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: Wussy... Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert... Alabaster DePlume + Paddy Steer... The Bonnevilles... Charles Howl... GospelbeacH... Charles Watson... Curse of Lono... Slim Cessna’s Auto Club... Born Ruffians... Beach Skulls... Michael Hurley... The Wave Pictures... John Murry... Girls Names... Darren Hayman... Jean-Michel Blais... The Burning Hell... The Weather Station... Tiny Ruins... La Luz... Michael Nau... Horse Feathers... Field Division... Ólafur Arnalds... BC Camplight... Terry Riley & Gyan Riley... Dawn Landes... Eleanor Friedberger... The Lovely Eggs... HALEY... The Breath... Holy Moly & The Crackers... Ryley Walker... Saint Sister...

When: 7.30pm on Friday 20 July 2018
Where: St Michael’s, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 5DG

We’re delighted to be working with Canadian pianist and composer Jean-Michel Blais for the first time.

Dans ma main, the sophomore release by pianist and composer Jean-Michel Blais, is an expansive album of post-classical piano with strands of electronic detail. Blending his conservatory skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment, Blais creates unique environments where the piano’s intimacy can be subtly disrupted at any time.

Blais sets the stage with gentle, consonant album opener forteresse, a reversed cascade of high tones and accidental ambience. As he describes it, ‘The fortress is our pillow, our bed, our house, our city where we safely rest at night, allowing our mind to ramble, floating between consciousness and id, darkness and lucid dream.’

Largely composed in one week of open exploration, Blais comes closer to the improvisational source of his writing, painting impressionistic stories within the fluid, indefinite outlines of dreams. Dans ma main rolls like clouds of nostalgic fog blown away on a clear wind, at once recalling and signifying the end of Il, his critically acclaimed 2016 debut album.

By contrast, Il was written and recorded by Blais over two years, culled from rolls of accumulated experimentation into an enchanting, unignorable arrival. Il unearthed an unknown musical imagination, with overwhelmingly intimate compositions cloaked in the romantic din of Montreal city noise. The debut album would go on to amass 50 million streams worldwide, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Classical chart in Canada 14 times, and transforming audiences globally.

On Dans ma main, tempted by a tangent first explored on Cascades, his 2017 collaborative EP with Grammy-nominated electronic producer CFCF – born from a featured performance at 2016’s Red Bull Music Academy – Blais steps out with an artistic statement that both reaffirms and refutes his post-classical stature. The disparate universes within Dans ma main are so seamlessly entwined that they appear borderless.

Dans ma main weaves together expressive piano with austere synths in a double-helix of acoustic and electronic arpeggiation, tethering techno, industrial, ambient, and new age music to Blais’ solo piano essence.

The first single, roses, is a binary journey, softly oscillating between despair and hope. Oblique turns meet familiar resolve, as warm chords reference Radiohead’s Pyramid Song, and Eric Carmen / Celine Dion’s All By Myself, in sharp counterpoint to Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 2 – an unexpected, but intentional cross-hatching of high- and low-art. Its emotional arc – optimistic and funereal – closes soundly with the glint of cinematic strings.

Growing up in rural Quebec, Blais began writing original compositions by age 11, and by 17 was invited to the Trois-Rivières Music Conservatory. However, the constraints of formal training drew Blais off this musical course, putting aside his piano until years later, settling in Montreal, he rediscovered his love.

The result, as Blais’ body of work unfurls, is the creation of a new musical forum where freshly sounded notes bounce back instantly with the magic and wisdom of shared space. Dans ma main captures but one moment of this infinite lineage, but with it comes the reminder of all the energy we hold in our own hands, in this moment.

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 Vinyl Exchange,  WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

Attend on: Facebook



All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.

Read our monthly gig guides on Creativetourist.com.