April 01, 2023
It might only be 11C, but festival season in Manchester has well and truly started
We're really in the thick of it now, aren't we? Venues are well and truly in the first of their two annual three-month gigging seasons, making hay while the sun shines. Nights have started getting shorter, an indication that summer - and festival season - is just around the corner. And it looks like that festival season isn't around the corner - it's here. We've already had 6Music Festival , and now Fair Play, spread across several Northern Quarter sites, kicks off April, before Sounds from the Other City rounds it off around Chapel Street in Salford. READ MORE: “There's no other place in the world like it”: DMA’s discuss new album and their love for Manchester In between that, we've got 28 days packed full of musical goodness. Singer songwriters are jetting in from the US to play to Mancs, and we have modern-day indie heroes coming in from even further afield - Australia. There's also the return synthpop cult favourites, and our usual smattering of new, local acts gracing stages across the city. So, wherever you go - get there early to catch the support - and don't forget your earplugs. Fair Play - Northern Quarter - April 1 The month will kick off with the return of Fair Play , a festival that takes over the Northern Quarter - and this year that includes the iconic Night & Day Café. The all-dayer describes itself as an 'equal opportunity for all and a communal, collaborative event', featuring a diverse line up that's 'fair and accessible'. "We welcome musicians that are dubbed as ‘alternative’ in all its multiple forms and house them under one event," the organisers say. Following the sold out success of last year's inaugural event, the festival will take over Gullivers, Night & Day Café, Soup, The Castle, and The Peer Hat. This year's line up includes Brighton-based alternative seven-piece KEG , folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Naima Bock and post-punk five-piece Silverbacks . Night & Day Cafe will also host late-night live set from Bristol-based music maker Grove , followed by art-pop and psych nine-piece Mandrake Handshake who will be taking to the decks until the early hours, while the 'wildly successful' FAIR PLAY karaoke, will hosted by local drag performers in The Peer Hat basement from midnight. Black Honey - Gorilla - April 4 Brighton four-piece Black Honey have not long released their third LP, A Fistful of Peaches . The indie-rock quartet, fronted by vocalist Izzy Bee Phillips, explores the reality of mental health and vulnerability throughout the 12-track record. Set to a backdrop of gritty guitar riffs and belting melodies, ‘Heavy’ paints the highs and lows of ADHD, while ‘Up Against It’ is a reassuring note to Izzy’s younger self. As well as penning their latest album, the last year has seen the band - which also consists of guitarist Chris Ostler, bassist Tommy Taylor and drummer Alex Woodward - support the likes of Liam Gallagher, The Libertines, IDLES, and The Vaccines on tour. Black Honey also embarked on their own sold-out string of shows - a chance for them to spend time with their ever-growing fanbase, which has been flourishing steadily since the band’s conception in 2014. Black Honey are known for their immense stage presence (Image: Daily Record) Katie O’Malley - Band on the Wall - April 6 Bringing Americana to Manchester and beyond, Katie O’Malley’s vocals ooze bluesy goodness. The Rochdale native has an impressive library of songs - and if you have a subscription to Netflix, chances are you’ve already heard her music. Katie’s latest EP, Dirt On My Knees, features a winning combination of rugged guitars and strong, raspy vocals. The 70s-inspired musician has also dropped a string of new singles, including the uplifting and funky ‘Karma', which is sure to get your hips swaying in no time. Katie also teamed up with Adam Lewis from Manchester band The Watchmakers to create the track ‘Piece Of The Pie,’ which went on to be featured on the hit Netflix film Kissing Booth 2 in 2020. Elsewhere, Football fans might have caught Katie playing City Square at Etihad Stadium ahead of the Citizens' match against Aston Villa game in February. As part of her Blues & Bars tour, Katie and her band play The Bar Stage at Band On The Wall this April. Doors open at the slightly later time of 9.30pm - but what better way to welcome in the four-day Easter weekend than dancing into the early hours? Trampolene — Yes — April 12 Welsh rockers Trampolene have been doing everything right for some years now. Hailing from Swansea, the band have previously joined the likes of The Libertines and Liam Gallagher on tour, played on Soccer AM’s music slot, drawn crowds at music festivals across Europe and impressively headlined Swansea Arena in 2022. Trampolene’s fourth studio album, Rules of Love & War , was released on March 17, having already spawned singles ‘Money’ and ‘Thinking Again’. The band will play Yes’ Pink Room on April 12. Swansea band Trampolene (Image: Western Mail) Holiday Ghosts – Yes – April 13 Following on from their 2022 EP Credit Note , Brighton-based band Holiday Ghosts are releasing their fourth album Absolute Reality on April 21. The group, originally from Falmouth, explore various themes through story-telling lyrics and social commentary. Their influences range from indie rock to DIY punk, producing a sound reminiscent of a grungey-Vampire Weekend. There’s a dash of preppiness to the quartet, too, with the upbeat single ‘Favourite Freak’ sounding fresh from America’s East Coast, rather than England’s South Coast. The basement in YES will be one of the stops in the UK tour this spring. A rather appropriate venue for a garage-influenced sound. Holiday Ghosts (Image: Black Arts PR Limited) The Bug Club — White Hotel — April 14 Championed by BBC Radio 6Music DJs and Spotify’s best new bands playlists alike, indie rock outfit The Bug Club is coming to the White Hotel this month. They have been busy bees - three albums in just two years, with the latest one released on March 24 being the imaginatively-titled Mr Anyway's Holey Spirits Perform! One Foot in Bethlehem . The musical trio comes with a certain sunshine baked in, their stuff is upbeat and beachy, with a lightearted humour to their lyricism. Think grown up-Beach Boys, but instead of hailing from California, it's Monmouthshire. It’s rock 'n' roll-lite, but avoids being too twee by incorporating late 60s-esque riffs and the deep drawl of singer Sam Willmett, complimented by the harmonies of fellow vocalist Tilly Harris. Some high tempo tunes to get you stepping into spring. Plaid — Gorilla — April 15 Critically acclaimed duo Plaid has been a stalwart of the scene since the early 90s - but just which scene, it's difficult to say. Reducing their legacy to one label would be a disservice as their 11 albums tiptoe from electronic to dance, ambient to experimental. Their first album, Mbuki Mvuki , came in 1991 and was considered a deft new take on British techno. Helpfully, it was a take that was actually listenable and thus sparked a lengthy career alongside enviable peers like Aphex Twin and Autechre. Plaid's latest arrived in 2022, Feorm Falorx , a sci-fi infused attempt to score a party on a distant planet. While the theme may have been far-flung, the album itself wasn't a departure from the duo's code, continuing their characteristic warm and melodic approach to intelligent dance music. This show offers some good, clean escapism to the synthy world Plaid has built over 25 years - all from the very terrestrial venue of Gorilla. Hi Sienna — Night & Day — April 19 Hi Sienna are just the latest act to roll off the Mancunian musical production line, but they seem to be growing as a festival force. The highlight of their summers will be playing the Bingley Weekender, headlined by Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown. A new EP has been touted for this year ahead of that appearance, but the group already have a plethora of singles. Singer PoppyJo’s vocal shines through, and there’s a sing-a-long quality for fans to get behind. Night & Day on April 19 therefore presents a prime opportunity for the four piece. A home crowd, an EP on the way, just before a festival circuit. Strap in. DMAs — Apollo — April 20 It’s not often that a band from the other side of the world makes as big of an impression on a UK audience as DMAs - but it’s safe to say the Australian outfit have well and truly succeeded. While it was their incredible cover of Cher’s ‘Believe’ for Australian radio station Triple J that put them in front of a global audience via YouTube, the band’s support slot with Liam Gallagher in 2019 opened them up to a UK crowd who welcomed their indie rock sound with open arms. Since the release of their debut record Hills End in 2016, Johnny, Matty, and Tommy have captured the souls of Mancunians particularly, as the trio frequently cite the likes of Oasis, The Stone Roses, and the Chemical Brothers as influences. DMAs come from Australia (Image: UGC) DMAs’ most recent album The Glow nudged into the world of dance, and their latest singles ‘Olympia’ and ‘Something We Are Overcoming’, released ahead of their fourth studio album How Many Dreams , flaunt DMAs flexibility as a group - one not afraid of straying into an electronic sound. These anthemic tracks will be very much at home in Manchester’s O2 Apollo on April 20 - the first time the band have played the legendary venue. Goat - Gorilla - April 20 Radical experimental psych-rock band Goat in Manchester this month following the release of their latest album, ‘Oh Death’, last year. The mysterious Swedes are known for wearing masks and costumes inspired by their voodoo heritage during their live performances. Currently based in Gothenburg, the bandclaims to hail from Korpilombolo in Sweden which, according to the band's own publicity, has a history of voodoo worship after a witch doctor came and lived there. Supposedly, when Christian crusaders came and destroyed the village the surviving people fled and placed a curse on the town - although the band's origin story is has never been verified. The band say they started playing music when they were children, as part of a local community tradition. There have been many incarnations of the band, but whoever appears under the guise of Goat, promises to provide a weird and wonderful performance. Waxahatchee - New Century Hall - April 21 Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical project Waxahatchee comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going. The singer didn't say much between songs to a packed-out when she performed at Band on the Wall nearly five years ago. But, with her band, the artist was said to have grown into a noisy rock role, reflecting the evolution of their recordings. American singer, Katie Crutchfield, who has adopted the name Waxahatchee (Image: Newcastle Chronicle) Well, this sold-out show on Friday is set to be a bit more subdued. Returning to Manchester following the release of her sixth studio album - a collaborative project under the guise of Plains called 'I Walked with You a Ways', the Birmingham-born artist will perform a special solo seated show at the New Century Hall. Hockey Dad - Band on the Wall - April 22 Childhood Friends Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming from Hockey Dad began writing music together in 2013, from their parents' garage in Wollongong, Australia. A decade later and they have a career spanning three studio albums and an EP, with their latest record Brain Candy being released in 2020. The duo are notorious for creating a perfect mix of bristling surf-rock, fuzzy guitar riffs, and summery feel-good hooks, making them the ideal band for anyone looking for an energetic and scrappy live show. With new music on the way, Hockey Dad are ready to get back on stage and their Band on the Wall gig is the ideal night to catch a glimpse of what’s to come from the duo in 2023. The Go! Team - Gorilla - April 25 The Go! Team have been going for 23 years now. The six-piece from Brighton started as a solo project, but after the unexpected success of debut album Thunder, Lightning, Strike , founder Ian Parton recruited band members to play for live performances and subsequent albums. Musically, their songs are a mix of live instrumentation and samples from various sources, including funk and Bollywood soundtracks, double Dutch chants and old school hip hop. The band is currently on tour with four babies - an experience being filmed for a documentary. Promoting the band's latest release Get Up Sequences Part Two , on BBC Radio 6Music earlier this year, lead vocalist and Rapper Ninja spoke about the realities of touring with young children. But the 39-year-old promised that the band's performances are still as fun as ever. Teleman — Gorilla — April 29 Teleman’s brand of heart-felt, upbeat synthpop bops led the three-piece to cult acclaim towards the end of the last decade, with album Family of aliens released in 2018. Their third record, it confirmed that the group had a loyal core of fans — some of whom remained from the psychedelic revival of the early 2010s, and others who joined for the festival fun on the way. But a lot has changed since then. Jonny Sanders, brother of singer Tom, has left the group. There’s new music on the horizon, with an album out on April 7, called Good Time/Hard Time . There are now only three members of Teleman, with Jonny Sanders (back right) leaving (Image: UGC MEN) It promises to be the most dancey Teleman record to date, but early singles released show there’s still plenty of sensitivity. By the time the Gorilla show rolls around, we’ll have a much better idea of what the new Teleman sounds like. Sounds from the Other City - Salford - April 30 Bookended by day festivals, April will end with the return of Sounds from the Other City which will take over pubs, club, churches, studios and warehouses in Salford during the bank holiday weekend. Returning to the city for the 17th time, the festival is known for showcasing the independent artists from the North including live acts, DJs, bands, MCs, artists and other wonderful types of creatives. This year's bill includes more than 100 artists and 27 promoters across 13 spaces for the day-to-night session. The Old Pint Pot hosts HEY! Manchester upstairs with Brown Brogues playing, while Tales from other worlds x FLUFF invite Phia Sky and Rose Gold to the stage downstairs - playing alt-pop electronica fusions. The revered Heavenly Recordings will team up with Strange Days at St Philip’s Church with two incredible live acts - Honeyglaze and Halo Maud . And the newly opened Partisan Club space at Islington Mill houses Fat Out and Bollox with Blue Ruth , Mix-stress , Arch Femmesis , and the Partisan Collective themselves host Mirage Bar with a Sexquisite talk looking at Artists and Activism, followed by Partisan Karaoke to warm up those vocal chords! Takeovers from Now Wave , Band On The Wall and Me Gusta Collective are also planned. And after-parties will take place in The White Hotel, Islington Mill, The Old Pint Pot and Fivefourstudios - with each night-time session offering something different from Deptford Northern Soul Club , to Kiss Me Again and 96back . Read next: Review and photos: Suede celebrate 30 years with rare setlist at Albert Hall, Manchester Manchester Pride 2023 line-up announced, with Pabblo Vittar, Jake Shears and Danny Beard Hacienda legend Graeme Park turns to fundraising after tragic death of his son Oliver Production of My Fair Lady at Palace Theatre halted due to technical issues 'If we're going out, we're doing it our way' - line-up for Oldham Coliseum's final show includes Maxine Peake and Christopher Eccleston
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