From TikTok surf sensations to Japanese psychedelia, these are our October gig picks

It's the spookiest month of the year and our October gig guide is here. As always, there is a wide variety of gigs to choose from at Manchester's best-loved venues. From Gilla Band's "battlefield of destruction" at the Ritz to sophisticated Swedish Jazz at Stoller Hall - this gig guide covers you for bands and artists of all genres this month.

Read on for our live music picks for October.

Ida Nielsen Comes To Manchester In October Credit Tore Sætre Wikimedia
Ida Nielsen will be painting BOTW purple Image: Tore Sætre Wikimedia

Surf Curse | Saturday 1 October | New Century

TikTok, eh? Possibly the biggest curveball to happen to music since Napster. What was once dismissed as a daft app where kids shared videos of themselves dancing has now become the single most important place for music to go viral. And it's all happened in what seems like a nanosecond. Take Surf Curse, a lo-fi, DIY band from Reno Nevada who released a Beach-Boys-meets-Strokes song called Freaks back in 2013 pleasing their local slacker fanbase and never attaining much more than cool indie label success. Fast forward to 2021 and one of their songs suddenly gets picked up by a Tiktoker discussing the polyamorous subtexts in Scooby Doo. Cue pretty much everyone who considers themselves a freak on TikTok (which is so many people that it kinda becomes an oxymoron) soundtracking their videos with it. Next comes the major label signing, single re-release and streams in the hundreds of millions on Spotify. Zoinks! Surf Curse are blessing (SWIDT?) Manchester's coolest new music venue New Century with their presence this October. (Words: Kelly Bishop)

Ida Nielsen | Friday 7 October | Band On The Wall

Not many people can casually put "Prince's bassist" on their CV, but the Danish bass-playing prodigy Ida Nielsen sure can. No biggie.

The regal rockstar discovered Ida in 2010, and her career was kickstarted by playing with his band, 3rdeyegirl, from 2014 until he died in 2016. She's now touring herself and funking it up in his honour with her aptly named backing band - The Funkbots. Ida's insane talent for polished string plucking and high-energy funk-slapping is reminiscent of the great Larry Graham (Sly and The Family Stone) in her tracks like Purple Interlude and We Came 2 Get Funky. Now, she has blossomed into a powerhouse funkster in her own right, and in 2019, Music Radar readers voted Ida Nielsen amongst the top 10 bass players in the world.

Ida Nielsen is performing only one show in the U.K. on her European tour, and it's at Manchester's treasured gig venue - Band On The Wall. Tickets are £20

Acid Mothers Temple Coming To Manchester Rebellion Credit Facebook
Acid Mothers Temple are ready to scoop your brains out at Rebellion Image; AMT Facebook

Fujiya & Miyagi | Wednesday 12 October | YES

Fujiya & Miyagi are the slickest British band of the 21st century, delivering sensual 80s groove and seductive charm straight into the ear canal for the last 22 years. Yes, if Fujiya & Miyagi have somehow slipped your sophistication radar for nearly a quarter of a century, now is the time to be in the know of this Brighton-based project. Their 2006 album, Transparent Things, delivered two of their biggest hits, Ankle Injuries and Collarbone. Both tracks are famous for their slick-as-hell bassline wired between sleazy 00s Brooklyn-style guitar riffs and a groove so smooth you could slide down it. Fujiya & Miyagi is the band you want to play over the most epic moments of your life (whether imaginary or real) because they're so effortlessly cool. This limited Manchester date will commemorate the release of their ninth studio album, Slight Variations, debuting on Friday, 30 September. Sticky Heat will present the band at YES alongside some resident D.J.s, Muddy Feet, Massey & Marco Giannini. Tickets are £17.25.

Acid Mothers Temple | Thursday 13 October | Rebellion

Prepare to have your skull hollowed and scooped out by the long-haired Japanese wizards, Acid Mothers Temple, as they narcotise their audience with mind-warping, acid-infused psychedelic rock. For the last two decades, the guitarist Kawabata Makoto has been distorting the impossible, contorting and wailing his way through conscious-expanding melodies. Their live performances wail with pulsating and engrossing movement, similar to the great heights of space-rock legends Hawkwind or the shuffly weirdness of German experimental band CAN. Acid Mothers Temple delivers their indigenous hymns with melodious chanting and frenzied cries in a psychoactive display of epic space opera. The band will break down the doors of perception at Rebellion on Thursday, 13 October. Tickets £13.20

Naima Bock Is Playing Manchester Credit El Hardwick
Naima Bock plays Gullivers Image: El Hardwick

The Daniel Karlsson Trio | Thursday 13 October | Stoller Hall 

The Daniel Karlsson Trio have secured a reputation as one of European jazz's most attractive modern instalments. Their album, Fusion for Fish, won the Swedish Grammy for best jazz album in 2018, and they have seized many more accolades since then, receiving great praise in France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The trio carouse in many worldly inspirations and consist of piano, double bass and percussion. Their music, by default, refuses to conform to one boxed-in jazz category; however, they still offer delicate hints of obedience with songs abundant in classical and bluesy undertones. Karlsson's awe-inspiring soulful melodies unfold amongst the controlled chaos of Christian Spering’s double bass in their latest album. Fuse Number Eleven is fertile in atmospheric soundscapes and calm composure. Tickets £16.

Naima Bock | Thursday 13 October | Gullivers 

Naima Bock is the latest folky addition to Sub Pop's record label, with her recent debut album Giant Palm released in 2022. Bock is trading in the 'country sleaze' of her previous alternative band Goat Girl in exchange for a Fairport Convention and Bert Jansch-inspired English folk renaissance. It is quite the change, and her album Giant Palm lyrically explores the break-up from her old band as she falls deeper into an orchestral rabbit hole. The single Campervan is a highlight on the record, bringing to mind the lulling nature of Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left with breathtaking string arrangements and a 3/4 delicate waltz. It seems Naima has come into her element, despite the album's darkened and, at times, sad undertones. In songs like Toll, she expresses feelings of defeat ("They say time will heal all / But I felt the darkness first") over a wistful mediaeval acoustic guitar composition. Giant Palm is for music fans of all things folky, witchy and pagan. Perfect to be included in the spooky October gig guide. Tickets £11.30.

Current Affairs Play Manchester In October
Alphaville presents: Current Affairs at Fuel Image: Current Affairs

Gilla Band | Thursday 20 October | O2 Ritz

Gilla Band's Dara Kiely takes the stage as a battleground for destruction as he speaks of his personal experience with a debilitating plunge of psychosis. The frontman is parallel to The Fall's Mark E. Smith with his marked delivery, emitting the same bleak approach to the mundanities of life and garbling of everyday words that are somewhat prophetic. 

Gilla Band are not for the timid or the light-hearted. Post Ryan from their forthcoming release Most Normal (2022) drowns in angular guitar loops and scummy basslines, mutilating the skin and uncovering all the fractures and wires tangled beneath. This level of deep self-reflection and nakedness is nothing new to Gilla Band; they've spent a career brazenly bringing all the begrimed scum to the surface, bathing in all the things that most of us push deep down and pretend never existed.

Their performance at O2 Ritz will pad the room with a stench of cathartic energy, sending carcasses spinning to the sound of their unmatched anarchy. Joining them will also be Manchester's very own tumultuous and experimental band, Mandy, Indiana. It's a match made in hell. 

Current Affairs | Thursday 20 October | Fuel

Confidentials recently caught up with Withington-based Alphaville to chat about their new punk-charged bookstore. However, they also have a knack for putting on some killer gigs in and around their favourite local venues. Alphaville welcomes moody Scottish rockers Current Affairs to a headline show at Fuel Cafe and Bar in Withington. Current Affairs have been lurking deep in the up-and-coming D.I.Y. post-punk scene, slowly becoming one of Glasgow's most favoured bands. The band's 2019 L.P. Object & Subject is the eighties love child of Johnny Marr's Jazzmaster riffs and Siouxsie Sioux's sophistication. The singer and keyboardist Joan Sweeney's turbulent prowess dominates the record, whilst the band pummel underneath with queer gothic melodies and haunting soundscapes. They'll be joined on tour by fellow northern bands Nape Neck (Leeds), and Yossari Baby (Manchester). Tickets are £7 from DICE and £8 at the door. 

Freya Beer | Thursday 20 October | Night & Day

Giving serious David Lynch vibes in the best possible way, Freya Beer brings her gothic glam swagger to the small stage at everyone's fave: Night & Day. Freya released her debut album Beast in October 2021 and has since chalked up plenty of critical acclaim and radio airplay for her particular brand of PJ Harvey-esque, sultry guitar pop. This is a rising star to catch before she outgrows these intimate venues and you wish you could say you'd been there. Tickets £10. (Words: Kelly Bishop and main pic)

Japanese Breakfast Are Coming To Manchester In October Image Wikicommons
Michelle Zauner brings her sweet pop group Japanese Breakfast to Albert Hall Image: Wikicommons

Japanese Breakfast | Monday 24 October | The Albert Hall

Michelle Zauner is here to serve your Japanese Breakfast on a porcelain plate decorated with dazzling pop and electrifying synths. The American-Korean indie band's latest album Jubilee comes abundant in chamber pop danceability, and Zauner demonstrates a triumphant bubblegum queenship that even Madonna would be impressed with. 

The catchy sugary tunes like Be Sweet are perfect for making your way to the dancefloor, and Posing in Bondage is rich in sexual desire and brooding femininity. The album is a fluid dream state - demonstrating the true depths of where modern pop music can ebb and flow. The record bursts with pastel colours and glistening production, wonderfully connecting Korean and American culture. Tickets are £18.60.

Murkage Dave | Thursday 27 October | Band On The Wall

East London's Murkage Dave has made a name for himself on the British scene as Garage and R&B's man of the people. And he takes that title in his stride. His newest release, The City Needs A Hero, explores the pressures and suspense felt in today's society with his tongue-in-cheek charm and candid nature. Murkage Dave openly discusses his frustrations with the tension in the United Kingdom, offering his support and empathy to those around him whom he believes need it the most. Every Statue Must Come Down has a danceable afrobeat tribal rhythm, and the album stand-out World I Want To Live In rejoices in a modern gorgeous gospel hymn with heartfelt lyrics ("We've all been through different things / I know you're tired of the fight / What if I decide to fight with ya? / That's the world I want to live in.")

It's unclear if Murkage Dave thinks of himself as the city's "hero", but he sure is a suitable candidate with his smooth and graceful feel-good music. Tickets are £17.30.

Main image: Freya Beer

Follow Amelia on Instagram @empireofamelia_

Read next: First look: Alphaville, Withington - Manchester’s newest indie bookshop

Read again: Now open: New Century - a new 'social destination' for Manchester

Get the latest news to your inbox

Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!