Words by Ian Pennington

We’re now well on the road to Xmas, but to avoid the obvious yuletide theme for this week’s Bag Thing Manchester listings blog, I’ll direct your eyes towards this story of off-road behaviour in Ashton. Rest assured, though, we’ll keep you on the right track to sate all your live music needs this week.

Skipping first gear and accelerating through to Tuesday 15th, the sophisticated jazz rock supergroup The Aristocrats have the repertoire to chauffeur your ears through a Club Academy set.

You could speculate that alcohol might have fuelled the aforementioned BMW’s path onto a Metrolink line, so it’s fair to reiterate the perils of drinking and driving. Nobody mentioned drinking and performing though, which is what Smoke Fairies intend to do on Wednesday 16th by launching their Wild Winter in both ale and sound at Soup Kitchen.

The musical mouthful of a Princess Parkway-referencing band of Bowie-a-likes, Peace and Love Barbershop Muhammed Ali, put their foot down to press their first outing on wax before Xmas. It launches in typically scuzzy fashion at Soup Kitchen on Thursday 17th.

They share the city that evening with another hot tip on the local indie rock highway, Horsebeach, who’re round a few bends at Band on the Wall.

This week’s hip hop vehicle igniting all the freshest vibes is Mouse Outfit, whose entourage of easy-riding breezy rhymers are due to park themselves on the Sound Control soundsystem on Friday 18th.

Out in the suburbs that evening, a short sprint down the A6 will lead you to Fred’s Ale House and a trio of acts all making a name for themselves in the city. The poet Kieran King opens the gates for Jo Rose’s band and then The Lonesome & Penniless Cowboys.

The folks at Fat Out couldn’t let the chance for a walk on the wild side slip by without turning the wheels of their off-piste productions. On Saturday 19th, all the garble translates as a Christmess special with Naked (On Drugs), Locean and yet another supergroup, Melting Hand – all at Islington Mill.

Finally, on Sunday 20th Jools Holland presents the chance to arrive at destination Hootenanny a little earlier this year, taking on the Apollo before wearing his hat as chief conduit through to 2016.

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