Words by Ian Pennington

Almost every musician lacking in a pension-guarantor of a Christmas hit has battened down the hatches for winter hibernation, but – never fear! – there are enough gigs to see us through to the end of December, sidestepping Slade-addled soundtracks as we go.

There’s a slow start to the week, but some life is breathed into Wednesday 18th by the Hoya Hoya crew members as Illum Sphere welcomes JTC (aka Dabrye of Ghostly International fame) to join him for back to back sets in the grotto that is Soup Kitchen’s basement.

No excuses for missing the next one, because they’ve given you three bites at the cherry. Those psychosomatic addict pyromaniacs The Prodigy have promised a trio of shows at the Victoria Warehouse on Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th.

Also on 19th there’s a pair of shows at opposing ends of the moodiness spectrum – Patrick Wolf represents the uptempo, flamboyant corner in St Philip’s Church, off Chapel Street in Salford, while in the introspective shoegaze corner is filled by Anton Newcombe worshippers Kult Country, who’re on the bill at the Psychmare Before Xmas at Soup Kitchen with The Oscillation and Base Ventura.

On Friday 20th there’s the ever reliable local hip hop night In The Loop at Roadhouse, featuring Ape Cult and Metrodome, or for a larger scale show with more established acts, try Ocean Colour Scene at The Ritz, The Levellers at Academy 1 or Tricky at Gorilla.

By Saturday it’s time to groove, so experience the irresistible jazzy soul of The Caulbearers at Matt and Phreds, or save yourself for later on at the Craig Charles Funk N Soul Club, where he has Haggis Horns performing live in addition to his own record selections all night at Band On The Wall.

If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket for the sold out Cherry Ghost double header at Halle St Peter’s on Sunday 22nd or Monday 23rd then here’s a gentle reminder that the time is nigh. If you don’t, then look out for our NYE special round-up in a couple of weeks and otherwise make sure you enjoy whatever festivities you prefer to indulge.

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