LIVE: CUT COPY – 15/04/2014


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Let’s get this out of the way right now: I am a Cut Copy fanboy. I’ve seen them about 5 times live already in various sized venues across the country and beyond; they are a band that hold a very special place in my heart. Their music is one of […]



- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – “It’s nice to be back in our hometown”, are the first words we can hear from Manchester Orchestra after a couple of songs, in a marvellous night where the Atlanta-based quintet introduce their brand new album Cope. The indie-rock outfit grew out of songs that singer and songwriter Andy Hull […]

LIVE: ARCANE ROOTS – 09/04/2014


- THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – Arcane Roots are no strangers to the road, in fact this is about their third visit to Manchester in the past year. The Kingston-based trio have been working hard on the live circuit which is not a bad thing at all, but with the Manchester shows having been modestly attended, […]

LIVE: PEGGY SUE – 09/04/2014


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Choosing Peggy Sue as my first review for Silent Radio seemed like a safe bet having seen them a few years previously, and having followed their progress from their formation in Brighton way back in 2005. Numerous tweaks to the name, side projects, additions to the sparse line up  and […]

LIVE: DEPARTMENT M – 04/04/2014


- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – There’s nothing worse than when a really original, great band call it a day. But when certain members decide  to come back with a new band, it’s always wonderful. The band in question were Grammatics, an indie rock outfit from Leeds who just wrote melodic and dramatic pop […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Tonight at the Ruby Lounge I have a good idea of what to expect. Support comes from two bands I have already seen in 2014 and headline act Goldheart Assembly are to play their debut album Wolves and Thieves in full. There are one or two small surprises left […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – I must admit, I am slightly sceptical ahead of tonight’s show as Canadian indie pop outfit Tokyo Police Club play their first UK show in years in support of their new album and first in four years. Because Tokyo Police Club seem to be a band that had their […]

LIVE: BAND OF SKULLS – 25/03/2014


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – In advance of new album Himalayan‘s release on 31st March, Band Of Skulls are the headline act tonight at the Ritz. As I arrive, support act Coves are already on stage playing their cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’. The crowd seem quite underwhelmed by the few songs I witness […]



- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – Franz Ferdinand released their self titled first album in 2004. That’s the same year as Rammstein’s Amerika and Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot. Feeling old yet? Ten years later they’re headlining Manchester Academy, supported by the Eagulls, soaring into their new single ‘Bullet,’ a raucous sing-along performed with a higher […]



- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Described on their website as a “very exclusive intimate gig”, Ellen & The Escapades come to Manchester to road test some new songs. It feels like The Castle have tried to create a dual purpose gig venue and sauna this evening. I don’t think it works too well though, […]



- GULLIVERS, MANCHESTER – Gullivers is fast becoming one of my favourite Manchester venues. With its chandelier-esque light fixings, deep red walls and mustard coloured drapes, it feels like I’m in a David Lynch movie every time I go in. Today, it plays host to an all-dayer presented by Manchester based lo-fi label Cheesus Crust […]

LIVE: LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – 15/03/2014


- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Read anything about Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and you will undoubtedly encounter the words ‘genius’ and ‘insanity’ and with good reason; Perry is credited as the catalyst of dub music, wrote and produced hits for The Wailers, The Congos and Max Romeo (amongst others) and has maintained a prominent […]

LIVE: THE NOTWIST – 15/03/2014


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – “Ve Are Notvist” are the first words from lead singer Markus Acher, who sports glasses along with a host of other members from the German veteran band. Expectations are diverse tonight , varying from those expecting skull-crashing drums often associated with German bands, to those expecting the glacial calm […]

Live: Metronomy – 16/03/2014


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – If Metronomy’s primary lyrical concern is the closed-mindedness of the parochially trapped and entrapping, then music, their music, is the escape route. Even as the protagonists in songs like ‘The Look’ and ‘Corinne’ turn their woes over and over without resolution, the music tears off in a direction that is […]



- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – It’s Sunday night at The Ritz, and a pretty much packed house are eagerly anticipating effortlessly cool American indie rockers We Are Scientists. Then it happens. Out of the speakers blares the distinct 80′s stadium rock styling of soft rock aficionado’s REO Speedwagon, with their smash hit ‘Keep on Loving […]

LIVE: PATTERNS – 07/03/2014


 - ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH, SALFORD – Any gig in this venue, which sparkles with beauty, takes on a certain significance but none more so than one, that is the culmination of what has been in preparation for over a year, and truly sees the launch of a debut album by a band in their home […]

LIVE: HAIM – 08/03/2014


 - ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – I’ve got a good marching pace on with Days Are Gone firming planted in my ear holes. Hmm… there’s something of ironic justice happening as I stride across Trinity Way and a group of lads jeer out of their car. God knows what they’re shouting at me. The thought goes through […]



-  SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – The French, cigarette smoking, beret toting sock puppet poet that greets me as I enter the Soup Kitchen (though he wasn’t literally working on the door) is not the same one that finishes the support slot around 20 minutes later. Oh no, we are treated to a merry-go-round of comedic […]

LIVE: TRASH KIT / SEX HANDS / ILL – 26/02/2014

trash kit vid

- GULLIVERS, MANCHESTER – The best and most interesting bands demonstrate free, just will like the rest of us,  and make their decisions according to their own vision, for good or ill.  Relying on formula is clearly not on the agenda of for Ill, who are already on stage as I arrive at Gullivers.  First […]

LIVE: DISCLOSURE – 06/03/2014


- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – 2013 belonged to two brothers, known to their parents as Guy and Howard Lawrence, but known to the world as thrilling electronic duo Disclosure. Their incredible debut album Settle went to number one in the UK, they had a number two single with the Aluna George featuring ‘White Noise’, they […]

LIVE: RADKEY – 03/03/2014


- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – Radkey are three brothers from Missouri who have so far released two EPs, both in the second half of last year. They come to Night & Day Cafe as part of their first ever headline tour and are already building a solid reputation for putting on a good […]

LIVE: BRETON – 04/03/2014


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – I remember hearing London-based indie dance outfit Breton a few years ago and being blown away by how many great artists they managed to sound like in one piece of music. With Foals-esque vocals, Tom Vek’s grooves and the weirdness of Late Of The Pier, Breton made an eclectic debut […]

LIVE: I LIKE TRAINS – 28/02/2014


- ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH, SALFORD – To celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band, everyone’s favourite Leeds-based epic post rockers I Like Trains (they’ve dropped the ridiculously structured iLiKETRAiNS thankfully) are doing a jaunt around the UK playing their debut EP Progress Reform in full. Their Manchester stop (actually in Salford), is the beautiful St Philip’s […]



- KRAAK GALLERY, MANCHESTER – Hidden away almost as though it’s meant to be a secret, Kraak Gallery is a strange little venue, but it has a level of charm. The bill for this evening has 5 acts, unfortunately my arrival is delayed and I only catch the last three of these. The first of […]

LIVE: JOHN MURRY – 26/02/2014


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Phew! It’s warm in The Deaf Institute again tonight. What’s the deal with that? I was here last week for a gig and was actually quite pleased when a lad carrying a couple of beers overhead through the crowd accidentally tipped half of one down my back. Never has […]

LIVE: MIDLAKE: 20/02/2014


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – “I know I haven’t said much, Manchester’, says Midlake frontman Eric Pulido.  And you know what… he hasn’t. We’re a good few tracks into their set at a respectfully packed Ritz and yes, it would be good to hear more from the hirsute bear-like character, newly crowned Daddy Bear to […]

LIVE: JAKE BUGG – 23/02/2014


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – It seems that Jake Bugg is becoming, if not already, a household name. Everyone appears to know at least a couple of his catchy songs, and rightfully so. It is almost still surprising to know that he is about to reach his 20th birthday, and yet his voice and songwriting […]

LIVE: OF MONTREAL – 19/02/2014


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Entering the room for tonight’s gig at Gorilla I’m struck by how smoky the place is, I think someone has just had an accident with the smoke machine. Thankfully the smoke clears quickly, the room fills up and we get to the time for of Montreal to enter the stage. Five […]

LIVE: THUMPERS – 17/02/2014


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Opening acts are often overlooked, sometimes even skipped. But boy, am I glad that I caught Thumpers when they pumped up the stage for Chvrches last October. The London-based duo consists of Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr., who have been friends since secondary school. A cast of supporting musicians […]



- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – New York’s Parquet Courts have ruined my ears. If there’s one thing to take away from the gig, it’s that this band are LOUD. Tonight, upgraded to the Academy 2 after playing at Gorilla last year, they are absolutely ferocious, tearing through a set with so much energy and fervour […]


Keston Press shot2

- DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER -  Coming out onto stage to open with ‘For, Words’ tonights headliners Keston Cobblers’ Club have attracted a crowd with a good mix of ages, though since this is the Deaf Institute the lower limit is of course 18. The opening song gets the performance off to a good start and […]

LIVE: FANFARLO – 09/02/2014


- DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I’ve been listening to Fanfarlo since their debut album in 2009, so this gig has definitely been a long time coming. The indie/alternative electro-pop band are based in London and was formed by Swedish musician, Simon Balthazar. Throughout the years, Fanfarlo has racked up an impressive discography of three studio […]

LIVE: MODERAT – 07/02/2014


- ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER – Moderat made one of my favourite albums of last year, the delightful II which also contained what could be my favourite song of last year too, the beautiful ‘Gita’. So to say I’m pretty, pretty excited about this late night gig presented by the Warehouse Project guys at the recently re-opened stunning […]

LIVE: FOREST SWORDS – 08/02/2014


- DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – It is typically busy upstairs at The Deaf Institute and with good reason; Forest Swords, aka Matthew Barnes, is in town for a rare headline show. Fresh from supporting Mogwai in Europe, there is a sense of anticipation in the room long before a note is played.  Fortunately, punters don’t […]

LIVE: MODERAT – 07/02/2014


- ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER – Another great electronic night organised by the lads of The Warehouse Project hosting Moderat, one of the biggest names from the last few years in the European dance movement. WHP may not need much presentation, but they have now been programming shows like this one since 2006 when they started […]



- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – My arrival at Night and Day cafe on a rainy Thursday night coincides with that of a group of lads, all clearly in good spirits, bearing guitars & snare drums wrapped in plastic bags to keep out of the rain.  Their good mood and familiar greetings to friends […]

LIVE: LITTLE COMETS – 05/02/2014


- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – Club Academy is the underground venue in the Manchester University Student Union. It is a venue with a huge amount of seating space at the back and it is sold out this evening for Little Comets. Unfortunately for tonight’s support act Catfish & The Bottlemen, the space at the back […]

LIVE: MOGWAI – 27/01/2014


- THE BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANCHESTER – It seems to be another rainy night in Manchester, but with a small difference: Mogwai are in town, and for an instrumental music lover like me, it is a MUST to go and see them. The ‘plan’ is organised at the marvellous Bridgewater Hall, home of many classic instrumentalists […]

LIVE: ALGIERS – 31/01/2014


- FALLOW CAFE, MANCHESTER – Fallow Cafe is the venue for this evening’s gig headlined by Sheffield duo Algiers. This is my first visit to the venue, opened after the people behind the The Ruby Lounge took over and rebranded what was the original Trof site in Fallowfield. I arrived to learn technical difficulties would […]



- MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL, MANCHESTER – One of the first things that catches my attention and makes an impression is the name of a band or an artist. And James Vincent McMorrow’s name is among the loveliest ones I’ve heard. The singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland released his second album, Post Tropical just this month. He kicked […]



- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – On arrival at the Students’ Union, I’m greeted by the sight of tonight’s headliner’s Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip manning their own merch stand. I would guess that it’s partly born out of necessity, but I admire the personal touch; it is nice to see a hip-hop act who […]

LIVE: CASS MCCOMBS – 10/01/2014


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I rarely ever mention support acts in a review, but only one man has led me to break that mould – Frank Fairfield. With a barely comprehensible Southern American accent, baggy trousers and a belt buckle which would take Alex Turner’s belt buckle efforts to town, he sits on […]



- ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – When Pura Vida Conspiracy was released this summer, I didn’t agree with a lot of the blogosphere hype that surrounded it. Sure, the New York gypsy punk’s sixth album had maybe a handful of memorable hits, but it fell short of comparable in positive light to the likes of their previous […]

LIVE: PEACE – 11/12/2013


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – It’s about this time in the musical calendar that everyone starts looking to the New Year; from new bands to new records, everyone’s getting their tips in. This time last year, Brummy-based quartet Peace were one of those tipped for big things with their retro blend of indie and pop […]

LIVE: HAIM – 8/12/2013


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – It was early 2012 when I was introduced to Haim, a three-piece family affair from Los Angeles, California. “You gotta check this out. I’ve been listening to it on repeat.” So sayeth my elder brother as he emailed me a link. The opening bars of ‘Falling’ played through my speakers […]

LIVE: JAMIE LENMAN – 7/12/2013


- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – So, if you weren’t into the British rock music in the early naughties, they you probably may not be familiar with the work of Jamie Lenman. Basically, Jamie was in one of my favourite bands, Reuben, a post-hardcore trio from Surrey who were super heavy and riffy but […]

LIVE: DUTCH UNCLES – 6/12/2013


- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – At the very start of this year, I was lucky enough to catch Manchester’s bravest indie popster’s Dutch Uncles dazzle a small yet packed out crowd at The Castle in Manchester, the day they released their excellent third LP Out Of Touch In The Wild.  It’s been a good few […]

LIVE: MARK MORRISS – 30/11/2013


- TIGER LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Mark Morriss was the front man of Brit indie outfit The Bluetones (1993 – 2011 RIP) and most fondly remembered for making a duffle coat look well hot. Probably equally so, the band were responsible for some of the best loved songs that helped to shape one of the most […]

LIVE: METZ – 22/11/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – The first time I saw Metz, in the Soup Kitchen basement, was a very memorable gig indeed. Since then I’ve been counting down the days until I could go see them again.  For this gig, not only did I make a ticket purchase weeks in advance to minimise things that […]


Jonathan Wilson

- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – With his second album Fanfare newly released Jonathan Wilson is a busy guy at the moment, well into his tour that’ll take him into the New Year. I’m eager to hear him play some of his new stuff, at Gorilla. Arriving and seeing the stage set up and lots of patient and […]

LIVE: HALF MOON RUN – 22/11/2013

half moon run

 THE ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER – There’s much excitement and lure around the newly reopened Albert Hall as to the Canadian four-piece Half Moon Run. At least for me. Since a short run of shows for MIF, I’ve been keen to see a live performance here and it’s incredible. Like a gilded frame; bands perform against […]



- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – Unexpected, crazy, eclectic – are just several of the adjectives that describe Crystal Fighters’ gig at Academy 2. The five-piece come from London and are known for the mad live shows they throw. It’s almost half-carnival, half-rave. The band plays a total of 16 songs from Star of Love and […]



- PHONES 4U ARENA, MANCHESTER – Though in recent years we may see Josh Homme hidden under the radar as a family man with his two children and rock prom queen Brody Dalle by his side, most of us dreamt of the day we would see ‘Ginger Elvis’ take the stage again. True Rock n’ […]

LIVE: WHITE DENIM – 19/11/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – It’s actually impossible to categorise White Denim, which is what makes them such an uncompromisingly brilliant live band. I saw a tweet from someone who had been to their London gig which said ‘White Denim are without doubt the finest rock-soul-jazz-punk-AOR-funk-garage-prog band I’ve ever seen.’ This is about as accurate a […]



THE ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER The Albert Hall is certainly an apt venue for an evening of conversation with one of the most admired alternative music figures over the last 20 years, and more. Black Francis / Frank Black or Charles Thompson is an icon of the alternative music, yet there is still so much to […]

LIVE: STRFKR – 17/11/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – STRFKR and I go way, way back – to my college days, to be exact. ‘Julius’ was one of the many anthems blasting through my car speakers at half six in the morning and four in the evening. The electronic band hails from Portland, Oregon and started off as […]

LIVE: THE FAMILY RAIN – 18/11/2013

The Family Rain

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – These guys haven’t had it bad supporting some of the UK’s finest musicians Miles Kane and Jake Bugg earlier this year. But this trio have their own stuff to offer, three brothers from Bath, hanging out playing rock. It is as simple as that, but their sound is something […]

LIVE: QUADRON – 13/11/2013


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Quadron, although it sounds like an experienced campaigner’s Xbox Live username, is actually the name of a crystal-clean pastiche soul act who have more star supporters than you can shake a stick at, see Prince, James Murphy, Pharrell and Jay-Z. Stranger than that, the Danish duo, with two extremely […]

LIVE: RADICAL FACE – 10/11/2013

radical face

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Radical Face is the pseudonym of musical act Ben Cooper, who hails from Jacksonville, Florida. I’d been listening to him since his 2007 release Ghost, which contains a song (‘Welcome Home, Son’) that most of you have undoubtedly heard while watching a Nikon advert either in the cinema or at […]

LIVE: MARK LANEGAN – 07/11/2013


- RNCM, MANCHESTER – ‘Chameleon’, ‘Maverick’, ‘Man For Hire’ – whatever you would like to label Mark Lanegan, he is an artist in demand and a man of unique talent. Tall, snake-thin with a wide-screen face seemingly grafted from granite, he takes to the stage at the reverential ‘sold out’  Royal Northern College Of Music […]

LIVE: LOCAL NATIVES – 26/10/2013


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – I missed Local Natives before. I promised myself never again. So imagine my excitement as I stand in The Ritz, proper chuffed with my splendid view of the stage. The only downside is that I am wearing a sweater. Outside, it’s sweater weather. Cold, chilly and icy. But inside, it’s […]



- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – In almost darkness at Gorilla is a stage covered in instruments and leads. You can’t see the floor through drum kits, synths, saxophones, keyboards, guitars, a double bass and a hang (swiss steel drum). And it is a quartet we’re here to see – Portico Quartet – not a 12 piece […]

LIVE: GHOSTPOET – 19/10/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – There are three types of gigs: those you wish you hadn’t been to; those that are exactly the same as listening to the album in your front room; and those that blast away your expectations. Ghostpoet at Deaf Institute most definitely falls into the latter category. Speaking of categories, […]

LIVE: THE GROWLERS – 26/10/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER -  On a dark October evening as Manchester slides into winter, who wouldn’t want to take one last chance to reflect in a Californian sunbeam before it’s too late? There’s a storm warning on the radio, the clocks turn back tonight, and yet all that fills the Deaf Institute air […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Taking to the stage with a four-man band, who Bill branded as “the most under-rehearsed band on the planet” on his Twitter page just hours before the concert in an unashamed honest use of social media, with no view to ticket sales. This unashamed honesty was soon reflected in […]

LIVE: WASHED OUT – 22/10/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Well I wasn’t expecting this. Washed Out’s Ernest Greene bound on to stage with four other people as his backing band, and after the first song is done, a great version of ‘It All Feels Right’ from his new album Paracosm, we end up in full on euphoric, Tuesday night rave […]

LIVE: DAUGHTER – 21/10/2013


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Daughter – a trio from London are on their first headline tour. Placed arbitrarily in the “Indie rock” camp, they specialise in loud beats and echoey guitars, over which Elena Tonra shares her languid, melancholy vocals. They broke into the industry with a selection of well received EP’s in 2011, […]

LIVE: ROYAL BLOOD – 17/10/2013


- THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – I’m not sure whether its because I’ve really submersed myself in it this year, but 2013 sure has been a great year for new music, particularly bands coming out of the UK. There has been a slow rise in the amount of two piece bands too, proving that you don’t need […]

LIVE: TUNNG – 15/10/2013


- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Tunng return after an interlude of nearly three years to perform at Band on the Wall,  as they are promoting their widely reviewed new album Turbines. Known for their mix of upbeat polyphonic folk, complemented with electro keys and multi-part harmonies; they’re not quite Full-folktronica but they’re still […]

LIVE: FUN ADULTS – 18/10/2013

Fun Adults

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Standing, as if to attention, the drummer lifted a clarinet to his mouth enchantingly joining forces with the trumpet of the co-lead singer, spiralling mournful notes around the fittingly haunting back room at The Castle, with its wooden-clad tremulous chandelier and high roof, which amputates and ghoulishly echoes the […]


lanterns on the lake

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – My introduction to Lanterns On The Lake was a few weeks back, when I reviewed their latest album, Until The Colours Run. I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the tracks and made a mental note to catch them when they play Manchester. So naturally, I was pretty stoked to […]

LIVE: DEPTFORD GOTH – 17/10/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Daniel Woolhouse aka Deptford Goth, is a downbeat kinda guy. Cut from the same cloth as Active Child, How To Dress Well and Perfume Genius, he makes what I’ve come to term as ‘mopey RnB’. And lord knows, I like me a bit of mopey RnB. I saw him […]

LIVE: LIAM FROST – 4/10/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – OK, cards on the table… I am a Liam Frost fan.   A huge Liam Frost fan.  As huge as he once himself, was, when I saw him play at the opening of the 235 Casino…. Many moons, and many drained bank accounts past.  What he has lost in weight […]



- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – It’s a rarity within the contemporary music scene that one can actually escape the world of fashion bands and “rich kid” gigs and actually have the chance to see a band that are genuinely engaging and passionate. Everything Everything are the band to watch when it comes to live music. […]

LIVE: DRENGE – 15/10/2013


- THE ROADHOUSE,  MANCHESTER – Let’s not ‘fuckabout’…Drenge totally, completely, 100 percent rule tonight. The Loveless brothers (amazing name) from Castleton tear through their debut album, imaginatively titled Drenge, with all the exuberance that youth brings at The Roadhouse, a fitting venue for their down and dirty music. The room is packed to the rafters, […]

LIVE: JUNGLE – 10/10/2013


- THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – During the opening dramatic instrumental which shakes yet innocently chimes around The Roadhouse, it is clear what the audience are thinking; “Any minute now those green-tracksuit clad, roller-skating guys are going to dash enthusiastically on stage.” A thought which takes on deeper significance when ‘The Heat’ begins to jive around […]

LIVE: NO AGE – 10/10/2013

No Age band photo

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I am prepared for a No Age show. Or at least I think I am. I have heard about their ferocious live reputation, Dean Spunt and Randy Randall melting the eardrums of everyone in attendance with their incredibly loud drums /guitar combo, sending punters home covered in sweat and […]



- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – Promoting his new album Country Mile, Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit return to Manchester after a two year interlude from, where he has been delving into the delights of theatre. Support was provided by the delectable Marika Hackman and Cosmo Sheldrake. Manchester’s Club Academy; that drab, slimy host, the Uncle who […]

LIVE: CAVFEST – 21/09/13

cav fest

- CAVENDISH PRIMARY SCHOOL, MANCHESTER – Now normally when primary schools have fundraisers, the most exotic it gets is throwing soggy sponges at the headmaster in the playing fields outside.  However, this is Manchester and at Cavendish Primary in Didsbury, they do things a little differently.  The school site manager was once a guitarist in […]

LIVE: SPACEHOG – 6/10/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER -  Many things were lost in the noise of Britpop and grunge – bands that otherwise would have stood out as special were overlooked in the search for the next Oasis, the next Nirvana. Spacehog are a band who straddled the Atlantic with a toe in each of these scenes, […]

LIVE: SCHOLARS – 4/10/2013

Scholars - January 2013 - 8_640x426

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – The last time Watford based outfit Scholars hit Manchester was back in April at The Roadhouse just as they were about to drop their long awaited debut album Always Lead, Never Follow. Business has been pretty normal since then as the band have pretty much been constantly on the road, […]


Psych fest

- FRIDAY – Liverpool’s third eye opened for the 2nd annual International Festival of Psychedelia over the weekend of September 27-28, drawing in crowds from countries as far as Mexico and as close as Europe, to interconnect in all things psych-otic. Over 2,000 committed ‘PZYKonauts’ gathered in Liverpool’s most cultural quarter, The Baltic Triangle, to […]



-  SATURDAY – Saturday only begins for us around 4pm, kicking it all off once again in the Blade Factory to catch the shimmering guitar riffs of Psyence, Stoke-On-Trent’s four-piece who right now are fuelling off the kaleidoscopic vibes in the air with tracks from their new 7” release Zebra. Psyence are a lesser known act […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – “Do you know who the support act are tonight?” “Radstewart.” “ROD STEWART?!” “No, Radstewart.” I can’t pretend I’m not slightly disappointed that the support act for tonight’s gig isn’t Rod Stewart. Sadly he’s headlining arenas in Glasgow for fifty quid this week, not playing the support slot at Manchester’s […]

LIVE: BC CAMPLIGHT – 28/09/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – I love a good story me, and boy, does Brian Christinzio aka BC Camplight, come laden with a whole heap of baggage. Namely the few the suitcases he packed in 2011, when he upped sticks from Philadelphia to set up home here, in Manchester. “Someday the press will awake to […]

LIVE: WIRE – 26/09/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Wire are one of those bands that you discover through reading reviews of other bands. For me it happened in the earlier 2000′s, when ‘art-rock’ was making big waves through bands such as Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads, and every review seemed to reference these bands from days of yore called […]

LIVE: JON HOPKINS – 24/09/2013

Jon Hopkins

- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – I’m a little dubious about tonight’s gig at Gorilla, the main reason being that Jon Hopkins’ recent Mercury Prize nominated album ‘Immunity’ has been played to death since I got hold of it a few months ago and I’ve never listened to it with anyone else around. For me the whole […]



- PHONES 4U ARENA, MANCHESTER -  It’s a pretty big deal when a young British band, who have spent years playing every toilet venue in the UK and beyond finally get a break and get to play some bigger rooms. So it must feel pretty good to be in Eliza And The Bear right now. After […]

LIVE: JAMES BLAKE – 20/09/13


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – James Blake. Not to be confused with the James family of bland, Blunt or Morrison. Blake is a producer and musician of incredible skill and flair. He crafts his songs from a rich array of sounds and electronic production techniques; with nods to bass, dub step, hip hop, R&B and […]

LIVE REVIEW: FESTIVAL NO. 6 – 14/09/2013

- SATURDAY – I’m sure just like ourselves everyone here has checked the weather for the weekend and noted that today is going to be the best of the three days in Portmeirion, so we decide this is the day to make the most of the village and its surroundings. First port of call is […]

LIVE REVIEW: FESTIVAL NO. 6 – 13/09/2013

Photo by Danny Norths

- FRIDAY – Last year’s festival wristbands cleverly had ‘I am not a number’ written on them, a nod to The Prisoner, the sixties cult sci-fi show filmed at Portmeirion. This gave you a bubbling anticipation of what lay beyond. But this year’s wristbands are different, gone is the ‘I am not a number’, and […]

LIVE REVIEW: FESTIVAL NO. 6 – 15/09/2013

- SUNDAY 15/09/2013 – It’s half five in the morning and the wind has now been giving our tent a bit of kicking for the last hour or so, so I decide it’s time to go outside and make sure all the tent’s guy ropes are still intact. As it turns out most of them […]



- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Considered by many these days to be among the top tier of neo-psychedelic bands, there are some who look no higher than The Black Angels. Well worthy of this type of lofty praise, their style of late night psychedelia is good enough to impress on first listen – or to put […]



- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – One of the great things about radio is being able to switch it on and listen to a new band. Actually, even to listen to an old song from a classic band is what can make you feel great. It’s all closely linked, as you know each band […]



- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Younghusband or Young*Husband as they sometimes like to be called was initially a bedroom project of Euan Hinshelwood.  Hinshelwood had been in a number of bands but when these failed to develop, he began to write and record his own music and after a few low-key releases , lead […]

LIVE: THE ORWELLS – 13/09/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Looking around, there is no shortage of garage rock crawling out of the bins in every suburb and back alley of America, infecting itself among the fuzz-demented noise craving youth.  That being said, barely legal Chicago five-piece The Orwells fit this mould of what you might call yet another “underground […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I’ve been wanting to see Manchester based duo, Bad Grammar for quite a while now and somehow it just never happens, so I’m glad to finally make it to the building of their gig.  Upon entrance my attention is immediately diverted to the merchandise stand where I find some […]

LIVE: LOS PORCOS – 13/09/2013


- KRAAK GALLERY, MANCHESTER – “Welcome To Pork City” written on a newspaper stand ahead  of the dark back alley where Kraak Gallery is situated is about as ambiguous a notice as the band’s online surfacing, which carried with it a similar secretive obscurity. Signing to Caledonian records, the same label as upcoming Blaenovon, the band […]

LIVE: FUCK BUTTONS – 09/09/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Tonight Gorilla is darkly intense and chaotic, a quasi-bestial atmosphere collecting in anticipation of the sound explosion that Fuck Buttons promise to hurl. Touring their latest album Slow Focus after a near four-year hiatus, the Bristol duo recently headlined Glastonbury’s Park Stage and are on the brink of a world tour […]


Jetplane Landing

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Nine years. It’s been nine whole years since Jetplane Landing were last in town, nine whole years since they last toured at all, in fact. Time flies, times change, but with their ‘Don’t Try’ comeback album, Derry’s finest are proving to still be as vital as they ever were. Twelve […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – As I enter the musical cave that is The Ruby Lounge I can say that I haven’t seen it this busy in a long time. The atmosphere is great, people queuing for the bar, waiting for the band to start and the loud noise of chatter. Once Kult Country […]

LIVE: WIDOWSPEAK – 27/08/2013

Photo: Peter Rea

- NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – There’s an American feel about this venue, and so Widowspeak should feel right at home. The support band come from Wigan but sound very Country indeed. The stage is set. It’s dark in here and I’m not wearing my glasses… but I can hear drumming and can’t see […]

LIVE: BLONDES – 24/08/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – The bunker beneath one of Manchester’s finest bars, Soup Kitchen, is the perfect place for Blondes and their brand of ecstatic, build, build and then build some more repetitive house (I think it’s mostly house, with about a million genres of dance music that all merge into each other, who […]

LIVE: OWEN PALLETT – 12/08/2013


- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Owen Pallett is an extraordinarily talented man. As well as his stellar solo work under his own name and the Final Fantasy moniker, he has also worked on string arrangements for many a band including Beirut, Arcade Fire and Last Shadow Puppets. And it is his strings that […]

LIVE: TEXAS IS THE REASON – 03/08/2013 (MANCHESTER) & 04/08/2013 (LONDON)

Teaxs Is The Reason

Journey – An act of travelling from one place to another. The past weekend has been that journey. One that has spanned nearly two decades of waiting, one that has been filled with emotion and one that ended with sheer beauty and happiness. Texas Is The Reason released one album, one EP and two split […]



- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Almost 45 years ago, to the day, outraged folk fans booed throughout Bob Dylan’s performance at the Newport Folk Festival. Allegedly, the crowd were a little miffed that Bob had dared go all electric and spoil their folky fun. Tonight, about 3,000 miles east, just 70 people were privy […]

LIVE: JOHNNY FLYNN – 30/7/2013

Flynn 2

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Roughly 4 years ago, I conceived an article extolling the virtues of the burgeoning folk scene. It would focus on 4 bands, namely, in order of quality, Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Noah and the Whale, Mumford & Sons. It didn’t get written largely because I’m a bit of a […]

LIVE: BRAID – 25/7/2013


- ALTER EGO, MANCHESTER -  There’s a fizz in Alter-Ego. A rare air of anticipation bordering on the non-belief that Braid – no, whisper it -  Braid, are in town. In this very building. Tonight. The very idea that this could happen was preposterous even a few months ago, after all, they split up in […]

LIVE: NYPC – 19/07/2013


- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER -  I arrive at Night & Day on Manchester’s trendy Oldham Street wondering why one of my favourite bands and 2007 Barclaycard Mercury Prize nominees are playing a small venue normally reserved for up and coming bands. It turns out this is a warm up before the release of […]

LIVE: FLUME – 18/07/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER -  My expectations for Flume were pretty high. The Australian producer’s debut eponymous debut album is full of Gold Panda-esque chopped up vocals and snazzy beats, and makes for an engrossing, exciting listen. I walked into Gorilla, one of the best venues in Manchester, with my head full of thoughts about this […]

LIVE: YOUTH LAGOON – 16/07/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Trevor Powers, aka Youth Lagoon, is a mystery unto himself. With Tim Burton-esque hair and a slight hunchback at age 23, this is the kind of guy who wanders down the street with a glass of wine in hand, dreaming up existential lyrics (kudos from a fellow wino). It’s not just […]

LIVE: MONEY – 13/07/2013


- ALBERT SQUARE, MANCHESTER -  I first read about Money about six months ago in the music press. There seemed to be a buzz about the potential of this five piece from Manchester, renowned for holding exhibitions in unusual buildings around town, and being artists as well as musicians. So when they popped up on the […]



 - BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER -  In a DIY sixties garage surf fashion, The Bell Peppers don’t waist any time jumping off the high dive straight into a pool of the instrumental ‘Bell Pepper Hop’, serving as the perfect ice cold refreshment on a heated summer evening at Band On The Wall. Building surf […]

LIVE: TWIN FORKS – 02/7/2013


- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – If anyone went to or watched the Glastonbury Festival coverage of Mumford and Sons last week it is quiet clear that another genre ‘pop-folk’ is pretty big at the moment. The difference between a band that headlines a massive festival and tonight’s Twin Forks is that Twin Forks, […]

LIVE: SSION – 26/06/2013


– ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD – The Bummer camp crew should be proud of themselves for putting on two great events over the last week. The only problem being that they were nowhere near as well attended as they should be. First off they put on Christeene, the dirge shock tranny act whose antics have been […]



- THE KINGS ARMS, SALFORD – “Performance” is le mot juste tonight. To introduce the evening is the charming Rachael Dadd, with her softly-softly folk tunes delightfully embellished by foot bells, a clarinet, and an infant child strapped to her back who peeks at the crowd cute as you like. Rachael is followed onstage by […]

LIVE: JAGWAR MA – 20/6/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER -  Strange openings: a postponed gig date, no support band and a low-key DJ opus by Jono Ma from far back in the darkness. But these chaps are Aussies mate so they like to do things a little differently. Which is interesting when you consider their inescapable Madchester influences, with […]


Bipolar Sunshine

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – It’s Friday and it’s the longest day of the year. The sun is shining and I’m descending into the depths of the Soup Kitchen, airless and dark, filled to the rafters by an animated hubbub of hot revellers. “Why would you want to do that?” I hear you ask. Well, we’re here for Bipolar Sunshine, a solo project fronted by a Mancunian, hailing from […]

LIVE: THE FRESH & ONLYS – 12/6/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER -  Maybe it’s the three day recovery from Parklife Weekender, but inside I hardly feel top for tonight’s Fresh & Onlys gig, a band who have been on my list of who to see live for quite a while now…so I have to power through. And is it me or has […]

LIVE: PARKLIFE WEEKENDER – 08/6/13 – 09/6/13


- HEATON PARK, MANCHESTER – With over 40,000 tickets sold, Parklife’s fourth year is off to a big headed start. Headlining acts such as Plan B, Example, Disclosure, TNGHT and Johnny Marr have certainly helped ticket sales sore to new heights, bringing an official start to the British summer in style..but can the festival live […]



- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER -  “This is the first time I’ve played the Night & Day while it’s still been day,” jokes Glass Ankle frontman, Greg Jackson, in what turns out to be the highlight of the duo’s set. Greg’s clipped vocals aren’t a million miles away from Paul Heaton’s, but as each […]

LIVE: TROPHY WIFE – 10/6/2013


 - NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER -  In the last couple of the years, the music scene in Oxford has become a hub of activity and creativity. This is mainly thanks to The Blessing Force collective; a talented group of friends working together to create exciting projects, releases and club nights. Three piece Trophy Wife […]



- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – “I’ve been waiting 20 years for this,” says a guy at the bar as he pulls his 25th anniversary Mudhoney t-shirt over his head. Now don’t get me wrong its great that he is seeing them at last but where have you been???? Mudhoney are the godfathers of garage / grunge […]


jacco gardner

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – On a summers day such as this, psychedelic 60′s baroque pop is as good an idea as ordering a tall glass of iced lemonade. The Parklife festival is in full swing just north of here; Netherlanders Jacco Gardner’s stage, however, is in a basement in the centre of town. Patrons […]

LIVE: FAIR OHS – 04/6/2013


 - THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER -  It’s always a wonderful feeling when you finish work on a sunny day. I’ve rolled up virtually every item of clothing I’m wearing and I don’t intend on taking off my sunglasses until it’s real dark. My soundtrack to this glorious afternoon? The tropical pop grooves of London based […]

LIVE: ALLISTER – 30/5/2013


 - SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER -  About 10 years ago as a younger, thinner gig goer I saw Allister play in Manchester supporting their then new release Last Stop Suburbia. A decade later Allister are playing that album in full, plus more. It’s at Sound Control, a venue I’ve heard about but actually not been too […]

LIVE: IRON & WINE – 30/05/2013


 - THE OPERA HOUSE, MANCHESTER – Everything about this gig was luxurious, from the opulent setting of the grand Manchester Opera House, through the twelve musicians on stage, to the two hour, 22 song running time of the set, it was an old school occasion, the likes of which we don’t see much any more. […]

LIVE: GHOSTPOET – 28/05/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Things are really moving fast for Obaro Ejimiwe, a.k.a Ghostpoet. His bedroom produced debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ was nominated for the Mercury Prize, which thrust him into the limelight with a little help from Gilles Peterson’s label Brownswood. Two years on, he has released his 2nd album (through […]


Besnard Lakes

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER -  Formed in 2003 by Québécois husband and wife team Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, The Besnard Lakes are something rather special live. With earlier albums The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse and The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night erring towards the intellectual indie side of indie rock, over […]

LIVE: MOUNT EERIE – 23/05/2013


 - SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER -  I’ve only relatively recently gotten into Mount Eerie, the moniker adopted by Phil Elverum after he stopped the incredible Microphones (seriously, if you never have, check out The Glow Pt 2 album…all sorts of amazing), so this show at the ever brilliant Soup Kitchen was my chance to see an […]

LIVE: NOMEANSNO – 22/05/2013


- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – There aren’t many bands that have been playing to mosh pits around the world for longer than I’ve been alive, but NoMeansNo are one of that distinguished few. Having formed in 1979, and released their first record in 1980, NoMeansNo have been a dark undercurrent in the world of rock […]

LIVE: LORD HURON – 23/05/2013


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – The punters inside the city’s most opulent venue tonight are at the more mature end of the gig-going spectrum, and they’re stood in rapt silence at Nataly Dawn. Her short blonde hair is swept forward from left-to-right while she flicks at a decrepit looking guitar which could have been […]



 - SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER -  I think we’re all starting to lose count of the number of bands like Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs who have emerged in the last 2 or 3 years. You know the ones – bands in a perpetual haze of smoke, with brightly coloured imaginations and great swathes of static […]



 - ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – This year, electronic pop gods, The Postal Service celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their 2003 release Give Up, the band’s only album. Tonight’s gig at Manchester Academy is the first of only 3 UK gigs on this special tour to mark a decade’s hiatus from the much revered state-side duo. […]

LIVE: THE SPECIALS – 15/05/2013


- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER -  So picture this. Mass unemployment, disappearing high streets, strikes and burning effigies of Margaret Thatcher alight in crumbling pit villages. No, it’s not 1980. It’s 2013, and The Specials have never felt more relevant.  Given the political tension of the last few months, there’s a sense of adrenaline throughout the venue. […]


public service broadcasting

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER -  Over ten mock TVs are set up around the stage of Sound Control tonight, each hidden beneath vintage drapery, giving away any and all clues that this gig is going to be so much more than just an audio experience. Surfacing the unearthed propaganda material of the yesteryears, Public Service […]

LIVE: HOW TO DRESS WELL – 15/05/2013


 - WHITWORTH GALLERY, MANCHESTER – I’m a relative latecomer to the stylised, lo-fi R&B sounds of How To Dress Well. At first listen, I was all “I really like this boy band”. And there are hints reminiscent of Boyz II Men and R Kelly but not in a bad way.  Rather, he is Chicago-born Tim […]

LIVE: BEACH FOSSILS – 15/05/2013


 - THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER -  In the past few years there has been a rise in bands, in particular American bands, making guitar driven pop music that’s heavy on the reverb and dreamy in its delivery. Brooklyn-born outfit Beach Fossils seem to have been there from the start of this lo-fi invasion, as frontman Dustin […]

LIVE: THE COMPUTERS – 11/05/2013


 - THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER -  I find it hard to be critical of any band that manages to ad-lib ‘Surfin Bird’ into their live set (as part of Rhythm Revue) and so it is with The Computers. I think the term ‘reinvention’ would be a fair description of how they have changed or developed […]

LIVE: JOHN GRANT – 14/05/2013


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER -  **WARNING** This review will be two things: 1) quite gushing, and 2) a bit sweary. Please do read on if you are comfortable with both those things. This is because tonight the magnificent John Grant is in town, and this gig is very, very special indeed.  In fact, I’d go […]



- ISLINGTON MILL, MANCHESTER -  Islington Mill tends to be home to the more freaky, experimental end of the live music spectrum in Manchester, so this visit of London-based indie-electronic trio Vondelpark is a little against type. Their music is vibey and textured rather than intensive or otherworldly, but on this occasion the setting works […]

LIVE: LAURA MVULA – 07/05/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER -   Laura Mvula steps onto Gorilla’s stage, its backdrop a strange assemblage of archaic audio equipment, apparently salvaged from the recently deconstructed BBC building on Oxford Road.  The equipment looks almost steam-powered; incongruous perhaps, when set against the gorgeous, rounded voice that proceeds to part drift, part erupt, from the soul of […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Rushing over from Salford’s Media City following a live set for Marc Riley’s BBC 6 Music radio show, Unknown Mortal Orchestra appear unsurprisingly hurried as they check their equipment in front of tonight’s sell-out crowd. Frontman and New Zealander Ruban Nielsen apologises for any inconvenience caused… Axel Rose and […]

LIVE: THE STAVES – 03/05/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER -  Not knowing too much about The Staveley-Taylor sisters before tonight, I must admit that I was expecting some delicate folky characters with wispy hair and long floral dresses to take to the stage. But happily, that was not to be the case with this Watford trio. After a timid start, Emily […]

LIVE: LOW – 25/04/2013


- CENTRAL METHODIST HALL, MANCHESTER – Manchester’s Central Methodist Hall is a most appropriate setting for Low, for this is a call to the devoted. The hall is an intimate, low-key and tee-total venue due to its Methodist origins, so with a pure emphasis on the band there is a sense of divine captivation among […]

LIVE: KATE NASH – 20/04/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER -  Kate Nash is back, but not how we know her! This is my first visit to Gorilla and as a long time Manchester resident I become excited when new venues open, being the sister of the Deaf Institute my hopes are high. After a few false starts getting lost, I am […]

LIVE: TEMPLES / DRENGE – 23/04/2013


  - NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER -  With the sun about to set at half eight, we’re here to witness tonight’s double feature: a co-headlined tour by Temples and Drenge. Temples’ psychedelic tunes have put them in high demand since the release of their seven-inch back in November, which ultimately pushed them headfirst into the […]



 - THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – In recent years there seems to be something exciting happening with the punk pop world. Having it taken somewhat of a back seat in the mid to late noughties as the UK were under an indie invasion, it seems that punk pop is back on top with an abundance of […]



   - THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – The Leisure Society are an often overlooked, UK folk-indie outfit.  Formed in 2009 and twice Ivor Novello nominated, the band count Brian Eno and Guy Garvey as big followers (not present tonight). The line-up includes the super talented Nick Hemming and band-mates that include members from stellar indie […]

LIVE: CHARLI XCX / YADI – 19/04/2013

charli xcx

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – One of my favourite places to watch a gig in Manchester is The Deaf Institute and it is nice to be back realising it has been a year since my last visit. The venue is fairly small which makes gigs intimate, which I prefer. The walls have parrots on […]

LIVE: NIGHT BEDS – 17/04/2013

night beds

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Having watched Night Beds somewhat brief appearance the previous evening on Later…. I  was expecting a more lengthy performance tonight at Soup Kitchen. A double debut really. Night Beds first Solo UK tour, and my first time at this venue. From Jools to a damp Manchester cellar, a real baptism of fire […]

LIVE: FINDLAY – 19/04/2013


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Findlay, the newest face of rock n’ roll in the UK is quickly gaining notoriety as one of Manchester’s best-kept secrets. The 21 year-old singer toured with Jake Bugg in November and thrilled audiences with what can only be described as an electrifying stage presence. Before I endlessly compare […]


a hawk and a hacksaw

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – It’s Friday night and the Soup Kitchen crowd is itching for a musical tussle. Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost of New Mexico walk quietly onto the stage and without any introduction, shift the collective mood up an intellectual notch. Trost leads the opening piece with a gentle chorus that reverberates […]

THE WAVE PICTURES – 17/04/2013

the wave pictures

- TAKK COFFEE HOUSE, MANCHESTER – Having only found out the location for this secret gig the day before, I enter Takk, a coffee shop on the edge of Manchester‘s Northern Quarter, with a  little trepidation. The most common adjective used to describe this area is ‘trendy’. Well this is the closest physically I’ve ever […]

LIVE: STEVE MASON – 10/04/2013

steve mason

- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Well, well, well, what do we have here then? Gorilla is tuning its dial towards a club night. I think this is my first gig preamble that feels more like post gig excitement. Bouncy, upbeat tunes and a nugget of Fool’s Gold cracked out before the main man gets on stage. […]


British Sea Power

- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – “Is that a Polar Bear!!!” There is a subtle beauty that British Sea Power have always commanded and a fan base that understands this beauty and what it means. The opening ‘quiet set’ affirms this beauty with a warmth of songs like Salty Water that make you feel all fluffy inside. […]

LIVE: JAMES BLAKE – 10/04/2013

James Blake photo by Allan Struthers

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – Manchester Academy 2 is not a particularly majestic venue, in fact, it looks almost identical to a high school assembly room, so it seems odd that such a place should host an artist like James Blake, a musician who could no doubt fill a space at least three times as […]

LIVE: THE SHEEPDOGS – 05/04/2013

the sheepdogs

- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – Oh Canada! Tonight’s the night Saskatchewan’s blues-rock four piece The Sheepdogs grace us Mancunians with their bearded presence. Having missed the opportunity to catch the boys live in Vancouver over the Christmas holidays, I was more than thrilled to find out they’d be on tour throughout the UK […]

LIVE: HOOKWORMS – 05/04/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – According to the bastion of truth that is Wikipedia, a hookworm is ‘a parasitic nematode that lives in the small intestine of its host, which may be a mammal such as a dog, cat, or human’. A parasite, something that sucks the life out of whatever unfortunate host it happens […]



- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – There is an undeniable feeling of heaviness in the air tonight at The Ritz as San Francisco alternative rock trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are about to begin a sold out gig in Manchester in promotion of their seventh studio album Specter At The Feast.  At best, the new record […]


Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Oh what a sexy night. From the moment the first chord reverberates through the dark, expectant air Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds are on a trip to crazy town, and they’re taking no prisoners. Brian Tristan of The Gun Club, The Cramps and The Bad Seeds infamy […]

LIVE: WILD NOTHING – 19/03/2013

wild nothing

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Nocturne was one of my favourite albums of last year, and is certainly my favourite jangly-American-indie album of 2013. I only heard it in about October, so for such a summer-y album the climate at the time felt a bit at odds with the tunes within, but I fell hard […]

LIVE: THEME PARK – 15/03/2013

theme park

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – There seems to have a lot interest surrounding London based outfit Theme Park since there formation back in 2011. Even before the release of their debut single they were already all over the press and all the underground indie scene kids were also getting far too excited. Since then, […]

LIVE: SCHOLARS – 13/03/2013


- THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – Scholars are five chaps from London who make passionate indie rock music and deserve to be massive! Having formed about 6 years ago, the Hemel Hempstead based outfit have watched their peers get to an almost arena bothering status, and although everyone loves an underdog, with a live show as […]


Public Service Broadcasting

- THE RAILWAY, BOLTON – I really couldn’t believe it when I saw that PSB were playing at a little known venue in Bromley Cross just outside Bolton. The Railway is located on the main line between Manchester and Blackburn. The last time Bolton saw anything of this kind was 1990, when baggie Manchester band […]

LIVE: MMOTHS – 07/03/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Almost exactly a year ago I saw electronic musician Mmoths (Jack Colleran) play in the small, dark, hidden backstreet venue that is the Kraak Gallery. The progress that he’s made over the past 12 months now affords him a climb onto the next rung of Manchester’s trendy venue ladder. In […]


concrete knives

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – The blue icicle lights of the Castle Hotel cast a gaze over indie-pop rockets Concrete Knives, a French band who are currently romanced on stage in a group hug before they begin their first ever gig in Manchester. We are all pushed closely together in the crowd, our elbows […]

LIVE: SAN CISCO – 04/03/2013

san cisco

- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – I asked a friend to accompany me to San Cisco, and he thought I was asking him out to a fancy restaurant. But San Cisco is actually a BAND (you might have guessed… this is Silent Radio after all) with a name that also apparently in no way […]

Live: Sigur Ros – 04/03/2013

Sigur Ros

- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – For the majority of the noughties, Sigur Ros transcended being Iceland’s most successful export to characterising everything that was best about the country. The band did that rare, seemingly impossibly feat of not only recalling Iceland’s wild, rugged and beautiful landscapes, but of providing a direct musical portal to the […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Sunday. The day of rest. And with it being the first Sunday of the month, there’s a hazy, hungover vibe around the centre of Manchester as people realise how much of this month’s pay cheque they’ve already spent. So, there is a somewhat sigh of relief as the small […]



- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – I think it’s always exciting when a band that you’ve been following since their beginnings, released new material and go out on tour to support it. Particularly when a band challenge themselves with each record and know how to kick it live. It’s also even better when said band take […]

LIVE: CAITLIN ROSE – 01/03/2013

caitlin rose

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Caitlin Rose first began to grab our attention a few years back when she arrived on the scene with her debut album Own Side Now, which heralded her gorgeous ‘country-velvet honeyed’ vocals backed by an intelligent country-soul sound.  Now on her follow up The Stand-In completed with ramped up […]


Eliza and the Bear

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – As someone who has spent the winter months living on a diet of dubstep and dark electronic beats, this evening definitely offers me a change in tempo. We’re at an evening at The Castle Hotel (ace pub, great wine) entitled Thank Folk For That.  The evening’s genre needs no […]

LIVE: REEL BIG FISH – 27/02/2013

reel big fish

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – “A little faith goes a long way” It only seems like 5 minutes since Reel Big Fish played Manchester. They are a band that tours and tours and tours yet still entertain, changing their set list to suit, yet still providing a night of smiles, skankin’ and high quality musical […]

LIVE: CHVRCHES – 25/02/2013


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – So, It’s a bitterly cold Monday night and I’m keeping out of the cold in the lush surroundings of The Ruby Lounge, hoping to be uplifted and warmed by Glasgow based outfit Chvrches. Having only formed in 2011, Chvrches have caused quite a stir with their retro electro tones, […]


evrything everything

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – Everything Everything are one of the great success stories to emerge from Manchester since the turn of the century. The band themselves reflect on their earliest days as fledgling art-rockers in and around the city a few times during the night, and here they are riding high on the wave […]

LIVE: WOLF ALICE – 21/02/2013

wolf alice

- TROF FALLOWFIELD, MANCHESTER – It’s my first time at Trof in Fallowfield and I’m not quite sure what to expect. Here to catch North London’s garage pop-four piece Wolf Alice on tour in our fair city, I stumble up the awkwardly narrow staircase into a room full of well-dressed music enthusiasts decked in their […]

LIVE: MAZES – 19/02/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Flannel shirts, member only jackets and Levi jeans bring back distant memories of the 90s and I am expecting more of the same tonight with London’s shoe gaze specialists Mazes stopping off at Soup Kitchen before continuing along on their nation wide tour. I’m pleasantly surprised to find Pierre Hall’s […]


Cosmo Jarvis

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – As you are all aware, today is the trashy commercial day often called Valentines, so I thought there would be no better time to lose my Soup Kitchen virginity and head to the venue for the first time. Good beer on tap, fun toilets and an eclectic mix of a […]

LIVE: DARWIN DEEZ – 15/02/2013

darwin deez

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – A few years back I was reading an article about this up and coming artist called Darwin Deez; a 20 something hipster living in New York, working in a well respected vegetarian restaurant making lo-fi pop hits with jazzy guitar tones, quirky vocal hooks and jittery electro beats. Intriguing, right? […]

LIVE: VILLAGERS – 13/02/2013


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – The first time I encountered Connor O’Brien’s Villagers was almost too perfect. They were first on the Park Stage on the Sunday of Glastonbury 2011, a festival that was bathed in unusually hot June weather, a glorious weekend that had lead to an almighty cumulative 3 day hangover on the Sunday […]



- THE BUNKER, SALFORD – So, I’m currently sat in a taxi on my way to an unknown venue somewhere in Salford. I give the taxi driver an address I found online and he takes me down an almost pitch black alleyway which leads into a derelict industrial site, I’m a little worried. Two men […]

LIVE: NME AWARDS TOUR – 08/02/2013

NME Awards Tour 2013

- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – The NME Awards Tour is one of the most prestigious events in the music calendar. Renowned for launching the careers of some of the most influential bands in the past century; fromFlorence+ The Machine to Coldplay, many highly anticipate what is yet to come from the headliners Django Django and […]

LIVE: PURE LOVE – 06/02/2013

pure love

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – So one of the many things I love about The Deaf Institute and why I think it’s one of Manchester’s best live venues is their conveniently placed seated area. Situated towards the back of the room in tiered blocks, it is perfect for those wanting to sit and enjoy […]


the history of apple pie

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – It’s fair to say that it’s a pretty miserable night in Manchester tonight. But the few that are brave enough to battle through the wind, rain and snow are to be rewarded by catching two ace up and coming indie bands that we’re hoping will warm up our cockles with […]

LIVE: DINOSAUR JR – 01/02/2013

dinosaur jr

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – There’s something metaphorical about the thirty-something Gen X-er, bearded but with his long hair cut off in favour of something more employment-friendly who shows up at a concert wearing his faded Dukes Devils, baggy t-shirt just about hiding a muffin-top and a hairy belly. Despite all that, I don’t care […]


matthew whitaker

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – The Weekend is here at last (who actually does any work on a Friday anyway?) and local promotion company Hey! Manchester has agreed to help kick start my festivities by putting on a stellar night of music at the Castle Hotel. First up on stage is John Ainsworth, a […]

LIVE: METZ – 28/01/2013


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – There is a moment roughly 10 minutes into Metz’ set, not long after the call-to-arms opening salvo of ‘Knife in the Water’ has jolted the Soup Kitchen into a frenzy, and just as the first circle pit of the night materialises, that you could just take a moment’s pause and […]


drop the mustard

VICTORIA WAREHOUSE, MANCHESTER Usually, Manchester’s Warehouse Project season finishes on the 1st of January, a bleak time of year that forces the city’s population back into normal sized clubs just to get their regular bass fix. Back they go in their sad masses to low-key venues like Joshua Brooks, The Roadhouse, Kraak Gallery and Antwerp […]

LIVE: PAUL BANKS – 22/01/2013

Paul Banks_helena christensen

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – ‘This is not an Interpol gig. This is not an Interpol gig. This is not an Interpol gig’. That’s my mantra as I walk towards Sound Control for tonight’s show. I’m on my way to see Paul Banks do a solo gig in support of his latest effort, the simply […]


Serafina Steer

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – We arrive a bit late to a full Castle and, lingering by the door, we hear music but can’t figure out where it’s coming from. The crowd seems to be collectively looking towards the floor to the left, and as we shuffle around trying to find a view-hole, Steve […]

LIVE: DUTCH UNCLES – 14/01/2013

dutch uncles

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – So it’s fair to say that I’m pretty excited ahead of tonight’s events! Not only is today the day that the first albums of the 2013 have been released but I’m also at my first gig of the year at one of my favourite venues in Manchester for an […]



- Friday 11/01/2012 – Day 3 - Final coverage Right. I think I finally caught up with everything that went down in that crazy student town in the North of the Netherlands. Sure is clear that even 3 years after my last SXSW visit, the industry still knows how to work hard, play hard. As part […]


carefully planned

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – After a quiet few weeks for gig goers, the Manchester based live music promoters Carefully Planned helped wreck our New Years resolutions of a sober January by hosting the 15th CP All Dayer at Oldham Street institution, The Castle Hotel. I’m eager to see what the day has in […]



- THURSDAY 10/01/2013 – Day 2 - Let’s see what we stumble across So as a Dutch resident myself, I’ve been bombarded with dozens of great sounding Belgian bands that make it across the border and invade our radio playlists. Therefore, whenever there is a Belgian neighbour, whose music is described to be inspired by The […]



- WEDNESDAY 09/01/2013 -  DAY 1 – Less is more and more is better Kicking off with a quick visit to the European Border Breakers Awards, which culminates in French DJ quartet C2C pick up the ‘EBBA Public Choice Award’, we are off into the cold northern night to crawl our way from venue to […]



- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – My boss insists that I need to go and see a band called The Chameleons (I have to admit I have never heard of them) as part of my essential musical education.  A reformed 80’sManchesterband.  I am surprised that when we arrive at Sound Control at around 9pm a tout […]


The Chemical Brothers

- THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER – For those of you unfamiliar to the vast, maze-like cavern that is Manchester’s Warehouse Project circa 2012, it’s essentially 3 brutally undecorated rooms linked together by a series of equally bleak corridors. Throw in some monstrous sound systems, a mind blowing lighting rig and a few thousand (very) wide-eyed […]

LIVE: Scroobius Pip, Kate Tempest and Polar Bear (ft. Thick Richard) – 04/12/2012


- The Ruby Lounge – Scroobius Pip (Scroob) ventures from his long time contender Dan le sac for his first spoken word tour, accompanied by the long anticipated re-release of his 2006 album No commercial breaks, of which only a 1000 copies were produced. Descending into The Ruby lounge, I’m struck with the feeling that left with me the […]

LIVE: YEASAYER – 03/12/2012


- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – Waves of hype often place bands at their crest and leave them floundering in the shallows once they die down. Such is the case with the Brooklyn-itis that thrust those such as the Dirty Projectors, MGMT and Das Racist into the spotlight in recent years, the latter having announced their split this week. The propensity for the more […]

LIVE: BAND OF SKULLS – 05/12/2012

Band Of Skulls

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Southampton based trio Band of Skulls sure have come a long way since their formation back in 2004. They created quite an underground buzz with their 2009 debut ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’ in all its sassy rock ‘n’ roll glory, touring up and down the country quietly building an […]

LIVE: LUKE ABBOTT – 30/11/2012

Luke Abbott

- KRAAK, MANCHESTER – Occupying Manchester’s rapiest looking venue tonight is Border Community signee Luke Abbott. After maneuvering through a dirty ginnel and up a set of grimy looking stairs, a battered wooden door opens up to a warm and relatively lush room filled with hulking rhythms pounded out by Manchester locals, Ghosting Season. With […]


Admiral Fallow

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – As the rain howls down outside of The Deaf Institute, the need for some heartfelt Scottish warmth intensifies. Having seen Admiral Fallow upstage many a band earlier in the year as part of the Dot to Dot festival, my expectations are pretty dam high. The 6 piece band from […]

LIVE: WILLY MASON – 02/12/2012

Willy Mason

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – A relaxed Sunday night atmosphere awaits American singer songwriter Willy Mason who sings his heart out to a packed Ruby Lounge. The son of folk singing parents, Mason is currently touring around the UK promoting his third album ‘Carry On’ which is due to be released on the 3rd […]


The Lovely Eggs

- THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – After a one-minute walk from the tram stop, I’m out of the cold, foggy night, down a flight of stairs and into the relative warmth of The Roadhouse. A hand stamp from the friendly door staff and the purchase of an Irish stout later, and I’m all set for the […]

LIVE: SHEARWATER – 26/11/2012


- ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH, SALFORD – I love gigs in unconventional venues. Almost equally, is having to set off five minutes before this evening’s Shearwater gig starts. Tonight’s proceedings take place right on my doorstep, in the gorgeous, St Philip’s Church. Dating back to 1825, it’s a hidden gem, poking out onto Salford’s Chapel Street. […]


The North Sea Scrolls

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – We are here at the Deaf Institute to experience the performance of a peculiar conceptual album and academic lecture with Luke Haines (The Auteurs), Cathal Coughlan (Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions) and narrated by Andrew Mueller. They describe themselves as a “dauntless trio”. The North Sea Scrolls, written by […]


adam ant

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – So Adam Ant is back – still or, again- this time with his band The Good, The Mad and the Lovely Posse. In his heyday, Ant – real name Stuart Goddard- was a very subversive kind of pop star, a British “pop glam-tinged” star. He began by riding that (new) […]


The Neighbourhood

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – As The Neighbourhood take to the stage they ooze an effortless cool.  The LA five-piece rocketed in popularity after being selected as Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record in the World on Radio 1, with their infectious single ‘Sweater Weather’. As a band bathed in anonymity in their beginnings, and with […]

LIVE: TURBONEGRO – 22/11/2012


- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – Turbonegro must (never) be destroyed! The Turbojunged are out in force this evening in Manchester. The classic Denim jacket emblazoned with the leather cap and the area of fan base below. On the stairs up to Academy three there are Jungeds from Aberdeen, Stoke, Lisbon, Oslo, Lemmington, Madrid and of […]


father john misty

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Tonight, Father John Misty, supported by No, is a sold-out show at The Deaf Institute, probably my favourite gig venue, and one whose glitter ball seems to have grown each time I visit. Either it’s a trick of the mind or just maybe that mysterious sparkly sphere that ominously […]

LIVE: THE VACCINES – 21/11/2012

the vaccines

- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – The foyer of the Manchester Apollo is bristling with young teenagers, middle-aged indie throwbacks and entire families, all there to watch The Vaccines. I make my way onto the upper balcony. just as the 1st of 3 support bands are shuffling onto the stage. Their name? I don’t remember. Their […]

LIVE: THE SPINTO BAND – 21/11/2012

the spinto band

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – You might not want to read on much further when I say that I have NEVER seen the Ruby Lounge this empty. But don’t despair! I blame this anomaly on the fact that the support band Casablanca were…oh let’s not be mean: not stupendous. So put that into the […]

LIVE: FUCKED UP – 14/11/2012

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Canadian punk rock outfit Fucked Up are more than a force to be reckoned with. Since their formation at the start of the noughties, the Toronto based six piece have released an impressive back catalogue of forward thinking punk rock records, including the award winning ‘The Chemistry Of Common […]

Album Review: Sekou Kouyate and Joe Driscoll – FAYA


Sekou Kouyate and Joe Driscoll present us with their first collaborative album, Faya, a collection of songs, which span genres from around the world. Communicating through music they have produced an album, which incorporates Kouyate’s sounds of Africa and Driscoll’s eclectic mix of New York bedroom-music styles. It’s an easy-listening reggae-funky-hiphop-afrobeat-rap-rock cocktail that’s refreshing and […]

LIVE: HALLS – 12/11/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Having been a huge fan of Halls’ ever since their debut single, Solace, I came to Soup Kitchen in Manchester tonight with high hopes and a particular hankering for a spot of blissed out, ambient 2-step. Upon entering the venue however, said hopes were subsequently dashed as I noticed the […]


Hey Rosetta

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Thanks a bunch Canada, for Celine Dion and environment-boning Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Fortunately some Canadians have a sense of decency, and tour the world trying to make amends by entertaining us all. Tonight, I am at Soup Kitchen to see some of those good people. I’ve never heard of […]

LIVE: WHP X RBMA – 09/11/2012


- THE WAREHOUSE  PROJECT, MANCHESTER -  My disappointment at The Warehouse Project’s relocation is short lived after just a few minutes in the new venue. The Store Street car park served it’s purpose well for a number of years, and it was just up the road from my flat… though the place did have some […]

LIVE: SAVAGES – 07/11/2012


- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – Arriving for the first time in Gorilla since its refit from the Green Room I am surprised and impressed at the rather cavernous space they’ve opened up towards the back of the building. With its curved archways, bare brick and cool décor it’s perfect as a new gig venue. Having already […]

LIVE: JESSIE WARE – 08/11/2012

jessie ware

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Jessie Ware is very much your girl next door pop star. It was only a few years back that the South London based vocalist was just beginning her musical career as a backing singer for mid-noughties indie king Jack Penate. A few low key but seminal collaborations later and Ware […]

LIVE: DEATH GRIPS – 06/11/2012

death grips

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Death Grips are probably the closest thing we have to actual punk these days. For those not aware, the story (roughly) goes: mysterious hip hop/hardcore band release a widely praised mixtape, play some intense shows. Band signs, somewhat bizarrely, to Sony backed major label Epic, announces that two albums will […]

LIVE: HOW TO DRESS WELL – 03/11/2012

how to dress well

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – There’s a rare down moment during How To Dress Well’s exposed performance when someone nervously shouts for a drum solo. Eyes turn to the nominal ‘drummer’ of the trio on stage, and what emerges as he tinkers with his magical toolbox is nothing like a drum, rather a highly strung […]

LIVE: UN-PEELED – 27/10/2012

john peel

- THE NIGHT & DAY CAFE/GULLIVERS, MANCHESTER – Un-Peeled is part reverent nod, part push forwards for the music the great man championed #Keepingitpeel Keepitpeel . The set is an all dayer at Oldham Street venues, Night & Day Cafe and Gullivers. I arrive at Night & Day round 7.30 at the tail end of The […]



- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – It’s All Hallows’ Evening and folk/blues rock duo, the Two Gallants are in town. There’s a spooky atmosphere in the air tonight, as hoards of young ‘uns line the streets, screeching and clutching each other from the freezing cold. Girls with thick make-up prance around in short, ripped skirts and devil horns. The […]

Live: Beach House – 31/10/2012


- The Ritz, Manchester – It’s hard to say why some shows work and others do not. Rewind two years and Beach House, a previously unknown (to me anyway) Cocteau Twins-esque act hailing from Baltimore steal my heart in Manchester Cathedral. The setting, the sound and the light show gel completely, and the band, riding […]


The Walkmen

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Drinking my first beer of the night, I thought of my chumbuttlies with whom I would soon be road-tripping to the gig, singing nursery rhymes and drinking from stolen pint glasses as we went. On the road, we joyfully reminisce about the Ritz of our whipper-snapper days and had a […]


eighties matchbox b-line disaster

- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – An 80′s Matchbox B- Line Disaster gig is like cuing for a ride at a theme park. You wait ages and then you’re rewarded with a forty second or in this case, forty minute thrill. As is their want, 80MBD (sorry abbreviations necessary) like to wait for as long as […]

LIVE: TOY – 28/10/2012


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – When Joe Jean & The Jing Jang Jong – the band more memorable for their name than their records – finally split up after a year of empty hype in 2009, you might have assumed that their members would spend their time in exile from the music industry ever […]

LIVE: ROLO TOMASSI – 27/10/2012

rolo tomassi

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Rolo Tomassi are a band that have to be seen to be believed. The Sheffield based quintet have been messing with our heads since the mid-noughties, using hardcore as their base then combining it with every musical genre known to man to become one of the UK’s most eccentric […]

LIVE: LUCY ROSE – 25/10/2012

lucy rose

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – ‘CDs, T-shirts, Tea, Jam, Tote Bags’ is the list of merchandise on sale at Lucy Rose’s sold out Deaf Institute gig tonight, and it’s clear it’s going to be more of a tea and jam event than it is rock n’ roll as fans file in under the giant […]


Public Service Broadcasting

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Well. Soup Kitchen. It’s a pleasure to meet you at last. I stand a few yards from your doors at five-ish most nights waiting for the bus to take me home and frequently wonder what the venue within is like. And now I know. You’re ace. Bare, flakey-paint walls and […]


the unthanks

- GORILLA, MANCHESTER – I confess I don’t gravitate towards folk music on a day to day basis, but when I hear it live I’m reminded how life affirming and quite wonderful it can be. Afterwards, I’ll vow to pay it more attention in my own time, but never do. So I’m here to see […]

LIVE: DJANGO DJANGO – 23/10/2012

Django Django

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – The night is brisk and the age range trickling into the Ritz are almost as many balding heads in number as there are sprouting ones, at least at first. Django Django are following up the release of their long awaited, self-titled album, with a UK tour. The second night of […]

LIVE: DOG IS DEAD – 23/10/2012

Dog Is Dead

- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – Since their formation back in 2008, Nottingham based outfit Dog Is Dead have certainly put the time in with several single/EP releases and a large amount of gigs under their belts. It seems that all of their hard work is paying off though, as the quintet are now signed to […]


the gaslight anthem

- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – Diners, jukebox Romeos, diamond Sinatras, Elvis, Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Miles Davis, Hollywood nights, Manhattan, New Jersey, New Orleans, high top sneakers, sailor tattoos, blue jeans, white T-shirts, party dresses, ribbons, classic cars, movie screens, parking lots, pay phones, ferris wheels, old haunts, forgotten ghosts, broken dreams, wild young hearts, […]

LIVE: LITTLE COMETS – 16/10/2012

little comets

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – It’s fair to say that the Little Comets aren’t so little anymore. Since the release of their sprightly debut album ‘In Search Of Elusive Little Comets’, the Newcastle based outfit have been flying up festival bills and packing out bigger rooms on every tour, so it comes as no surprise […]


the nightingales

- NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – “The best thing about this band, is we turn up”, growls frontman Robert Lloyd in the opening number. He has no reason to be so self-deprecating – cutting an intimidating sight on stage: A tall, suit-wearing, static figure looming over the audience with a leer veering between nonchalant and menacing. […]

LIVE: BO NINGEN – 17/10/2012

Bo Ningen

Some gigs are difficult to write about. The band turn up, they fly through their set sounding exactly as they do on the album, and then they walk off and do it again somewhere else. Bo Ningen are not like that at all. ‘Psychedelic Japanese rock band’ is another genre that I can now happily […]


the pains of being pure at heart

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – The nights are drawing in, the students have taken control of the city, and we are back in the full swing of the live music season. Each night of the week, there is an exciting variety of bands and artists offering their services, and tonight a healthy number have […]

LIVE: TAMARYN – 14/10/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – A Tamaryn press release featuring ‘I’m Gone’ from the forthcoming new album ‘Tender New Signs’ made an instant impression on me. Some bands just press all the right buttons, 5 seconds worth of listening could be all that’s needed to make you aware that a certain band is about to feature heavily on […]



- ?????, MANCHESTER – “Secret gig” How much do these two words excite me? Am I actually going to be taken to Narnia? Am I going to see Tumnus jam with Morrissey under the Printworks, for a stripped-down version of ‘The Queen Is Dead’? I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m seeing. […]

LIVE: NADA SURF – 14/10/2012

nada surf

- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – It’s a mostly 30+ crowd in for the opening night of Nada Surf’s European tour, but old habits die hard, and half the early birds are still sat splayed across the Academy 3′s tacky floor by time Ezra Furman makes an appearance. He stands alone at 45º to the mic with just […]


fossil colective

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I’m standing at the back (or the back of the standing area, in front of the steps/seating area) but am drawn to the front when Leeds based FOSSIL COLLECTIVE begin by a strong urge to check out a rather intriguing bass instrument.  It looks, is played and also sounds […]

LIVE: ERRORS – 10/10/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – It’s Wednesday night and Errors are playing at Soup Kitchen I have my name on the guest list with a plus one, so have my own purchased ticket to sell. Thankfully, on cue, a group of ‘revellers’ come round the corner “I haven’t got a ticket” a revel (er) announces, […]

LIVE: NZCA/LINES – 04/10/2012

nzca lines1

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – A white backdrop adorns the wall and before it stands three figures resplendent in white shirts. Being projected onto the backdrop are shapes in monochrome hues, and then the band name ‘NZCA/Lines’ flashes sporadically.  Yet there is no need for an introduction. Through the entirety of support act, Jonquil’s performance […]


Ren Harvieu

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – The Ritz seems like a wholly appropriate venue for tonight’s gig by Ren Harvieu. The Grade II-listed building’s art deco features, red velvety curtains, glitter ball and sweeping horseshoe balcony are a suitable setting for a singer whose cinematic songs hark back to an era of iconic Brill Building pop […]

LIVE: WHY? – 10/10/2012

Why photo by Phoebe Steblow

- CENTRAL METHODIST HALL, MANCHESTER – “Is this the right place?” A gent with a check shirt enquires from beneath the overhanging bristles of his russet beard. We’re between a pawn shop and a gigantic wig emporium on Oldham St, just facing Afflecks, and yep, we really are in the right place. Plenty of others […]



- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Looks can be deceiving. I remember seeing a picture of Manchester based outfit Egyptian Hip Hop before hearing them and with their angular haircuts and flamboyant vintage outfits I was expecting to hear something loud, noisy and full of youthful exuberance. Instead, I heard perfect pop songs with electro tinges, […]

LIVE: SBTRKT / FOUR TET / TNGHT – 06/10/2012


- THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER – This is the second weekend of Manchester’s pop-up club nights which span September to New Year’s Day. Having outgrown the cavernous car park under Piccadilly station, The Warehouse Project has now relocated to an actual warehouse in Trafford Park. Its growing popularity since its opening in 2006 is no […]

LIVE: RADIOHEAD – 06/10/2012


- MANCHESTER ARENA, MANCHESTER – The Manchester Arena is packed out to resemble a gladiatorial stadium, which is rather appropriate as being just a little above five feet tall I am preparing to fight like a ninja to catch a glimpse of the band I have paid a small fortune to see. But despite the […]

LIVE: TWISTED WHEEL – 04/10/2012

twisted wheel

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Playing to a sold out venue, Twisted Wheel are bound to go down a stormer when being so close to their avid followers, but more importantly their hometown; Oldham. After recently changing the shape of the band, Jonny Brown’s new look trio do not fall below expectations. Suited a like […]

LIVE: DAN DEACON – 28/09/2010

dan deacon

- ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD – Here in this intimate Salford venue, with a tangled mess of wires and boxes on the table in front of him and two live drummers either side of him, stands the husky frame of Dan Deacon, a man, who from behind his jam jar glasses, seems to have a permanent […]

LIVE: NOW NOW – 30/09/2012

now now

- THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – It’s the typical Mancunian night. The rain is unremitting and miserly, the drains are kicking up a stink outside One Piccadilly, and to make matters worse, we’re off to The Roadhouse. It’s slipped down the pecking order of the city’s gig venues, and thanks to the rise of the Ruby […]



- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – I’m not really sure what support would be fitting for a Thomas Truax gig when I think about it, but for some reason I am quite surprised to see this shy, sad seeming girl with purple hair and a red top playing some sort of ultra reverb guitar with […]

LIVE: JOSHUA RADIN – 27/09/2012

joshua radin

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – “You can hear a pin drop…….” Joshua Radin is a talented man. That’s a fact. In times gone by he made his way as an artist, a teacher and a screenwriter. Then he picked up a guitar and began to write songs that capture the mind, body and soul. If […]


Venetian Snares2

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – If you see the name Venetian Snares in print somewhere, you usually won’t have to look very far before you start seeing words like ‘God’ and ‘Legend’ being thrown about. Aaron Funk’s long standing commitment to putting out records and his dedication to experimenting with his sound has garnered him […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – With a name like Frightened Rabbit, you could be mistaken that this bunch of Glaswegians are all about the self-indulgent, emo vibes; the type you have a good old cry to when your parents don’t understand you or your homework’s dead hard. Frightened Rabbit are helping to fly the flag […]


Festival No.6

Well it’s after lunch time on Friday and we’ve just arrived at Porthmadog Football Club, as this is the nearest parking for the park and ride facility for getting to the festival. It would appear that we have arrived at roughly the same time as many others and there is a healthy queue of eager […]


After a sleep of sorts it’s a new day and the weather is holding out again as it did yesterday. First things first and it’s time for breakfast then time for me to see what all this Portmeirion Village fuss is all about. From where we are camped it’s maybe a three or four minute […]


As we all know, all good things must come to an end, and not only is Sunday the last day for Festival No 6, but also the dry weather has decided to pack up a day early and head elsewhere. The rain isn’t leathering it down, but it’s enough to warrant that the waterproof coat […]

LIVE: JENS LEKMAN – 19/09/2012

Jens Lekman

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – “This album was a cycle that I had to go through.” That, explains Jens Lekman before the final song of an emotionally resonant night, is the most satisfying way to describe this confusing point in his career. Having built up a passionate following from his first two albums proper, […]

LIVE: EUROS CHILDS – 05/09/2012

euros childs_photo by Kirsten McTernan

- THE KINGS ARMS, SALFORD – Well there’s tension in the air. Something of a first is happening to me tonight, I’ve bagsied the chance to see one of my musical heroes. He maybe an unlikely candidate for many, but Euros Childs was lead singer in one of my favourite bands, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Let […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I really like the Deaf Institute.  To me it’s a nice intimate little venue and I want all its quirky decorations in my house.  Whilst having a drink downstairs I am surprised to hear that this gig has sold 200 tickets already, and that’s not even a sell out.  […]


Esben and The Witch

- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Haunting and spellbinding songs  in a basement as it draws close to midnight.   The Brighton trio’s band name acts like a book title, alluring to its contents, which stray uncompromisingly away from anything mainstream. Grimes are playing a sell-out gig at The Ritz tonight across town, and so I […]

LIVE: GRIMES – 30/08/2012


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – On arrival at the Ritz, I‘m quite puzzled by the apparent appeal of the ‘Vagina Rings’ on sale at the merch desk – replicas of Grimes’ very own lady parts [“one size fits all” but it’s a bit tight for me, natch!]. I feel a little bit uncomfortable just browsing, […]

LIVE: DARK DARK DARK – 19/08/2012

Dark Dark Dark 2012 Todd Seelie SMALL

- SACRED TRINITY CHURCH, SALFORD – Half a dozen weeks before the release of their third album ‘Who Needs Who’, Dark Dark Dark come to Salford for an intimate set in the cosy Sacred Trinity Church. Nancy Elizabeth is playing solo when I enter the space, I’ve no choice but to wait just outside the […]


British Sea Power

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Krankenhaus Mankenhaus! British Sea Power take the fun and frivolity of their monthly Brighton residency on tour as they venture north for the first Krankenhaus to be staged outside of East Sussex. The intriguing line-up includes a DJ set from Duncan of Dutch Uncles, a ventriloquism act from locally based BBC 6 Music radio hero […]

LIVE: PLANK! / HOOKWORMS – 27/07/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – It’s certainly the night for a mind-altering statement. At the very same time as one great Mancunian artist is subverting all expectations in front of a global audience, another group of them are tapping into the dark recesses of our imaginations on a far smaller scale. But whereas Danny Boyle […]

LIVE: SAVAGES – 24/07/2012


- The Deaf Institute, Manchester – The blow of missing the first two local Savages gigs this year – in a cage in a bunker in Salford and at Islington Mill in June – has been eased now that I can witness ‘everyones favourite new band’, in my favourite venue. Parma Violets are the main support, I saw them at […]


Of Monsters and Men

- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – There are few more cherished moments in a band’s career – the breakthrough song has found a handle on a niche audience, the underground buzz has begun to filter out, the debut album will drop in less than a month. The band rock into town, and play upstairs in the attic of […]



- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Dangerous, unhinged and unpredictable are all words I would have at one time used to describe The Brian Jonestown Massacre. An opinion I had formed after hearing numerous fan’s accounts of the band’s on tour antics and more so after watching the 2004 documentary ‘Dig’, which until now was my […]

LIVE: NO CEREMONY/// – 05/07/2012


- SACRED TRINITY CHURCH, SALFORD – There is without doubt a veritable buzz surrounding tonight’s performance. Over the past few months Manchester locals, NO CEREMONY /// have been steadily building up steam for this, their first ever headline show. Singles, Hurtlove and Heartbreaker have both done the rounds on major radio stations XFM, Radio 1 […]



- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – The beauty of Regina Spektor, is that you never know what to expekt. The quirky Russian-American redhead is known as much for her crazy musical experimentalism as she is for her heartfelt, melancholic piano ballads. But tonight at the Manchester Apollo, rather unexpectedly, Spektor performs a set which is far […]

LIVE: JESCA HOOP – 28/06/2012


- LEAF TEA SHOP, LIVERPOOL – As you arrive at the venue for this much anticipated show you can sense, even at the bar that something big is going to happen. There is an aura about Leaf this evening and that is clearly down to the queue building up well before doors. First to the […]

LIVE: EASTER – 22/06/2012


- KRAAK, MANCHESTER – This is my second night in succession at Kraak, the schedule here this month isn’t all that busy but quality seems guaranteed. Hey! Manchester have put together tonight’s lineup to celebrate the launch  of Easter‘s debut album ‘Innocence Man’, which was released a few weeks ago through White Box recordings. Gladly, it’s […]

LIVE: GHXST – 21/06/2012


- KRAAK, MANCHESTER – One of my favourite scene’s in cinema history: Fight Club – Tyler and Co. walk through the bar down to the hidden, dark and dingy basement where grown men choose to punch each other for fun… Tom Waits ‘Goin’ Out West’ is on the jukebox. Entering Kraak when a rock band […]

LIVE: BEST COAST – 17/06/2012

Best Coast

THE HMZ RITZ, MANCHESTER Now Wave gigs regularly promise plenty of bands and no fillers, as with tonight’s quadruple bill. The thankfully renovated Ritz is starting to get a little sticky underfoot again, due to spilt beer. At £4.35 for a pint of Guinness, I’m not wasting a drop. Psychedelic dark punk pop rock band […]

LIVE: FEAR OF MEN – 17/06/2012


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – I had the pleasure of catching Brighton based outfit Fear of Men as part of the wonderful Sounds From The Other City Festival which took place in Salford last month, and it was their simplistic indie pop melodies that won over my heart and have refused to leave my head […]



- VARIOUS VENUES, MANCHESTER – Back for its third year in Manchester, Dot to Dot has come along tremendously since it started in Nottingham in 2005. Ever since then they have continuously created compelling line-ups, bringing some of the best new and upcoming talent to an exciting inner-city environment. This year’s line-up is certainly no […]

LIVE: CURSIVE – 04/06/2012

cursive_Photo by Caniel Muller

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – While the rest of the nation is bopping away to the legends of pop strutting their stuff outside the Queen’s gaff, we’re in town’s most luxurious subterranean pit for something altogether less bombastic. “Hey, I’m Kevin Devine from New York…” the slender troubadour onstage announces, “did you guys revel […]



- ISLINGTON MILL. SALFORD – I’m not usually one for forward planning but I felt quite gutted that I couldn’t go to the SAVAGES gig at the beginning of the month due to it being sold out (how does a few months old, pretty unknown, four piece all female band sell out in a city […]

LIVE: THE MELVINS – 30/05/2012


- MOHO LIVE, MANCHESTER – After discovering the latest release of The Melvins EP ‘The Bulls and the Bees’ (a free download by the way) I was on the hunt to find the tour that follows, and to my delight they were coming to Manchester’s Moho Live, four long years since their last visit to […]

LIVE: TENNIS – 25/05/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Tonight, in the dark underbelly of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a cluster of like-minded music fan poseurs are readying their Friday nights with a low-profile offering from Denver’s most cherished lo-fi indie poppers. The crowd is modestly sized, given the relatively established nature of the night’s headliners – Tennis released their […]

LIVE: DUKE SPECIAL – 25/05/2012

duke_special_by_Richard Gilligan

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Getting into the Deaf Institute a bouncy, pub sing along atmosphere hits me. The upstairs’ room is rammed. There’s a packed turn out for tonight’s gig from a slightly older, dare I say more refined audience. The sing along atmosphere is coming from Duke Special, with band and on […]



- ST.CLEMENT’S CHURCH, MANCHESTER – It’s such a beautiful, warm evening (I don’t even need a jacket, hooray!) and I’m stood in the grounds of St Clements church surrounded by trees and greenery forgetting that I’m in a city.  I’m here on the recommendation of a friend and considering the facts: a husband and wife […]

LIVE: POND – 26/05/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – England are playing a pointless friendly in Norway and the Eurovision circus is on the hypnotic light box, making my journey to see an Australian psychedelic rock band in a sweaty basement all the more satisfying. The Soup Kitchen is, as always, pretty busy. The extended, repetitive soundcheck gives a […]

LIVE: JAPANDROIDS – 23/05/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Rewind to November 2009, and a certain SR scribe is cursing his luck after only catching the vinegar strokes of Japandroids’ début Manchester show at Moho Live, so he makes a solemn oath that night that he’ll definitely, 100%, without any shadow of doubt catch them on their headline tour […]



- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Heading to The Ritz on a damp Tuesday night makes me wonder if strappy wedges and a gust sensitive skirt are a good combo. The weather isn’t dampening the spirits of folks up for a piece of the recently touted Michael Kiwanuka appearing tonight. This one is an eagerly anticipated […]

LIVE: GAZ COOMBES – 17/05/2012


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – At twenty to ten it seems like an age since the support act went off.  The Axl Rose complex finally shows signs of lifting when people we assume to be in the band appear on stage one at a time.  Something’s happening as a couple of notes emerge on […]

LIVE: ∆ (ALT-J) – 18/05/2012

Alt-J 1

- QUAY HOUSE, MANCHESTER – As part of the annual audio/visual festival Future Everything, Now Wave have brought us to a disused office block situated next door to The Opera House, to see no fewer than six (that’s 6) bands. We’ve become accustomed to dirty industrial warehouses and basement venues in Manchester, so this is […]


Sharon Van Etten 3

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I first heard of Sharon Van Etten though a press-release, back in December. It was one of those moments where it became apparent this artist was going to be a regular feature on my MP3 player for the foreseeable future. Names dropped into that news item such as The […]



- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – When I hear word that FAWN SPOTS are coming to Manchester I cancel plans and jump at the chance to go see them.  Fawn Spots are Lee Bowden and Jonathan Meager; based in York where they are proactive in the music scene being heavily involved in truly great projects such […]


Trailer Trash Tracys

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I haven’t been upstairs at the Deaf Institute before and I’m struck by the glamour of the place.  For some reason it’s really unexpected and I like it!  It’s got big steps going up at the back for sitting on that creates a theatre kind of feel and a […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – The buzz of a full-bodied Deaf Institute is never anything less than thrilling, but tonight is special. We are blessed with a venerable safe pair of hands to open proceedings – Cate Le Bon is such an established and cherished figure in the national music scene that she actually […]



- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – Disco. It’s a dirty word. People are scared to be associated with it, and I often find myself breaking down the locked doors of people’s closets, and saying, “you don’t have to hide!” Now is the best time for disco, it is a burst of decadence without the calories or […]


james blackshaw

- SACRED TRINITY, SALFORD – There are two possible reactions to the suggestion of spending a Friday night in a small Salford church watching a prodigious, virtuoso acoustic guitarist perform a number of solo, instrumental pieces. Sure, it may sound a little on the arduous side to some. Indeed, more often than not, it would […]


NHAM Quartet

- ST. MARGARET’S CHURCH, MANCHESTER – I read an article on The Guardian website this week about a venue in London called Cafe Oto which puts on experimental music, free-jazz etc. There was the option to comment after the article and there were lots of disparaging remarks about this kind of place being for ‘hipsters’ […]


We Are Augustines

- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – In less than two months since a shimmering set in the Night & Day Cafe, We Are Augustines have returned home from their first European tour, galvanised neutrals at South By Southwest and Coachella, delivered headline sets from Hollywood to native New York, and released their debut album, Rise Ye […]

LIVE: NEDRY – 28/04/2012

Nedry 1

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Catching a band for the last gig of a tour is a good idea. They’ve had a chance to perfect their setlist, they know exactly what they’re doing, they’re (I would presume) keen to go out on a high note, and there’s a chance of scooping up some of […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Tonight I find myself skipping down the steps in to what feels like a musical cave that is The Ruby Lounge. Personally I have never seen it heaving in here, (tonight is no exception) which I can’t understand as it has a decent sound system, and good gig listings. […]

LIVE: OF MONTREAL – 22/04/2012

of montreal

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Ahhhh. You know that feeling you get when you’ve been at work early, taken an afternoon nap, and wake up to find you resent the effort of going next door to fix yourself a coffee, let alone getting dressed, stepping out your front door and trudging to a gig? The […]



- THE NIGHT & DAY CAFÉ, MANCHESTER – I’ve set out early to make sure I catch Tall Ships who are tonight’s support act. Having supported Maps & Atlases on their previous UK tour last October, the boys have been invited back, which I couldn’t be happier about. Tall Ships are one of the most […]

LIVE: ODONIS ODONIS – 18/04/2012

Odonis Odonis

- KRAAK GALLERY, MANCHESTER – I discovered Odonis Odonis by accident last autumn when a stray link unexpectedly took me to a download of their debut album (all above board). I thought I’d give it a go… 10 seconds into the title track ‘Hollandaze’, I was hooked. Shimmering, reverb laden guitar chords pulsed and cascaded like […]

LIVE: JOSH KUMRA – 16/04/2012


- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – I have a confession to make, one that I probably shouldn’t tell, but there is a reason behind it. I am late, only about 5 minutes but that’s enough to miss the best bit of the gig. Me and my friend are running up the stairs and I hear the […]

LIVE: ANDREW WK – 13/04/2012


- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – I’m not a fan of parties. On the rare occasions that I fail to worm my way out of an invite, you can pretty much guarantee than I’ll be one of the beer guardians in the kitchen or back yard, grumbling about the forced gaiety of it all. I even […]

LIVE: TOY – 10/04/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Having never entered the basement of the Soup Kitchen before I am pleasantly surprised! I get in very early and there is about ten people inside, which makes the room look huge. I decide to leave and come back when the bands are due to start. As I walk down […]

LIVE: ORBITAL – 05/04/2012


- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – The return of Orbital has been long overdue. They told people in 2006 that they were over and went their separate ways, but in Take That- esque fashion they rose like a phoenix out of the ashes to provide the world with their new album Wonky. It has been album […]

LIVE: SLOW CLUB – 08/04/2012

slow club

 - THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – So it is Easter Sunday and I am waiting. Jesus did a lot of waiting, but on Easter Sunday he spectacularly came back to Earth and most people turned around and said, “Oh… well that was worth the wait.” So you see it is good to make people wait, […]

LIVE: 2:54 – 04/04/2012

2:54 2

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – 3rd time lucky. 2:54 have a habit of playing in Manchester when I can’t be there to see them. Their 4 track Scarlet EP has racked up an obscene amount of plays in a relatively short space of time, my only hope is that this lengthy buildup isn’t met […]

LIVE: REN HARVIEU – 01/04/2012

ren_harvieu2_© Emma Davies.jpg

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Tonight’s Ren Harvieu gig at the Ruby Lounge is a sell out. Her history reads like one of those true life stories you get in the middle of Closer Magazine. “A shy girl is born and raised in a gritty Northern town.  The daughter of a singer father, she discovers […]



- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Band on the Wall are playing host to a pretty special night. Tonight is close to the 10 year mark of the original Aftershock event that began in Manchester during the Commonwealth games. Aftershock represents a collaborative smorgasbord of musical talent, with the sense someone shook up the genres, threw […]


BBC Introducing Logo

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – So the premise: get unsigned acts, the undiscovered and under the radar talent to bigger audiences. The Beeb do the filtering and venues get the benefit of seeing something different to what PR types and labels might be promoting. Great! We’re in the Ruby Lounge and expecting to do […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – The Deaf Institute is the home to all things band at the moment. I find myself checking their online diary to see who is playing, and then immediately checking them out and sorting out heading to the gig. This last week I discovered Strange Boys, listened to a few […]

LIVE: BRETON – 29/03/2012

Breton 5

- ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD – By going through these doors, we agree to let ourselves be filmed for a commercial. I was under the impression that this gig would be a little shy on punters tonight, so the scenes inside the mill come as a complete surprise. Breton‘s debut album ‘Other People’s Problems’ was released through […]


BBC Philharmonic

Images (part of the series ‘Reflections of Debussy in the Mirror of the East’) – THE BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANCHESTER – This show is based on the theme of musical representations of the visual, as part of a wider series focussed on the works of the influential turn-of-the-(20th)-century French composer Claude Debussy, his influence by the […]


Driver Drive Faster 1

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – They arrived like a breath of fresh air, last summer. The hidden trendy rough gem of a venue Kraak Gallery played host to the launch of their debut album ‘Open House’, while a number of high profile muso’s were liberally throwing their name around the airwaves, providing enough favourable […]

LIVE: KINDNESS – 22/03/2012


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – I am underneath a kitchen. Upstairs they’re serving soup. On tonight’s menu: Kindness, the creation of London lad, Adam Bainbridge. His name has been floating about the online music atmosphere since 2009, but now in 2012 he has released his debut album, ‘World, You Need A Change Of Mind,’ produced […]



- THE CORNERHOUSE, MANCHESTER – I would like to think I approach most new experiences with an open mind, but I have noticed a little bit of pre-judgement creeping in where certain events loom on the horizon. Unfortunately for ‘folk nights’ this genre has fallen into my room 101 of predictable nights out. All too […]



- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – It’s Sunday at The Academy 2 and it’s sure to be sordid. I’ve always imagined The Felice Brothers as this band of rough-as-old-boots American country boys with their tales of violence and alcoholism and impregnating peoples daughters, and despite the fact that they’re actually all fairly young and handsome fellas, […]

LIVE: MISSING ANDY – 15/03/2012


- MOHO LIVE, MANCHESTER – You know how you have your preferred music venues and your jaunts, which you would like to avoid at all costs? Well, tonight is one of those nights where it takes a special band to convince me to go to Moho. I could go on a rant right now, but […]



- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – I normally like to go into gigs ‘blind’, so to speak, to have no preconceptions, but as I planned to review this one I thought I ought to do some research.  My research brought up some mellow, yet lively sounding songs sung in English that suggested they were written with […]



- THE CONTINENTAL, PRESTON – Boldly venturing north tonight to experience some premier psych-drone-folk direct from France. After last year’s appearance at the Tusk Festival in Newcastle (supposedly only the duo’s second gig in the UK), Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte of Natural Snow Buildings must have caught the live performance bug as they are in […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Well this guy has been on my radar for quite some time now. I first stumbled onto Mayer Hawthorne when he was due to play at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium last summer. Unfortunately, there was the quite apocalyptical storm that destroyed the festival site on the first day […]

LIVE: NEW BUILD – 09/03/2012


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – As I saunter into The Deaf Institute tonight I hear a unique electro sound, and as I make my way to the bar (priorities) I then also hear a familiar voice. When I look up I see Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip on stage filling this evening’s support slot for New […]

LIVE: GANG COLOURS – 07/03/2012

Gang Colours

- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Gang Colours (Will Ozanne) falls under my personal classification of dark, underground, glitchy beat, mood music. The shoegazing electronic Southampton lad was brought to the attention of Gilles Peterson and his Brownswood label by Ghostpoet, resulting in the February release of his debut album ‘The Keychain Collection’. Heavyweight endorsements […]

LIVE: HANNAH ATKINS – 15/02/2012


- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Arriving into the bar something of an official event appears to be underway. Charity stands, flyers and poster art for sale isn’t the usual greeting at Band on the Wall’s entrance. The crowd also breakaway from the regulars. Noticeably older with more than a strong hint towards the […]

Live: Real Estate – 17/02/2012


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Tonight’s sell-out Real Estate gig at the Deaf Institute sees New Jersey, indie-pop darlings, make a welcome return to Manchester following their last No Wave gig at Islington Mill back in October. This evening, is one of just five UK appearances of their nine-date European tour. It’s Friday night, the weekend’s […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Sunday has a magical quality. A dignified presence, the end of the week, and a time to reflect and contemplate the mysteries of life.  What better environment to do all this, than The Deaf Institute? You can usually find me on the dance-floor, twirling underneath the sparkling mirrorball… But […]


nme awards

- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – Sorry, but this is going to be a biased review. I miss Azealia Banks due to the ridiculous idea of scheduling the first act 10 minutes after doors opening. I’m obviously disappointed to find out from the light technician that I have missed the filthy talking Azealia, who has been […]

THE XFM New Music Award – 08/02/2012


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – There’s been a flurry of excitement around Ren Harvieu on the radio. Touted as the Salford lass with the big voice, she’s getting plenty of attention with her new single ‘Through the Night.’ We get into The Ritz at 8, and as I’m trying to get 2 pints poured our […]

Live: BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – 08/02/2012


- THE LOWRY, SALFORD –  This year is a year of firsts for the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards. For the first time, the ceremony is being held outside of London in the Lowry at Salford Quays – much to the delight of the northern musicians. 2012 also saw members of the public being allowed […]

LIVE: MURKAGE – 04/02/2012


- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Yes it’s cold, yes it’s snowing and yes, you could be easily convinced to stay in. Or so you’d say on other nights. Personally, I’ve been looking forward to witnessing the guys that are on tonight for quite some time now. Having grown out of their, now notorious, Monday Murkage […]

LIVE: LAURA VEIRS – 01/02/2012

Laura Veirs

- THE LOWRY, SALFORD – It’s the first of February at The Lowry in Salford, and tonight gracing the stage is another of Portland’s exports, folk songstress Laura Veirs. Veirs has been a regular on the American circuit for some time now; having released seven albums, but this is the first time her presence in […]

LIVE: REEL BIG FISH – 02/02/2012

Reel Big Fish by Kevin Knight

- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – You know they have a good thing going…………and I don’t want to see that end! I suppose ska punk died a commercial death a good few years ago. Fads come and go and music media can dictate what is hot and what is not. Reel Big Fish however are still […]

LIVE: CASIOKIDS – 20/01/2012


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – When a press release came through a few months ago saying that Casiokids were to play a handful of live dates in the UK, I was to say the least, rather giddy. But giddyness was short lived, as I glanced down the list of towns and cities to be visited […]



- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Ok so the idea is simple: choose an artist who samples other people’s records to make their own music. Let’s use Mr Scruff as an example. Perfect. Then find a band who performs his back catalogue but subtract the samplers and play every note live. So it’s songs […]

Live: DJ Derek – 23/12/2011


- ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD - Friday 23rd December: the night before the night before Christmas. The party season is well and truly under way, but it’s not really Christmas yet. There’s no sitting around, feeling bored and consuming more food in one day than you have done all week. This is the fun bit of Christmas, […]

LIVE: FOALS – 31/12/2011


- THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER – I enter the Warehouse Project’s Store Street venue a little late, and on my own and so have to somehow find my friends- this is no easy task in the refurbished car park, which looks as much like a done up archaeological dig as it does a music venue. […]

LIVE: NEW MODEL ARMY – 15/12/2011

New Model Army

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – I like gigs at the Ritz in Manchester. They’re more like events, the ones you should have been at. They are the ones your mates talk about in the pub while you look glumly into your beer. It must be something to do with the history of the place. It’s […]

LIVE : SLOW CLUB – 15/12/2011

slow club

- ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH, SALFORD – Lovely as this ecclesiastical venue is, my view is partially blocked by a sizeable eagle carving near the chancel, so what follows is filtered via a large, wooden bird of prey. I’m assuming it’s an eagle anyway – if you happen to know, don’t write in. Unperturbed by raptor-based […]

LIVE: CHERRY GHOST – 11/12/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Cherry Ghost is the moniker of singer songwriter Simon Aldred. After doing the rounds in bands for a number of years he decided to go it solo in 2005. Listening to his latest album “Beneath this Burning Shoreline” comparisons to Stephen Fretwell and Ben Howard can be made. Cherry […]

LIVE: THE DRUMS – 10/12/2011

The Drums

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – So here I am at the Manchester Ritz and while I’m not a die hard fan, I’ll confess right now to have a bit of a liking for The Drums and so as it turns out, there were a number of surprises in store. It hit me immediately how much […]



- THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER – The car park under Piccadilly Station has showcased some incredible line-ups over the last few years. Friday night sees The Warehouse Project bring in some of the most innovative and forward thinking electronic artists in the world, headlined by Modeselecktor, with Squarepusher, Four tet, Skream, amongst others. Upon entering […]


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – All the way from a basement in Wisconsin, the duo of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis finish their brief European tour in Manchester tonight, bringing their very young son Mikko along for the ride. Peaking Lights‘ homemade equipment, jumbled together from random bits of old electrical goods such as alarm […]


Omar Souleyman

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – The UK has been treated this year to tours from the full roster of artists on the Sublime Frequencies label. Locally, Group Doueh visited Islington Mill back in May, last week Group Inerane stopped off in Leeds as part of their first European tour, and tonight Omar Souleyman is […]

LIVE: HEY SHOLAY – 02/12/2011

Hey Sholay by Daniel Rose Design

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Yorkshire based 5 piece Hey Sholay have had a pretty good year, gaining air play on Radio 1 and winning NME’s competition to play Exit Festival in Serbia. I head along to the Ruby Lounge hopeful of a night of fun energetic performances headlined by the band I’ve heard […]



- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – After years of an ill-fated romance with the media, it’s a day that many fans thought they’d never see. But without any fuss or ado, the Ordinary Boys are in Manchester tonight, with a nostalgic show tailored to the fans that supported them all the way. Once inside Club Academy […]

LIVE: I BREAK HORSES – 03/12/2011

I Break Horses

- THE SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER – Rumour has it, this is I Break Horses second (or maybe third) gig. Ever. It’s certainly their first gig in the UK. The debut album ‘Hearts’ gained many a rave review after it’s summer release. The Swedish pairing of Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck have recruited 3 others to take their […]

LIVE: PANDA BEAR – 02/12/2011

Panda Bear

- METHODIST CENTRAL HALL, MANCHESTER – Right, where do I begin? Just another Friday-night planned to be spent indoors out of solidarity with the ‘big society’ (…) when I get a call whether I fancy joining a friend to see Panda Bear at Central Methodist Hall. “Panda Bear, Panda Bear… name rings a bell but.. […]

LIVE: FIONN REGAN – 01/12/2011


- ST.PHILIPS CHURCH, SALFORD – Having been a fan since his first album, the Mercury Prize nominated ‘The End of History’, it’s not until his third album tour that I finally get a chance to catch Fionn Regan in person. This is the second stop for the Irishman, who is playing six dates in just […]



- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – First thing’s thirst.  How much? Four-twenty for a bleedin’ pint?  The Ritz has come a long way (it thinks) from its sticky floors and pound-a-pint student days.  Now that HMV has got its grubby paws on the place. Perhaps the stricken, shrinking giant is making its last desperate grasp for […]

LIVE: WIDOWSPEAK – 27/11/2011


- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Widowspeak‘s self titled debut album  is definitely in my top 5 for 2011. Highly regarded local indie store Piccadilly Records agree somewhat, naming it in their own top 10. The Brooklyn based trio have only been together since summer last year, can the live performance meet my high expectations? The […]


The Jessie Rose Trip-Photo by

- THE NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – The legendary Night and Day Cafe is 20 years old this year and tonight Stockport trio, The Jessie Rose Trip have been invited to headline their Birthday shindig. The Jessie Rose Trip have been flying the ‘next big thing’ banner for a few years now and come […]

LIVE: FRANK TURNER – 26/11/2010 (plus free download)


- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – It’s a windy, drizzly and cold November night, and quite frankly, the prospect of a going to a gig over a hot drink and bed seems unthinkable. But tonight I’ve been persuaded. It’s the turn of Frank Turner to grace the Apollo in Manchester, and after a long period of […]


Mariachi El Bronx press shot 2011August 25, 2011© Ashley Maile

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – I’ve fallen in love with a Mariachi band. Over the last few weeks ‘Mariachi El Bronx’ have been beeping all over the Vic radar. Guy Garvey’s played them numerous times on his 6 Music show. And in exclusive Silent Radio interviews Norwegian folkies The Captain and Me told me how […]

LIVE: DWARVES – 22/11/2011


- MOHO LIVE, MANCHESTER – The local support slot is occupied tonight by Manchester nutters Bad Taste Barbie.  If you can imagine Fuzzbox fronted by Divine then you might get the idea. They have a song that goes ‘SiegHeil, Jeremy Kyle’.  No, Really! The main support is from Girl Spit (I think) whose front man […]


The Besnard Lakes

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Another sellout weekend crowd at The Deaf Institute, Now Wave bring us a couple of Canadian bands tonight, both the established, and the up and coming. The crowd are a mixture of young and older post-rock fans, it’s possible to tell which band each audience member has come here […]

LIVE: DUM DUM GIRLS – 13/11/2011

Dum Dum Girls Band Photo

- FAC251, MANCHESTER – I said last year that it probably wouldn’t be long before the Dum Dum Girls were playing bigger venues.  It hasn’t necessarily turned out that way.  Well, not here anyway.  But tonight’s gig at Fac 251 is certainly a lot more rammed. It’s packed out and getting pretty bleeding warm for […]

LIVE: ST. VINCENT – 12/11/2011

St. Vincent

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Fresh from touring America, appearing on Letterman and releasing their third album ‘Strange Mercy’ through 4AD, St. Vincent are set to face a sell out crowd in Manchester’s cosy Deaf Institute. It’s difficult to move in here, there’s a buzz of real excitement and it looks as though this […]



- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – Texas band, Ringo Deathstarr are finally beginning to gain notoriety. Riding high on the waves of this years shoegaze revival along with bands such as the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Yuck, Deathstarr’s steadfast commitment to punk makes for a more boisterous sound, imbuing them with a sense […]


north sea radio orchestra

- ST PHILIP’S CHURCH, SALFORD – What a splendid venue. I must confess, gentle reader, that I chose to cover this gig almost as much for the location as the band. St Philip’s in Salford is a prime example of the modern use of churches as music venues, thus getting bums on pews and coffers […]

LIVE: ANE BRUN – 08/11/2011

ane brun

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Norwegian folkstress Ane Brun is back in the UK to show-off her new album It all Starts With One. This is her forth studio-release, which has reached the top spot across Scandinavia, hooking up with the likes of Joe Gonzalez, Ron Sexsmith and Peter Gabriel on the way. Yeah, […]

LIVE: CASHIER NO.9 – 09/11/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Manchester is Cashier No.9‘s second port of call on their 13 stop tour of the UK. The Belfast band have received rave reviews for their debut album ‘To The Death of Fun’, from myself included (link), and it’s always a pleasure to see a band who’s on the verge […]


acid mothers temple

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Where to start? Hmm, a bit of background to set the scene on tonights ‘happening’ would probably help. Wikipedia helpfully informs me that Acid Mothers Temple is “a psychedelic rock band, the core of which formed in 1995” So far, so good, but there appear to be a myriad […]


Kristin Hersh

- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – Of the 4AD bands that lit up the late 8o’s and 90′s most people would cite the Pixies as the main draw. Myself, I loved the Throwing Muses. The dual vocals of Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly swirled around angular guitars with a melodic sensibility about their work. Donelly left the […]

LIVE: TWIN SISTER – 07/11/2011

Photo: Peter Rea

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – It seems I’ll be spending half of November at The Deaf Institute, their gig list for this month is right up my street and hopefully, by December, the bar staff will all come to know what I drink. Wot God Forgot have brought together the 3 performers tonight, all […]

LIVE: MAGAZINE – 04/11/2011


- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – Manchester Academy has seen its fair share of great music but on tonight it witness’ musical history in the making. With teeth- rotting talent shows hijacking our beloved television screens on a Saturday night it is great to see a real bona fide band returning to show all of those […]

LIVE: I AM BLACKBIRD – 04/11/2011


- SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER -  As I walk down into the dusky basement of the Soup Kitchen I can feel the goodwill in the room. It’s been nearly six months since I Am Blackbird have played in their hometown and, by the looks of it, their loyal local following have missed them. After a self-imposed […]

LIVE: JAMES – 01/11/2011


- THE BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANCHESTER – Entering the Bridgewater Hall expectations feel high for James performing with Orchestra Of The Swan and The Manchester Consort Choir. Hang on is that someone actually wearing a (non-ironic) dickie bow? This isn’t James’ usual venue of choice; a sign at the bar confirms this: “Please refrain from leaving […]



- THE APOLLO, MANCHESTER – It’s a gloomy Sunday evening in Manchester, but for the hundreds of fans queuing at the O2 Apollo, who’ve waited over a year for this night to arrive, they couldn’t be happier. Following last year’s outstanding Halloween gigs at London’s Roundhouse, Alice Cooper finally brings his Halloween Night Of Fear […]


other lives

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Oklahoma five piece Other Lives have arrived in Manchester once more in what frontman Jesse Tabish describes as ‘one of his favourite places to play’. Promoters Now Wave and Hey Manchester have worked together on this one, spoiling the close to capacity crowd with the bonus of an extended support […]

LIVE: THE HYMEK MANOEUVRE – 28/10/2011 (with free download)

The Hymek Manoeuvre

- LLOYDS HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Lesson one on how to light up a place – get The Hymek Manoeuvre playing live. The last time I saw them they were playing at Beech Road Music Festival to upwards of 4000 people, spreading their feel good sounds from a large stage across a full field of mainly […]

LIVE: Elbow – 27/10/2011


- MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL, MANCHESTER – What more is there to say about Elbow? Their story has been so well covered it has rendered itself redundant. There’s something so Hollywood, something hopelessly romantic about their rise to fame and fortune. Their long tête-à-tête with obscurity, the band that make it with their make or break album, […]

LIVE: Cut Copy – 26/10/2011

Cut Copy-by-Timothy-Saccenti

- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER - Of all the electro indie revivalists Cut Copy is one of the few not to suck balls…and that is because Cut Copy is essentially a good time, euphoria-inducing dance act that happens to play guitars. The indie element is thankfully minimal. This is not music for the grey matter, it’s for […]

LIVE: Laura Marling – 24/10/2011

Laura Marling box shot

- MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL, MANCHESTER - The video openings to latest (and extraordinary) single ‘Sophia’ and debut EP opener ‘New Romantic’ are identical: Laura Marling, sitting on a chair, singing about her love life with an eloquence and directness that act like a direct channel between you and her. The differences are more interesting than the similarities. […]



- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – Tales of Owen Morris’s eccentric behaviour during the recording of Exile Parade’s debut album are fuelling my anticipation as I make my way to see them perform at the Night and Day Cafe. Apparently, things took a confrontational turn during the sessions at Monnow Valley Studios, when the […]



- THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER – With less than three weeks to go to Halloween, tonight’s event seems like a completely suitable way to start the gothic season, right down to the names of the headliners – The Horrors and The Kills, playing in an old air raid shelter in the dead of night. Spooky. […]



- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – I’m not sure what to expect tonight as I follow the flow of thirty or forty-somethings down into the basement of the university. I’ve seen Brett Anderson peacock strutting across most of the stages on this university campus, but this is perhaps one of its more cramped gig spaces. The […]

LIVE: TUSK FESTIVAL – 7-9/10/2011


- THE CLUNY/THE STAR & SHADOW CINEMA, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE – This is my first review since June so forgive me if it is even worse than my previous efforts. Having missed some great gigs this summer / autumn (in particular Moon Wiring Club at the Dog and Partridge in Bolton) I have launched myself back in […]

LIVE: GHOSTPOET – 09/10/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Receiving a Mercury Music Prize nomination is one of the biggest and ultimate accolades a UK act can receive. Coventry-born Ghostpoet bestowed the respected roll of honour this year, for his debut album Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam. Even before the nominees were announced, GP was named as […]

LIVE: GRUFF RHYS – 07/10/2011


- CENTRAL METHODIST HALL, MANCHESTER – Gruffydd Maredudd Bowen Rhys’s, or more commonly known as Gruff Rhys, lead of Welsh rock-outfit the Super Furry Animals, brings his latest solo UK tour to Manchester’s Methodist Central Hall. People have big love for Gruff, anyone who I’ve told about this gig, has nearly murdered me for my ticket, […]



- THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER – First I must confess to being a Warehouse Project Virgin (WHPV). I do get a quick initiation from some lovely peeps from Telford on my approach to the underground car park venue. You came from where?! Yes my reaction too, but the WHP reputation is travelling far and wide, […]

LIVE: NEDRY – 05/11/2011


- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – As events unfold, for me, this night comes to embody all the reasons that I love small gigs so much. Music In Beta kindly grant free entry for anyone with a Facebook account and the ability to click a button that says ‘Like’. Though, in wanting to repay them […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – “You’re cool!” This adoring yelp erupts mid-crowd of this packed room of the Deaf Institute. Johnny Marr carries on tuning up, having not even plucked note 1 of tonight’s set.  Then he looks up and whispers into the mic: “I know.” And you know what – he is.  He […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – On a typical early autumn evening (28 degrees, hello?) I wait for my sister outside Sand Bar enjoying a cold pint, almost dreading the prospect of a static folk gig in a warm, crowded club. I know little about Stealing Sheep and Beth Jean Houghton so that is the […]


Ruby Wood

- HMV RITZ, MANCHESTER – With night organisers Hit & Run proclaiming that they refuse to be “pigeon-holed and categorised”, tonight’s headliners Submotion Orchestra offer a diverse enough spectrum of influences to uphold their ethos. The Monday ‘Quality Bass Music’ night, now in it’s 5th year, has moved on from it’s Mint Lounge residency to spend […]


Get Cape gig-4

- MOHO LIVE, MANCHESTER – Sssshhhhh! It’s Get Cape Wear Cape Fly! Apart from hearing like Jack and Vera’s cheeky little son, Sam Duckworth aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly also manages to mix it across a million genres indie/emo/ folk/ electronic/ techno, dancy dance, with a touch of rave, the lot.  A little birdie […]

LIVE: MALE BONDING – 28/09/2011

Male Bonding (2011)

- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – I’m back at the Ruby Lounge again and it seems to be turning in to a bit of a ritual.  The place has definitely pulled its finger out of late and is getting some top bands through its doors and down its stairs into its gloomy embrace. It’s certainly […]


connan mockasin

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – The musical landscape created by Connan Mockasin is full of childlike innocence and a sense of wide-eyed wonder. It’s a world inhabited by Unicorns, Dolphins and Snats (a snake/rat hybrid in case you were wondering) all pitched against a backdrop of perfectly constructed, off kilter psychedelic pop. You would […]


Sparrow and The Workshop

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I saw Sparrow and The Workshop at The Roadhouse back in May. My enthusiastic review concluded with me wrongly predicting that their return to the city would be greeted by a much larger audience. Unfortunately, the majority of the crowd tonight is comprised of the support bands and staff. The […]

LIVE: DJ SHADOW – 17/09/2011

DJ Shadow

- THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, MANCHESTER – This is the first night of The Warehouse Project’s final series of events at Store Street. The car park under Piccadilly Station has been an ideal venue for some jaw dropping lineups over the last few years, the abandoned Boddington’s Factory was the first temporary home in 2006 and […]


crystal fighters

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – It has been a while since I walked into a gig half way through the support act and immediately thought this is good…no, this is great. And glancing across at my partner in crime for the evening, she too is nodding along in complete agreement. I would like to say […]

LIVE: BRIAN WILSON – 13/09/2011


- BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANCHESTER – After decades of playing huge capacity stadiums and open-air festivals, it seems the creative genius behind The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, has discovered a penchant for smaller venues. At Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, with an audience of just 2,300 fans, it is something of a novelty to see him perform close […]



- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Scott Matthews, a relatively unknown singer-songwriter is back on the ‘ole wagon’ to promote his third studio album ‘When The Night Delivers’. Having only heard the track ‘Elusive’ which propelled him into the lime light – although maybe not enough. I signed up to my first ‘session’. consequently, […]


Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip

- THE RITZ, MANCHESTER – Ooh blimey, I’m not sure which stings the most, the fumes of fresh paint in my eyes, or the £4.20 I’ve just handed over for a pint. But tonight one of these two things is very out of the ordinary, and it’s not being charged London bar prices in a […]

LIVE: JUNIP – 07/09/11


- SOUNDCONTROL, MANCHESTER – If a song is strong enough, it can stand alone without the need for excessive production. José González has proved that point already, so the danger now is, will his songwriting become swamped with the addition of 4 other band members? José shot to fame by providing the soundtrack to a […]

LIVE: Beirut – 06/09/2011


- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – Waltz With Bashir. Ever seen it? It’s an animated film that centres on the Israel/Lebanon war of 1982. At the film’s culmination, Israeli troops move in onBeirut. At night they fire flares into the night sky so that the Christian Phalangists can massacre Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee […]



- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Kurt Vile and the Violators: it’s a great name isn’t it? On hearing it I was convinced that latest album, Smoke Ring For My Halo, was the work of some fuck-witted thrash metaler, but its dreamy acoustic psychedelia and Leonard Cohen-esque enunciation quickly insinuated itself into my best of 2011 […]



- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – Support band ‘New Hips’ are a tech-rock four-piece based around young music graduates with all sorts of equipment – two guitars, bass, two keyboards, trumpet, one-and-a-half drumkits, and effects boards all over the place. It’s quite a surprise that they manage to use it all. It’s quite challenging, very […]

LIVE: My Reading Festival -26-28/08/2011

My Chemical Romance: They are the first headliners of the weekend, and boy do they kick things off in style. Now many people often slate My Chemical Romance, be it because they are secretly trying to mask their forbidden love for them, or that they really just hate them, but whether you like it or […]

LIVE: JESCA HOOP – 27/08/2011


- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – If you are to be judged by the company you keep, then Jesca Hoop is in some pretty esteemed company. Beatnik Bard Tom Waits is already somewhat out there… so imagine what his nanny might look like.  Jesca Hoop was that gal, nanny to his three children and […]

LIVE: AIRSHIP – 26/08/2011


- A CELLAR IN CHORLTON, MANCHESTER – Ahead of the release of their new album (September 5th), I happen to catch Airship in concert at a 30th birthday house-party for the guitarist from my band. To say it is a ‘somewhat intimate venue’ might be an understatement, as fifty-plus people risk fire-related death, crammed in to one […]

LIVE: SEBADOH – 23/08/2011


- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – Sebadoh are the band you should love…why you ask? Basically, Lou Barlow is the lecturer that you wanted to teach you English literature and philosophy whilst Jason Lowenstein is the kool guy that you wished taught you the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards etc – mainly because he plays them all!!! […]

LIVE: WYE OAK – 22/08/2011


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – The loudest thing in music must be the 2 piece rock band. The White Stripes managed to make my ears bleed from the other side of a field in Leeds, The Black Keys had Manchester Academy shaking in it’s foundations and I remember The Kills forced the keen ones at […]

LIVE: WILD NOTHING – 21/08/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Now Wave have built a great reputation in Manchester, their events always appear to provide large crowds and great support acts to supplement their exciting, current and fresh headliners. Tonight is no exception, I’ve regrettably been unable to leave the house earlier due to too much Sunday roast and […]

LIVE: SHONEN KNIFE – 13/08/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Turning up at the Deaf Institute tonight to celebrate their 30th anniversary, Shonen Knife is a musician’s band, in the same way Peter Cook was a comedian’s comedian, loved by connoisseurs and music buffs but managing, relatively, to avoid even the alternative music scene’s radar during their impressive career. […]



- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Recording and releasing music with paced regularity since the early eighties, seeing Daniel Johnston on an occasion when he is not touring new material is something of a treat, as you come expecting everything and nothing. No latest album obligations, just a timely run through of his best and biggest […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – The sign outside Manchester’s coolest gig venue reads ‘Sold Out’. There’s a large crowd milling around, most with tickets and a few poor sods without. So what’s the difference between Chameleons Vox and the band of old? Well musically, almost nothing. Mark Burgess has handed his bass guitar to […]

LIVE: WASHED OUT – 08/08/11

Washed Out

- DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER - I found it difficult to tear myself away from the live news coverage, tonight. Watching businesses in London with families living above, being looted and then torched, didn’t really put me in the mood for a gig. But, as they say, the show must go on. Star Slinger has the unenviable […]


Saturday Waking up from possibly the worst night’s sleep and feeling like a microwave meal – it was so hot in the tent I burst out before I exploded; I feel far from ‘top of the morning’.  Although we are in the quiet family camping area large groups of teenagers and lads camping together seem […]



- LOWTHER DEER PARK, PENRITH – The final weekend of July sees the 6th Annual addition of Kendal Calling Festival.  Continually growing in strength and size it managed to bag the Best Small Festival award for 2010 and with only 13000 tickets for 2011 it sold out in record time. Since a move in 2009 […]

LIVE: YACHT – 25/07/2011


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Manchester’s roller coaster weather is at one of its brief peaks and I’m off to go and sit in the dark basement that is Ruby Lounge. Monday evenings don’t get much better… But at least it’s cool and the place has really shaped up in to a decent venue […]



- ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD – Salford: Home of The Smiths, LS Lowry and at one time The Ting Tings! Their original home was Islington Mill a converted mill founded by Bill Campbell as a space for artists and musicians with a performance area on the ground floor. This year Campbell received an honorary MA from The […]



- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – It’s a rain-drenched Sunday night and murky, grey Manchester looks like it’s turning into mud.  The promoter at The Ruby Lounge is anxiously looking up and down the street for his crowd, but there’s barely a soul about. Discouraging, perhaps, is the fact that the only other person who turns […]

LIVE: WU LYF – 16/07/2011


- THE TUNNEL, MANCHESTER – Despite the presence of world renowned artists Bjork and Snoop Dogg in the city over the last couple of weeks, for many, the potential musical highlight of this years Manchester International Festival is the prospect of seeing one of the city’s own acts. Wu Lyf’s slot at the festival is […]


not part of festival

- FERRIOUS, MANCHESTER – Three words attracted me, and probably many others, to this event tonight – wine, song and garden. Another draw is the unlikely setting, as the Not Part of Festival-organised event is held in uber-cool furniture store Ferrious, underneath a railway arch on the edge of the River Medlock. After arriving at […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – My mum said, “You can’t call a venue that”, I tried to explain to her that ‘The Hard of Hearing Institute’ might not have the same ring to it. Grade II listed, I will have you know as well. Nice to get a bit of history into these reviews, so it’s a […]


Tame Impala

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – As if going to see Tame Impala live wasn’t enough, news that Wolf People were to support had made my week. Sounding as though they’d been locked in a barn, in Devon, with nothing but their instruments and a copy of ‘The Rolling Stones: Rock and Roll Circus’, the hairy […]



- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – Opportunities to impress people with your knowledge of Burkina Faso are few and far between – as are summer gigs, especially ones of such quality as John Butler Trio, so I’m surprised to score on both counts tonight. I missed JBT last year, as I was at the Soundwave festival […]

LIVE: MEMORY TAPES – 07/07/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Tonight’s early attendees watch support act Star Slinger while sat on the stepped area at the back of the Deaf Institute hall. The Mancunian beatsmith makes an impression, however, and the dancefloor steadily fills during his half-hour on stage as the crowd gets into his skittering, tuneful mixcraft. He […]

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Chester Rocks – 03/07/2011


- Chester Racecourse – Thousands of revellers are enjoying the sunny weather for the inaugural Chester Rocks festival. The two-day event at Chester Racecourse, treats music fans to big name bands such as McFly, The Wanted, The Saturdays, Iggy And The Stooges, Lightning Seeds, Shaun Ryder, Australian Pink Floyd as well as promising local acts. […]



- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – Okay, I’ll be honest. When I got the message I’d been called up to review Death Cab For Cutie’s Manchester gig at Academy 1 at four hours’ notice, I could only have told you the name of one of their songs and probably hummed you the chorus if I tried. […]

LIVE: TV ON THE RADIO – 27/06/2011


- ACADEMY2, MANCHESTER – From their debut album, Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, to their recent release, Nine Types Of Light, there is something deeply unsatisfying about much of TV On The Radio’s mercurial, recorded output. They are, at times, ludicrously experimental. There are few genres that they do not try to incorporate into their template, […]



MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL - CAMPFIELD MARKET HALL (MOSI), MANCHESTER – The festival that promises nothing but original work continues to draw an impressive list of international a-list artists, inspired by the concept. Maybe it’s the creative freedom that they are entrusted with that beckons these already world famous names to step out of their comfort zones […]


Stilts_5 by James Hindle

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – There’s something very ’Ian Brown’ about the way Brad Hargettt, lead singer of Crystal Stilts, approaches the microphone. Though he sings like Jim Morrison on downers. The huge impact made when they start their set can partly be accredited to a support band. Dirtblonde are playing early when I arrive. […]

LIVE: THE BLANKS 23/06/2011


- MOHO LIVE, MANCHESTER – Well, it was always going to be a weird gig. I’m standing in a dimly lit, smoky room with about fifty other people as hip-hop blares through the speakers , and the only real indicator I’m here to see an a capella group and not a heavy metal band is […]

LIVE: THE HORRORS – 16/06/2011


- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – The Horrors were unfairly labelled a novelty act by the music press when they burst onto the live scene in 2005. With their birds-nest hair, black eyeliner and tighter than tight jeans, many thought it was all just style over substance; a Cramps tribute band with a singer who looks […]



- KRAAK GALLERY, MANCHESTER – You hear a buzz about a local band, there are a few tunes knocking around on the interweb and you like what you hear. You go to their album launch in a hidden back street venue/art gallery and you buy the album from the merch stall… then you have trouble […]

LIVE: GOMEZ – 14/06/2011


- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – As a relative newcomer to the music of Gomez, I’m not entirely sure what to expect from tonight’s Academy 2 gig, but based on good feedback from many fans that’d seen their shows and several intensive Spotify sessions, I’ve come to see their live act with high hopes. Support band […]

LIVE: TOM VEK/BRETON – 13/06/2011


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – After 5 Long years the wait is over, Tom Vek returns to the stage to launch his second album ‘Leisure Seizure’.  Upon entering the Ruby Lounge I am greeted by a sense of anticipation and excitement for tonight’s sold out show, so  as the venue slowly fills to capacity […]

LIVE: KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS – 10/06/2011


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Inadequacy is not something that anyone would willingly choose to suffer from, but tonight I’m going to put myself in the firing line by going to see Kitty, Daisy & Lewis at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge. I first heard them on the wireless on Phil Jupitus’ 6Music breakfast show back […]

LIVE: MONO – 09/06/2011


- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Mono are in Manchester as part of their 2011 European Tour and following their stop in London two days prior for an extra special performance of the ‘Holy Ground’ concert, originally performed in New York in 2009 to celebrate the band’s ten year anniversary, accompanied by the 24-piece Wordless Music […]

LIVE: Tera Melos/Tangled Hair – 09/06/2011


- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – What’s going on here, then? Why has everyone swept to the front like some kind of beardy avalanche to see the support act? It transpires that Kingston trio, Tangled Hair, are a remoulded version of Colour, the math-pop pioneers who split in 2009 and whose delicate template Tubelord […]


Ben Chasny by Anna Klein

- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Male singer songwriter types playing solo with acoustic guitars are not my thing. The whole lonesome sensitive soul routine of acoustic indie rockers like Bon Iver et al just leaves me cold. On sight of another 20′s / 30′s male (and it generally always is males) with an acoustic […]

LIVE: JAMES BLAKE – 07/06/2011


- SANKEYS, MANCHESTER – Gigs are better when you arrive fashionably late; rarely do I catch the support act and when I do I usually stand there impatiently waiting for the main event. However, it would seem there is fashionably late and just plain old, late. My sister and I rock up to Sankeys at […]

LIVE REVIEW: Emmy The Great – 06/06/2011


- SACRED TRINITY CHURCH, SALFORD – Jesus may have won the battle, when he kicked the moneylenders out of the temple, but he lost the war. Idolatrous, life-sized silver male and female torsos (nipples intact) – which clearly contravene one or more of the Ten Commandments – stand to the left of the stage on […]



- IBIZA ROCKS HOTEL, SAN ANTONIO – The summer is finally here which means two things to most of us – festival season and holidays. Music lovers and party people seem to head to one particular little island in the Balearics at this time of year. An island that needs no introduction – Ibiza. Famous […]

LIVE REVIEW: Æthenor – 04/06/2011


- ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD – In Islington Mill for a show promoted by Fat Out Till You Pass Out, who generally have excellent taste in music and artwork for their gig posters. They have a series of interesting shows coming up this summer including their own two day festival in August, and they are kicking […]



- THE APOLLO THEATRE, MANCHESTER – Just before Battles take the stage a friend of mine gets into a fight in the crowd.  Some over-priced cider is accidentally spilt over a punter which results in said punter taking issue.  Insults are exchanged, a tussle ensues where the cider spiller jumps on the back of the […]

LIVE: I Am Blackbird – 03/06/2011

i am blackbird

- SACRED TRINITY CHURCH, SALFORD – Gigs in Churches are the new black. Sacred Trinity nestled on the cusp of Manchester, on Salford’s Chapel Street – which is now getting quite a reputation, of the good kind. Bang in the middle of this new creative cluster, round the corner from Islington Mill, the uber top […]


- THE ROADHOUSE, MANCHESTER – Three support bands have been lined up for tonight and the Roadhouse only has a handful of customers. I arrive late and manage to catch Meursault (while ordering a Guinness) who I would simply describe as The Twilight Sad, if they were a little sadder. Wire lights run along the […]

LIVE: THE KILLS – 27/05/2011

The Kills

- CENTRAL METHODIST CHURCH, MANCHESTER – High on my list of bands to see, The Kills caught my attention six years ago on a TV broadcast of Fashion Rocks. The duo of Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart played the minimal and raw ‘No Wow’ as models paraded around the stage. As a darker version of […]

LIVE REVIEW: Three Trapped Tigers – 23/05/2011


- NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – What better way to continue City’s post-parade celebrations than with a good old gig at the good old Night & Day, eh? Well, as Advances In Mathematics are first up, there’s quite a few. As their name suggests, the local quartet dabble in twinkly, arpeggio-laden post-rock which inevitably […]

LIVE REVIEW: Friends of Mine Festival 2011


- CAPESTHORNE HALL, CHESHIRE – The Friends of Mine crew have been doing good things in and around Manchester and the North West for a while now, shoving the pick of the region’s up n’ coming acts in the shop window and giving them precious exposure. A festival seemed a more-than-logical progression, and when FOMFest […]

LIVE REVIEW: Okkyung Lee and John Butcher / Open Eye Quartet – 20/05/2011


- ST. MARGARET’S CHURCH, MANCHESTER – Improvised music can be a nightmare. Overwhelming in terms of scope and size as a ‘genre’; seeming to require an encyclopaedic set of references; over-intellectualised; pretentious; snobbish and cliquey; perplexingly theoretical. Just when you think you have got a handle on it, something new will fall in your lap […]

LIVE REVIEW: Sufjan Stevens – 19/05/2011


-THE APOLLO THEATRE, MANCHESTER- Somewhere near the beginning of Sufjan Stevens’ awesome spectacle of a performance he introduces himself as the entertainment for the night and promises a journey through space: the space of the exterior; the cosmos, and the space of the interior; the body, in the spaceship Apollo. This statement may cause the […]

LIVE REVIEW: Explosions In The Sky – 17/05/2011


- THE ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – Explosions In The Sky produce a sound that feels paradoxical in the sense that it is intimate and yet epic. They are playing to near full capacity in Academy 1 and I wonder how the venue might detract from the musical experience but rush through and forget your not in […]

LIVE REVIEW: Chain & The Gang – 17/05/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I was reading an interview with Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream in Uncut a while back and in it he name-checked Chain &The Gang’s first album ‘Down With Liberty.. Up With Chains’. He went on to add that it was the only new band he was into at the […]

LIVE REVIEW: Panic! At The Disco – 16/05/2011

Panic! At The Disco

- ACADEMY 1, MANCHESTER – You know you’re getting old when you arrive at a gig and the bar area is pretty empty even though the show is sold out. I feel a little concerned that the new breed of Panic At The Disco fans has left the old ones behind. Maybe the departure of […]

LIVE: WARPAINT – 14/05/2011


- THE RITZ BALLROOM, MANCHESTER – I was lucky enough to see Warpaint last October at The Deaf Institute, and despite the addition of only one new tune, I am keen to see them again. That gig was possibly my favourite from 2010, in my favourite venue, so there is a lot to live up […]



- ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD – Preceded by former-Gowns singer, EMA, touring her debut album Past Life Martyred Saints and generally strutting around like a preening mental patient – Scout could only go on to raise the bar. Scout enters wearing a high-visibility jacket – the only piece of clothing that quite literally says ‘notice me’. […]

LIVE REVIEW: Moon Duo – 12/05/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I’m here tonight in the ever cool surroundings of The Deaf Institute’s music hall on the strength of one single. Is this right or is this wrong? Who knows, but Moon Duo’s last single ‘Mazes’, has been played to death on my walks to and from work and has […]

LIVE REVIEW: Gang Gang Dance – 11/05/2011


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – Brooklyn act Gang Gang Dance seem an obvious choice to play Manchester’s annual FutureEverything festival. The Festival is a celebration of digital culture, with a strong emphasis on innovation and breaking new ground. Over the course of five studio albums Gang Gang Dance have displayed a willingness to experiment, […]

LIVE REVIEW: Group Doueh/Brothers Unconnected – 11/05/2011

- ISLINGTON MILL, SALFORD – There is activity across the city/cities tonight owing to this year’s Future Everything Festival which is running throughout the week. In fact, I could’ve been somewhere else tonight as Gang Gang Dance are over at the Ruby Lounge (also reviewed on the site). But there are very few things which […]

LIVE REVIEW: Hugh Laurie – 07/05/2011

Hugh Laurie

- ROYAL NORTHERN COLLEGE OF MUSIC, MANCHESTER – It is worth remembering that before Hugh Laurie was the debonair Dr. House, glibly diagnosing obscure ailments and generally maintaining a detached air of alluring misanthropy, he was one half of Jeeves and Wooster. And before that, A Bit of Fry and Laurie. And of course, Blackadder. […]

LIVE REVIEW: Bill Callahan – 06/05/2011


- CENTRAL METHODIST CHURCH, MANCHESTER – The queue for Manchester’s Central Methodist Church stretches all the way down Oldham Street to Piccadilly Gardens, and consists of people of all ages and backgrounds, all braving the sporadic sudden downpours in anticipation of spending an evening in the company of one of the most widely revered and […]

LIVE REVIEW: Psychedelic Horseshit – 05/05/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – I wasn’t too sure what to expect this evening at the Deaf Institute. I get the impression that the point of Psychedelic Horseshit’s lo-fi pop, or ‘shitgaze’ as the band has pleasantly christened it, is that the music is more important than the presentation. Recording most of their records […]

LIVE REVIEW: I Am Kloot – 04/05/2011

- THE LOWRY THEATRE, SALFORD – So there I am at The Lowry Theatre in an all seated auditorium wondering how good a gig can be in such plush settings. A grand, cinematic sound sweeps in and Kloot enter to an appreciative, albeit theatre crowd, welcome. There’s the three maestros themselves plus backing musicians: guitar, […]

LIVE REVIEW: Fight Like Apes – 05/05/2011

- THE NIGHT & DAY CAFE, MANCHESTER – Sombre and introspective, Man Made cuts a lonely figure on the Night & Day’s stage. The nameless troubadour radiates his glumness through the venue like a black hole gobbles light, chopping away at his guitar from the elbow and mercilessly zapping any remnants of joy from the […]

LIVE REVIEW: Noah and the Whale – 03/05/2011


- THE RITZ BALLROOM, MANCHESTER – I like Noah and The Whale but during this virtuoso display at Manchester’s Ritz, I decide I don’t like their crowd. The five piece don’t set a foot wrong all night: every harmony, hook and holler is flawless. But they’ve attracted seemingly serious types who aren’t interested in letting […]

LIVE REVIEW: Sounds From The Other City #1 – 01/05/2011


- CHAPEL STREET, SALFORD – Silent Radio believes just one person covering SFTOC is quite simply just not enough, so this year we send two of our finest to take in Salford’s Chapel Street all day non-stop music event. Review #1: It’s not often that everything stops for the sake of creativity in Salford and the city […]

LIVE REVIEW: Sounds From The Other City 2011 #2 – 01/05/2011


- CHAPEL STREET, SALFORD – Silent Radio believes just one person covering SFTOC is quite simply just not enough, so this year we send two of our finest to take in Salford’s Chapel Street all day non-stop music event. Review #2: Deaf To Van Gogh’s ear proved an attractive first foray into Sounds From The Other City’s […]

LIVE REVIEW: Timber Timbre – 28/04/2011

- The Deaf Institute, Manchester – Timber Timbre (that’s one ending in an ‘er’ followed by one ending in an ‘re’ – how Pan-Atlantic of them) are spooky. And spooky is ostensibly really rather cool these days. Unlike say, Zola Jesus, whose Kate-Bush-meets-Lady-Haversham schtick one suspects extends beyond her on stage repertoire,  Timber Timbre seem […]

LIVE REVIEW: Best Coast – 26/04/2011

best coast

- Club Academy, Manchester – It’s easy to tell with one quick sweep of the room whether you’re at a major gig in Manchester. Major as in must-see, not large, as the city’s musical elite are a fussy, discerning lot. Tonight’s gig, however, has earned their full approval and the regular faces are out in […]

LIVE REVIEW: GZA – 22/04/2011


- MOHO LIVE, MANCHESTER -  Me:  “Hi, I’m on the presslist” Mr Charlie Big Potatoes: “No you’re not” Me:  “Could you just check?” Mr Charlie Big Potatoes: “All the press are in and I didn’t put you down.  I’m the promoter.  I run the show” Me (a bit flustered, showing him my phone):  “But look, […]



- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – If you like a bit of garage rock, one man who shouldn’t need any introduction is Kid Congo Powers. Legendary sometime guitar slinger with The Cramps and co-founder with Jeffrey Lee Pierce of The Gun Club, and later six string hombre with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Kid […]



- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – The hardest working rock n roll band in the UK  are back in Manchester tonight, and the plaudits and column inches that they have been garnering have attracted a sizable crowd in the Club Academy. I think in some ways the name, or rather the ‘Revue’ part is a misconception, […]

LIVE: STEVE MASON – 12/04/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Wow. Good evening from The Deaf Institute – the venue that laughs in the face of health and safety. The venue that scoffs at the idea of personal space. The venue that puts the ‘mmmm’ in intimate. Seriously, there’ll be no cat-swinging here tonight, so tightly jammed in are […]

LIVE: ESBEN & THE WITCH – 08/04/2011


- ST. PHILIPS CHURCH, SALFORD – Where better to see a prog goth band than in a church? The interior of St. Philips may be too well kept to be the perfect backdrop for tonight, some of Salford’s industrial abandoned and rain soaked buildings could offer Esben and The Witch possible music video locations, but […]



- THE RITZ BALLROOM, MANCHESTER – Smith Westerns produced one of my favourite albums of last year with the excellent ‘Dye It Blonde’, so to say that I am really looking forward to this gig is an understatement. The gig sold out well in advance, due to being headlined by the current darlings of indie […]

LIVE: KILLING JOKE – 31/03/2011


- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – Punk rock is supposed to be unpredictable, theatrical and ball-bustingly energetic, and if there is one band encompassing those elements with every fiber of their being, it is Killing Joke. Not only is their fourteenth and most recent album, Absolute Dissent, every bit as liable to strip paint from studio […]

LIVE: DUM DUM GIRLS – 31/03/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER –  I didn’t come to the Deaf Institute tonight to review  the support band for Dum Dum Girls, but the music of Mazes is so good I feel compelled to let you know about them. All the songs feel ‘killer, no filler’.  They play with boundless energy and come across […]

LIVE: DUCKTAILS – 31/03/2011


- THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER – I’m not overly fond of the Ruby Lounge as a venue at the best of times- it might be that it’s dark and dingy, or the strange design, I can’t put my finger on it, but when I walk in and see about six people in the crowd my […]

LIVE: DEERHUNTER – 30/03/2011

- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER -  The band are ready, lead singer Bradford Cox talks over the Foals tune that can still be heard and amusingly comments on the audiences startling red faces. The result of heavy backlighting. Technical difficulties allow him to break the ice with his natural wit as he urges the crowd to […]

LIVE: NEW YORK DOLLS – 29/03/2011

NewYorkDolls by AnnaVictoriaBest

- CLUB ACADEMY, MANCHESTER – As one of the true oddities of the New York punk scene in the mid 70s, The New York Dolls are considered to be the godfathers of American punk. The band imploded in spectacular fashion back in 1975, and articles in various music magazines, books and punk rock documentaries kept […]

LIVE: JESCA HOOP – 26/03/2011


- THE DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER – Looking like she has just arrived at Trof this evening by Gothic Express, Jesca Hoop cuts a rather striking mystical figure on stage bare footed and clad in a flowing black dress. This North Californian songstress now decamped to Manchester for the past two years after persuasion from our […]

LIVE: JAMES BLAKE – 26/03/2011


- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – It looks like 2011 is the year that James Blake ate the pies.  I expect  the svelte foppish-haired waif that I’ve seen peer out of press photos, but the man who takes the stage alongside fellow traveller Rob McAndrews (guitar and sampler), minus Ben Assiter, who often provides […]



- SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER – Honing guitar fuzz and bright-eyed lyrics into hooky, melodic songs, The Answering Machine are a band that Manchester can be proud of. Having quietly helped restore indie pop’s good name with cuts such as ‘Obviously Cold’, ‘Animals’ and the title track of new album ‘Lifeline’, tonight’s rescheduled gig had gained […]

LIVE REVIEW: Elbow – 20/03/2011


- THE ECHO ARENA, LIVERPOOL – Band as territory. Discuss.  I’m gonna be honest with you. Declare a vested interest, if you like. I’ve got a long standing love affair with Elbow. Wholly unrequited, but never mind. Each time their tours come round, I watch on with increasing incredulity thinking “It can’t get any bigger […]



- CROSS STREET CHAPEL, MANCHESTER – Here’s the great thing about getting to a gig in time to see the support bands. Nine times out of ten, it’s some bunch of spotty ne’er-do-wells churning out their take on whatever the vogue is this week. No matter, you’ve only lost thirty minutes of your life to […]

LIVE: IRON & WINE – 15/03/2011


- ACADEMY 2, MANCHESTER – Iron & Wine are now coming to the end of their UK tour. They have been promoting their new album ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’ from which their new single ‘Walking Far From Home’ is taken. Lyrically, this single is slightly weaker than other songs on the album, but the music […]



- BAND ON THE WALL, MANCHESTER – Debt Records is a creative co-operative that ‘swaps favours, trades skills and shares round the good fortune of our individual members.’  By birthright, the in-effect music label is the love child of three members of ‘Louis Barabas & the Bedlam Six ’ (Who were also one of the […]

LIVE: CAITLIN ROSE – 12/03/2011


- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – Academy 3 Manchester is in alcohol slicked high spirits, though the sort that could end in a drunken sing-song with a ephemeral best friend or spirited scrap outside the men’s toilets, depending entirely on whether somebody steps on your shoes or not. And they’re not sure what to make of […]


  – THE ACADEMY, LEEDS – Few bands are quite so deeply unfashionable and misconstrued as The Decemberists. Though the NME grudgingly (and correctly) conceded that their charm permeated out as: “They transposed wordy Victorian melodrama onto folky sea shanties. But at least once they had a snappy poetic sensibility and an admirable interest in […]


The Naked and Famous

- ACADEMY 3, MANCHESTER – Bam! £25 gone just like that for a ticket from a tout that costs £7 at face value. And now for the key question that I will be asking myself for the rest of the night: does this make me a fuck wit?! I’m quite used to weaseling my way […]

LIVE: FICTION/FILMS – 04/03/2011


- THE CASTLE HOTEL, MANCHESTER – The Castle Hotel is a perfect example of how Manchester’s Northern Quarter has always been an interesting place. I’m not referring to the last decade or so since a few overpriced clothes shops, bars and apartments appeared; I’m talking about since its inception over two and a half centuries […]

LIVE: FUJIYA & MIYAGI – 03/03/2011