Words by Ian Pennington

If you haven’t already, then today is your final countdown to register to vote in the general election on 7 May. But we’re not talking politics here – the only ‘x’ we’re asking you to place is in marking the spot on Manchester’s music map you’ll head to this week.

So, voting pencils at the ready – your first candidate is Villagers. The mellow folkies from Dublin are looking to entertain the electorate at RNCM tonight, Monday 20th.

There’ll be no coalition on Tuesday 21st as two gigs go head-to-head. Will Butler is running as a solo ticket at Deaf Institute, away from his central Arcade Fire party.

Or the indie rock Screaming Females provide a viable alternative at Roadhouse.

Taking a detour away from the musical exchanges, the ever-politicised London performance poet Hollie McNish returns to the city after successful turnouts at Eagle Inn and Gorilla recently. She’s on at the Dancehouse on Wednesday 22nd.

Otherwise, you might find consensus of viewpoints at The Ritz, where George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic rally support – aptly named for this week’s theme.

Thursday 23rd is a chance for face time with a group of wildcards. Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura seek to warp your psyche into a alternative dimension, where the economy, climate or healthcare are mere hypothetical iota.

On Friday 24th there are three main parties that’ll be the most popular. On the one hand, you have Twisted Tubes at 1 Primrose Street – the brass band headlining an evening themed by the M20 Collective.

Next up, Stealing Sheep at Band on the Wall. The indie-pop trio have a new LP, Not Real, to show off.

Place your X for Xtreme at Gorilla, where big riffing Amplifier shake those speakers from the rafters.

London grime wordsmith and Akala has a full day of campaigning on Saturday 25th. First up, the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company founder will lead a workshop at the Free Education MCR community event at the Academy, before packing his mic and heading to Gorilla for a live set.

Away from the Akala personality politics, local electronica duo Shield Patterns have a show at Eagle Inn.

The coin toss for Sunday 26th sees two metamorphosing bands vying for the flip. Colin MacIntyre has flitted between releasing music under his own name, but return to the Mull Historical Society guise for a show at Night & Day Café performing his debut album, ‘Loss’.

Over at Academy 3, Ninja Tune trio Portico – former Mercury nominees in a previous life as a Quartet – dabble in electronica.

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