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: Mr Ben & The Bens... Heartless Bastards... Alice Boman... Skinny Lister... Brown Brogues... Jesca Hoop... Old Sea Brigade... Rachael Dadd... The Happy Soul... James Yorkston & Nina Persson... Stars... Siv Jakobsen... Weyes Blood... Jesse Malin + Tommy Stinson... Coruja Jones... Rozi Plain... Sweet Baboo... Kerala Dust... Sophie Jamieson... Will Sheff / Okkervil River... SLUG... Beans on Toast... Honey Harper... The Dream Syndicate... Rachel Baiman... Anna B Savage... Joshua Burnside... His Lordship... Unthank : Smith... Ailbhe Reddy... Neil Cowley... Eric Bibb... The Beths... The Burning Hell...

When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 3 May 2022
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re delighted to be welcoming PEAKES to the Castle Hotel!

The sound of PEAKES has always been steeped in isolation, crafting hymnal electro-pop that floats, weightless and suspended, over the world they move through. Using the lens of nostalgia as a kind of refuge, their synth-led dreamscapes defy any sense of time and place: their sound is both current, yet transportive like a memory.

Since their formation in 2017, vocalist Molly Puckering, synth-player and producer Max Shirley and drummer Pete Redshaw, have been solidifying what it means to be PEAKES. With a smattering of EPs and singles laying out their statement of intent, each one a run-up growing in momentum, their trajectory was clear: get into the studio and bring the music to the stage. This was the plan for the Leeds-based trio in 2020 – until the world stopped. No one could have predicted that touring and recording, an artist’s lifeblood, would grind to a global halt, and PEAKES could never have predicted that in a year defined by impossibilities, they would make their debut album, Peripheral Figures.

‘I think last year, when you had everything taken away from you, it made it easier to try something new,’ says Molly. Having released their four-track EP Pre-Invented World on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic, amidst the world’s disorder, their music fell into a void: the appetite for new music had understandably dried up, and there was nothing PEAKES could do to change that. So rather than dwell on it, they took a step back and returned to the drawing board and went back to basics, learning to fall in love with music again through the purest sense of creation.

Yet despite the logistical hurdles they had to overcome during the pandemic, where ten minutes might as well have been ten thousand miles away, Peripheral Figures is their most personal, hands-on project yet – and it’s entirely their own. Molly recorded her vocals in the wardrobe of her bedroom, while Pete’s drums were sent in a file-sharing back and forth over email: a departure from the sessions they’d had with producers in fully-fledged studios. ‘This is the closest that we wanted everything to sound like,’ Max says. ‘Whereas before, it was someone else’s vision too, this time, we’ve had the final say, and it feels great.’

The suspended time allowed them to experiment without a timeframe, having the opportunity to dedicate hours to perfecting the details, rather than minutes. What started as a means of escapism developed into an album which not only serves as the definitive realisation of PEAKES’ potential, but acts as a capsule for the universal feeling of isolation channelled through boundless imagination.

PEAKES’ music is a catalogue of reference points, from essentials such as Gary Numan, Depeche Mode and New Order to the ambient techno of Haruomi Hosono and the wonky German electro-beats of Grauzone. While Max is indebted to 80s new age, Molly looks to the female-led electronic renaissance of the 00s, with Portishead, Goldfrapp and Moloko being enormously influential for her own approach as the band’s frontwoman.

The band met at university while they were studying at the Leeds Conservatoire in 2017 after cramming into an eight-bed house together, discovering that they shared a similar vision. Molly, as well as being PEAKES’ vocalist and lyricist, is also the architect behind the ‘silent stuff’, having styled all their outfits with an eye for dreamy, whimsical aesthetics that they bring into their artwork. Max, whose multi-hyphenate role extends to lyrics, production and instrumentation, brings a meticulous eye for detail that means that every track is finished to a sky-high standard, and Pete is PEAKES’ grounding force and peacemaker – not to mention their roadman (he’s the only one with a driver’s license).

With the release of Peripheral Figures, PEAKES feel one step closer to their vision than ever: their debut album was hard-won, and yet stands brightly as an example that out of trauma, there is a possibility to build something beautiful.

Local support comes from Test Card Girl. Test Card Girl is a solo project by new Manchester indie singer-songwriter Catherine Burgis. Having grown increasingly frustrated with an admin-based existence, and wishing to conquer a life-long fear of singing in public, Catherine embarked on a country-wide tour as a musical comedian in 2018 complete with novelty miniature keyboard. Winning awards (North West Comedian of the Year, Frog and Bucket 2018, Funny Women Semi-Finalist 2019, Beat the Gong Winner, The Arc, Stockton 2019) and growing in confidence as a singer, she performed her first (and last) gig as solo synth-folk artist Test Card Girl in February 2020, with all subsequent gigs immediately being cancelled due to the dawning of a global pandemic.

With live performance not possible, Catherine turned her attention to recording and released her first single ‘Holds Me Down’ in 2020. The single was picked up by BBC 6Music, Radio X, Absolute Radio and XS Manchester and she was named Steve Lamacq’s BBC 6 Music ‘One to Watch’ in January 2021. Catherine was awarded an Arts Council grant to make a further 3 singles in 2021 and is currently working on her debut EP ‘Fly’ with producer Seadna McPhail at Airtight Studios, Manchester. The EP is due for release in Spring 2022 and will feature guest performances from drummer Andy Hargreaves (I Am Kloot) and bass player Nathan Sudders (Miles Kane, Guy Garvey, Nadine Shah). Test Card Girl’s music ranges from lo-fi bedroom pop to simple indiefolk songs, influenced in equal parts by the standard-issue musical taste of a 90’s Manchester teenager; an obsession with the MIDI sounds of childhood keyboards past and finger-picking folk songs of old. In January 2022 Catherine was announced as one of 10 Manchester International Festival MIF Sounds artists? and will be performing live throughout 2022 (dates TBC).

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

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