Words by Ian Pennington

He stops playing when he wants, except on Sundays when he gets rudely escorted off stage by the security staff… Parklife. If you’re wondering what to expect from one of the hot tickets of Manchester International Festival this week, wonder.land, then the story that its composer Damon Albarn’s Roskilde Festival may prove useful when working out whether you’ll catch the last train home.

While he proclaimed a big 4Q to the organisers, who eventually had to carry him off the stage, another band screaming similar sentiment is the jazz funk ensemble FORQ, who’re more likely to stick to their curfew at Band on the Wall this evening, Monday 6th.

Increasing the size of that vibe of jazzy setup by several multiples for Tuesday 7th, the Beats & Pieces Big Band launch their new album, All In, at Soup Kitchen.

US indie rock squeakers Modest Mouse are still filling the city’s biggest venues – they’re back at The Ritz on the same evening.

Wednesday 8th presents a psychedelic rock clash to balance. Do you go for the sun-drenched synths of The Holydrug Couple at Soup Kitchen, or the epically named King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at Sound Control?

Outside of the Damon Albarn, Björk and Maxine Peake stranglehold on MIF, there are other events to cruise around. One is the FKA Twigs open production and rehearsal sessions at Old Granada Studios, which are building towards her AV shows next week. Another is the Gerhard Richter and Arvo Pärt choral collaboration at the multiple award-winning Whitworth Art Gallery. Both begin from Thursday 9th.

Back into the local bands realm, Walton Hesse celebrate their debut album in the intimate climes of the Castle Hotel on Friday 10th.

Saturday 11th may present a good opportunity to scout the MIF marquees at Albert Square. The Festival Square, as it’s known over the next fortnight, houses local acoustic acts and DJs on rotation. You might even catch some of the BBC broadcasters hanging around.

Alternatively, Hour Records host a mixed bag local line-up at the Eagle Inn, from punk to folk to hip hop.

Unlike Albarn, we’re going to round off this gigs guide on time, but before we go there’s Sunday 12th to cater for. The aforementioned Estonian classical composer Arvo Pärt has RSVPed positively to MIF’s invitation of ambient explorations at Bridgewater Hall, while Manchester strummer Cavan Moran is the latest headliner at Jezebel Music’s Evening of Folk at the Castle Hotel.

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