This week, August’s opening gambit into 2016, we write to you from a laptop. In an office. Between physical worlds via a digital one. Within the next decade, such words might be penned by a form of AI, as a result of the types of advancement predicted by Kevin Kelly of Wired magazine. Just imagine how this may affect our experience of live music and other events using a sheen of futurism – how does a virtual reality gig sound? Or would you watch a band made up of robot musicians? Without sounding like too much of a Luddite, here are our picks for the coming week in standard living reality, on the post-industrial backdrop of Greater Manchester.
As an anagram of ‘vampire’, Edwin Stevens’ Irma Vep is in name more representative of bygone mythical fears than the next-gen tech evolutions. By joining him, dbh and more at the Castle Hotel this evening, Monday 1st, you’ll be more Werner Herzog than Wachowskis.
Electric Six warned against the dangers of touching at high voltage way back in the early noughties. Their ringleader, Tyler Spencer, must have realised how close he was flying to the sun, given his subsequent stage persona Dick Valentine‘s segue away from electro and into his three acoustically executed solo albums to date. Fallow Cafe is his destination on Tuesday 2nd.
Too Many Zooz share the penchant for manual instrumentation, but their subway busking allure manifests very differently to Valentine’s singer songwriter schtick, as we will see at Band on the Wall.
We should be grateful for the technology that will transport the melodic folk outfit Darlingside from Cambridge – that’s Massachusetts, rather than the university town due north of London – even if their Wednesday 3rd sanctuary of Gullivers should be safeguarded from any overzealous robotic takeover.
Although Hot 8 Brass Band selling out Band on the Wall again, the possibilities for Thursday 4th aren’t stymied. Virginia Wing is one of three acts supplying enough musical RAM to submerge the deep web below Soup Kitchen’s avant-gateway portal basement, while locals indie-rockers Altar Flowers (FKA LVLS; as in Loveless, not LVLZ the hyped hip hoppers) are a proxy server, arriving from their various Manchester homes to make connections at the Castle Hotel.
The modernising powers of 1980s hip hop seem a far cry from sentient beings of tomorrow. But for the time being, The Beatnuts‘ are keeping it real at Sound Control, with local spliff sorcerers The Bluntskins for support. Later on at Deaf Institute, You Dig?‘s DJs show how to dance with soul – just try the robot dance to their hip-shaking grooves.
In the event of an AI takeover, one refuge for all would be Big Hands. The Oxford Road joint would be like fridges, cockroaches and the Winchester Tavern – immune from the effects of a Matrix scenario. In the shorter-term, on Saturday 6th they’re hosting an OJ Recs showcase featuring hard-driving indie rockers Move and Black Lung.
Elsewhere that night, you can drift with the Ruby Lounge tides along to the idiosyncratically spelled Coasst – presumably another area machines will avoid – or indie electrolytes Clay, hardened in Leeds, which is surely one of the first cities to succumb to an electronic invasion, playing at Night & Day Cafe.