Words by Ian Pennington

The live music calendar is finally beginning to crawl out of its wintry hibernation this week, as exams are over, the bell has sounded for last orders in Dry January (and its indie brewery competitor, Tryanuary) and the post-festive heaviness starts to subside.

To begin the week, take a trip down live lit lane, which in the case of Verbose is on the same road as Fallow Café.

There are a trio of folkies playing here on Tuesday 27th, whose lineage can be loosely tracked from one to the next. Mike Heron’s Incredible String Band can claim to have influenced many a finger-picked lilt since their heyday in the free-thinking 60s counterculture. For this tour he’s performing with the Glaswegian quintet Trembling Bells at Gullivers.

Similarly, fellow Scot King Creosote has been stretching the scope of folk-induced psychedelia via his solo career and foundation of the excellent Fence Collective in the late 90s. He’s performing at Academy 2 this time.

The most recent of these three incarnations, Nathaniel Rateliff is more borne from the post-Bon Iver harvest, but will be playing songs from the same rustic ball park at Deaf Institute that night.

For fans of live electronic music, look no further than Antwerp Mansion on Wednesday 28th. If your idea of a covers bands involves a pub setting and general indifference from cranky regulars supping bitter on a Friday night in a rural suburb, barring a couple of energetic revellers who holler the wrong words, then Binkbeats will redress those preconceptions. From his seat amidst a solo electronic orchestra, he re-imagines all sorts from Caribou to Madlib, Dilla to Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus to Baths.

There’s more from the electronic world on Thursday 29th, with the succinct collaboration between Neneh Cherry and rocketnumbernine continuing at Gorilla.

Up at Gullivers, Ghost Poet entertains a smaller crowd than usual.

By Friday 30th, those limbs will need loosening and the Flyin’ Easy Soul Club downstairs at the Whiskey Jar has the solution. David Barbarossa is the DJ whose crate digging exploits will play you a new groove.

Are you into riffs and festivals? If you tick those boxes then The Ruby Lounge is your destination over the weekend of Saturday 31st to Sunday 1st February. Riff Fest is the name of the event, and those deemed riff-tastic enough for the occasion include Trojan Horse, Alpha Male Tea Party, Cleft and Cyril Snear.

Looking at Saturday’s club nights, Hoya:Hoya’s first Roadhouse appearance of 2015 features their dependable residents who’re all on the same off-kilter electronic wavelength.

Or stay at The Ruby Lounge after Riff Fest for a healthy dose of cheese courtesy of the Ultimate Anthems tune mongers.

If you’re still living on a prayer as Sunday 1st rolls in then you could supplement those vibes by dabbling in something a bit different. At Academy 1, Manchester Roller Derby hosts a bout featuring two contests and teams from four cities across the UK, including MRD’s own Checkerbroads. Musically you can expect a soundtrack of pop punk, cheese and power ballads to urge the skaters round the track, but don’t expect it to be like Ellen Page’s Whip It.

Later in the day, the Band on the Wall Film Club is serving up a meaty documentary on The Art of Rap, directed by Ice-T.

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