Words by Ian Pennington

It’s finally arrived. That sure sign of impending Xmas that I mentioned a few weeks ago has become more than a lonely speck on the distant horizon. The Pogues are playing their seasonal hit at the Apollo on Sunday 15th. The bells are ringing out for Christmas Day.

Which means we’ve started this week at its end point and can now retreat back to today to fill in the gaps. Today, Monday 9th, there’s a show that comes with the blessing of Bag Thing’s sister promotional arm, Hear Here. When No Ceremony /// performed on the FutureEverything bill alongside Alt-J and M O N E Y last year, they showed just how snugly they fit next to those other atmospheric indie buzz bands. They’re headlining the Soup Kitchen this time with O>L>A (aka One Little Atlas) in support, and Now Wave are co-promoting it, in case you needed any more justification.

It’s a busy period for Hey! Manchester, whose week begins on Tuesday 10th when Neko Case pays a visit to the RNCM – her first musical journey to Manchester in four years. Then, on Wednesday 11th, Nizlopi slings his guitar over his shoulder, jumps in his fabled JCB and heads over to the Ruby Lounge for a show, supported by bright Manchester prospect, Sukh.

More from from H!M later in the week, but, back in chronological order, we’re now up to Thursday 12th. Bad Manners skank up to Gorilla, or there’s a record launch show at Kraak for Salfordian doomsayers, Stranger Son.

Graduates from Manchester’s musical classrooms PINS now have an album through Bella Union to draw on and Deaf Institute provides the next test for their talents on Friday 13th. Or go bigger and join a warehouse full of revellers all there to catch Steven Ellison’s two guises, Flying Lotus and Captain Murphy.

Given the we started the week with Sunday, we’ll end it with Saturday 14th, which brings us to a few of the area’s venues – Gorilla hosts a long overdue comeback gig for Nine Black Alps (who were given the weight of the ‘next Nirvana’ tag back in the mid-noughties), Academy 2 welcomes the ever-impressive tones of Kurt Vile and the Apollo houses angst-rockers Placebo for the night.

And back to H!M endorsed shows, the second ever live music event at Salford’s First Chop Brewing Arm venue-bar holds a quietly phenomenal line-up, featuring Mr Scruff and Denis Jones in support of The Cinematic Orchestra’s Phil France. That’s on Saturday as well.

Phew. Wiping your brow and dusting yourself down after all those gigs, why not squeeze an evening in for a trip to the National Football Museum, who’re open later during the festive period.

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