from Nouvelle Vague and Phoebe Killdeer & The Short Straws. Kix has previously produced and guest starred on these ladies’ recordings, and they were both happy to take a seat at the table of this feast that is Jambalaya – Xtra Spicy.

Now, sit down and open a can of brewski and enjoy a dinner with PowerSolo. You will get your belly full, but you’ll be yearning for more!

Local support comes from Ahmed & The Romans. The son of the Egyptian James Brown and three Italians pieced together from the bowels of the old empire. A real treat, a real sonic treat to bite into.

‘Bands out of post-industrial cities shouldn’t sound like this, like the sun-kissed garage-psych of California via Australia, but that’s exactly what Manchester’s Ahmed And The Romans do’ – Louder Than War

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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 5 March 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be working with Martha Tilston for the first time!

With a pure silken voice and lyrics that inspire and captivate, Martha Tilston has developed a successful musical career with a large and loyal following. She has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages and festivals, recorded and released several critically acclaimed albums, gained a nomination for BBC best newcomer, appeared as a guest vocalist for Zero 7, toured internationally and worked with the some of the world’s most inspiring performers including Damien Rice, Nick Harper, Kate Tempest, Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera) and Zero 7.

The past few years have seen Martha venture into the world of film making, gaining nominations for best arts film for The Clifftop Sessions and recently releasing her first feature film (with an accompanying soundtrack album) – The Tape – which is garnering much praise and excitement. With her long-time collaborators and musicians Matt Tweed and Matt Kelly, among others, they entwine raw vocals, sparkling melodies and thought- provoking lyrics with filmic movements and earthy baselines. To see them live is to connect with longed-for parts of ourselves.

‘She has the power to draw an audience into her world, leaving all those present with a smile, and a few issues to ponder, too’ – Time Out

‘Sharp, original songs that dissect the modern world. She captures both the harshness and enchantment of life’ – The Guardian

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 7 March 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to welcome The Umbrellas back to Manchester – this time, to Gullivers!

The Umbrellas are four renegade romantics crafting irresistible indie pop hymns. The band’s self-titled 2021 debut album became a breakout moment, winning critical praise and sparking an international tour. Follow-up LP ‘Fairweather Friend’ goes a step further – absorbing the sonic attack of their live shows, it balances this with studio finesse, allowing the San Francisco four-piece to become the band they’ve always aspired to be.

It’s a record overflowing with highlights. The candyfloss melodies of introductory track ‘Three Cheers!’ are matched to an impactful percussive punch; ‘Say What You Mean’ finds The Umbrellas working with total confidence, letting the song ride out to its chiming conclusion, four voices working in precision. ‘When You Find Out’ offers rotating notes of guitar punctuated by a vocal that pushes past angst to accept a world full of hope. A lean 10 track affair, it grasps towards beatific pop while fuelled by a sense of risk, and the precision that comes from long months on the road.

The Umbrellas coalesced around a group of musicians who would frequent legendary San Francisco record emporium Amoeba Music. Singer and guitarist Matt Ferrera links with bassist Nick Oka, while Keith Frerichs is the powerhouse drummer. A chance encounter with Morgan Stanley singing karaoke at a Fourth of July party cemented the line-up around an avowed thirst for melody. “All of us love really earnest pop songs.”

Nick points out. “I guess we got to a point in our lives where we wanted to be genuine.” Playing shows at San Francisco’s vital DIY redoubt Hit Gallery, The Umbrellas would share line-ups with local heroes such as April Magazine and Cindy. Recording their debut album across a two-day spell at Matt’s parents’ house, the results won a devoted cult following. Yet the experience of touring bonded them tightly and allowed the volume to tick up a little higher, and higher, and higher. “I think we got tired of people saying, oh you’re so much louder than I thought you’d be!” laughs Matt. “Our early recordings are sweet and earnest… and we wanted it to be louder.”

Kicking off sessions in November 2022, the band used an ad hoc space Matt created in his basement, working across a four-month period. Sessions were a little more relaxed in terms of timescale than their debut, but The Umbrellas were incredibly focussed on the project. “We gave ourselves more space for this album,” says Keith. “We wanted time to sit on the songs, and really work on them.”

Allowing their live dynamic to bleed out on tape, The Umbrellas are at once more physical and yet also more controlled on their new album. Take opening track ‘Three Cheers!’ – the peppy, sun-soaked rush masks a barbed lyric, courtesy of Nick Oka. “It’s a pseudo-political song about power struggles that occur in a job situation, or a friend group. It’s an observational song.”

‘Toe The Line’ has an unkempt, rollicking sense of energy, the playful relationship analogy of the lyric pushed to the speed of light by Keith’s ultra-fast punk drumming. ‘When You Find Out’ meanwhile epitomises their unified, egalitarian way of making music – with The Umbrellas, each voice counts. “It sounds different from any song we’ve ever written together,” says Morgan. “It shows how much we’ve grown. Trust helps us to build the songs. It’s definitely a team effort.”

It’s also a record of ambition. ‘Say What You Mean’ stretches past the four-minute mark, the viola performance informed by Estonian minimalist composer Arvo Pärt. ‘Gone’ was the first song attempted for the new album, and the last they actually finished, endless re-writes transforming it into a manifesto of control and release.

Taken as a whole ‘Fairweather Friend’ is a bold indie pop triumph, crafted with purpose and attention. Taking their time over each note, the four-piece have strengthened their songwriting, adding depth and assurance while unlocking their potential. Some bonds last a lifetime – The Umbrellas are ready to capture your heart.

Local support comes from Oh Hippo. Oh Hippo invites you to sit down, sway a little, and have a couple of beers babe you deserve it. They are a six-piece indie pop number made up of members of Precious Metals, Ether Mech, Wurms, Scram, HUP, Kites and Flesh Couch, full of soaring vocal harmonies, smooth basslines, and a subtle undercurrent of anxious dissonance. Come have a beautiful time.

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When: 7.30pm on Saturday 9 March 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to welcome Nick Harper back to Manchester – with special guest Matt Woosey!

Acclaimed guitarist-singer-songwriter Nick Harper plays from his latest album Tempus Fugitive and extensive back catalogue. This is not a normal ‘one man and guitar’ show. In a new, uniquely styled, acoustically driven album and live show, Nick explores the past, present and future in his own singular way. Expect everything from the emotional to the political, from witty to virtuosic; the singular to the universal.

‘Harper has so much musicianship in him it just leaks out all over the place’ – The Times

‘One of the finest guitarists of his generation, the Bard of Wiltshire’ – Mojo

Special guest is Matt Woosey. Matt Woosey has made a career of defying expectations. His albums break down the confines of genre. His performances span from eyeball-to-eyeball solo sets in fans’ living rooms, to thundering full-band explosions that shake the most prestigious venues in Europe. He’s an artist who slips the creative handcuffs of the industry, a trailblazer with no reverse gear, a guitar visionary whose palette bleeds into folk, rock, ambient and more, having been first turned on to the world of music by the blues. ‘You’ve got to keep progressing,’ reasons the British singer-songwriter. ‘Like John Martyn. Like Robert Plant. Like Radiohead.’

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When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 20 March 2024
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re delighted to welcome Chris Brain to The Castle Hotel!

Chris Brain emerged out of Leeds’ vibrant folk scene in 2022 with his debut, critically acclaimed and widely distributed album, Bound to Rise, reaching #22 in the UK Folk Charts.

His much-anticipated second album (out now), Steady Away, moves inward and takes on a more self-reflective quality, whilst retaining glimmers of soaring figures and pastoral imagery.

Brain’s distinctive warm vocal and finger-picked guitar style are sustained alongside expansive strings and delicate piano arrangements, taking shape through evolving and introspective impressions on tenderness, loss, pain and awe in nature.

Steady Away further embeds Chris Brain within the contemporary folk scene, whilst gesturing towards the folk tradition. His commitment to folk is only deepened by the two folk clubs and folk festival in Leeds that Chris founded and runs, attracting a wide range of audiences and musicians alike.

‘There are shades of the master Ralph McTell here and I can think of no greater compliment than that… Love it!’ – Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 Folk Show

’New sounds from Chris Brain, I’m certainly enjoying it’ – Cerys Matthews, BBC 6 Music

Local support comes from Séamus Óg. Based in Manchester, Séamus Óg is an Irish singer songwriter hailing from Carrickfergus. His quartet, formed from port towns in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, each draw from their own celtic origins and stories. Together creating a beautiful blend of instruments intertwined in rich harmonies, and stories full of heart, that will have you swept into a dream state and lingering on adventures taken, and mapping those to come.

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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 21 March 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be welcoming Mr Ben & the Bens back to Gullivers!

Cult DIY outfit and BBC 6 Music favourites Mr Ben & the Bens return in 2024 with a brand new 10-track LP Small Wide World via Bingo Records.

After years of steadily touring the back and even-further-back of beyond in the UK, as well as some of the island’s most beloved venues, Ben found himself taking a well-earned hiatus during 2023. Hibernating in his Sheffield studio in an old pewter factory, and in between working as a full-time potter come illustrator, he penned a set of contemplative songs which would later become the new album.

From the Village Green-era Kinks-style Poor, Poor Me to the motoric Listening Party, Small Wide World combines tried-and-tested methods with sonic departures for the band. Recorded in Tesla Studios and produced by David Glover, the new album inhabits a world of vintage drums machines, shimmering acoustics and wiry synthesisers.

Lyrically, kitchen sink realism winds its way around a set of songs jam packed with melancholic melody. So long Sympathy speaks of fragile ego and our means of combatting this, and Penny Drop of the loudest voice in the room disarmed by a junior colleague. Ben aims to disarm hostility in both society and the self with sensitive, personal sentiment.

With a limited edition vinyl and UK tour in the works for late March this year, Mr Ben & the Bens looks set to take on their Small Wide World once again.

Main support comes from Adam Hopper. Adam Hopper is a singer-songwriter based in Manchester. Concentrating on poignant, wry lyricism and catchy melodies, he creates his own unique brand of wide-eyed, mellow alternative pop music. Adam’s sound is informed by the brighter moments of 1970s New York’s art rock and pop movements and the carefree, DIY attitude of 1990s Lo-Fi and anti-folk scenes. Adam spent the first half of 2023 gigging solo across the country, honing his material, and emerged later in the year, fully fleshed out with his band The Wimps.

Opening the show are The Punchies. The Punchies are a garage-country trio fronted by a former Fruit Tone, bring raucous melancholy and witty libretto to their ramshackle punky tonk live set.

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When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 27 March 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be working with Daudi Matsiko for the first time!

Nottingham based, British-Ugandan singer-songwriter Daudi Matsiko carefully crafts modern albeit reverent folk. Deft, melancholic picking reminiscent of Nick Drake is tempered by contemporary percussion and instrumentation.

Matsiko’s vocals derive their strength from their seeming fragility. With every song, his confessional lyrics cut to the marrow. After releasing two independent EPs, A Brief Introduction to Failure and The Lingering Effects of Disconnection, he has toured with GoGo Penguin, Keaton Henson and Portico Quartet whilst also being a participant of the Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal 2016.

2023 has seen the release of new singles oMo, Fool Me As Many Times As You Like, Hymn, and I Am Grateful For My Friends, which have received support from Gilles Peterson on Worldwide FM and BBC 6 Music as well as Lauren Laverne, and have been featured in several Spotify editorial playlists including The Most Beautiful Songs in the World, The Other list, The Listening Post and Fresh Finds. In November 2023, Matsiko also featured and performed on episode 215 of The Adam Buxton Podcast.

After receiving a standing ovation at this years The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, Matsiko’s much anticipated debut album is expected in early 2024.

Special guest is Marco Woolf. Marco Woolf is a Manchester-based singer-songwriter and storyteller. Influenced by the likes of Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and John Martyn, the music that Marco Woolf makes can prove similarly complex to categorise, his lyrics introspective and insightful – earning him a reputation as a self-evidently skilled storyteller – though thoughtful instrumentation too is just as crucial to his compositions, clearly considered to ensure it possesses comparable weight to his wording.

His latest release, Francine, I – a narrative-led EP issued via Phlexx Records in July 2021 – follows an African woman as she migrates West for the sake of her children and perfectly typifies the trademark one-two punch of tenderness that makes Marco’s music so transcendent. A limited 12” run sold out within 24 hours and the release received positive reviews from several publications, including PAM (Pan African Music, a website dedicated to promoting music from the African continent and diaspora).

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When: 7.30pm on Friday 5 April 2024
Where: Hallé at St Michael’s, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5DG

We’re delighted to welcome Jolie Holland back to Manchester!

Jolie Holland is an American singer and performer who combines elements of folk, traditional country, jazz, and blues.

Over the span of her career, Jolie Holland has knotted together a century of American song – jazz, blues, soul, rock and roll – into some stew that is impossible to categorise with any conventional critical terminology. This is her burden and her gift, to know all of these American songs of the last ten decades in her head and her heart, and to have to wrestle with their legacy. She dives straight to the pathos of a song the way the very greatest singers, singers like Mavis Staples, or Al Green, or Skip James, or Tom Waits do. Upon first encounter her songs seem challenging, perhaps unsettling at times, but as so many poets and rockers have shown us (from Dante Alighieri to William Blake to Sylvia Plath to Patti Smith to Nick Cave to Mark E. Smith) that’s where the beauty lies. As evident on her first recordings, Holland apparently has no fear of the truth, and there is no emotional core that she cannot reach in song. In fact she thrives on the red hot centre of a musical composition, in all its strange and brutal detail.

This autumn, Jolie Holland will unveil her latest album, Haunted Mountain; intricately connected with friend and collaborator Buck Meek’s record of the same name, Haunted Mountain features five songs co-written by the pair, including the mesmerising title track. Holland explains: ‘I wrote the song a couple years ago, and it existed as two verses for many months. Buck added a third verse, and then we both began performing it with our bands. When he told me he was including our song on his next record, I was extremely pleased at the weirdness – I was going to release a version as well. Then he told me he wanted to name his record Haunted Mountain, “…only if you’re not already naming your record Haunted Mountain”. Well, that had been the name of my next record for quite a while. We thought about it for a minute and decided it was bizarre and wonderful. Buck’s Haunted Mountain is out in late August. My Haunted Mountain comes out in the autumn. I love how the image of a haunted mountain is so open ended. I love how fun it is to say. I am enormously pleased that Buck chose it as his album name too.’

The nine-track stunner delves into a treasure trove of themes, from anti-colonial thought to homelessness, all while exploring the profound significance of being in reciprocity with nature. ‘When the world is sacred, we are moved to protect it,’ Holland explains. ‘Elves stop highways in Iceland. Faeries save forests in Ireland. Even though the numinous is beyond reason, it’s a motivating, communicative idea. You can tell it to a kid, and when the kid grows up they might understand it ecologically, or they might understand it aesthetically. The numinous is a huge idea,’  she continues. ‘An old friend of mine saw the Jordan River at a place in Palestine where it was just a little creek. His description opened up this realisation to me: every river is sacred to someone. Every inch of Earth is someone’s storied, sung homelands. No one needs to understand this more than settler Americans.’

Working closely with her talented collaborators, Adam Brisbin and Justin Veloso, Jolie recorded the core of the album as a trio before adding layers of intriguing overdubs. Ever the innovator, she employed some unconventional recording techniques, like capturing the sound of knuckles rapping on the piano and incorporating the sounds of cicadas in album closer What It’s Worth. The intriguing atmosphere of Feet On The Ground was created by running a drum machine through an amp into a vast barn, every sonic experiment a testament to her willingness to push the boundaries of her art.

Haunted Mountain is a triumph of boundless creativity, profound lyricism, and thought-provoking artistry. With poetic storytelling awash in a dream-like sonic palette, Holland invites audiences on an alluring journey that transcends genres and leaves an indelible mark on the heart and mind.

‘Noir, lived in, caustic, not entirely of this time’ – Aquarium Drunkard

Tour support comes from Mark McKowski. Mark McCausland is an Irish songwriter/producer/musician, best known for his work as one half of The Lost Brothers. He also collaborates with a variety of artists and produces his own records under the name McKowski. He currently works from his home studio in Omagh, the town that he’s been trying to escape since birth.

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

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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 9 April 2024
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be working with co-headliner Christof van der Ven and Niamh Regan for the first time!

This April, two superbly talented songwriters – Niamh Regan from Ireland and Christof van der Ven from The Netherlands – team up to perform double headline shows across the UK.

London-based Christof van der Ven has built a truly impressive CV over the past few years, supporting the likes of Bon Iver, Lisa Hannigan and Nick Mulvey. In that time, he has released two LPs – Empty Handed (2018) and You Were The Place (2019) – alongside multiple EPs, the latest of which is Haul (2023).

2024 promises more new music from Christof, as he prepares to release his next record. Recently, Christof headlined a tour in various venues across Europe and the UK, and was an Artist in Residence as part of Sounds From A Safe Harbour – where he collaborated with Niamh Regan, amongst others.

Niamh Regan’s 2020 debut album Hemet introduced her as an artist with a gift for crafting folk-tinged songs with a quiet, reflective intensity. The release started to make waves and achieved over one million streams on Spotify and led to nominations for both the RTE Folk Awards and the Choice Music Prize ‘Album of the Year’.

Since its release, Niamh has embarked on headline tours around Ireland, UK, Australia and more – pairing this with many festivals and a variety of support opportunities with artist such as CMAT, Villagers, John Grant, SOAK, Patrick Watson, Sam Amidon, Cormac Begley, Sorcha Richardson, Josh Ritter, and many more, which has led to Niamh’s new-found confidence and joy performing on stage. Niamh will release her second album, Come As You Are, in May 2024 via Faction Records.

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