From Take That to Iron Maiden, Snarky Puppy to Richard Ashcroft, here's our pick of Manchester's best gigs & concerts over the next two months
SNARKY PUPPY | O2 Apollo| Thursday 4 May
There are few bands that could boast Grammy awards for both Best R&B Performance and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, but Snarky Puppy is one of them. Despite being hailed as one of the jazz world’s major players, the enigmatic genre-shifters refuse to be labelled as a ‘jazz band’...or a jam band...or even a fusion band. For their latest album Culcha Vulcha, they return to their roots as an instrumental ensemble for more sonic creativity. For this Band on the Wall fundraiser, they’ll be joined by fusion trio House of Waters.
O2 Apollo, Stockport Road, M12 6AP (7pm; tickets from £23 at bandonthewall.org).
THE COMET IS COMING | Soup Kitchen | Friday 5 May
These Mercury Music Prize nominees are indeed coming…and they’re making a beeline for Soup Kitchen. In the imagined aftermath of sonic destruction, 2013 saw three musical cosmonauts convene in a London warehouse. Together they would chart a path to new soundscapes, based on the encoded language of Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and the BBC Radiophonic Workshops. Fast forward four years, various awards and heaps of critical praise and suffice to say it’s working. The Comet is Coming - faster than anyone dared believe possible.
Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear Street, M1 1D (7pm; tickets £12.50 at skiddle.com).
IRON MAIDEN | Manchester Arena | Monday 8 May
Iron Maiden return to Manchester Arena this spring as part of The Book of Souls world tour. The band’s sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls was also their most successful - debuting at number 1 in over 40 countries - showing the rockers have lost none of their prowess. Mascot Eddie is given a Maya-themed makeover for this six-continent tourathon, which sees the band perform both old and new hits alike. Support comes from arena headliners Shinedown.
Manchester Arena, Victoria Station, Hunts Bank, M3 1AR (7.30pm; tickets from £46 at eventim.co.uk).
ADAM ANT | Bridgewater Hall | Wednesday 10 May
Following his successful Kings of the Wild Frontier tour earlier this year, Adam Ant will be at the Bridgewater Hall with new tour Anthems: drawing from a repertoire of commercial hits, B-Sides and personal favourites. The new wave icon will be joined by LA ‘glitter rockers’ Glam Skanks (pictured) - compared to a Rocky Horror Picture Show house band - whose previous gigs include jamming with Johnny Depp and opening for Alice Cooper. Should be an interesting one…
Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, M2 3WS (7.30pm; tickets from £34.50 at tickets.bridgewater-hall.co.uk).
TAKE THAT | Manchester Arena | 18-27 May
Gazza, Mark and Howard’s return to their hometown venue brings their tally of Manchester Arena performances to a record-breaking 44 - the most by any music act in the venue’s 21 year history. Despite being somewhat depleted since their first arena gig, Take That are still living up to their name and giving it some welly, this time in a Wonderland-themed extravaganza based on their latest album. June, meanwhile, sees castaway Robbie at the Etihad for some Heavy Entertainment.
Manchester Arena, Victoria Station, Hunts Bank, M3 1AR (7.30/8pm; tickets from £55 at eventim.co.uk).
SCOTT LLOYD | Gullivers | Saturday 27 May
He may not be a familiar name quite yet but local lad Scott Lloyd is fast gaining attention for his brand of modern folk, which has drawn comparisons to the likes of Bob Dylan and Jake Bugg. Following various radio nods, 2015 saw Lloyd reach number 12 in the iTunes singer-songwriters chart with Ironopolis and a performance at Glastonbury. Having played a sold-out gig at The Castle Hotel, Lloyd will be at its sister venue Gullivers to launch new EP In the Garden.
Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, M4 1LW (7.30pm; tickets £3 at gulliversnq.info).
HALEY REINHART | Gorilla | Friday 2 June
After shooting to fame in Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox - the time warp music collective renowned for reworking modern hits into vintage classics - Haley Reinhart is striking out on her own. The American singer-songwriter plays Gorilla for the spring leg of her European tour, based on recent album Better; which gained critical acclaim for both its genre-fusing original tracks and inventive covers of songs like Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love.
Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, M1 5WW (6.30-10pm; tickets from £16.50 at gorilla.seetickets.com).
BLAKE | Stockport Plaza | Wednesday 7 June
Following a spate of appearances across the BBC - from The One Show to Strictly - Brit award-winners BLAKE are back on the road with a brand new tour celebrating the finest songs from stage and screen. Along with cinematic lighting and projections, expect the trio’s famous banter and music from the likes of Hanz Zimmer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Beach Boys and more - all sung in thrilling vocal harmony at Stockport’s historic art deco gem.
Stockport Plaza, Mersey Square, Stockport SK1 1SP (7.30pm; tickets £22 at quaytickets.com).
DARK MATTER | Gorilla & O2 Ritz | 29 June - 15 July
Curated by BBC Radio 6 Music tastemaker Mary Anne Hobbs, this Manchester International Festival commission sees eight immersive shows from eight very different musicians: taking in everything from drone metal to freeform jazz, street poetry to radical electronica – all pushing creative boundaries to the limit. Lighting designer Stuart Bailes will transform Gorilla and the O2 Ritz, creating new universes for each artist. Also as part of MIF, don’t miss another series of diverse performances in Festival Square.
Gorilla & O2 Ritz (various times; tickets from £12 at mif.co.uk).
RICHARD ASHCROFT | Castlefield Bowl | Friday 30 June
Richard Ashcroft kicks off Sounds of the City with the first of its headline concerts at Castlefield Bowl. Since splitting from The Verve in 1999 - which briefly reformed in 2007 - the former front man has become a successful solo artist, with a trio of top three albums and Coldplay’s Chris Martin apparently calling him the ‘best singer in the world’. The NME 2017 Best British Artist nominee will be performing hits from latest album These People.
Castlefield Bowl, Rice Street, M3 4JR (6pm; tickets £39.50 from seetickets.com).