Words by Ian Pennington

You sometimes see patterns in the weekly gig breakdown. You see huddles of shows linkable by name or type, genre or craze. For the vast majority of weeks, this is either purely coincidence or occasionally influenced by the time of year (you rarely see the Pogues outside of December). This week, we have a trio of local music launch events, plus a pair of nights setting a pretty high benchmark for themselves as the ‘Ultimate’ event in their category.

All of which doesn’t mean anything, but leads fairly seamlessly into tonight’s Kerrang! magazine tour show, which classes as an ‘Ultimate’ show in all but name, featuring as it does that long-serving pinnacle of the genre that never grows up Limp Bizkit at Academy 1. Contrast that with folkie coffee table crooner Newton Faulkner, who’s on at the moshpit-free Bridgewater Hall, dreadlocks and all.

The tie-in for Tuesday 18th is a pair of frontwomen, Jenny Wilson and Zara McFarlane, who’re headlining at Soup Kitchen and Band On The Wall respectively. The former being a Swede affiliated in various ways with The Knife whose bass driven ditties place her on the shelf close to Jenny Lewis, CSS and Chemical Brothers. The latter serves up a soulful selection via Gilles Peterson’s Brownwood imprint; more lounge jazz than any of the 6music DJ’s more experimental picks.

On Wednesday 19th there’s a real chalk and cheese choice. If the chalk is the Ultimate Rhythm and Blues night at the Bridgewater Hall, featuring golden oldies The Yardbirds, The Zombies, The Animals and Spencer Davis, then the cheese, fittingly, will be a show by theatrical US glam outfit Of Montreal at Gorilla.

Endless City is a new label pledging to add to the electronica and hip hop realm’s influencers such as Brainfeeder, Stone’s Throw and Hyperdub. Their launch event bill is topped by Neko Neko, who’ll perform at Kraak on Thursday 20th.

Through to another weekend, the early evening picks for Friday 21st vary in scale. For the expansive, try the much-lauded St Vincent at Manchester Cathedral. For the more intimate (and more ramshackle), head to Gullivers for another launch event, this time for local psychedelians The Yossarians’ album.

For those whose spend their weekends nocturnally, check out the second Ultimate experience of the week, Ultimate Power, whose penchant for ballads will likely fill up The Ritz. Or take advantage of The Warehouse Project’s post-Xmas absence by grooving on down to see the jazz-sampling house producer Floating Points at Roadhouse, which will be a more apt place to see him than hidden among Victoria Warehouse’s labyrinths.

If you like high-pitched vocals with your house music, then catch MDNGHT at Academy 3 on Saturday 22nd. It’ll seem small and grungy surrounds for the Manchester band whose recordings have drawn comparisons with heavy-hitting buzz bands like Disclosure.

We’ll end with another launch. Red Deer Club Records’ folkie trio Literature Thieves gently bring down the week’s curtain at Salford’s Eagle Inn on Sunday 23rd.

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