Anticipation is high for a new festival coming to Manchester this month in the shape of Transformer; a name chosen “in commemoration of Lou Reed, whose visionary approach to rock both in the Velvet Underground and on albums like Metal Machine Music” is reflected in the inaugural event. Brought to you by the folks at Victoria Warehouse, the festival will be split between two rooms of music, presented along with a record fair, food and drink vendors, a cinema, and live DJs. With the aim of bringing an “indoor festival vibe to the expansive Victoria Warehouse”, the event kicks off at 3pm on Sunday 28th May.

Listen below for our playlist highlighting some favourites from the acts taking the stage at Victoria Warehouse this month.

Headlining the all-dayer will be New York noise-rock titans Swans. With frontman Michael Gira recently announcing that this will be the last outing from the current line-up, Transformer offers a rare chance to catch Gira are his most exciting collaborators yet before disbanding. The final LP, The Glowing Man, has been met with stellar reviews and has reaffirmed their tagline of one of the rock’s loudest bands.

Swans will be joined by Mark E Smith, leading Manchester’s own post-punk legends The Fall. Over forty years, the band have relentlessly carved out a place somewhere simultaneously in the mainstream and the underground, whilst still belonging to neither. The band is essentially Mark E Smith, who with his revolving cast of members (as Smith famously claimed, “if it’s me and yer granny on bongos, it’s The Fall”) always produce a live set of thundering classics and exhilarating improvisation.

This Heat – now acting under the name This Is Not This Heat out of respect for original member Gareth Williams, who passed away in 2001 – will be performing at Transformer with their first show in Manchester for thirty years. Last year, founding members Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward played together for the first time since 1982 for a rapturous show at London’s Cafe Oto, and we can undoubtedly expect more of the same this month.

Washington DC garage/psych outsiders Royal Trux are set to play their first show in the UK since reuniting, with a new album supposedly in the works for later this year. Founded by Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema, the pair came together during the late 80s and quickly gained a cult following during the wave of noise rock and grunge which swept the US in the 90s. Don’t miss this rare chance to catch the duo who have scarcely been in the same room as one another since 2001…

The all-dayer helps fill a hole left by the departure of ATP Festivals, with fan favourites JC Flowers, Loop and Argentinian duo Mueran Humanos also appearing on the bill. Joining them will be Canadian rockers Suuns, Mike Polizze’s psych-rock project Purling Hiss, New York painter, poet and musician Little Annie and British underground outfit Sex Swing.


Transformer takes place at Victoria Warehouse on Sunday 28th May. Remaining tickets are available here.

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