Amelia Fearon picks the highlights from Manchester's jam-packed live music scene
Gigs, Manchester is famous for them. So famous in fact, that it can be overwhelming to decide which of the seemingly millions that happen every day here to go to. Confidentials hasn't done a gig guide for a while and we felt it was a bit remiss of us - especially after the couple of years the music biz and bands have had to navigate.
So we called in Amelia Fearon, musician, music lover and copious gig attender extraordinaire to help us to compile a monthly round-up of the live acts she reckons you'd be daft to miss.
Read on for Amelia's pick of the best gigs to catch in Manchester this June.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill | The Blues Kitchen | Friday 3 June
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is renowned for being a vulnerable yet powerful and spiritual journey into the innermost self. Lauryn Hill was only 22 years old when she released her debut album in 1998. The record is fuelled by its firm ancestral roots in reggae, presenting an incredible insight into self-expression, blackness and identity. Twenty-four years have passed, and it is still esteemed as one of the greatest albums to ever materialise from the genre of hip hop. The Blues Kitchen is bringing Manchester's The Untold Orchestra together to perform it live and celebrate this album - and they welcome all to join on this one of a kind occasion. Tickets available via DICE.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | Saturday 4 June | YES
Formed in 2004, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are not newcomers; they are the reassuring, familiar face to the plentiful world of indie-pop rock. They are touring the 2021 release of New Fragility, which is distinctively different from the off-kilter genre they are formerly known for, and instead, the album finds the Brooklyn band performing their most 'heart-on-your-sleeve' record yet. New Fragility is recommended for fans of comparable indie counterparts such as The National or Phoebe Bridgers, as the primary songwriter Alec Ounsworth explores a more unguarded and somewhat beautiful exploration of life. Tickets available via DICE.
Parquet Courts | Albert Hall| Sunday 12 June
Parquet Courts have progressed massively from the initial release of their first record - Light Up Gold (2013). The beginning of their journey saw the band as bedhead slackers, waking up late to kick out some fuzzy, gritty indie melodies. They now find themselves growing as artists in a realm of psych-rock riffs and trippy soundscapes. Frontman Andrew Savages describes the new record: "I wanted to find a sound that was equal parts Can, Canned Heat and This Heat." Exploring the depths of experimental noise rock and blues - Sympathy For Life is overflowing with buzzing creativity and a long-repressed groove. Parquet Courts are performing at the fan-favourite Albert Hall venue and tickets can be purchased directly from the venue.
Ceitidh Mac and Good Habits |FUEL Cafe Bar | Sunday 12 June
If noise-bashing Parquet Courts at the Albert Hall doesn't take your fancy, look no further than the wondrous alt-folk artists Ceitidh Mac and Good Habits at Fuel Cafe in Withington. Newcastle’s Ceitidh Mac's warming and delicate tones are reminiscent of the acoustic jazz legend, John Martyn, hypnotising her every note with the same captivating mysticism. Her live performance is a unique take on traditional folk music, bringing her delicate material and sharing it with the audience in a playful and joyous nature. Accompanied by Good Habits for their combined tour - it will be a warm evening of good vibes, and even better upcoming acoustic talent at a wonderful independent venue. The event begins at 8pm and there is a suggested £5 entry on the door.
Bo Ningen | YES| Tuesday 14 June
Tapping into their ancestral history and native descent, Bo Ningen is a Japanese psychedelic rock band whose music reaches far within. Chaotic and beautiful, aggressive yet undemanding - Bo Ningen integrates many inspirations from krautrock to psychedelia, and even fragments of post-punk, to create a mind-warping experience. Their last record, Sudden Fictions (2020), is immersed within a sphere of kaleidoscopic visions and electrifying rhythms - truly providing a transformative journey for the listener. Setting out on a UK tour - Bo Ningen isn’t a band to miss. Tickets available from DICE.
Sorry | YES Basement | Wednesday 15 June
The London duo Sorry has nothing to be sorry for, as the unique band brings something entirely fresh to music. With their debut album, 925, the band flung pop, jazz, post-punk and alt-rock into one big avant-garde mixing pot and hoped for the best. The result came out with an eclectic sound that only the two songwriters, Asha Lorenz and Louis O'Bryen, could make work. Sorry rarely stick to a formula; they enjoy creating experimental music by absorbing elements of other bands and artists, such as Gorillaz's production skills or Billie Eilish's style. Sorry are embarking on a UK tour promoting their 2021 EP Twixtustwain, and this creative collective is sure to put on a stimulating show. Tickets via Ticket Web.
FEET | Gorilla | Friday 17 June
Upcoming Coventry lads FEET are touring their new EP, Walking Machine, after the success of their pre-lockdown debut album: What's Inside Is More Than Just Ham. FEET's lawlessness has developed from many different influences. Riddled with tight grooves and rickety guitars - tracks like 'English Weather' provide the familiar nineties British bravado of Blur, and 'Ad Blue' serves the odd eccentricity of indie legends Supergrass. George Haverson is emerging as one of the UK's best live front-persons, distinctive for his erratic Joey Ramone-type nature and iconic handlebar moustache. If you're into bands such as Squid, Yard Act or Shame - you'll be sure to enjoy the tongue-in-cheek, satirical nature of FEET. Tickets are available directly from Gorilla.
The Beat | Manchester Academy 2 | Tuesday 21 June
2-Tone Punk Ska royalty The Beat are coming to Manchester to perform their "...Still Can't Stop It" 40th Anniversary Tour. The Beat's sound is still true to their 80s pinnacle, seizing the Manchester Academy stage with the excitement and vigour they've always had. In light and remembrance of the passing of fellow band member and much-loved "toaster" Ranking Roger, Dave Wakeling will lead the band into a night of jumped up energy and nostalgia. The Beat will be here for one night in Manchester, and tickets are still available.
Suzanne Ciani in Quadraphonic Sound | Band On The Wall | Friday 24 June
Suzanne Ciani's performance at Band On The Wall is a recommended gig for the people (the geeks) who want to expand their curiosity and knowledge into the vast plethora of electronic sound. Suzanne Ciani is a modular synth prodigy, five-time Grammy Award-nominated musician, a composer for video games, feature films, adverts - the list goes on. She is one of the leading female synth pioneers, and with a career spanning over 40 years, she is here for an intimate performance of her most recent live album. The live performance of Improvisation On Four Sequences at Festival Antigel (2020) explores the field of quadrophonic sound with an integrated audience. And if you're wondering what quadrophonic sound is - it is a surround sound system that provides a three-dimensional live concert hall experience for the listener, guaranteeing an exhilarating and truly immersive experience. Tickets are available from Band On The Wall’s website.
St Vincent | Manchester Academy | Saturday 25 June
Annie Clark, known for her stage name, St Vincent, has spent years developing her quirky sound, and some might say - she's perfected it. With her sixth album release: Daddys Home - she has shown no signs of stopping yet. There's no doubt that Clark underlines all the details in everything she does, and her newest release presents a record flourishing with sensual seventies lustre and Bowie-esque danceability. Each track reveals a new story and adventure to fall in love with; Daddy's Home envisions a sultry speakeasy that you will never want to leave. The record is charismatic, groovy and chic in all of St Vincent’s unconventional glory. She will be performing live at Manchester Academy and tickets are available from the venue.
Main image: St Vincent by Justin Higuchi via Wikicommons
Follow Amelia on Instagram @empireofamelia_
Alanis Morrisette | AO Arena | Saturday 25 June
How could I neglect to include the 25th anniversary of the legendary audacious angst that is Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill? It's only one of the most defining and historical albums of the nineties, but Jagged Little Pill's sheer feminist magic transcends far beyond its release in 1995.
I was born one year after this album came out, and You Oughta Know is still my go-to track in 2022 when I'm heartbroken. Or pissed off. Usually both.
So what is it about this album that catapulted Alanis Morrisette into superstardom and reached audiences of different generations? Well, the very essence of Jagged Little Pill is simple. It's about a girl figuring out young womanhood in a world that doesn't exactly cater to that. Fans identified with Alanis's raw and vulnerable narration of femininity, and the hit single Ironic became a generational anthem. Alanis Morrisette is performing the album in full on a European tour, and tickets are still available for the Manchester AO gig at this link. Support comes from the equally wonderful Beth Orton. Make sure to set off with plenty of time for the arena gig - you wouldn't want to be in a traffic jam when you're already late.
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