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: Rachel Baiman... Rachel Sermanni... Aoife O’Donovan... Heartless Bastards... The Surfing Magazines... Francis Lung... Penelope Isles... John Francis Flynn... Josh Rouse + Vetiver... Smoke Fairies... Douglas Dare... Lael Neale... Left Lane Cruiser... Simone Felice... Efterklang... Dana Gavanski... Beans on Toast... The Sheepdogs... Hannah Ashcroft... Keeley Forsyth... Spencer Cullum... The Happy Soul... Roddy Woomble... Group Listening... The Weather Station... Wyndow... Sam Amidon... Elkyn & S.T. Manville... Samana... Robyn Hitchcock... Federico Albanese... The Beths... Pictish Trail... William Crighton... Sondre Lerche... La Luz... William Fitzsimmons... Kristin Hersh... Danny George Wilson... The Besnard Lakes... Tré Burt... Jake Xerxes Fussell... Andy Shauf... Ryley Walker... Charlie Parr... The Unthanks... The Wave Pictures... Hania Rani... The Lovely Eggs... The Handsome Family... Charles Watson... Ólafur Arnalds... Polly Paulusma... Tommy Alexander... The Dears...

When: 7.30pm on Friday 16 September 2022
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re excited to be working with Charles Watson again – this time, at Gullivers.

London-based songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Charles Watson has announced his second album YES, released via Moshi Moshi Records on 29 April 2022. To mark the announcement Charles shares Figure Skater, the second track to be taken from the new album following Afghan Hound in November.

‘Figure Skater started as a bit of an experiment,’ explains Charles. ‘I was trying to match the acoustic guitar sounds from Dolly Parton’s Jolene at half speed (if you haven’t heard it… it’s on YouTube). Dolly’s voice is down an octave… it’s magical. I found myself just dropping in on it every now and again. When it actually came to writing a song it turned into something totally different but that was where the thing started. When we got to the studio the idea was to try and simplify the demo and make it as sparse as possible. We anchored the whole thing around drums, bass and Wurlitzer which ended up being the starting point for a lot of the record. I was lucky enough to have Rosa Slade, Rozi Plain, Katy Beth Young, Naomi Hammerton and Susie Merry down to sing with me. The lyrics have a kind of darkness to them and I wanted it to sound like one huge strange voice. We all had frozen margaritas and vibed the hell out.’

Not all new starts offer a fresh beginning.

While it might seem branching out with a solo album after a decade in a band would provide that clean start, in reality, more time must pass before the real change, movement and progress can occur. ‘With the last record [Now That I’m a River, 2018], I didn’t really know what I was doing – I just wanted to make something that felt like me,’ reflects Charles, as he prepares to release his second solo album YES.

Out went major keys, swampy reverb, gloomy imagery and the kind of layered production which characterised Now That I’m a River. In their stead – lyrics of joy, minor keys, and a direct, stripped back approach Watson had always shied away from. ‘I think it’s about having the confidence to be myself,’ he says. ‘The confidence to simplify things, to strip back where I would have added more, to be more direct.’

In addition, Watson was buoyed by the positivity directed at certain songs from Now That I’m a River – the title track, particularly. ‘I felt like I had been hiding for so long, behind reverb, behind certain effects and tricks, and that was a hang-up from when I was in Slow Club,’ he explains. ‘And now, I’ve arrived at a place of not wanting to carry my insecurities on to a record. I want to project the purest form of what I want to say. I feel like I’ve come so far in the space of two albums and can already see I’m not the person I was when I was writing this album, just as I’m no longer the person I was when I made the first album. This record is the start of untangling all of those feelings and stepping forward.’

Alongside his solo career, Charles is known for his work as one half of the band Slow Club and as a member of the garage-rock super group The Surfing Magazines. In recent years Charles has worked as a composer, writing the music for acclaimed Netflix and Channel 4 production Feel Good, which led to the show’s creator, Canadian comedian Mae Martin, becoming a fan. Charles has also recently composed the score for Youngstown, the forthcoming indie feature film from director Pete Ohs (Everything Beautiful is Far Away) due for release in late 2021.

Book tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmTicketline.co.ukWegottickets.com and on 0871 220 0260.

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