Words by Ian Pennington
Those expecting some sunshine slowdowns in the music department can think again. Prepare your ear drums for a week of obscure time signatures and abstract note progressions as Manchester Jazz Festival steers the good ship summertime away from mellow sunsets and drops anchor in the challenging sound storms of liberated free form musicianship. Correct, there might also be some smooth jazz that I’m not illuminating here, but that’d take the sting out of my intro to this week’s listings column.
In fact, we’ll begin with the smooth, as on Monday 3rd there’s some throwback indie pop to cater for those favouring good old 4/4. Those clinical melodies arrive through Gorilla’s soundsystem courtesy of Luna, Dean Wareham’s post-Galaxie 500 project who’ve reassembled to call a halt to their ten-year hiatus.
A less frequent soundwave flowing through western headphones is that of the kora. Band on the Wall have presented an opportunity to sample its dulcet tones on Tuesday 4th as Afro Celt Sound System’s N’Faly Kouyaté rolls into town.
Shoegaze and post-rock promoter Grey Lantern’s next outing is on Wednesday 5th in the shape of Post War Glamour Girls, whose appearance at Gullivers is sure to beckon in FX-laden distortion and dramatic vocal growling.
By now you’re wondering what all that Manchester Jazz Festival chat was about earlier in this prosaic drivel. Wonder no longer. Hans Prya’s debut show at Band on the Wall is our first pick of the bunch. Its various members have previously lined up on the Swan Street venue’s stage as the musicians selected to take part in Snarky Puppy’s weeklong residency programme back in 2013, and their current incarnation a testament to the legacy and importance of those residencies.
The big one for MJF on Friday 7th is the homecoming for Mercury-nominated trio GoGo Penguin, whose years dispersing their piano-led ditties and covers of rock songs into the Manchester ether has paid off with deserved recognition beyond the M60 and now a sold out show at the Festival Square marquee.
Through to another weekend, there are two festivals vying for your attentions in South Manchester. One is in Levenshulme, promising a family-friendly smorgasbord of music, art, dance and circus acts at the Klondyke Club under the banner of Summer of Lev, whereas the other takes over Alexandra Park for the annual Caribbean Carnival of Manchester, featuring all the jerk chicken you can eat, with sound systems set up across a variety of genres to whet your musical appetite.
The final nod to the Jazz Festival goes to the Robert Glasper Trio. The Texan pianist is lined up to entertain an audience at RNCM on Saturday 8th.
So far this week has lacked something… That’s right, some Nicolas Cage. Cage Fest seeks to rectify this deficiency with its debut Gorilla, picking out a handful of the cult favourite actor’s finest for a marathon afternoon.