Bearded’s Guide To… Manchester

Manchester's buzzin'. No messin'.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 It's official. Manchester is the best place for gigging in the UK according to a recent poll by the PRS. But before we put the champagne on ice we should really consider the results with some proper journalistic analysis.

The poll whereby 'some' proles were asked "Do you have enough local gigs in your area?". A totally massive 77% of us replied, "yeah mate it's mint, Manchester's f***ing buzzing…Stone Roses innate! Safe" before proceeding to sing "Manchester lalala, Manchester lalala" and had a Gallagher epiphany whereby they thought they were top and also one of Frank, Liam or Noel. Meanwhile 33% said "It's f***ing s**te, total bobbins". The reality is probably somewhere between the two.

Regardless of the validity of this poll it marks a great victory for the city which knocked Cheryl Cole town off the top spot due to Lindisfarne being "between albums". That and many Geordies responding, "Aye man, Nu'astle's greet, but Manchester's got Giggs," before chuckling into their Nu'ky Brown knowing that whilst Manchester's the home of self-aggrandising gobshites, Newcastle's the home of Dad jokes.


Having watched Comic Relief on Sky+, what with being out at gigs all the time, Manchester is feeling charitable. Japanchester and Japanchester 2 neither featuring Japanther, both featuring local 'talent'. The former (Ruby Lounge, 14 April) includes, Patterns, Day for Airstrikes, Plank, Trojan Horse, From the Kites of San Quentin and The Goddam Electric whilst the latter (The Roadhouse, 23 April) has Broken Teeth, La Haine, Bays, Last Chance To Dance, Cavan Moran and Gravity Hook. My advice would be to go to the former and post a fiver to:

The Roadhouse
8 Newton Street
M1 2AN
United Kingdom

The other charity gig is the Ten album launch (Deaf Institute, 4 April) with Badly Drawn Boy, Gideon Conn, Josphine Oniyama, Jo Rose, Jim Noir, Liam Frost, Liz Green, The Travelling Band and Silverclub. Whilst the other charity events have their recipient in the title Ten are a little more elusive, being named in reference to another compilation the charity, Manchester Aid to Kosovo, did 'ten' years ago. Say what you want but they're good at counting.

As I've not interviewed any new Manchester acts for you this month here's a quote from Guy Garvey which has clearly been either fabricated or distorted and which I've ripped from the press release. Regardless, it's the closest thing I've got to an interview with a Manchester artist this month.

“We have always been proud to be associated with MAK (Music Aid to Kosovo (sic)). Aside from the great work they do in Kosovo, they have brought together Manchester’s music community on many occasions. MAK events are always a document of the times”.


On to releases, essentials this month are:

Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides - Low Fired Clay Escape LP (Carnivals)

Stripped bare endeavour from the outthere improvisors. The new record takes on outdated military communication systems. Sound weird? It is weird, but beautiful.

Ilaiyaraaja - Solla Solla Vol. 1 & 2 LP's. (Finders Keepers)

Chorlton's finest crate digging psychedelia heads are releasing two records. "From the undeniable prince of Kollywood." Just a very exciting record.

Nissennenmondai / Waiters split 7" (Comfortable on a Tightrope)

Pristine Japanese rockers share some black wax with Manchester's less-pristine but still brilliant Waiters.


So if you're all like, "I'm not going to some rubbish charity event. I'm running 34 meters next month and have already raised 80p for Hitler Youth", here's the best of April's live events.

Not only will we be dancing in the street for the Northern Quarter Street Party (29 April) but in the clubs as well as Naive Melody returns following a 6 month hiatus with a residents night (Charlies, 22 April) and at a carnival (Sankey's, 9 April) for DJ Wild and Benoit & Sergio.

There's more dancing to be had - even if it isn't the Jazz-cat way - as Sean Kuti & Egypt 80 (The Ritz, 18 April) come to town. The son of afrobeat legend Fela and leader of his dad's Egypt 80 band, the young singer and saxophonist is filling his pop's shoes nicely. It's just a shame it's not at The Bridgewater Hall, seeming that they are promoting the show.

On the rock music side of proceedings, MIE Music are putting on Skullflower, Werewolf Jerusalem and Deas & Denton (Kraak, 16 April). Gonna be some 'mad jams'. Also, the legendary Earth (Islington Mill, 2 April) are being put on by WotGodForgot.


Feel free to crack open the bubbly and toast to the upbeat poll participants of this fine city.