Words by Ian Pennington
The history and future of a city is in its architecture and protecting the shapes of its past skylines even in building new ones, as the country estate guard dog the National Trust articulates with its Brutal Utopias campaign. The same might be said of the musical and cultural landscape of a city, and this week’s listings picks reflect that ‘then and now’ balance to cement a mixture of loosely structured metaphors.
Your concrete, nailed-on winner for Monday 7th is Jurassic 5. Formed before the 1996 bomb proved a catalyst for Manchester’s regeneration, the early 90s hip hoppers continue their own recent regeneration with a tour that calls into the Grade II-listed ornament that is Albert Hall.
Dripping afresh into musical waters on Tuesday 8th is the more nascent lo-fi tones of percussion-less duo Girlpool. They’ll be swimming in another refurbished building now known for hosting music and revelry, Deaf Institute.
That evening has proven a window into the indie rock world, with another show paying homage to the gritty brickwork of the six-stringed wonder: Marc Riley radar bleepers Houndstooth at Gullivers.
Performing a ‘lamp show’ at the former church and current orchestral rehearsal space Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats, Haiku Salut adopt the synthesised vernacular of the likes of Múm for their mellow sonic constructs.
Onto Wednesday 9th, two musical towers have been bridged to form a whole. Soup Kitchen plays host to Drinks, the collaboration between Welsh talent Cate Le Bon and US psych rocker Tim Presley. Expect psychedelia and crumpled soundwaves.
Representing the steady building blocks of kosmische rock, Wand is another band waving towards Soup Kitchen on Thursday 10th.
While we’re there, stick around for more of a similarly fuzzy façade via The Lucid Dream on Friday 11th.
Moving on, Friday is also the day to spread your wings and fly across to Salford, specifically the balcony-laden backroom at Eagle Inn, where Stephen Steinbrink shares the view at the top with fellow US songwriter, Julie Byrne.
At Manchester Cathedral they’re asking you to leave your clod hoppers by the door – slip into your dancing shoes for this one featuring cosmic disco skyscraper Todd Terje, followed by an after-party at the newest former mill venue to rise from the factory wastelands of Ancoats, Hidden, where fellow Scandinavian monuments Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas will add to the foundations of groove.
We return to Albert Hall on Saturday 12th for multi-talented Canadian songsmith Mac Demarco plugs in.
And finally, on Sunday 13th, we tunnel underneath the city’s upwards motion, through Ruby Lounge’s doors and into the rock-addled minds of Brother & Bones.