It’s Glasto week, hence the heavens have heaved open. Yes, you heard it here first, we can blame the Eavises for the meteorological state of affairs. But for us mere mortals unblessed by their ticketing system, there’s plenty of musical food for thought up here in sunny Manchester, replicating and improving on anything offered in the Worthy Farm fields. This week’s event highlights await, so let’s play on…
We’ll start on Monday 20th with Glasto hippy spirit, whose tie dye tees and kaleidoscoping visuals are favoured by the gloriously named Manc quintet Psyblings. They’re on at Gullivers.
Breakups and makeups are all part and parcel of the Somerset set’s dramas, so post-hardcore Sacrementans Slaves‘ last six months are a suitable substitute. Jonny Craig leads his supporting cast to perform the band’s second record at Ruby Lounge. There’s also more than a political edge to much of Glasto’s billing – step forward Saul Williams, whose forthright views are transmitted through a spoken word/rap hybrid and knack for mind expanding sonic invention, this time at Band on the Wall. Both are on Tuesday 21st.
Soup Kitchen hosts our pick of Wednesday 22nd, a band after Tim Peake’s heart should he have digested Sun Ra’s manifesto, The Comet Is Coming. Their jazzy electronische collision outreaches even the most ethereal cosmic sideshows of Worthy Farm. Back on this planet, there’s now a 16-year history behind the earthy harmonies of Mull Historical Society, so plenty of material to call on for a headlining show at Night & Day Cafe, while due south at Deaf Institute there’s a detour to Car Seat Headrest‘s introspective indie.
This city’s diverse programme comes to the fore on Thursday 23rd, again a more than ample alternative to the Eavises’ festival. Wryly witty Aussie Sarah Kendall is the final Group Therapy Edinburgh warm-up show of the month; dexterous genre-spanning Congans Mbongwana Star are cheating a little by straddling Band on the Wall and diverting south the Somerset’s fields in the same week; abstract soundscapist Eartheater is the taste of the evening at Soup Kitchen; and multi-banding multi-instrumentalist alt-rocker Ty Segall brings his Muggers to The Ritz.
Glasto-bound Kurt Vile‘s warm-up jam at Gorilla on Friday 24th is sold out, but where there is disappointment there’s also opportunity. It paves the way for Honeyfeet, Howe Gelb or Happy Meals, depending on your mood between lung-busting, soulful jazz, gently bopping country folk or francophone synthpop from Glasgow, respectively.
Manchester even serves up a party in the park to rival Worthy’s grassy verges, with The Whitworth’s free-entry Warp Festival pitching all sorts from hip hop-fronted orchestral dubstep to Walk The Plank’s light displays. Primarily aimed at encouraging 15-25s into the arts, but open to all who sign up in advance for free across the full weekend.
Gigs-wise, Saturday 25th marks a year since the first notch on the Hour Records calendar, with Meihaus and TNC among the line-up at Eagle Inn. Jovial folk poppers Withered Hand have been handed a return to Manchester with an upscaled show in Soup Kitchen. And self-proclaimed turbo-prog rockers Cleft head a hardcore crop at Deaf Institute, with Body Hound among the supports.
We’ve still not covered a key facet of Glasto’s charm: mud. Tenuous as it may be, RAD Screenings’ red cup coming-of-age film fest on Sunday is sure to muddy your morals, with teen smut-athon American Pie and mumblecore ringleader Matthew McConaughey’s silver screen debut, Dazed & Confused, included on the triple-bill. Into the evening, hip hop stalwarts Blackalicious rep their Alphabet Aerobics to a Club Academy crowd, while synth overlords M83 glides through The Ritz.