“Is this literature?” asks Bob Dylan rhetorically. Where do we draw the lines for these things? Implicit in the Woody Guthrie copycat’s Nobel acceptance speech in absentia was the idea that perhaps Dylan himself had never considered himself anything other than a song and dance man. Related to this, ’tis the season to like it or lump it, and it’s been questioned by some whether the Xmas-themed jingle bells ringing around our public places ad infinitum this month at best grating and at worst wildly over the top. With only one weekend to go before the day, it’s naturally a recurring theme among this week’s Greater Manchester standout event picks.
Monday 12th: Cate Le Bon (Deaf Institute)
A leading light of the Welsh alt-pop scene, Le Bon embarks on a two-night stint in the city.
Tuesday 13th: Cate Le Bon (Deaf Institute)
At risk of parodying Groundhog Day, with Werkha‘s Eagle Inn show selling out on his return to Greater Manchester, your next best bet is Cate Le Bon’s re-run at Deaf.
Wednesday 14th: Gremlins & The Grinch (Gorilla)
Running on smoothly from the intro, RAD Screenings have chipped into the festive season with a couple of alt-Xmas films.
Thursday 15th: Levelz 3rd Birthday (Warehouse Project)
Taking Manchester’s homegrown hip hop to the world, Levelz celebrate three years as a united force with a full family bill in the Store Street car park.
Friday 16th: Narcos (Academy) // Movement ft Best Friends & More (Deaf Institute) // Ultimate Power Xmas Special (The Ritz)
Fans of Xmas songs can rejoice and sing your hearts out in unison as the crowned monarchs of power ballads sprinkle snow and tinsel on their anthemic party. The Narcos Netflix series followed the exploits of Pablo Escobar, renowned for sprinkling a different white powder on the willing public – Friday’s event sees a discussion with the narcotics agents who tracked him down. And Social Workers Without Borders’ charity fundraiser, Movement, sees Best Friends top a bill that includes fellow Northern indie shredders Aldous RH, Easy Kill and Gorgeous Bully.
Saturday 17th: Elf Xmas House Party (Albert Hall) // When In Manchester Festival (Ruby Lounge) // Solstice Solidarity Session (St Margaret’s Church) // The Underground Youth (Soup Kitchen)
Another solid dose of alterntive Xmas sees festive fetishism arriving courtesy of a Will Ferrell themed wildcard, including the glory hole grotto and Santa’s Little Belters. Ruby Lounge hosts a bevy of bands tipped for 2017, such as The Amazons and InHeaven. Another charitable show (for the Survivors of Torture Relief Fund) takes place in Whalley Range, where RISE! are joined by a leftfield assembly of artistes, like Caro C. Back in town at Soup Kitchen, it’s a night of slowcore chorals by The Underground Youth.
Sunday 18th: The Manchester Festive Happening (Albert Hall) // The Breath (Band on the Wall)
Brass sensation Tine Thing Helseth leads a merry song and dance of Bach and Vivaldi recitals at Albert Hall. Finally, Manchester jazz/blues/soul supergroup The Breath are back for their last local show of the year.