Words by Ian Pennington

Although the weather’s becoming damper, conversely the live music is drying up ahead of Christmas. We’ve still been able to scour for the best of this week’s live music, and have added extra decoration by means of some comedy and spoken word.

Starting with some comedy on Monday 15th, a regular Canal Street comedy slot, Sidekick, hosts a trio of wits at the Via Fossa venue: Will Duggan, Penella Mellor and Jonathan Mayor.

Tuesday 18th is serving up fewer sounds than faulty headphones at a silent disco, so we’ll move swiftly onto Wednesday 17th, when you could sample some spoken word in the shape of an amalgamation of Bad Language and Tales of Whatever at Gullivers, aptly titled Tales of Bad Language.

Or stick with music at the RNCM, where oldy worldy harmonisers The Puppini Sisters will be strumming ukes and singing songs in the festive spirit.

If North Eastern collaboration in your bag, then news of the melody making merger of Maximo Park’s Paul Smith and Field Music’s Peter Brewis will have ensnared your ear drums. Their Frozen By Sight tour hits Band on the Wall on Thursday 18th.

Due south to Stevenson Square’s Soup Kitchen, Thursday is also the designated day for Grey Lantern’s latest psych punning show, Psychmare Before Christmas. Listen as The KVB reverberate the needles from your Xmas tree.

Like the presents stuffed into your stocking, Friday 19th is crammed full of musical options. Big hitters are Wiley at Gorilla and Inspiral Carpets at The Ritz, but cast your eyes elsewhere for shows at the Klondyke, for folkies The Lonesome & Penniless Cowboys, and the Roadhouse, for Fumuça Preta’s melting pot of everything from fuzz funk and musique concrete to acid house and Latin rhythms.

The Saturday before Xmas day is naturally a busy one as well. Top of the tree is Now Wave’s line-up of FX-strewn indie and mellow-core vibes at Salford’s Kings Arms pub, headed up by Horsebeach.

The jolly gift giver of funk and soul, Craig Charles, will be decorating Band on the Wall with his genre floor fillers, gathering an audience for Wah Wah friendly groovers Haggis Horns.

Dive under the tree and out of town to unwrap a local hip hop showcase at Antwerp Mansion under the banner of Pinkdot 3.0. Northern Monkey and Room 2 Records present a veritable feast of beats and wordplay.

Finally, on Sunday 21st it’s all about the Academies. #2 takes a trip down indie rock’s memory lane with Cast. Over in the larger environs of #1, you’re in for a reggae tinged treat with UB40.

There’s little to satisfy your musical yearnings until the end of the month, outside of bespoke karaoke lyrics at the office Xmas do, but tune back in next week for a NYE special when I might promise to use fewer Xmas references.

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