Words by Ian Pennington

If you’ve visited a shop selling pretty much anything lately, then it won’t have escaped your attentions that pumpkins, cobwebs and witches hats are all the rage. This isn’t the gimmicky fallout from London fashion week, but instead a sign that All Hallows Day is fast approaching, preceded naturally by the nationwide beg-athon, Halloween. What does that alter about Manchester’s gig listings for the next week, I hear you screech through your Scream mask? Very little, but a theme’s a theme.

Synth pop has never been terror-inducing, unless you count the 80s fashion behind it. So Monday 26th’s Mates of State show at Soup Kitchen does little to enhanced this week’s theme, but if you look at the link’s URL, it does include ‘666’ all in a row. It’s a sign…

New Orleans is renowned for its voodoo and hoodoo (which are often misinterpreted in popular culture, but we’ll let that slide for now), so it’s an apt week for one of its finest musical exports, Hot 8 Brass Band, to celebrate 20 years by slaying any demons at Band on the Wall with their lung-busting jazz and funk the same night.

Tuesday 27th is one of those days when you wish promoters had got together like a coven of witches and decided to book their shows on different days. But they didn’t do that, so in town that night we have the evil cackles of: dream pop by Beach House @ The Ritz, LA noiseniks HEALTH @ Gorilla, black metal courtesy of Liturgy @ Deaf Institute and gentle pop lilts with Cat Power @ Albert Hall.

London label Wah Wah 45s are as reliable a source as ever, and The Milk is their latest tip for aural enjoyment, who’re on at Band on the Wall on Wednesday 28th. The best Halloween link I can make here is that plastic milk bottles can become passable ghostly presences with a marker pen and a little imagination.

If there’s one show that needs no excuse for fancy dress, it’s Slamboree at The Ritz on Thursday 29th. Their mash-up of gothic, circus and outlandish eccentricity to the tune of drum and bass is a workable lead into the weekend.

There’s a big bill at the Cathedral on Friday 30th as Columns festival invites Indiana, amongst others, and if she’s not eerie enough for you then check out the ethereal tones of Saycet, who top a francophone line-up at Fallow Café under the franglais banner of Oui Love.

Unlike his namesake, Jack, Liam Frost isn’t shocking anyone these days. Instead he opts for awe, which he’ll be dishing out aplenty at Ruby Lounge the same night.

To find your way into Joanna Newsom’s Albert Hall show on Saturday 31st itself you’ll likely need to strike a deal with the devil that’ll include your soul, so instead hide behind the sofas in Gorilla for RAD’s Halloween themed film night, featuring The Addams Family and The ‘Burbs.

If you’re not feeling the faux horror vibe, then Slug’s alt-rock sounds will be less than horrific at Deaf Intitute.

And relax on Sunday 1st, safe in the knowledge that it’s another year ‘til the next Halloween. One final yelp of a scream arrives late though – Claudio Simonetti’s scarily good Goblin outfit are heading to Gorilla to perform his soundtrack to Italian cult classic Deep Red [Ed. Note – This show has now been rescheduled to 11th May 2015]. 

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