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November/December 2016 North Issue 41



MUSIC Kristin Hersh Sad13 The Orielles HCMF Baltic Fleet

FILM Paul Schrader Amy Adams Leeds International Film Festival ART Rachel Maclean Shop Local Gift Guide

CLUBS Groove Armada Festive Clubbing COMEDY Tape Face Romesh Ranganathan Rob Mulholland

BOOKS Naomi Alderman Cixin Liu Zadie Smith THEATRE Interpreting Roald Dahl Christmas Shows Introducing Storyhouse

TRAVEL Living in Tokyo FOOD & DRINK Apocalypse Meal Plan




P.23 Meal Planning for a Nuclear Winter

P.30 Shop Local

P.55 Cabbage

P.45 Groove Armada

November/December 2016 I N D E P E N D E N T



Issue 41, Nov/Dec 2016 Š Radge Media Ltd. Get in touch: E: T: 0161 833 3124 P: The Skinny, Studio 104, Islington Mill, 1 James Street, Salford, M3 SHW The Skinny is distributing 38,000 copies across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, a wide range of advertising packages and affordable ways to promote your business are available. Get in touch to find out more.

E: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit permission of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within this publication do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the printer or the publisher.

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Editorial Commissioning Editor Film & Contributing Editor Events Editor Music Editor Art Books Clubs Comedy Deviance Food Theatre Travel

Lauren Strain Jamie Dunn Jess Hardiman WIll Fitzpatrick Sacha Waldron Holly Rimmer-Tagoe Daniel Jones John Stansfield Kate Pasola Lauren Phillips Jennifer Chamberlain Paul Mitchell

Production Production Manager Designer

Sarah Donley Kyle McPartlin

Sales Digital Sales and Marketing Manager

Caroline Harleaux

Sales Executives

Issy Patience

General Manager

Kyla Hall

Editor-in-Chief Publisher

Rosamund West Sophie Kyle

Printed on 100% recycled paper




Contents UP FRONT


Comedian Romesh Ranganathan discusses sharing the limelight with his family in TV show Asian Provocateur.


Amy Adams can do it all: sing, dance, and in new sci-fi film Arrival, talk to aliens. The talented actor tells us about female characterisation and the freedom of this latest role.

06 Chat & Opinion: Horoscopes, last-minute news and some LOLs. Lor’ knows we need them.


Fury: What’s the future for our local libraries?

09 Graphic Content: In a new series showcasing the best in local graphic art, we look at the work of Stef Bradley.




Chester's brand-new arts centre opens this Spring. We take a look at what's in store.


Granta ‘best young British novelist’ Naomi Alderman explores her speculative feminist sci-fi work The Power, in which women have the capability to electrocute people at will. Sounds good to us.


As Zadie Smith’s anticipated new novel Swing Time is published this November, we take a look at its presentation of female friendship in contrast with perhaps the most celebrated portrayal of girl friends in recent literary memory: Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels.


UK dance music giants Groove Armada talk past successes, current tours and plans for the future as they prepare to play The Warehouse Project in December.


As the country celebrates the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth, we consider the controversial different interpretations of some of his most famous characters. Plus, your guide to the best theatre this festive season.


After his last film was taken out of his hands, director Paul Schrader is back with full artistic control for wild crime caper Dog Eat Dog. He talks to us about independence.


It's been a funny old year for duct-taped mime Sam Wills, aka Tape Face, who made it to the finals of America's Got Talent 2016. He breaks his silence to chat about Cowell, Trump, and a certain skit involving oven gloves... He won the GIT Award in 2013, then disappeared from public view. But Baltic Fleet’s Paul Fleming is back with an accomplished and emotionally cathartic new album, The Dear One. Listen along with us.

Heads up: Your at-a-glance guide to cultural happenings in November and December.



Art & Theatre: The season’s key exhibitions and shows, and an insight into the bright and bizarre world of Rachel Maclean.


Gigs: The best new music coming to a venue near you; plus, The Orielles tell us about their new weekender and we pick out the must-sees at the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music, HCMF.


Clubs: The parties you shouldn’t miss, and a look ahead to the best Christmas and New Year’s club nights.


Comedy: If you only see one comedian this month, make it Rob Mulholland.


Film & Books: Screenings and readings to put in your diary, plus the top ten movies to catch at Leeds International Film Festival.



Food & Drink: As we reach the winter of one of the most apocalyptic years in recent memory, it’s time to take stock of your store cupboard. Are you prepared for the worst?


Travel: Brexit got you plotting a move abroad? Here’s our guide to living in Tokyo.



Deviance: We shouldn’t be shaming women for wearing make-up. Our Deviance editor explores what it’s like to feel absolutely fucking shit without it.



Showcase: We’ve spared you from filling this issue with Christmas gift guides, but allowed ourselves this one indulgence: a look at some of our favourite local artists’ and craftspeople’s wares.



Music: Album reviews, new music from post-punkers Cabbage and a guide to ambient music from Leeds’ XAM Duo: your winter listening, sorted.


Film: November and December in a cinema near you, reviewed.


It's been a big year for singer/producer XamVolo, one of the most hotly tipped acts in Liverpool right now. We chat sunglasses and architecture with a true R'n'B original.


DVD / Books: Yer home entertainment this month comes courtesy of a certain cult film and new work by Chinese sci-fi sensation Cixin Liu.


Kristin Hersh formed seminal alt rock act Throwing Muses when she was 14. As she sets out touring new work, she explains why her audience's loyalty is at the root of her ongoing creativity.


Books: This season’s reading rated.



You might know her from Massachusetts guitar manglers Speedy Ortiz; now, Sadie Dupuis goes solo as Sad13 and makes one of the year's most important albums in the process. Read all about it. Leeds-based podcast and support network Girls that Gig is doing great work promoting and celebrating women in music. The pioneering duo behind it talk to us about their plans.

November/December 2016

60 Competitions: Win some free slides on the ice rink and a monograph by acclaimed artist Rachel Maclean.


Listings: What’s on and where, in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.


Out back: November is the month of national solidarity march Reclaim the Night. Why are we still not out of the dark ages when it comes to women living their lives after nightfall?



Shout Outs

Online Only


John Cale to celebrate The Velvet Underground & Nico in Liverpool A show at Liverpool Docklands on 26 May 2017 is the only European date for John Cale's 50th anniversary celebration of the Velvet Underground's iconic debut LP, The Velvet Underground & Nico. The album will be played in full alongside a specially assembled band on a purpose-built stage facing towards the Atlantic Ocean. Widely regarded as one of the most influential albums in history, it will only be played again in full at one further show in New York. What a treat! Tickets: all the usual outlets, grab 'em fast. The North gets a new festival: Safe As Milk Dabke/dance artist Omar Souleyman plays the first ever Safe As Milk festival, taking place over three days in April 2017 in North Wales. He’s joined by British folk legend Shirley Collins, Japanoise experimentalists OOIOO (led by Yoshimi P-We of Boredoms), industrial noise pioneers Nurse With Wound, ambient singer-songwriter Liz Harris aka Grouper and many, many more across 21-23 April. Tickets: Second Outlines festival announces line-up Jagwar Ma will headline Sheffield’s Outlines festival (3 & 4 Mar 2017), organised by the team behind the city’s well-loved Tramlines festival. The

Aussie pysch band are joined at Sheffield Leadmill by pop duo Slow Club, Leeds heroes Cowtown and Hookworms, Glasgow’s R'n'B twosome Bossy Love and Young Fathers collaborator Law Holt – plus many more. Outlines are also encouraging emerging bands and artists to apply to play at the festival – details here: The Bug & Dylan Carlson for Fat Out Fest 2017 Salford's DIY art and music promoters Fat Out Til You Pass Out have unveiled the initial line-up for Fat Out Fest 2017, taking place 14-16 April in the warehouse spaces of Islington Mill, Caustic Coastal and Regents Trading 5. With the ongoing collaboration between dubtronica producer The Bug and Earth's Dylan Carlson at the top of the bill, the line-up is truly international in scope with artists hailing from countries including Japan and Portugal as well as local talent including stargazing Newcastle outfit Blown Out and Leeds' noise-rockers Cattle.The festival's artistic directors will be Brooklyn-based collective CHERYL, who specialise in independent video, art and performance, and there’ll be a variety of artist-led workshops, installations, surprise performances, DJs and speciality foods – plus, as they say, "shit-loads of glitter.” Tickets: We chat to 19-year-old grime MC Shogun, hear from Honeyblood about ace second album Babes Never Die, discuss influences with stadium-fillers Biffy Clyro and take a deep dive into Manchester’s experimental music scene. Plus, get your weekly gig guides for the best live music across the North. Nightmare in Berlin, the lost work of Hans Fallada, is finally published in English – we speak to its translator Allan Blunden, who helps shed some light on an extraordinary author. Ever a thorn in the side of the establishment, Ken Loach discusses his latest film (and Cannes Palme

d’Or winner) I, Daniel Blake, a damning portrayal of the UK's humiliating welfare system. Plus, interviews with Doctor Strange’s Benedict Wong and Justin Kelly on James Franco-starring true-crime tale King Cobra, and our reports from London Film Festival. Check out our weekly guides to the best club nights in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. You’ll also find playlists from the likes of Tel Aviv’s Moscoman. VOTE for your favourite local food heroes in The Skinny Food and Drink Survey 2017; you have until the end of November.

Spot the Difference ON THE WOOF OF THE WORLD Is there a more striking view than the noble mountain? Whether volcanic or tectonicallyformed, humankind has gazed upon these enormous slabs of earth and rock since the dawn of time, only to imagine, 'You know what? I bet I could fucking climb that.' It's a hobby, we suppose.

By Jock Mooney 6


Gaze, dear reader, upon these two near-identical mountain ranges. Something's not right, is it? If you can tell us the miniscule difference between the two, you could win a copy of Docherty by William McIlvanney, thanks to those nice folks at Canongate – head to with your answer.

Competition closes at midnight on Sun 27 Nov. Winners will be notified via email within two working days of closing and will be required to respond within 48 hours or the prize will be offered to another entrant. Our Ts&Cs can be found at


Crystal Balls With Mystic Mark

ARIES Flowers may be growing in your heart, a lark may be singing boisterously of love in your brain, but in your trousers a worm dies of loneliness. TAURUS This month you buy a new Glade buttplug. Now when you let one off at work it smells like weird strawberries. GEMINI In November your team finally makes a breakthrough at the weapons lab, developing a bomb which papercuts the bellends of everyone in a five mile radius. The boss strolls into the lab with a bottle of champagne to toast your achievement. CANCER Along with your team of top archeological theologians you discover that the Holy God-Sperm used to impregnate the Virgin Mary must have been at least the size of an eel.

LEO Learning that every particle inside your body was once inside a star doesn’t stop you from reading The Sun. VIRGO Reading your Bible you’re shocked to discover that when Jesus came back as a zombie he didn’t immediately seek out Pontius Pilate and eat his brain. LIBRA What happens when we die? Are we reincarnated, as the ancients told us? Do we ascend to a higher spiritual plane, as the gurus tell us? Or, like my mother told me, do we all go to Hell? There are as many questions for what happens to us upon death as there are ways to get dead in the first place. From accidentally dying of old age to getting

blown dead in a war. Lots of people have been killed by death over the years and it didn’t do them any harm, so why not kick back with a delicious Snickers® chocolate bar. Brought to you by Snickers.*

CAPRICORN You’re alarmed when you notice that the whole world is shrinking, but you’re even more worried by the fact that you’re shrinking at exactly the same rate.

SCORPIO Dolphins believe that humans have special healing vibrations, which is why you’ll often find sick pups flopping around next to your desk at work, rubbing their snouts against your shoes and screeching.

AQUARIUS Your relationship prospects would be improved if you occasionally washed the flap which covers your single, high-pressure sweat pore.

SAGITTARIUS Due to the hardened scab which has formed over your nihilistic psyche, you can only cry by chopping onions. Bringing a chopping board to your mother’s funeral, you give a heart-rending eulogy while standing right above a blender, dropping onion after onion into its whirring core.

PISCES This month you catch your head in the gears of the head crushing machine. Ironically crushing it in the one section heads were absolutely not designed to be crushed in. *This wasn’t brought to you by Snickers

Shot Of The Month

Daughter at Manchester Academy, 24 October by Luke Hannaford

November/December 2016



Lost for Words Libraries across the country are struggling to survive in a climate of budget cuts. Our writer reports from Warrington, where her childhood library faces an uncertain future


ou’re walking down the street in the summer of 1964. A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles has reached number one and the government has just passed the Public Libraries and Museums Act, requiring councils to provide the public with a comprehensive and efficient library service. You’re probably thinking, ‘Great! That’s really great news.’ You’re safe in the knowledge that your children and your children’s children will be provided with a safe, warm space for learning about the world and their place in it. (And depending on which street you’re walking down, the library in question might just contain swish new bean bags to sit on: lucky, groovy, 60s you!) Zoom forward to 2016 in Northern England however, and you might be feeling a little baffled. Over the last six years libraries have come under constant threat, with a further 111 expected to have been lost throughout England in 2016. Lancashire alone faces up to 20 closures, and across counties in the Northwest upwards of 1000 volunteers are now running their local services. Last time I checked, being a librarian was a highly valued and skilled job, not an enforced hobby – but clearly times have changed. Thanks to the 1964 Act, I’ve been pre-programmed to love libraries. I remember, around the age of four, running to find my favourite blue book, which rested on the third row of what seemed like an immeasurably high shelf. It was about a little girl who grew up to become a prima ballerina,


and I longed with every fibre of my strangely gangly body to be that little girl. Two decades on, I’ve spent years working as a professional dancer and become a member of seven libraries across the world. I feel I owe the library a lot. I’m currently living back in my home town of Warrington, where the financially squeezed council is hearing a proposal to cut/close a number of libraries across the local authority, offering instead to “transform the existing library service... through innovative methods without relying heavily on physical libraries in every community” – including potentially employing the use of “lending lockers” and “themed libraries on tour.” The proposal is called a ‘Modernisation Consultation’, although many in the community feel that LiveWire (the community interest company that runs the libraries in question) hasn’t, as of yet, been taking on board any proposed alternatives. Enter Jane Forshaw – she’s the all-singing, all-dancing, all teddy-bear-costume-wearing chief volunteer co-ordinator of a campaign to save my local library in Penketh, which is currently earmarked for closure. It’s 15 October 2016 and people from the local area have turned out in force to borrow books in order to show their support for this public service. Jane wants to know if the ‘lending lockers’ that have been suggested will be big enough to provide a comfortable chair and shelter from the weather for the poorest and most vulner-

able in our society. I ask a number of onlookers what this library means to them and I’m promptly escorted down various memory lanes. None is more poignant than the recollection of an abused wife who came to the library every day, enabling her young child to play with some toys and leaving her free to read the paper, talk to library staff and simply feel safe for a few hours. That child went on to receive a PhD and attributes the development of a love of reading to those early library visits. Women still come to the library in search of a safe haven.

“As a social space the library is as current and necessary as ever” To my mind, as a social space the library is as current and necessary as ever and no technical developments are going to alter this. Some of us might be lucky enough to own a Kindle – and borrow from libraries’ e-books services – but we are still physical beings who must commune in a physical space or risk becoming detached from our communities. (Even the ancient Greeks, who

Words: Rebecca Clarke

promoted human sacrifice, thought libraries a vital breeding ground for human development – so how mad must we be if we axe them?!) Toddlers can’t play with a pop-up book on a screen, they must experience it in the flesh, just as many of our elderly citizens rely on the tangible companionship of a librarian for what might be their only independently achievable human interaction of the day. What happens if our hard-won libraries are dismantled? What are the vacant buildings to be used for next? Anything? Or will their shells be left behind to commemorate a time when communities held the right to freely and easily access the information of their age – or at the very least, use a decent printer? Libraries are not luxuries but part of the bedrock of any society that wishes to function productively; a sanctuary for all, within walking distance of our homes and schools rather than a bus ride away. Cut backs might be necessary, but why not look to the likes of Wakefield Council, whose efficient reduction in opening hours recently helped save all 13 of its libraries? Will future generations resent us because we listened to the trudge of austerity over the young voices of our children? Voices like that of eight-year-old Freya from Penketh, who asked the council not to close them because, well, we did promise we wouldn’t...?  We want to hear from you on the urgent subjects in your area. Get in touch:


Graphic Content Liverpool based zine-maker Stef Bradley makes comics that celebrate the extraordinary everyday. Here's a sample of her work, including the exclusive, brand new strip Mystic Dayjob; elsewhere, expect observations about bat bogeys, lanyards, sex education and B-movies.

November/December 2016



'Tis the season! For snaffling entire Chocolate Oranges and wheels of camembert without conscience, yes – but also for a flurry of wintry markets, festive film screenings, pop-up ice rinks and more. Wrap up warm, kids: as the temperature drops your social calendar is looking positively scorchio.

Nameless City

European Outdoor Film Tour Enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of the, er, great indoors with the European Outdoor Film Tour, celebrating the adventure of life en plein air through documentary cinema. At a total running time of two hours, the programme features far-flung short films from across the globe, telling the inspiring stories of mountaineers, kayakers, bikers and other such energetic types. 4 Nov, St George's Hall, Liverpool, 7pm, £13.50

Cup North

Leeds Print Fair

It’s a case of deja brew as the annual Cup North festival takes over Victoria Warehouse for a two-day celebration of the humble coffee bean. With a whole latte vendors from across the region, you’ll be able to espresso your love for local trade while taking a break from the daily grind. *Mic drop*. 5-6 Nov, Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, 10am, £10-£18

Spruce up those sad ol’ bare walls (yes, even YOU, the culturally discerning Skinny reader, have one somewhere) with some swag from Leeds Print Fair, showcasing work from Yorkshire’s fine printmaking community including Jonathan Wilkinson, Karoline Rerrie, Nancy Power, The Lost Fox, Alison Deegan, James Bywood and many others. 5-6 Nov, Corn Exchange, Leeds, 10am, free

Compass Festival

Louder Than Words

After a year off, the biennial Compass Festival is back to champion the realm of interactive, contemporary live art. Expect particularly exciting stuff from celebrated performance company Lone Twin, with other highlights including Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti’s exploration of the historical Kirkgate Market, and Felicity Barrow’s Mystic Chick… with live chickens, no less. 11-20 Nov, Leeds; various venues, times and prices

For once we have a festival where the headliners aren’t all sporting dicks, as post-punk veteran Brix Smith-Start, music writer Zoe Howe and Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh make up just a small handful of the many highlights at this year’s Louder Than Words music writing festival, the literary do honouring the oral, written and published word. Props to that. 1113 Nov, The Palace Hotel, Manchester, times and prices vary

Compass Festival

Transition Festival The darker evenings of winter don’t have to be all doom and gloom thanks to Transition, a new festival born from the evolution of Bury Light Night. Revel in sound sculptures, live music, flash fiction performances and live art workshops across the two days, with Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir kicking things off on Fri 18 Nov, singing in sync with a large-scale choreographed projection on the side of the Castle Armoury. 18-19 Nov, Bury; various venues and times, free

Sound of Thieves


Zoe Lyons

Leeds Print Fair

Christkindelmarkt Bratwurst, glühwein, gingerbread, boozy hot chocolate, quaint wooden chalets… why, it must be time for the arrival of Christkindelmarkt! And while there may be a whole host of artisanal wooden toys, jewellery and Christmas decorations on offer, we all know you’ll be there for the free cheese samples. Ain’t no shame in that. 11 Nov-18 Dec, Millennium Square, Leeds, 10.30am, free

Brewers Market at Canal Mills The always-anticipated craft beer o’clock rolls around with Canal Mills Brewers Market, promising an expanded roster of breweries to join street food favourites, live art and DJs. And if you’re not into beer, there’ll also be plenty of whisky, Prosecco and gin to whet that whistle o’ yours. 18-19 Nov, Canal Mills, Leeds, times vary, £5-£12

Brewers Market

Quizlington Mill

Magic Lantern Festival

Illustreation: Yvette Earl

Righto, LET'S GET QUIZZICAL! Join The Skinny for a super special pub quiz raising much-needed dolla for the Islington Mill roof fund. For the ingeniously titled Quizlington Mill (weknowright), our Comedy editor and quizmaster supremo John Stansfield will be holding the fort while you guzzle great beers and compete for some ace prizes. 24 Nov, Islington Mill, Salford, 8pm, £2 per person (max. of 6 per team)

November is the month of LGBT festival Homotopia, which for its 12th year pairs the comedic and lighthearted with the provocative and thought-provoking through an events calendar that features stand-up comedian Zoe Lyons, avant-garde performance artist David Hoyle, an evening of archive film from feminist filmmaker Sandi Hughes and an LGBT panel debate. Until 30 Nov, Liverpool; various venues, times and prices

Making its Yorkshire debut, the Magical Lantern Festival harnesses all that’s enchanting about this time of year and channels it into a fusion of art, heritage, culture and stunning illumination. Following a specially constructed trail, visitors will be able to enjoy the lakes, woodland and gardens of Roundhay Park under the glow of stunning lanterns in all shapes, colours and sizes. 25 Nov-2 Jan, Roundhay Park, Leeds, 5pm, £12.50


Chat Poster by Yvette Earl

Magic Lantern Festival


Photo: Mark Vessey

Compiled by: Jess Hardiman

The UK’s largest annual festival of comic art, Thought Bubble returns to various venues across Leeds to celebrate everything from independent and small press comics to globally revered superheroes. With a whole programme of talks, masterclasses, art and writing workshops and film screenings to sink your teeth into, find out more at 1-6 Nov, Leeds; various venues, times and prices

Credit: Faith Erin Hicks

Heads Up


Thought Bubble

Leeds International Film Festival It’s a landmark year for Leeds International Film Festival as it celebrates its 30th birthday, doing so in style with old favourites from cinema’s past right through to new films from Jim Jarmusch, Xavier Dolan and Kelly Reichardt. Turn to page 21 to find out more. 3-17 Nov, Leeds; various venues, times and prices Paterson

Sonder Festival

The bods behind Northern festivals Kendal Calling, Sound City and Bluedot have teamed up for new venture Off the Record, a music festival and event conference celebrating the region’s new music. With curators including Guy Garvey, Huw Stephens, John Kennedy, Lara Baker and Elizabeth Alker, you’ll be in safe hands as the secret line-up is announced 24 hours before. 4 Nov, various venues, Manchester, 9am (conference) & 7pm (gigs), £15-£35

Guy Garvey

The Winter Gathering

Four-day music, comedy and arts festival Sonder – the name given to the sensation of realising that each passerby is living a life as complex as your own – takes to multiple venues across Manchester's Northern Quarter, using gigs and other events from the likes of Psyblings, Aziz Ibrahim and Lucy Mae to help support homelessness charities, food banks and mental health charities across the region.10-13 Nov, Manchester; various venues and times, £10

Embrace the seasonal chill with The Winter Gathering, which will transform Manchester’s recently-brought-backto-life London Road Fire Station into a wonderland of street food stalls, bars, live music, DJs, an art space and – for the festive cherry on top – an ice rink. 11 Nov-early Jan, London Road Fire Station, Manchester, times and prices TBC

Family Ranks


Manchester Animation Festival

Manchester Animation Festival Proving that animation is not just the stuff of mindless children’s TV, Manchester Animation Festival builds on the success of last year’s inaugural bash with another round of screenings, talks, workshops, retrospectives and exclusives, plus guests of honour, Aardman co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton. 15-17 Nov, HOME, Manchester, times and prices vary

Promoting talent and excellence in disability and deaf arts while also providing a platform for access, DaDaFest sets out to inspire audiences and ignite debate with its 13th festival, which features dance performance SWAGGA, Jo Bannon’s moving self-portrait Alba and the controversial new show from disabled activist, actor and comedian Liz Carr, Assisted Suicide: The Musical. 17 Nov-3 Dec, Liverpool; various venues, times and prices


Laces Out!

High & Lonesome Festival High & Lonesome Festival is looking bigger and even more badass this year, spreading out to a two-day affair and filling the weekend with sounds from The Low Anthem, iLiKETRAiNS Trains, Steve Gunn, The Leisure Society, Michael Chapman, Applewood Road, BC Camplight, Fenne Lily and more. 1920 Nov, Brudenell Social Club and Left Bank, Leeds, times and prices vary

The Low Anthem

Whether it’s a pair of classic Adidas Gazelles or something gross that lights up at the sole, it seems trainer culture has never been bigger. Tapping into this, Laces Out! festival brings together thousands of vintage, rare, box-fresh and deadstock sneakers, along with accessories and art, themed panel discussions, live performances and demos for a day that's totally, entirely dedicated to treads, kicks and crepes. 19 Nov, Camp and Furnace, Liverpool, 12pm, £8

Photo: Rita Azevedo

Young Kato

Illustration: Lucy Letherland

Phat vegan party WinterFest fires up the ethical vibes with over 150 stalls peddling hot food, cakes, cheese, make-up, clothes and pet treats, along with talks on animal rights, activism, health and fitness throughout the day. All that plus a generous sprinkling of cookery demos, live music, bars and children’s activities to complete the animal-friendly package. 27 Nov, Leeds Town Hall, 11am, £3

Brand new inner-city, multi-venue, DIY-loving festival Kazoopa will be roping in more than 50 bands from across the country for a day of live gigging fun, with sets from Young Kato, Lisbon, The Wholls, The Tapestry, Jack Jones, The Repeat Offenders, Liberty Ship, Paves and many more. 26 Nov, various venues, Leeds, 12pm, £10


Laces Out!

Christmas at the Mill


Kazoopa Festival

November/December 2016

Assisted Suicide: The Musical

Carbooty and One of One team up with Islington Mill for the annual Christmas at the Mill festivities, which see residents of the Salfordian cultural institution sprawl out from their studios to host stall upon stall of original prints, art works, clothing, bags, ceramics, jewellery and more, all tied together by good food and drink and performances throughout the weekend. 30 Nov-1 Dec, Islington Mill, Salford, times vary, free

Islington Mill



Photo: John Lewis

Off the Record

Starman: The David Bowie Story

Winter Arts Market Merseyside's largest arts and crafts bash, the Winter Arts Market is on the move this year, taking to the stunning Liverpool Cathedral with more than 200 of the North's best artists, designers and makers selling paintings, jewellery, screenprints, cards, textiles, homeware and other such coveted trinkets. Expect hand-crafted seasonal splendour of the highest order. 3 Dec, Liverpool Cathedral, 10am, £2

Winter Arts Market

Bundle Brexit, Bowie and a certain blonde businessman-turned-politician together, and you have the mere tip of 2016's sizeable scheisseberg. Soften the blow – ever so slightly – with Starman, a musical homage to the late, great David Bowie featuring audiovisual footage and ALL the hits. Time to sing it better. 3 Dec, Echo Arena, Liverpool, 7.30pm, £24.50

David Bowie



Forget about the bright lights of Broadway; this month it's all about the glow of mighty Salford, as Lightwaves digital light festival returns for another 10 days of twinkling artworks from across the globe. Watch out for Heart Beat, a new large-scale commission by artists and installation specialists GNI Project, where visitors are invited to join hands to complete a 'circuit' that reveals a heart. D'awww. 9-18 Dec, Salford Quays, times vary, free

After smashin' it the first time round, Smashcon returns for another cult celebration of all things TV, film and comic-related, where you'll find live entertainment, guest stars, traders selling collectables, a Cosplay competition, and wrestling matches with British stars of the scene in association with British Wrestling Entertainment. 10 Dec, University of Leeds, 10am, £5-£25

Liverpool Gin Festival

Leeds Hidden Christmas Market

Get some colour back into those cheeks of yours this winter via the reliably brute force of mother's ruin, as the Liverpool Gin Festival rolls into town. Taking to Lutyen's Crypt below the Metropolitan Cathedral, this boozy basement shindig will let you sample from more than 100 gins – be they neat, with tonic or in a cocktail – as well as get involved with masterclasses from industry experts. 16-18 Dec, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, times vary, £7.50

Liverpool Gin Festval



Barbara Nice

Illustration: Nikki Myles

Two of Manchester's cultural giants team up this December as the Manchester Camerata orchestra take to the historic Albert Hall for The Manchester Festive Happening, welcoming young Norwegian trumpet virtuoso Tine Thing Helseth as she presents an atmospheric extravaganza of Christmassy carols, hymns and songs. 13 Dec, Albert Hall, Manchester, 3pm, £3-£35

Prom: The Snow Ball Welcome 2017 with a blast from the past, as Camp and Furnace plays host to Prom: Snow Ball. Don your shiniest satin, crimping irons and slick babyblue suits and get pumped for a night of 80s anthems, punch, corsages and super-classy buffet food, all sucking you into the blissful reverie of a John Hughes flick. 31 Dec, Camp and Furnace, Liverpool, 7.30pm, £15-£20

Join dotty Stockport housewife and Poundstretcher regular Barbara Nice (the comedy alter-ego of Janice Connolly) for her annual Christmas Cracker!, where the laughs are completed by an amusing bundle of tombola, mince pies and a raffle. 16 Dec, The Dancehouse, Manchester, 8pm, £10

The Manchester Festive Happening

Spirit of Christmas As is de rigueur during the holiday season, it's time to get trad-core with the Liverpool Philharmonic's Spirit of Christmas carol concert series. Lap up the full orchestra in all their glory as they play through a programme of classic tunes, along with readings from Classic FM's John Suchet. 17-23 Dec, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 7.30pm, £19-£45

Step through secret doors and into a world of mysterious and magical festivity, as the Leeds Hidden Christmas Market takes over Kirkstall Abbey, ramping up the Christmas shopping experience with an immersive smattering of live acts, performances, cocktails and craft ales, Bratwurst and stollen, craft stations and more. 16-22 Dec, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, times vary, £5.50-£7.50

Barbara Nice's Christmas Cracker!

Alfred Hitchcock double bill

Prom: The Snow Ball

Don't fancy the hysteria of a night on the tiles? Head to Hyde Park Picture House for their New Year's Eve Double Bill of North by Northwest and Notorious, providing the fitting end to a year of drama and tension with two films from the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock – both also starring his leading man, Cary Grant. 31 Dec, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds, 4pm, £7-£10



Getting up in the dark is never easy, but by the time December rolls around you'll be a bloody pro at it. Better shake a leg and get down to Yorkshire Sculpture Park for Sunrise in the Skyspace, then, where you're invited to utilise James Turrell's Deer Shelter Skyspace for an early morning of calm contemplation under the glow of daybreak, before enjoying a spot of brekkie in the restaurant. 3 & 10 Dec, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, 6.15am, £25

Sometimes it seems that, whether you're a product of the era or not, we're all 80s kids deep down. And because Christmas is without doubt the time to embrace such puerile nostalgia, HOME bring you A Very 80s Christmas, a film season featuring screenings of Scrooged, Santa Claus: The Movie, Back to the Future, The Princess Bride and other classics. 9-22 Dec, HOME, Manchester, times and prices vary

James Turrell, Deer Shelter Skyspace, 2006

Christmas PopUp Print Shop

The Kazimier Festive Arkade

The always-ace Manchester Print Fair presents the second Christmas PopUp Print Shop, this time at B.Eat Street's new gallery space. Browse through some of the best local prints, illustration and homewares, before rewarding yourself with a bite to eat and drink or two 'pon the Street. 10 Dec, B.Eat Street, Manchester, 11am, free

The Kaz's latest incarnation, North Docklands venue Invisible Wind Factory, becomes the new home for The Kazimier Festive Arkade, which continues the legacy of previous Christmas Kazmarts with a trading zone of food and craft vendors (including IWF studio members), along with mulled drinks and more. 11 Dec, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool, 11am, free


Illustration: Nikki Miles

A Very 80s Christmas

Photo: Jonty Wilde

Sunrise in the Skyspace

When in Manchester Festival

Whitney Houston

Ultimate Power Christmas Special

Christmas is arguably the cheesiest time of the year, so why not embrace the fuck outta it with an Ultimate Power Christmas Special? Get ready to blast out the Christmas classics alongside stuff from power ballad old-timers like Bonnie Tyler, Bon Jovi, Queen and Whitney Houston at this one-off edition of the regular club night. Santa hats on and rock horns at the ready. 16 Dec, O2 Ritz, Manchester, 10.30pm, £8

Following the buzz of its alldayer back in April, When in Manchester Festival returns with another, this time boasting south-east London's InHeaven, surfery garage types The Orielles, Reading's rock foursome The Amazons, local alt-pop outfit Dantevilles, Sheffield rock'n'roll band Liberty Ship, Darwen quartet Sky Valley Mistress, Liverpool's Natalie McCool and many others. 17 Dec, The Ruby Lounge, Manchester, 3pm, £8-£12

End of Year Riot

Mr. Scruff Boxing Day special

More than competently filling the void between Christmas Day and 1 Jan, Electric Chair's truly iconic End of Year Riot takes on Mantra Warehouse for a three-room fiesta with Move D, Maurice Fulton, Dicky Trisco, Red Rack'Em, Jon K, Chris Duckenfield, Kelvin Andrews, Balearic Mike and, of course, Electric Chair linchpins the Unabombers. 27 Dec, Mantra Warehouse, Manchester, 10pm, £26

Spending quality time with the family is all well and good but also, let's face it, not. So why not get out of the house and onto the dancefloor, and put yourself in the safe hands of master selector Mr. Scruff? He'll be heading up a Boxing Day blowout, joined by No Fakin's Illson. 26 Dec, The Merchant, Liverpool, 9pm, £10 The Low Anthem

November/December 2016

The Warehouse Project


Photo: Sebastian Matthes

The 2016 season of The Warehouse Project comes to an end, firstly with a New Year's Eve do featuring the likes of Hannah Wants, Blonde, Monki and Danny Howard, then officially culminating with the annual New Year's Day closing party, this year with a rather tempting line-up of Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman, Jackmaster, Bicep, George Fitzgerald and many more. 31 Dec & 1 Jan, Store Street, Manchester, 9.30pm/5pm, £39.50-£45

After the title was announced way back in 2013, it's finally time for Hull's Capital of Culture shenanigans to commence! The festivities open with Made in Hull, an art trail curated by award-winning Hull-born documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister, in which the city centre will be brought to life through largescale projections, illuminations, soundscapes and live performances. Find out what else to expect throughout the year at 1-7 Jan, Hull, various venues, free



Photo: Thomas Arran

Hull Capital of Culture

The Warehouse Project NYE



Cultural Highlights

Henry Moore, Upright Motive No. 2, No. 7, No. 1 (Glenkiln Cross), 1955–56 all courtesy Tate

Strictly Ballroom: The Musical With all the glistening lametta, prawn cocktail starters and Only Fools and Horses re-runs of Christmas, there’s arguably no better time of year to embrace your inner kitsch. And it’ll be precisely that that’s on the menu at West Yorkshire Playhouse, where things are going all-out spangle with the UK premiere of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, based on Baz Luhrmann’s iconic madcap film that first inspired the world to dance back in 1992. Following a championship ballroom dancer as he rejects the rules that have bound him since childhood, Strictly Ballroom: The Musical is an uplifting lesson in following your heart, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie (In the Heights, Hairspray) and co-produced by West


Yorkshire Playhouse and theatre and entertainment group Global Creatures. Featuring much-loved musical numbers from the original film along with contemporary songs from the likes of Sia, David Foster and Eddie Perfect, this energetic and eccentric show will no doubt please those for whom ballroom dancing reigns supreme on Saturday night TV – and prove the heartwarming antidote for the cold days and dark nights of winter. Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, 30 Nov-21 Jan

Art Without Walls For more than three decades, Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been busy breaking down barriers between the public and contemporary art, capitalising on the sprawling 500-acre Bretton Estate it calls home to create a world of ‘Art Without Walls’. Along with iconic pieces from world-renowned artists including Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, this season there’s also still time to catch the major exhibition by Swiss artist Not Vital – his first in the UK – who uses the Underground Gallery, Garden Gallery and open-air spaces to showcase his nomadic and diverse practice. From 19 November the park also welcomes Flights of Memory, the largest ever solo exhibition by painter and printmaker Angela Harding, whose

work is inspired by the thriving wildlife of Britain. To usher in the festive season, a Christmas events programme features a wreath-making workshop, a twilight walk of the Winter Pleasure Grounds, a three-course dinner accompanied by Emley Moor Brass Quartet, and a new year’s yoga retreat to help you counteract any seasonal excess. Don’t forget a visit to the YSP shop – a must for picking up that perfect Christmas gift. Yorkshire Sculpure Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, open 10am-5pm



Wot u :-) about?


Just arrived at Manchester’s HOME is Rachel Maclean’s new exhibition Wot u :-) about?, the first solo show by the young Scottish artist in the North of England. We meet her to talk collaboration, national identity and preparing for the 2017 Venice Biennale


espite being relatively early in her career, Rachel Maclean has developed her own unmistakeable, complex visual language. She utilises a woozy blend of art historical reference and ever-evolving internet tropes to build a hypersaturated world mirroring the absurdities and underlying darkness of contemporary life. Her films employ pitch black humour alongside cartoonish, candy-coloured characters (acted out by the artist herself using green screen) to build disturbingly familiar narratives of a dystopian future-present. The HOME show presents an all-new body of work developed in partnership with the gallery, including a new film, large-scale sculptures and a series of large-format prints. The film, entitled It’s What’s Inside That Counts, stars a Kim Kardashian-style character based around a smiley emoticon. Says Maclean, “She’s presented at first as a kind of figurehead for a data company and then later in the film she’s become this fallen figure on some kind of digital life support.” The fallen star of our networked world is accompanied by a series of rat-like mutant characters who live underground and chew through data cabling, at times seeming like junkies, at others like hackers. The rats also appear in the sculptures, characters running through the whole show. This exhibition has been developed collaboratively with a wide range of creatives, facilitated by HOME. Says Maclean, “For the film I was working with a reasonably big crew and collaborating with Julian Corrie (aka Miaoux Miaoux) for the soundtrack.” Other collaborators include a songwriter for musical theatre, who brings a twisted song and dance aspect to the production, make-up artists and a pair of recent Glasgow School of Art graduates who’ve been advising and fabricating the sculptures. “So yeah, it’s been a big team compared to past projects!” she laughs. It’s a long way from her original production process of self-shot footage created in front of a homemade green sheet. After HOME, Maclean is off to Venice to begin developing her work for the Scottish pavilion at the 2017 Biennale. “I’ve been out to the venue and I’ve got some ideas,” she says. “I’m really excited about it. To be in Venice for a bit alone and making work that’s in response to that will be amazing.” It’s an odd time to be developing a body of work

Unwrapped Organised by Manchester-based artists and printmakers Lois Gilbert and Emma Brown, Unwrapped is a new print fair for the North, showcasing the diverse work of artists and makers from across the region including Holly Bagnall, NOUS magazine, Alex Jenkins, Claire Curtin and many more. With 20 stalls of prints, cards, zines, ceramics, postcards, homewares and tote bags, there’ll also be a free gift-wrapping service should any of your purchases be destined for life beneath the tree. 19 Nov, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, 11am, free, @unwrappedfair

November/December 2016

Interview: Rosamund West

presenting a UK national identity onto a European stage, a fact Maclean is quick to acknowledge. “A lot of things changed in my head after Brexit in terms of thinking about Venice and the ideas for that. It feels like you can’t really be a British artist working in Europe, at the Venice Biennale without thinking in some way about Brexit and how you deal with that sense of national identity.”

“You can’t really be a British artist working in Europe, at the Venice Biennale without thinking in some way about Brexit” Rachel Maclean

This isn’t the first time her work has been swept up and distorted by current affairs. “I think it’s something I noticed when I did The Lion and the Unicorn,” she says. This video work used the heraldic imagery of Scotland and England to explore notions of identity and nationhood. “At the point that I made it, 2012, it was a couple of years before the Scottish referendum so it didn’t feel like that kind of very, very intense atmosphere that started happening shortly before it, imagining the possibilities of independence.” She embraces this evolution of meaning, though. “I find that kind of interesting. I guess it’s what I sort of enjoy about making art. You make something with certain intentions and then even by the time you’ve finished making the work your initial intentions might have changed, due to what it’s become or due to the sort of political situation.” An even more extreme distortion is currently underway, as one of the characters in her I Heart Scotland exhibition of 2013 was a golf-obsessed Donald Trump, featured in the wake of his Aber-

Rachel Maclean, We Want Data!, Dye Sublimation Fabric Print Series, 2.1 x 3 m. Commissioned by Artpace and HOME

deenshire course-building controversy. The meaning of that figure continues to change daily and is ultimately uncontrollable. Rachel Maclean sums up the strange place we find ourself in with this potential future leader of the free world. “Weirdly I feel that now Donald Trump is beyond satire. I’ve not seen anything yet that’s really sat-

irised him in a way that feels anything more than he already is. He’s so hyper-exaggerated already that you can’t imagine doing a parody of him that would go any further than he has already.” Wot u :-) about?, HOME, Manchester, until 8 Jan, free

Homeless: The Human Cost of Austerity

Breaking the Code

As luxury apartment blocks continue to dominate Northern skylines while affordable housing and benefits both fall short of needs, there’s no denying that homelessness in the UK is very much a political issue. Exploring the impact of austerity on homelessness, group exhibition Homeless: The Human Cost of Austerity sees 10 artists use photography, illustration, sculpture, installation, poetry and performance to address the issue as a consequence of human action, with all donations going to local voluntary organisations. 19-27 Nov, Road Studios, Liverpool, times vary, £donations, @road_studios

BAFTA Award-winning actor Daniel Rigby takes on the role of computer scientist Alan Turing in the Royal Exchange’s revival of Breaking the Code, the 1986 play by Hugh Whitemore. Presented as part of Manchester Science Festival, the production brings Turing’s story back to the city where he lived, worked and died, and explores his development of the machine that cracked the German Enigma code and his subsequent vision to create the modern computer. Until 19 Nov, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, 7.30pm (2.30pm matinees), from £10,


2Faced Dance Company: Run If you’re new to contemporary dance, then a triple bill of short pieces presented by this inventive company should provide an ideal introduction. Three commissions from three choreographers – grouped under the title Run – explore the darker side of humanity through movement, theatre and design, in a show described by The Stage as “exciting, violent, hypnotic and strangely beautiful,” complete with original music. 30 Nov, Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds, £12.50,


Breaking the Code

Events Guide


Teen Spirit Meet Halifax trio The Orielles, as they prepare to unleash the Late Night with Jimmy Fallow weekender on Manchester

Interview: Lorna Gray


istening to the dreamy surf-pop sound of The Orielles, it’s easy to be transported to a faraway paradise, where wavy garage resonance dominates and vibes are laid-back and relaxed. But their reverb-ridden jangles of guitar provide an unlikely juxtaposition with their origin, as the trio hail from the grey and rainy town of Halifax. Having met at a house party only three years ago, and with two of the members starting on their instruments almost entirely from scratch, the band have managed to fast-track from just three friends jamming to being flown across the Atlantic for Canadian Music Week and receiving recognition from the likes of Steve Lamacq. The rollercoaster success of The Orielles is a refreshing tale of how far talent and a positive attitude can get you. So who are The Orielles? “Groovy, golden guac-lovers,” apparently. We meet Henry Wade and sisters Esme and Sidonie Hand-Halford as they tuck into their veggie lunches prior to one of their many live performances, seemingly giddy and excited to hit the stage. “We’re just three kids, trying to have a good time and play some sweet, sweet tunes,” says Henry, in between mouthfuls of vegan burger. “If the music that we make creates happiness, then that’s all we want.” With several successful tours and festival appearances under their belt, and a burgeoning nationwide reputation, it’s pretty evident that this is exactly what their music is doing among their growing fanbase. How easy was it for three freshfaced, fashion-savvy musicians to kick up a fuss wherever they went? “Everywhere we go, everyone’s been really welcoming into their own scene and it’s just been really nice to make loads of friends everywhere,” says Henry. “On our last tour it was really nice because we only knew a couple of people from the internet, and we just met up and made some really good friends.” Even in areas alien to them, the three musicians have managed to charm their way into new friendships. “We went to places like Ramsgate,” Esme adds, “where we didn’t think we knew anyone, but then we’d end up making friends with people which is always pretty cool.” With such a relaxed and friendly attitude, it’s no wonder the band have managed to establish a name for themselves across the UK, and with so many links in so many locations they have decided to showcase their favourite up-and-coming artists by curating a weekender in Manchester in November – the two-day affair Late Night with Jimmy Fallow.

“It definitely is important to us to give our friends’ bands the chance to showcase their sounds and stuff,” says Sid, clearly passionate about the subject, “because all of those bands are really good and definitely deserve more attention than they’re receiving at the minute.” There’s a certain romanticism to The Orielles’ view of the music industry. Just rocking up at various locations to play a show and forming friendships along the way is without doubt an optimistic approach to touring, but one that has evidently worked for this band – and their somewhat oldschool attitude recently landed them a tour with a band they love, The Parrots. “We met them a couple of years ago when they played in Leeds, and we just gave them one of our singles. When we got back they’d added us on Facebook and they asked us to tour with them!” Sid explains, the excitement in her voice indicating that even she is still surprised by the outcome of simply handing over a CD. Esme describes the experience as “a privilege,” but as the buzz surrounding The Orielles becomes more intense, it seems that the privilege is all ours. The Orielles present: Late Night with Jimmy Fallow at Fallow Cafe, Manchester, 25 & 26 Nov, 7pm, £6/£8. The Orielles headline both evenings, supported by ZuZu, Party Hardly and The Roasts (25), and Fentonville Street Band and Corey Bowen (26)

Having recently moved from their native Manchester to Berlin, Fuzz Club records’ The Underground Youth bring this year’s gigging to a close with a special hometown show, as Soup Kitchen’s subterranean gig den plays host to the visceral energy of their dark, psychedelic post-punk – ahead of a new LP in early 2017, we might add. Support comes from Static Caravan’s TVAM and brooding Liverpool shoegaze types Rongorongo. 17 Dec, Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 7pm, £7, @SoupKitchen_Mcr

Photo: Lisa Stirling

The Underground Youth


Events Guide

Henry Wade

All the hooks collide with a veritable explosion of glitter as US duo PWR BTTM come to town. The formula is simple: Weezer-esque powerpop + queer identity politics x überglam approach to style = aceness, but even that doesn’t convey the riotous joy at the heart of debut album Ugly Cherries. Catch them in the flesh to have your face seared by gnarly solos, and your heart well and truly won over. 4 Dec, Brudenell Social Club (Games Room), Leeds, 7.30pm, £6, @FSELeeds

Yussef Kamaal


“We’re just three kids, trying to have a good time and play some sweet, sweet tunes”


Yussef Kamaal

Deathly Records launch


New bespoke indie label Deathly Records finds its feet this November with a launch do at 24 Kitchen Street, coinciding with the release of the debut single from Liverpudlian anthemic rock quartet Lilium. They’ll be joined by experimental psych duo OVVLS, who draw inspiration from the natural world to weave hypnotic dark lullabies, plus fellow locals Etches and God on My Right. 25 Nov, 24 Kitchen Street, Liverpool, 7pm, free, @ DeathlyRecs


The Underground Youth


Photo: Sam Huddleston

The combined effort of hotly tipped new Gilles Peterson signees Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams, Yussef Kamaal take inspiration for their jazz from London’s jungle, grime and broken beats, while riding the new wave of jazz-funk with aplomb. They’re debuting their self-taught tight sound with a spate of new shows across Europe in support of first album Black Focus; definitely worth catching ‘em now while you can still appreciate their unique stylings in the nation’s intimate venues. 10 Nov, Islington Mill, Salford, 7.30pm, £12, @Fat_Out

“We chose Manchester because it’s definitely the city we feel most at home in,” Sid explains. “It’s our true home town – well it actually is mine and Sid’s original home town,” adds Esme. “The scene is very much alive in Manchester as well,” Henry chimes in. “It’s really good to have the opportunity to support little venues like Fallow Cafe that really should get more recognition.”

All Ears At this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, you can don a pair of headphones and listen to the train station with White Cane – an exploration of the sounds of public spaces, developed in collaboration with blind and visually impaired performers. We talk to the artists behind it about the idea of ‘sonic vision’ Interview: Lauren Strain “If you ever go to a performance and put on headphones to listen to the audio description, most of the time it’s hideous, it’s rubbish, it’s really pedestrian,” Chapman says. “For a dance performance, say, it goes ‘There’s a man. He’s walking. He falls over. He jumps in the air...’ – and it tells you something, but it doesn’t necessarily tell you anything interesting or imaginative. So what we’re trying to do is make that process of experiencing through someone else’s sense more imaginative, and more compelling to listen to.” Speaking without words The audio description does not just consist of words, but also wordless vocalisations, drawing on Jones’ many years of artistic practice using only “pre-verbal sounds.” As she explains, “one has to be careful with text because immediately

you make it referential,” so sometimes something more “textural” is needed; “stones, cobble, brick, air, temperature, dampness or heat... these are not always easy to describe in words.” Though each performance of White Cane by its nature cannot be repeated, it’s what the audience member takes away from it – hopefully, a deeper appreciation for an otherwise hidden sonic world – that is lasting. “There’s that realisation when you see people using a white cane: ‘Oh, they’re getting all this information,’” Chapman says. “There’s a whole world of stuff, this sort of tactile, sonic experience... It’s a sound that nobody hears, [yet it’s] going on all the time.” White Cane: Salamanda Tandem, Huddersfield train station (platform 1), 23 Nov, 12.30pm, 2.30pm & 5pm, free. Arrive 15 minutes before the performance to collect a headset

Four more to see at HCMF


Photo: Amy Muir

e are accustomed to seeing people using a white cane. But have we ever really thought about the ‘sound’ it makes? For the last two years, artists Isabel Jones and Duncan Chapman – co-directors of socially engaged performance collective Salamanda Tandem – have been presenting White Cane, a site-specific performance involving blind and visually impaired (VIP) performers, around the UK. Wearing wireless headphones, listeners are immersed in a sound world comprised of field recordings, musical performance, an audio description sung by Jones and – crucially – the sound of a white cane as it rolls along the surfaces of the local environment. All these inputs are mixed live, enabling participants to hear what the VIP performers (violist Takashi Kikuchi and dancer Mickel Smithen) are experiencing in real-time. It is a project with a strong principle of accessibility behind it; as Chapman says, “We were trying

November/December 2016

to create something that was like an insight into a different world.” Different every time As each performance of White Cane involves a great deal of time researching the site where it will take place, gathering recordings and considering what to include in the pre-recorded music, each performance as a result “has a different feel to it entirely.” And while some of the performance is prepared ahead of time, much of the final experience is down to what’s happening in the moment – for example, it is possible to participate unwittingly, as a passer-by who wanders into the field of play and finds they have become a part of it. A creative approach to audio description – here conceived of as a mixture of practical information and unusual observations sung by Jones rather than simply an aid – is something she and Chapman have been developing for many years.

Body-opera HCMF presents the UK premiere of Polish composer Wojtek Blecharz’s ‘living organism’ opera, a work exploring the relationships between sound and the human body comprised of different media including music, installation, choreography, sculpture and video. They’ll be sticking a coach on if you’re travelling from Huddersfield. The Hepworth Wakefield, 20 Nov, 3pm, £17 (£14) 

Kelly Jayne Jones and Pascal Nichols of part wild horses mane on both sides: a boundless free music group hailing from the North of England via France. Tonight they’re joined by Kamran Ali and Greta Buitkuté to present the world premiere of a new composition, Cooking up a stew from other’s oddments, likely a witches’ brew of sonic artefacts, rural noise and bent time/space. Bates Mill Photographic Studio, 26 Nov, 8.30pm, £12 (£9) 

Zubin Kanga Piano as you don’t know it: Australian pianist Zubin Kanga performs brand new works that use 3D sensors, semi-artificial intelligence and pitch-bending electronics to extend the possibilities of the piano and explore ‘malevolent doppelgängers, hyper-virtuosity and the sonification of the pianist’s body’. Wowzer. St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield, 21 Nov, 12.40pm, free 

Colin Stetson: Sorrow Acclaimed saxophonist Colin Stetson presents a reimagining of Henryk Górecki’s famous Symphony No 3, aka the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Released on disc earlier this year and receiving its live UK premiere tonight, Stetson’s Sorrow feeds the composer’s original features into a brooding new form, finished with gurgling menace and – according to our reviewer – Godspeed-esque bluster. Bates Mill Blending Shed, 27 Nov, 7pm, £22 (£19) 

part wild horses mane on both sides Experimental music fans will be familiar with

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 18-27 Nov



Okkervil River

From the lo-fi beginnings of 2014 self-titled debut, to the gutsy racket of this year’s triumphant Babes Never Die, Honeyblood’s trajectory has most assuredly ridden an upward curve. Comprising the impressively named Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale and recent recruit Cat Myers, the duo’s take on noisepop comes drenched in melody and teems with the sort of rough’n’tumble rambunctiousness that powers the very best records on your shelf. In other words: dead good. 17 Nov, The Wardrobe, Leeds, 7.30pm, £10, @wardrobeleeds

In the 16 years since the release of debut album The Teaches of…, Peaches has become notorious for her revolutionary approach to gender identity and jaw-dropping, glamorously confrontational live shows – and tonight she finally makes her Liverpool debut in the finery of the Invisible Wind Factory. You read words like ‘unmissable’ and ‘essential’ pretty often in this game, but trust us, this is absolutely 100% guaranteed to be both. 11 Nov, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool, 8pm, £15, @ClubEVOL

We’re not treated to visits from Will Sheff often enough. Having mastered the whole Americana thing (not to mention shit-kickin’ country rock), and expanded his repertoire to include baroque chamber pop, he returns with his keen eye for detail newly sharpened: Okkervil River’s latest LP, Away, is a sterling collection of heart-melting observationalist balladry, laced with confessionals and characterisation that lesser songwriters would commit misdeeds to be capable of. 12 Nov, Gorilla, Manchester, 7pm, £20, @thisisgorilla




Okkervil River

Events Guide


The Twelve Raves of Christmas OK, there's more than 12 parties here but who can resist a shit headline? Never us. Here's our guide to Chrimbo clubbing Illustration: Jake Hollings Pick of the advent calendar Leeds appears to be wishing us a very heavy Christmas, with three beastly nights to look forward to in early December: dubstep original Skream at the Mint Club on the 3rd, garage gee DJ EZ at O2 Academy on the 9th, and big-top techno ringmaster Jamie Jones with his Paradise night at Church (also the 9th). But if anyone knows how to spread cheer it’s the HomoElectric crew, who’re throwing a special Christmas edition of their scene-leading disco sweatfest at Manchester’s Hidden on 10 Dec. Hot toddy residents Will Tramp!, Gina Breeze and Jamie Bull are all in attendance and they’ve invited Futureboogie’s Dave Harvey along for the (sleigh) ride. Meanwhile, Hidden throw their own seasonal do on 16 Dec: it wouldn’t be Christmas without a good brass band, so for the Hidden Xmas Ting they’ve sourced one from the country’s brassband mecca, Sheffield. With eight horns, two percussionists, a scratch DJ and MC, the steel city’s Renegade Brass Band will be delivering the very opposite of a silent night – joined by KOG & The Zongo Brigade, Banana Hill’s Cervo and Martin from Loose Cuts. Ting and indeed tong merrily on high.  Christmas week  If the overpriced bratwurst, awkward social encounters and snarky commentary from London friends who seem to think they’ve entered the wilderness returning North for Christmas is all getting a bit much, take yourself off to the Caribbean with an Xmas special of regular club night Dancehall vs Soca at the Ritz, Manchester, on 23 Dec. Join #TeamDancehall or #TeamSoca as the two DJs battle it out – they’re almost definitely going to throw in some jingle dubs.  Boxing Day When champion Manc selector Mr. Scruff put together an alternative Christmas playlist for The Skinny last year, he chose everything from ‘Perky Ghanaian funk in a James Brown style’ to a slice of 80s dancehall ‘considerably heavier than your average Cliff Richard offering’. Who else would

you want to sweat those figgy pudding pounds off with on Boxing Day? Fortunately for you, the man’s at The Merchant, Liverpool on 26 Dec for a special edition of his iconic club night Keep It Unreal with No Fakin’s Illson in tow. Also in Liverpool on the 26th, promoters Modu:lar celebrate their first Christmas (n’aw) at Buyers Club with extended sets from Romanian techno artist Rhadoo, Fathers and Sons label boss Julian Perez and residents Nerram and Brennan. The festive perineum You can always rely on Manchester’s Electric Chair to more than competently fill the void between Christmas Day and New Year’s, and this year they take their annual End of Year Riot to Mantra Warehouse on 27 Dec for a three-room fiesta with Move D, Maurice Fulton, Dicky Trisco, Red Rack’Em, Jon K, Chris Duckenfield, Kelvin Andrews, Balearic Mike and, of course, Electric Chair linchpins the Unabombers. Owch.  If you’d prefer to relive the heights of Madchester’s heyday, the Fac 51/Hacienda residents – Mike Pickering, Greg Wilson, Jon DaSilva et al – are out in force at Sankeys on the 27th with tickets ranging from £25 (standard) to £800 (16person VIP booth), in case that spirit of Christmas excess hasn’t quite worn off.  New Year’s Eve If your New Year’s resolution is to do more good, you could get 2017 off to a promising start by attending Islington Mill’s Raise the Roof New Year’s Eve party, where all profits will be going towards the Mill’s fundraising campaign to fix its derelict, partially collapsed roof and renovate the fifth floor. The Mill’s NYE bash is always one of the best – some would argue the best – in Manchester, and this year is set to be no different with those reliable hedonists from Sounds from the Other City festival, Fat Out and more all on curational duties. It’s the ultimate house party. Another regular fixture comes into its own this month as Leeds’ HiFi Club hosts an Xmas special of its long-running Motown/Northern Soul/60s party MoveOnUp – definitely a good option if you’re not in the pricey ticket game.

We’re sure there’ll be plenty more great parties announced over the coming weeks – make sure to check our weekly clubbing round-ups for Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester at

Benga & SGT Pokes

A ‘previously unseen sequence of electronic music experiences’, ENRG is a four-part series of nights at Invisible Wind Factory exploring different types of energy: potential, kinetic, sound and magnetic. Leading the final investigation into such forcefields tonight is dark dance duo Dusky, with support from Paris’s Bambounou, who’s put out music on Modeselektor’s (sadly departed) 50Weapons label and caught our attention with his heated, hybrid sounds. 3 Dec, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool, £15, @ENRGliverpool

Party starters The Whispering Digital have teamed up with everyone’s favourite tumbledown house to present dubstep pioneer Benga, returning to the decks after an extended break and MC’d by his right-hand man SGT Pokes (Magnetic Man, Skream). Expect a night of borderless grime, bass and dub with support from Stature, Inka and Trakis; and to have a bloody great grin on your face the whole time. 9 Dec, Antwerp Mansion, Manchester, 10pm, from £6, @ThewhisperingD

Back to Basics 25th anniversary

Percolate’s 4th birthday


Events Guide

New Year’s Day As is becoming tradition, Leeds’ Canal Mills gives Manchester’s Warehouse Project a run for its money on New Year’s Day, with Modeselektor, Floating Points, The Black Madonna, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jasper James rounding off a compact but absolutely storming line-up on 1 January. If you want to go harder for longer, though, The Warehouse Project has got you sorted with a bill of almost overwhelming choice, its 12-hour

party welcoming Marcel Dettman, Ben Klock, DJ Koze, Midland, Boddika, Bicep and many, many more to Store Street, plus a live set from KiNK. Others barely get a look-in, although our (chocolate) money’s on Percolate at everyone’s favourite Manchester grotto Hidden, with Floating Points ably propped up by Aussie wunderkind Jordon Alexander aka Mall Grab, whose hazy lo-fi jams should ease you gently into the cold, dark days of 2017. Now to curl up in a ball under the duvet and not leave the house until February, yeah? 

ENRG 04. Magnetic Energy

In their 25th year, Leeds’ longest-running club night Back to Basics have unveiled their very own venue, Church – a chapel kitted out for epic parties with an adjacent music academy. Though it opened back in October, the B2B crew have named 26 Nov as their official birthday and are bringing in Erick Morillo – one of the few US DJs to have enjoyed a residency at Ministry of Sound – midway through his Subliminal tour. 26 Nov, Church, Leeds, 11pm, £20, @backtobasics91


Liverpool meanwhile is in the capable hands of 303 at Constellations – the line-up is yet to be announced, but from the heads who’ve recently brought us Robert Hood and Henry Saiz, we’d expect nothing less than a luxury cracker. 

According to those ambitious bods at Percolate, ‘the only thing better than a Jeremy Underground set is a Jeremy Underground all night long set’ – so they’ve roped in the rare-house digger to play for seven full hours at their fourth birthday party. He’s joined by Percolate residents Krywald and Farrer, and Rikki Humphrey, who has an eye for a tune given he’s head of A&R at Leeds’ vinyl-only Albion Records label. Raise a toast (and the roof). 19 Nov, Hidden, Manchester, 10pm, from £15, @percolate_music



November/December 2016


Spotlight: Rob Mulholland He won Manchester’s famed Beat the Frog competition in 2015, but reckons he could beat a rhino, too Interview: Debs Marsden


iant of comedy' might not be strictly accurate, but at 6'7" Rob Mulholland comes pretty close. He fills a stage with ease, and brims with a misplaced pride in his own torrid endeavours, somehow treading a knife-edge between genial and aggressive. Mulholland’s acerbic and exquisitely phrased laments to the steady decline of his personal life provide an unenviable glimpse into experiences you never wanted to hear about in any detail. It’s hard to make ‘lovelorn and bitter’ an endearing character trait, so it’s testament to Rob’s likebility that he even vaguely manages. With a plethora of competition wins under his belt, as well as his very own car, Rob is quickly becoming one of the North’s most sought-after middle spots. The best comedian in the world he may not be, but he’s getting very good at it indeed. Influences: “Wu-Tang Clan, Tesco Value Scotch, and The Krankies.” First gig: “Two minutes above a pub in London in the first round of a competition. I did a bit about how chicken nuggets look like faces and included a pratfall. It was bad. But I got to the semi-final, because everyone in London is terrible at comedy.”


Events Guide

Best gig: “Performing at Harrogate Theatre was a big moment for me. It was an insanely exciting place when I visited as a child, and one of the most beautiful theatres in the country. Either that, or the time I got paid to tell a pub full of morons in Cheshire they were pricks.” Worst gig: “My third gig was a charity gig in an Indian restaurant. I was the only act and they asked me to do half an hour. No one in the restaurant knew there was to be comedy and there wasn’t a mic or a stage, so I was just a man in the corner shouting at strangers. After five minutes I was paused so they could take orders and when I resumed waiters kept pushing me out of their way to deliver food.” Circuit favourites in the North: “Mick Ferry is the don. Liam Pickford could be better than any of us if he pulled his finger out of his fat, valium-filled bum. Dan Nightingale doesn’t live in the North anymore, but he’s such a natural comic.” Best heckle: “All hecklers are cowardly dribblefucks who should have been drowned in a tin bath at birth like the intellectual runts of the litter they are. A man recently told me to not make any jokes about parents

as he didn’t have any. I responded, ‘I don’t know why you’ve not got any parents: I can only assume suicide.’ He applauded. People are weird.” Aspirations: “To never do another honest day’s graft for the rest of my probably significantly shortened lifespan.” What would you be doing if you weren’t doing stand-up? “I reckon I’d just try to get well into chemsex parties. They seem like a hoot, if you like that sort of thing.” If you could be haunted by anyone, who would it be and why? “I’m already haunted by the ghosts of my terrible decisions in life.”


What’s the largest animal you think you could beat in a fight? (No weapons.) “A white rhino, three pigs and half a giraffe. All at once. I’m hard as fuck, pal.” If you lived in medieval times what would you do for a living? “I would die in a workhouse aged 11.” Question from past Spotlighter Jack Evans: Which videogame is your life most like? “Donkey Kong. Because I’m too hard and only nerds touch me nowadays.” Rob Mulholland is at Moorside Cricket Club, Manchester, 6 Nov; Hot Water Comedy Club at the Holiday Inn, Liverpool, 11 Nov; and The Comedy Store, Manchester, 13 Nov. For news of more gigs, find him on Twitter: @robmulholland


Top Ten: Films at LIFF


As Leeds International Film Festival reaches its third decade, we look at the ten movies you shouldn’t miss in 2016 Words: Jamie Dunn


eafing through the catalogue for the 30th Leeds International Film Festival reveals page after page of cinematic delights, particularly the rich vein of cinema history that runs through the festival’s Retrospective strand. Mint-fresh digital prints of Michael Mann’s Heat and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet are the perfect way to honour these masterpieces’ respective anniversaries (the former turns 20 while the latter is the same age as LIFF). A look back at the films of the great Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Being There) isn’t to be missed either. Same goes for screenings of films by Agnès Varda (Cleo from 5 to 7) and Vĕra Chytilová (Daisies and A Bagful of Fleas), acknowledging these great female filmmakers’ contributions to the cinematic new waves they helped kickstart in the 1960s. You’ll also want to catch Abel Gance’s Napoleon, fresh from its unprecedented 50-year restoration effort, and films from the Soundtrack strand, which includes screenings of 2001, Jaws, Purple Rain and the greatest concert movie ever made: Stop Making Sense.


On top of all these wonderful older movies, here are the top ten new films you should track down tickets for: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (Director: André Øvredal) Set in a morgue on a dark and stormy night, Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch star as father-and-son morticians having trouble with a female corpse in this scary and darkly funny chamber piece from the mind that brought us Trollhunter. 11 & 15 Nov, Hyde Park Picture House Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson) Splicing together outtakes from her decades as a cinematographer on docs like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Citizenfour with some heartfelt home movies, Kirsten Johnson creates a vivid tapestry on the nature and ethics of filmmaking. 6, 11 & 13 Nov, Leeds Town Hall - Albert Room Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt) Kelly Reichardt’s slow-burn pseudo-western follows the daily lives – and deep loneliness – of four women in rural Montana. The big draw here is the cast. Reichardt regular Michelle Williams is joined by three other outstanding actresses: Laura Dern, Lily Gladstone and Kristen Stewart. 4 & 6 Nov, Hyde Park Picture House Chi-Raq (Spike Lee) The great Spike Lee takes Aristophanes’ antiwar satire Lysistrata, about the women of Athens refusing to have sex with their warring menfolk, and transplants it to modern-day Chicago. 4 & 7 Nov, Hyde Park Picture House Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) This tale of a psychopath who begins to exert a strange hold over his neighbours – the latest from J-horror master Kiyoshi Kurosawa – reportedly lives up to its title. 15 & 17 Nov, Vue in the Light

Graduation (Cristian Mungiu) Another intricate, quietly gripping drama from Romanian New Wave star Cristian Mungiu. Here he follows a well-meaning doctor who finds himself up to his elbows in corruption as he attempts to boost his daughter’s grade on her final school exam. 13, 14 & 16 Nov, Vue in the Light The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook) A typically stunning piece of cinema from Korean filmmaker Park Chanwook, this erotic thriller based on Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith sees the director of Oldboy and Stoker at his Baroque best. Read our review of the film from an early screening at this year’s London Film Festival online. 11 & 14 Nov, Leeds Town Hall - Victoria Hall Paterson (Jim Jarmusch) The latest from Jim Jarmusch follows a quiet, gentle bus driver who writes poetry on the side. Adam Driver stars, and his wonky charisma chimes perfectly with Jarmusch’s offbeat style. 3 Nov, Leeds Town Hall – Victoria Hall; 5 Nov, Hyde Park Picture House Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade) The plot of this German comedy – a sweet-natured music teacher pretends to be an eccentric business coach to get close to his cold, corporate, business consultant daughter – sounds like a cheesy Hollywood movie, but Maren Ade’s third feature is full of surprises, with plenty to say about life and capitalism in modern Europe between the giggles. 17 Nov, Leeds Town Hall – Victoria Hall Raw (Julia Ducournau) We love the sound of this French-Belgian horror centered on a vegan veterinary student turned blood-thirsty cannibal. 12 Nov, Leeds Town Hall – Victoria Hall Leeds International Film Festival runs 3-17 Nov |

Black Star with Norman Jay

Grayson Perry: Typical Man in a Dress

Reese Witherspoon in The Good Lie

Human Rights, Human Wrongs A short film season screened in partnership with Amnesty International Leeds, Human Rights, Human Wrongs has two remaining showings across November and December: first, the 1998 Palme d’Or winner Eternity and a Day, in which a famous writer’s eyes are opened when he meets a young boy from Albania, and lastly the Reese Witherspoonstarring movie The Good Lie, with viewers encouraged to debate how Hollywood looks at migrants’ stories. 20 Nov & 11 Dec, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds, 3pm, pay as you feel,

November/December 2016

From his confrontational ceramics to his vibrant taste in clothing, Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry has long explored ideas of identity. Right now he’s honing in on masculinity: what is it, and what role does it play in the big issues facing the world today? To accompany the publication of his new book The Descent of Man, Perry presents a live theatre show combining laughs, discussion, insight and – of course – costume changes. 7 Nov, The Lowry, Salford, 7.30pm, from £23,

Life and Death on the NYC Dancefloor

Celebrating the power and range of black actors on film and TV, the British Film Institute presents the nationwide Black Star season from October to December, with hundreds of events taking place across the country. In Manchester, Sir Norman Jay, famous for his Good Times Sound System and eclectic Notting Hill sets, will be introducing a screening of 70s blaxploitation classic Shaft before taking to the decks for a DJ set full of movie soundtracks. 30 Nov, Gorilla, Manchester, 7.30pm, £12,

Life and Death on the New York Dancefloor

Grayson Perry

Find out more about the halcyon days of clubbing in 1980s New York as author and Lucky Cloud Sound System founder Tim Lawrence heads out on the road in support of his new book, Life and Death on the NYC Dancefloor, 1980-83. He’ll be reading from the book before being interviewed by Northern clubbing mainstay Greg Wilson, followed by a Q&A session and book signing. 21 Nov, The Baltic Social, Liverpool, 7pm, £5,



Events Guide





Meal Planning for a Nuclear Winter

ST Y LE Words: Rebecca Chan Illustration: Luis Pinto

As we reach the winter of one of the most apocalyptic years in recent memory, one writer shares her store cupboard tips for making it to the other side


upert’ is a prepper. He’s a survivalist. I can’t tell you who Rupert is, only that we’re close, and that he has two machetes in his home in case of the collapse of law and order. We’ve had heated disputes about survivalism before; I’m suspicious of the YouTubers stirring up anxiety about the impending nuclear winter, or the electrical blackout we’ll have to face when a solar flare blitzes the National Grid. It’s not that this stuff couldn’t happen, I just don’t think society will benefit from panicking any more than we already are. Besides, the occasional overlap in survivalist and neo-Confederate thought makes me a bit queasy. For months, Rupert has been urging me to fill my empty kitchen cupboards with preserved food, enough to get through the first days of disaster. I’ve resisted, out of nothing but an unwillingness to concede any ground to the survivalist movement. We have stubbornness in common, me and Rupert. Still, it’s a lot easier to argue against illegal weaponry than it is tinned milk, and I find myself thinking of the great Edinburgh winter of 2010/2011, trudging to Scotmid through knee-deep snow only to find bare shelves. I wonder if my ancestors are watching me now, shaking their heads, as I fail to fulfil the basic survival requirement of planning for the lean months. Maybe it’s the first nip of frost in the air that nudges me over the edge, but I finally agree, and am faced with the question: How does one plan a meal for the (nuclear) winter?

Step 1: Carbs are your friends Of all the starchy things you could base your meal on, rice has got to be the best. Half a cup of it will fill an empty belly, and if you need to make it stretch further, you can feed twice as many people with that amount by making congee (savoury rice porridge). Picking up a 10kg bag of rice from the Chinese supermarket in town, upon arriving home with dead arms half an hour later, I decide to do the rest of this stock-up with the help of home delivery and the internet (while they still exist).

November/December 2016

Once I settle into the online shop, I realise I’m enjoying myself. I feel like I’m in an Enid Blyton book, packing my jam sandwiches and ‘lashings’ of ginger beer, ready for adventures. Cheery, apocalyptic adventures. Three kilos of pasta, 12 tins of legumes (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas) and a bag of dry lentils all go in the basket – the kind of things you’d eat anyway over the course of a winter, to bulk out chilis and stews. A quick note on bread: pfft. Don’t even bother. It’s bulky, will go mouldy before you can get through it, and the vacuum-sealed bake-at-home variety won’t be much use to you when your gas and electricity is cut off post-annihilation. In fact, now may be a good time to figure out what you’ll be cooking on once the grid is down. A camping stove is probably a good bet (don’t forget the extra gas canisters, oil and water). Step 2: Friends are also your friends Do you live in an expensive city? If so, it’s likely that you have extra people living in your cupboards/ under the stairs/in between the walls to make rent affordable. The hard truth of the apocalypse is that, when the shit hits the fan, you’re going to have to feed these people too. You might not feel like it, especially as they’re going to smirk at you when they see you hauling your tins of canned tomatoes up the stairs, but you will feed them. What good is surviving Armageddon if you haven’t got friends to help you hunt rats and burn chairs? All this is to say, while you might order enough to feed yourself for a few months, it will actually only be enough for a few weeks once you factor in all the pals you’d quite like as company in the dark days ahead. Step 3: Fat It is with great satisfaction that a kilo of peanut butter drops into the online basket. If you’ve ever taken a jar of peanut butter with you on a camping trip and felt the joy of dipping a finger into it after an unsatisfying dinner of dried soup mix,

you’ll agree that this is indispensable. A couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter is also a delicious way to transform a plain tomato-based, root veg stew into something more interesting. Cured meat like chorizo adds fat and flavour too. My computer is inhabited by a spirit and adds five bars of cheap, own-brand dark chocolate to my basket while I’m not looking. Step 4: Fermentation It’s tricky to take vegetables with you to the other side, and while you’ve seen The Martian and now know how to grow potatoes, it’s going to take a little while before your crops come through. In the meantime, why not consider what fermentation can do for you? Sauerkraut and kimchi will keep forever if they’re sealed, and if you have a few tablespoons of salt, sugar and rice vinegar, you can turn your carrots and cucumbers into an approximation of Vietnamese pickled vegetables with the addition of some warm water and a few jars. Either way, you can save these sour garnishes for treat days, as a welcome break from flaccid tinned green beans (a necessary evil in apocalyptic times). Step 5: Booze Some preppers recommend keeping bottles of high-proof spirits in your store cupboard, to use as currency for trading with other survivors, as antiseptics for minor wounds, or just to liven up another damp evening in the bunker. If you think you can keep alcohol in the house without drinking it, this might be a prudent choice. If you’re not sure you can be trusted and don’t want to part with the money, you could also just wait until the next party you host and round up the dregs of the cheap vodka people bring over. Satisfying my inner miser, I choose the latter. Early on Monday morning, the buzzer goes. Expecting it, I run down the stairs to meet the delivery man, and we haul the tins up together. I wonder if he thinks I’m crazy. Perhaps he gets this


all the time. Side-eyeing him and looking for facial clues, the conclusion comes that, of course, he doesn’t care. He has places to get to and things to get done; the world carries on for another day. In the spirit of things, I pack the food away, immediately eat one of the bars of emergency chocolate, and carry on with my life while it’s still there.

A Survival Recipe Ginger & Shiitake Congee Ingredients Any rice except basmati, rinsed (½ cup per person ideally but a little goes a long way) Water (2.5 cups per cup of rice) Thumb of ginger, grated Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes Century egg Pork floss Method Bring the water (and the mushroom liquid) to the boil in a heavy pot. Add rice, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and ginger and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Serve with sesame oil and white pepper. For an extra traditional experience, hunt down century eggs and pork floss in your local Asian supermarket, both of which will keep nicely in a dry store cupboard as the apocalypse rages around you.



New in Food Looking for somewhere new to eat and drink? Our monthly online round-ups of the best local openings should help you choose. Here are our highlights for November and December Words: Jess Hardiman Fondue parties and sushi in Leeds Concept bar The Hedonist Project unveils its latest seasonal incarnation with The Winter Mountain Lodge, where you’re invited to go and get piste on festive cocktails and wintry punches, complete with rustic alpine wood panelling and cosy seating, meat and cheese boards, Swiss-style toasties and fondue parties. Perfect for offsetting the prevailing chill, no? Open now, Lower Briggate. Japanese kitchen and cafe Senbon Sakura has moved into the former home of Cafe Centro. Paying homage to the site’s past life, throughout the day the menu harbours Centro staples (full English brekkies, sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes), before making way for gyoza, tempura, sushi, ramen, bento boxes and more with a new evening takeover of celebrated flavours from the Far East. Open now, Great George Street. The ‘Three Bs’ and Parisian elegance in Liverpool Multi-storey restaurant and bar Castle St Town-

house has now opened, where it’s all about all-day dining and drinking – or what they collectively term the three Bs: breakfast, brunch and bar. With no separate evening menu, the brunch dishes stick around for all-day classics like eggs Benedict, French toast and baked eggs, plus salads, hake and spinach hash, slow-roasted shin of beef, pan-fried salmon and more. Open now, Castle Street. Meanwhile, Allerton Road is continuing to swell, with another batch of new openings including Three Piggies from the team behind Neon Jamon and TriBeCa, who assure us that the ethos revolves around craft beer and good wine first and foremost, complemented by unfussy pub grub such as burgers and moules frites. Also new to the area is Verdant, where head chef David Mao is serving up some Parisian class through the likes of lobster bisque and confit duck leg. The early evening prix fixe menu costs £16.95 for two courses or £19.95 for three, while a la carte mains hover somewhere between £12 and £21. Both open now, Allerton Road.

Speciality tea and a hip-hop chippy in Manchester Witness the fishness as street-food slingers and local favourites Hip Hop Chip Shop take over the Kosmonaut menu, restyling and freestyling the traditional fish and chips blueprint with nods to golden era hip-hop culture. Smothering everything from gherkins, onion rings and plantain to fish, smoky bacon and vegan sausage in their inimitable batter, highlights include the Feastie Boys (battered fish biters, chips, minty mushy peas and tartare sauce), the Shell L Cool J burger (Louisiana spiced crabcake, battered smoky bacon and slaw on a

brioche bun with chips) and the C.R.E.A.M brulee. Open now, Tarriff Street. Reputation – and much anticipation – has preceded tea shop Leaf, the Liverpudlian stalwart that’s finally delivered the goods with a new Manchester branch. The cafe-bar and arts space will, much like its older sister venue on Liverpool’s Bold Street, serve up simple fare like classic brunch dishes, soups, sarnies, flatbreads, sharing platters and decently priced hearty mains including burgers, stews and salads, along with a full roster of events, exhibitions and gigs. Open now, Portland Street. Head to for in-depth monthly round-ups of the best new openings across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester

Phagomania: Light Relief We talk to artist Stefanie Herr about the background to her anti-#foodporn topographic artwork


eguiling and peculiar, Stefanie Herr’s photographic relief art depicts everyday food items. The Barcelona-based artist, originally from Germany, creates painstakingly hand-cut contours of layered card, resulting in work that comes across as paradoxically real and unreal. Seeing familiar food rendered this way is strangely engaging, but behind the stark images lie a deep socio-political message. It is the artificial and laboured appearance that Herr wants to draw you to. “Unfortunately, today’s society puts extreme emphasis on appearance,” she states, “and food is not exempt from that.” Tackling the food industry, consumerism and the environment was the catalyst for the former architect’s food-related work; to highlight the dis-



connect between consumers and the source of produce in order to confront an attitude to food that is “based on desire rather than reality.” Herr elaborates: “[We have a] perverted relationship with the natural environment. Skinned and eviscerated, filleted or portioned, neatly packaged and appropriately labelled, animals are treated as mere commodities today and are no longer considered an integral part of a unique ecosystem.” Alcampo (2012) is Herr’s first series of food works. Named after the Spanish supermarket chain, the title emerged when the irony of the store’s name struck her. It translates roughly to ‘into the countryside’, yet Herr found herself anywhere but a scene of nature in the environment of the shop, surrounded by processed foods and

farmed meat sustained by steroids and antibiotics. “We clearly need to be smarter and more sustainable about the way we produce our food,” she says. “However our food looks – cooking also transforms food and may render it unrecognizable – it is vital that we understand its origins and the way it is produced. The individual should regain a more active and mindful role in sourcing, selecting, cooking and eating food.” All very well, but what can the average consumer do about the food industry? “My advice: Ugly potatoes are just as edible as regular ones, or might even be the better choice!” Posing such serious questions may not always succeed with viewers of the art though. “Most people find it rather disgusting and difficult to digest,”


Words: Lewis MacDonald

Herr confesses. But again, she notes the irony of the supermarket shoppers. “How is it possible,” she asks, “that the same people who show a limited ability to digest some of my food-related pieces, are able to ingest precisely those meat food products that served me as models, without experiencing the slightest feeling of uneasiness?” More recently, Herr has been grappling the egg industry, producing a hand-crafted egg every day throughout this year: “Now that 2016 is gradually approaching its end, I feel like an emaciated, exhausted chicken!” And while 2016 hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park for any of us, Herr’s art reminds us that, even as chaos reigns outside, it’s important to keep an eye on what we’re eating.; follow Stefanie on Instagram at @oeufre


November 2016




Living in Tokyo Our living abroad series continues with a look at the Japanese capital, voted the world’s most liveable city in 2016. Prepare for intense seasons, J-drama romance and toilets with too many buttons... Words: Katie Hennessy Illustration: Stella Murphy


okyo is a cruel mistress: a beautiful thing, all bright bright lights and kawaii consumable goods. Before you know it you’ve spent your yen on all-night karaoke, and still dressed as Hello Kitty you’re asleep on some poor salaryman’s shoulder as the subway hurtles you miles from home. You missed your stop 40 minutes ago. If this is you, welcome to Tokyo. You’re doing it right. Sensei, sensei, sensei! You’re probably an English teacher. Or an ALT (assistant language teacher). Either way you’ll be called sensei and you might as well enjoy it because you worked damn hard to get here. You’ve got your mandatory uni degree, done a very (and I mean very) comprehensive health check, and you’ve spent time negotiating a decent salary. If you’re smart, you’ll be working a five-day week and have paid holidays outside of the legally obliged ten. Yes, just ten. Take note of the national holidays, because you would never want to pass up on the chance to make appropriate Mountain Day or Respect for the Aged Day plans. 1LDK and six tatami mats Tokyo is expensive. Renting here, like anywhere, means handing over a deposit, which is about one month’s rent. Key money is basically just a gift to your landlord and that’s a month’s rent; insurance fees are half a month and agency fees are usually 8%. Doesn’t sound like fun? Of course it is! You’re living in Tokyo. But if you don’t have that kind of yen to throw down, or if that level of commitment puts the fear of god into you, then a sharehouse has you covered. It’s pretty much the same as an Airbnb situation, but you’re sharing it with a whole host of other people, and for months not days. They will still be expensive but the fee usually includes bills. For that money you’ll never eat a meal alone again, there’ll always be someone to offer you an Asahi after a long day at work, and you’ll be proficient in cheers-ing not just in Japanese (kampai!) but probably six other languages too. These guys will have your back when Japan gets tough (it will) or if you lose your key (you will). Tekunorojii Japan is a strange mix of high tech and tradition, and despite what you’ve seen or heard, Yoshimi has yet to battle the pink robots. Yes, the toilets have so many buttons it will take you an embarrassing 90 seconds to figure out how to flush. When eating out, food comes on demand after ordering it from your vTech-style menu screen. But don’t get too excited; there’s no Wi-Fi anywhere and 80% of business in the country is still conducted via fax machine. It’s a strange learning curve and it’s always good to have your smartphone on hand to help you through emergencies. Apps like Yomiwa will help you translate kanji when you’re at the supermarket; Instagram is essential for posting pics of your lunch (it’s only polite in Japan, y’know), and HyperDia will help you navigate the unholy maze that is the train system. While you’re at it, pick up a Suica card (like the Oyster) to save some yennies. Like your bank card, it will be decorated in adorable cartoon characters. Don’t say you don’t love it. Atsui, ne? On a near daily basis, you will be asked if your country has four seasons. ‘Of course!’ you say, but have you ever found yourself slipping off your train seat thanks to your own sweat? No? Then your

November/December 2016

understanding of weather extremities is rudimental. In summer the government actually reminds you to use your air conditioner for fear that you will pass out and die, and in winter you’ll find that indoors doesn’t feel a whole lot different to outdoors. But autumn and spring make it all worthwhile. If there’s anything that will keep you in Japan, it’s the chance to see another autumn in full colour – or to hanami with a beer under a freshly bloomed cherry blossom tree. Date Night Try it at least once! Even if you’re not looking for anything serious, it’s a fun way to spend a Friday night. Don’t believe the stereotypes; Japanese people are just as diverse as any other nation and are not all hopelessly shy. The Skinny has been chatted up on the same street in Harajuku by the same guy three times. We’re attractive but not memorable, it seems. Far less creepy was falling into conversation with a soon-to-be boyfriend on a train by Fuji. You can’t write that stuff. If J-drama romance isn’t your style, and awkward dating à la teenage disco feels more comfortable, then head to a gōkon at the first invitation you get. Basically a group blind date. Need we say more?

“If there’s anything that will keep you in Japan, it’s the chance to see another autumn in full colour” Shumi wa nan desu ka? You will be asked what your hobby is. Find a hobby, if purely for answering this question. None of the following will suffice as answers but are suggestions for how to spend your weekend while lying about how good at tennis you are: – Doing all-night karaoke with a couple of friends, picking a theme, and not emerging from that room until the sun is up. – Being hipster in Kichioji, sipping on expensive Swedish coffees and browsing beautifully designed cat paraphernalia. – Staying in a love hotel, with a partner, or a friend, someone you met that night, or just by yourself. – Choosing the theme carefully because, yes, they come with themes. – Bopping along with Nichome’s favourite go-go dancer in Dragon Men in Tokyo’s gay district. – Falling in and out of every nook and cranny of a bar that Golden Gai has to offer. Bonus points for befriending Yakuza members. – Hitting a work party, or enkai, and being the last one standing. – Never uttering a word about it come Monday morning but knowing you have earned the respect of the entire staff room.

– Dressing up Lolita-style before wandering Harajuku. Also realising that there’s only a few people who are actually stylish enough to get away with this and resigning yourself to being an observer instead. – Losing yourself in the Sega Arcade, reliving your childhood all over again. – Taking the most kawaiiiiiii!!!! photos in the purikura photobooth. – Shopping in Shimokitazawa, wandering an abundance of over-priced vintage clothes shops justified only because hey, they are far more wearable than your Harajuku style. While you’re there, find the guy that will read Manga aloud to you for a small fee. Keepin’ it Real Friends at home asking about your new life will want to know where it falls on the spectrum between a Gwen Stefani video and Lost in Translation. Truth is, it will hit both extremes at some point. The Robot Restaurant, the Kawaii Monster Cafe and Takeshita-dori are where you want to go for the highs, but when the culture shock is too much, give up the Scarlett Johansson pout and do something about it. Take time to ground yourself and appreciate that Tokyo is a city just like any other. Take a stroll in Shinjuku


park, visit the zoo in Ueno or walk the pier in Yokohama. If you absolutely must, head for a pint in the English-style bar, HUB. Kuuki Yomenai Meaning ‘can’t read the air’ – and if you can’t do it, you probably won’t settle all that well into Japan. At its loosest interpretation it means picking up on every conceivable subtlety that may be conveyed to you at any given time. Eating on trains is not illegal, but Japanese grandmas will stare you down and no one has ever challenged them and lived to tell the tale. Same goes for speaking loudly. And not holding elevators open for others. Be observant and you’ll catch on easily. This society is a utopia of cleanliness and good hospitality, no exaggeration, so do your best to respect this. You’ll be crying out for it when you’ve gone. At the same time, don’t compromise your principles: if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at all, do it your way regardless. Just refrain from the Gaijin Smash. This is basically acting like a dickhead and then pretending that you didn’t know any better because you’re foreign. You will not make any friends this way. Instead go forth and make local friends, learn some of the lingo, and ask those friends to help with it. Make it home in one piece, sporting a Hello Kitty getup if you can. It’s Tokyo, there’s no better place.



Why I’m Rejecting Alicia Keys’ No Makeup Movement Living with adult acne is difficult enough. Shaming me for ‘hiding’ isn’t liberating – it’s bullshit


’m obsessed with my own face. Before I sat down to write this article, I spent over ten minutes peering at my cheeks, my chin, my jaw in the bathroom mirror. I take pictures of it every day from three different angles, before digitally stitching them together into a collage which I save in a folder on my phone named ‘Progress’. I probably think about my face at least once every couple of hours, if not more. And that sounds grossly vain, but there’s pretty much no way to talk about the way adult acne can swallow up huge chunks of a day, how it can demolish a person’s self esteem, rationality and social life without sounding a bit frivolous to the average listener. Unless you suffer from adult acne, you might forget it even exists – let alone that it’s a burden 40-55% of adults are reportedly bearing. You most definitely won’t have considered that over a third of those people suffer from some sort of depression or suicidal thoughts due to the condition of their own face. As a teenager I had enviably smooth, freckled skin which I abused with multicoloured sins from an expanding make-up collection; mosaics of eyeshadows in mirrored palettes, pots of glitter, violet eyeliners. I learned to base my self esteem on the compliments I received for my experimen-



tations. Though my parents were often exasperated, my teachers disapproving and my pillowslips stained, never once was I punished by my lovely forgiving skin. No, no – that came later.

“Keys is allegedly here to save me from feeling like absolute fucking shit without makeup. But where are the role models with acne?” When I was 19, shit hit the dermatological fan. A couple of inoffensive bumps evolved into a fully-fledged breakout, and the break-out turned

into never-ending cycles of volcanic constellations. The harder I tried to control it, the harder my face revolted. In desperation, I abstained from dairy, peanuts, wheat, sugar, caffeine; I begged for expensive skincare and concealers for birthday presents; I grew a swooshy blanket of hair to obscure my face; I developed obsessive habits in attempt to keep bacteria away from my skin. My relationship with make-up changed dramatically – no longer was it a creative outlet I opted into: it was a saving grace and a self-imposed prison which took me 45 minutes to apply once or twice a day, depending on my evening plans. I ruined relationships by refusing to wake up make-up-less next to another person. I avoided bodies of water and walking in the rain, kissing if I didn’t have concealer in my bag, trips to the beach if it meant applying suncream and causing further breakouts. I dreaded sharing tents at festivals, moving into new flats, staying in hostels and basically any environment where my fake face might be removed to reveal what I regarded as a farce beneath. I experienced the closest I’ve ever come to an anxiety attack when my best friend gently convinced me to walk across my university campus to buy a coffee without make-up. And the weirdest part of that all? I didn’t even


Words: Kate Pasola Illustration: Alessandra Genualdo notice my life was being slowly ruined. Not until four years later on Christmas morning of 2015, when a relative recoiled in faux-horror at the sight of my bare face on Skype. I lost half of my favourite day of the year to tears in my childhood bedroom, privately resolving to fix the problem, somehow. And it’s for this very reason that Alicia Keys’ #NoMakeup movement makes me uneasy. To catch you up, in May 2016 Alicia Keys contributed an article called Time to Uncover to Lenny Letter, describing a decision to live a new life without makeup; a ‘revolution’ intended to enlighten women who spend their lives ‘hiding’ their ‘true selves’. And yeezus, did we run with it. Between May and September, the term ‘No Makeup Movement’ soared by 88 percentage points on Google; Mila Kunis was applauded for going make-up free on the cover of Glamour in August; Kim Kardashian attended Balenciaga’s show at Paris Fashion Week barefaced; a tsunami of celebs posted fresh-faced, glowy selfies in demonstration of support. A couple of think-pieces raised a tinted eyebrow at the whole affair, pointing out that for many, make-up is a medium of artistry and expression, and that those who indulge in it for this reason shouldn’t be shamed. But nobody mentioned what seemed, to me at least, a glaringly obvious point – what if you feel like absolute fucking shit without make-up? I mean, I understand the premise. Keys is allegedly here to save me from feeling like absolute fucking shit without make-up. If celebs and role models would only promote bare faces and reduce the pressure on we mere mortals, a virtuous circle could begin. In a newfound utopia, we’d all throw our make-up bags into the sky and march in a victorious tickertape parade of discarded lipsticks. That’s the idea. But where are the role models with acne? Where are the people teaching me to be proud of my disordered skin? Where are the models bearing their usually hidden eczema? Where are the rosacea-ridden popstars taking a face-wipe to their cheeks? That’s right, they’re staying well away, because bare faces are only welcome and applauded when they’re comfortable for the rest of the world to behold. Even Keys’ make-up artist stated that she undergoes a rigorous regime (which includes painstakingly rubbing ice on her face and applying hundreds of dollars worth of skincare) before appearing in public. Of course she fucking does – public judgement is petrifying. Remember when Renee Zellweger had the audacity to age facially and return to the public eye to promote her new film? Hollywood anarchy. Sure, it’s vaguely encouraging to see a famous woman being celebrated rather than berated for refusing to pander to scrupulous beauty standards. But Keys’ personal decision shouldn’t be blown out of proportion and used to shame others. We need more than a humblebraggy hashtag – the No Makeup Movement is just a single puzzle piece in a picture of facial freedom. So where are the other puzzle pieces? Well, how about the fact that CoverGirl magazine just appointed their first ever male ambassador and coverstar, YouTuber James Charles? How about removing gendered expectations altogether, so every single person on Earth can choose whether to paint themselves like a chameleon or abstain completely? If we care so deeply about feeling proud of our skin, why don’t we allow our screens and magazines to be full of completely normal blemishes, wrinkles, spots and marks? Because it’s then, and only then that those who feel helpless at the sight of their own face will feel empowered, adequate and welcome – make-up or no make-up. 


November/December 2016


Shop Local With – dare we say it – Christmas around the corner, we collect some of our favourite local designers’ work together for some festive shopping inspo Words: Jess Hardiman

Nick Deakin Offering up some sage advice with his signature ‘Don’t Be a Prick’ design, we’re as much a fan of Sheffield-based graphic artist Nick Deakin for his blunt messages as we are for his simple, clean lines – and the wintry forest scapes that’ll prove particularly apt for this time of year. Find his work at independent book shop Colours May Vary in Leeds.

Aliyah Hussain Visual artist and contemporary jewellery designer Aliyah Hussain’s playful style stems from her sculpture and drawing practice. As such, expect abstract squiggles, lots of colour and a range of textures and materials. Find her stuff online or in Fred Aldous’s Manchester store, Bury Art Museum Shop, One of One in Salford or Bluebird Interiors in Garstang.

Holly Bagnall Serving up 80s-inspired patterns, weird and wonderful faces and positive, bright colours, Liverpool-based illustrator and graphic designer Holly Bagnall’s work is packed with personality and character. We reckon her ceramics and badges make particularly good presents (and our picture editor’s got her eye on a bowl for her cat), though the retro bangles are great too. | | 




Textbook Studio x Covet Interiors Covet Interiors is a small, independent online homeware brand from textile artist and prop stylist Mariel Osborn, specialising in UK-made products from Manchester and beyond. For Covet’s first collaborative project, they’ve teamed up with fellow Islington Mill residents Textbook Studio to create a series of bright notebooks, all featuring a risographed print and confetti cut-out cover. The first of many collabs, right folks?

Joe Hartley Fusing traditional and contemporary materials and processes, Manchester-based designer Joe Hartley has his finger in many of the city’s creative pies, having most recently overseen the design for community pub The Pilcrow. With stock at shops including Ferrious, Hartley rustles up everything from sleek ceramic cups to misshapen, whimsical toast racks – which are made in small batches as part of a collaboration called Me&Joe: “Each batch is a ‘loaf,’ then we slice them up, just like toast.” Nice.

Cup + Cloth Macclesfield-based online homeware and lifestyle store Cup + Cloth curates made, sourced and found objects, all sharing the same ethos of high quality craftsmanship from the UK. Along with pieces from the likes of Joe Hartley and Holm, we also love Cup + Cloth’s own handmade African-inspired cushions and brightly coloured macramé plant hangers, which pair simple design with vibrant colours. Catch C+C at various Treacle markets in Macclesfield and at the Winter Gathering at Manchester’s London Road Fire Station (from 11 Nov).

Hannah Marshall Among the cacti, ferns and creeping vines, Manchester-based Hannah Marshall also pays homage to the humble avocado in her embroideries – a tongue-in-cheek nod to one of today’s most unlikely pop culture icons. The earthy hues are a reminder of sunnier climes found south of the US border, meaning they’ll guac your world when you want to, ahem, avo bit of escapism as the cold sets in. Sorry.

Find more Christmas gift guides online in December at

November/December 2016







ention XamVolo in the right circles (everexpanding, by the way) and you’ll conjure up an image of coolness, dressed head to toe in black with trademark dark, round sunglasses. Scratch beneath the surface (but watch the specs), and you’ll find that the soulful vocalist has every aspect of his artistry perfectly crafted, from songwriting to producing to branding. That trademark look is very much a part of this. “I’m big on the business side of things,” Xam admits. “I know that sometimes musicians fall into the trap of being in music but not knowing how to take it forward in the industry – I understand the importance of branding and make sure that I do it right.” He chuckles, adding: “Sometimes I don’t wanna be wearing sunglasses but I know that I kind of need to.” Originally from London, XamVolo – real name Sam Folorunsho – first moved to Liverpool in 2012 to study architecture. With his music taking off around the same time as his studies, he enrolled into LIMF Academy, Liverpool International Music Festival’s development programme that offers mentoring and live opportunities to artists around Merseyside’s music scene, and has since been managed by LIMF curator Yaw Owusu. Three EPs down the line, his latest release Chirality is almost a metaphor for his notably unconventional approach to music making. Xam eloquently explains that “coming from the Latin word for hand, chirality means something that can’t be superimposed onto something else but is identical. So it’s that kind of thing; the way my music has been described by some as fitting into a scene whilst remaining original.”

though it’s obvious that nobody lazy could have conceived this track; it’s flawless, radiating a cool, thoughtful, electronic R’n’B vibe that runs throughout the EP. When asked about how this style has evolved between Chirality, his second EP The Closing Scene (released in February this year and produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Steve Levine) and his debut, 2014’s Binary in Blue, XamVolo expresses himself in terms of trajectory. “It’s gone backwards and forwards at the same time – for Binary in Blue, I think that was all me in my bedroom. For The Closing Scene I worked with Steve Levine – he had a lot of influence on the sound with the techniques he taught me and the introduction of live instrumentation. We got strings from a guy named Davide Rossi [who has worked with Goldfrapp and The Verve] so it just sounded different basically. Some of the end products weren’t the way I really wanted them to turn out, although they were excellent.” With Chirality, Xam was able to take what he

learned from working with Levine and apply it to his own production. “This time I really took ownership and started doing everything myself,” he says. “So I produced everything again and it went backwards, but then I added all the information and new knowledge I’ve learned from Steve’s sessions. It comes across ever so slightly more polished than the first EP but at the same time it retains that kind of style.” It’s evident that Xam’s work is highly considered – he reflects on his past experiences and is keen to learn – but would it be too crude to draw a link between these tendencies and his studying architecture? “I think the way I approach music is a lot different to most people,” he replies, “but only because people are led by art. I just go, ‘I need to write a song. I want it to sound good – how do I make it sound good?’ Like how you would approach an architectural project.” That drive to learn is obvious again when asked about his plans for the near future: “Writing


It’s been a big year for singer/producer XamVolo, one of the most hotly tipped acts in Liverpool right now. We chat sunglasses and architecture with a true R’n’B original


Architecture and Chirality

Interview: Bethany Garrett

and making more music. There’s always someone asking what’s next so you can’t hold off for too long. Always writing and getting better. I wanna do more but I don’t know what to do yet. But somebody tell me and I’ll just do it, I guess.” Having signed a record deal with Decca a few months ago, you would imagine the label will surely have some input into what’s happening next, although Xam is much too wise to say anything for definite. “Again it’s early days so they’re not gonna come out with absolutely all their cards immediately. They’ve been quite good with letting me get on with all the creative side of things but I know they’ve got good plans for the future. So yeah, I think after this EP’s run its course, I think they’ll be a lot more hands-on. They know what they’re doing so Ima let them just do what they do.” The Chirality EP is out now

“Sometimes I don’t wanna be wearing sunglasses but I know that I kind of need to” XamVolo

Elaborating on this notion of originality, he says: “I might be talking from one perspective here but there’s a lot of quality versus quantity in the industry at the moment. People need to be constantly seen and oversaturate music with anything as long as it kinda sounds good, whereas I like to think through everything, through lyrics – they’re high priority from my point of view. I don’t actually play an instrument and I’ve never been taught to sing; I’ve learned that myself so the way I’ve gone about it is a bit weird… I’ve been told it’s not very conventional, the way I approach things.” Largely demoed at home and then recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, Chirality opens with the forcefulness of latest single Down, a track that begins with a solemn, almost choral murmur before veering off towards the jazz spectrum, with staccato stop-start beats underscoring Xam’s vocals, reminiscent of D’Angelo. Runner’s High and Foolish Kids further exemplify his thoughtful songwriting, ear for perfection and unfaltering voice, while showing his curious and unconventional side, with both tracks incorporating a snippet of a demo or a voice note at the end. Gold Leaf is lazy summer day perfection,

November/December 2016




Muse of the World Kristin Hersh formed seminal alt rock act Throwing Muses when she was 14. With the band still a well-loved draw, and with Hersh set to tour her new solo work, she explains why her audience’s loyalty is at the root of her ongoing creativity


ristin Hersh knows how to laugh. For an artist whose distinct and vast catalogue of work is often unfairly perceived as troubling and difficult, that might surprise some. But her various modes of expression – often, yes, almost unbearably intimate – have always been leavened by a black and absurdist humour. And as we speak (she’s at home in Rhode Island preparing to tour new CD/book release Wyatt at the Coyote Palace), she laughs throughout: a full and infectious rumble that punctuates and lifts our conversation. A generous storyteller for over three decades now, she’s as compelling in interview as she is on the written page or on record. And boy, does she laugh when asked if we can start at the beginning and share some memories of the early days – in particular the first Throwing Muses headine tour, a 4AD double-header in 1989 with Pixies as support. “Sure,” she says. “I may not know the answers. You’ll probably know everything else better than me!” But she’s better on the detail than she makes out. “You saw us in Manchester? Yeah, that was a good one. I think...” Like many prime movers of the emerging late 80s US alt scene, Hersh has managed to retain her audience, as a month-long tour of the UK in November attests. With the likes of Bob Mould, J Mascis and Thalia Zedek making some of their best work of late, it’s a peer group that injects a middle-aged viewpoint with youthful endeavour. “That’s so nice to hear. That’s really touching,” Hersh responds. “We’ve been doing the same thing since we were 14. We knew that nobody would ever care and so, when people did, we sort of didn’t notice. And if they didn’t care, it didn’t matter. You know, I’ve never really paid too much attention to whether I’m playing a theatre or a tiny club. Those things are no indicator as to the quality of your work or how well you’re going to play or how great the audience is or how successful your record is, even. I mean, I’ve sold millions of records – it just took me millions of years to do it! 

“The musician is no different from the listener, in many ways – we all make the song float around the room” Kristin Hersh

“I’ve come to appreciate a simplicity and level of response from the listener,” she continues. “That is, to appreciate that this is my day job and for them to get up for it. That’s all I ever wanted: to be able to play. It sounds silly, I know, but it’s everything. It’s working. The music is working. And that’s because it resonates, not because it’s trendy or because there’s money behind promoting it. It’s because the listeners care.” All these years on, it’s still a powerful dialogue. Are we still good listeners? “Absolutely you are!  There’s a difference, too, between a fan and a listener. Fans can be scary, and they’re not necessarily into what I do in any great way, and they act... nutty. But a



listener... they’re a friend.” She pauses. “God, that sounds lame! I just can’t think of a better way to put it. The musician is no different from the listener, in many ways – we all make the song float around the room.” Well, maybe it doesn’t really exist until we do our bit? “Exactly. And as a shy person, I hate that equation and yet I have found it to be true: that we are social animals and this noise is a social endeavour. But the fact that my listeners continue to allow me to engage in that equation, one that is so off-putting, well... that’s a gift.” Paid for in part by those listeners (the Strange Angels who sign up to her CASHMusic subscription service), Wyatt at the Coyote Palace is a 60page, two-disc thumbs-down to the casual download mode. “Dave Narcizo [her Muses partner from day one, who Hersh once called a loser for coming second in a poll of the world’s best drummers] worked with me on the design. He knew that the beauty of the music was not being expressed in the package. We’d try, you know, but a CD has no inherent value. Nobody cares about it, no matter how valauable the songs on it are. So, to make a book happen, even though it costs a lot of money, means that we’re creating something that can last. We’re making something that people can share without being embarrassed. It’s a little presumptious to ask somebody to adopt your soundtrack, but if you give them a book...” The album’s 24 songs are annotated by accompanying prose pieces and photographs, and a deep relationship between the two emerges. “Well, the music is the product and whatever words and images accompany it are meant to fill in colour and expression,” Hersh explains. “I guess it reminds you of stories. It’s that simple. I tell them – that’s all. I certainly would never presume to explain a song. I kind of talk around it, hint at the stories that happen inside of it. A song is never as small as me. It just uses me to tell itself. And the stories around the songs... I just choose the nicest ones. I don’t like hurting people’s feelings more than the music already does!” If Hersh’s stories so often feel like fiction, it’s perhaps because they’re elevated by her oblique wordplay and because the events she recounts so often feel larger than life. The two-person dialogue that accompanies the song Sunblown is a vivid, troubling account of a tour bus crash in the middle of nowhere that revels in the blackest humour when someone mistakenly hears ‘Frank Capra’ as ‘Frank Zappa’. “Well, that actually happened, and it’s a much longer story than I present in the book. I think it’s important to take life seriously but not necessarily take yourself seriously.” Every time the songs and the stories brush with death, a dark seam of humour gives mortality the finger. “Yeah, well what else are you gonna do? I was in a meeting recently and someone said: ‘Well, no one’s gonna die.’ Well, they are, actually. You can’t really take anything seriously apart from life itself, which deserves a certain amount of gravity and gratitude. “I always said that there was a lot of humour in whatever I’ve done,” she continues. “People presumed that because it was tangled and noisy, it couldn’t possibly be funny – that to be happy or nice, it had to be dumb or simplistic. People superimposed this dark poetry idea onto what I was doing, that wasn’t really there. I cared a lot. I wasn’t complaining.” Us listeners, we weren’t using the music for self-reflection or to suck the poison out. We were making connections that were

Photo: Peter Mellekas

Interview: Gary Kaill

joyous and celebratory. “Exactly. That’s a really sweet way of putting it. Thank you. I appreciate that. It’s a complex thing but, yes, it was like: if you feel a particular way, you don’t have to be cheered up by it or care less, but let’s remove the shame, say, and invest it with... energy.” With Hersh as busy as ever – “I have this tour to do but the Muses are in the studio right now in LA, making something very different. And, yes, we’ll tour that” – we finish by talking about her young son Wyatt, whose fascination with a local derelict apartment building gave this latest work both life and title. “He’s moved on now,” says Hersh. “It was a beautiful obsession, a circular notion that he eventually excised from his psychology to keep en-


capsulated as a sense memory. He has the most brilliant mind I have ever encountered. It’s hard to impress him but he’s so kind and I can do no wrong. He was in the studio with me while I was making this record, unless he was in the Coyote Palace. He sees it as very personal to him, like it’s his own big budget home movies.” She laughs one more time. “And I take it as a great honour for him to see it that way.” Wyatt at the Coyote Palace is available now, released by Omnibus, RRP £14.99 Kirstin Hersh plays Gorilla, Manchester (13 Nov), Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (14 Nov), and Philharmonic Music Room, Liverpool (19 Nov). She will also be reading at Louder Than Words Festival, Manchester, 12 Nov


A League of Her Own Taking a break from her work in Massachusetts guitar manglers Speedy Ortiz, Sadie Dupuis goes solo and scores one of the year’s most important albums in the process. Here she tells us about the importance of refocussing pop’s male-centric narrative


he’s a formidable musician, but Sadie Dupuis is remarkably accessible too. Prior to our chat with the Speedy Ortiz singer, Dupuis makes a curiously ellipitical tweet: “Every time I play solo it takes years off my life.” Happy to oblige our pulling on that thread, as she chats via Skype from her Philadelphia home, she’s typically candid about the trials of preparing to tour solo LP Slugger – getting to grips with playing alone, for example, or having to tone down the backing tracks where she’s enthusiastically overdubbed the same synth line five times. “It’s so strange – if I have one other person on stage with me, I don’t have any kind of stage fright,” she laughs, fighting off a cold. “Speedy [Ortiz] tours all over the world, we play big festivals and I never feel nervous, but if I am by myself on stage… Last night I played in a kitchen to 30 people sitting on the ground and I was sweating and shaking. I can’t do it! I feel like if I’m in a band I can be Courtney Love, and if I’m alone I’m like Cat Power!” Self-determinism is a big theme of Slugger, Dupuis’ debut solo record under the moniker of Sad13, her Twitter username. On the back of two critically-acclaimed albums, Major Arcana and Foil Deer, Dupuis’ band Speedy Ortiz have gained a reputation at the vanguard of the DIY indie rock scene, owing in no small part to Dupuis’ intricate lyrics and gnarly guitar arrangements. With the band currently taking a short break to work on other projects, this latest work sees Dupuis trying on the pop jacket in an attempt to hit a home run by herself.

“Men are allowed to exist! It’s just that we need more space for other voices” Sadie Dupuis

Written in two weeks following her move from Massachusetts to Philadelphia, Slugger is a playful bedroom pop record which shows Dupuis successfully fusing sugary modern synth lines and drum machine beats with 90s pop and R’n’B references, without abandoning her distinctive guitar squalls or knotty reflections on relationships. With Philly renowned for its highly inclusive and feminist punk scene (it’s also the home of artists such as Waxahatchee and Girlpool), Dupuis believes that although Slugger could have been written anywhere, the city certainly contributed to the record’s political mindset. “A big reason I moved here was just to be closer to my friends, many of whom are songwriters that I really admire,” she says. “I knew I didn’t want to live in Massachussetts anymore but I still had a house there so I sub-let a friend’s bedroom. I was going out all day hanging out with my Philly friends, then I’d come home at night and work on these demos until five in the morning. The excitement and energy of being around my friends, who I had up until that point only hung out with on tour, was inspiring and I think a lot of the songs certainly had messages about women supporting

November/December 2016

and lifting each other up.” Slugger’s feminist overtones are one of the record’s most striking aspects, from the haunting, Britney Spears-tinged Tell U What (which shows Dupuis defending herself against abuse from an ex against whom she nearly had to get a restraining order) to the celebration of affirmative consent on woozy lead single Get a Yes. These themes are by no means new for fans of Dupuis, with Speedy Ortiz dedicated to making their shows accessible safe spaces, even setting up their own ‘help hotline’ so that concertgoing fans can call them directly if they feel they are being harassed. However, on Slugger these messages are more direct than ever, which she explains is due to the record’s pop medium and the importance of her songs’ topics. We venture to Dupuis that it feels quite radical to hear such complex depictions of relationships in a pop format, of women being independent without adhering to the aggressive male trope often found in pop songs such as Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money. “But I love that song too!” she laughs. “I wouldn’t look cool in a music video with a gun so I can’t do the Rihanna! We’re in such a great golden era of the political returning to pop music, I think – the Solange album just came out and it’s stunning – so I don’t think it’s completely rare. Maybe we’re seeing an increase in the amount of topics that can be explored in pop music. It’s such a state of political unrest – basically, young people who are frustrated by the bigots who are in control – that of course pop music’s reflecting that tension.” We move on to the the systemic themes in her work. “I think my music is often based on my own personal history, but often that’s a very shared history with other friends who have a similar identity to me,” she explains. “Obviously, with regard to consent, 20% of women experience sexual assault and so much of that could be prevented if we had better conversations about consent and sexual education early on. If I’m writing a song like [Get A Yes] I’m not just thinking about my own history; I’m thinking about the way my history has been caused by the way our society works.” What is clear from this conversation is Dupuis’ deep love for the pop genre and the sincerity of her hopes for it. With her history of teaching songwriting at summer camps in her pre-Speedy days, Dupuis knows that one of the earliest educations one receives in life comes from pop music. Its ubiquity therefore gives it a certain responsibility to send positive messages to its young listeners, particularly, Dupuis argues, regarding issues of sexuality. “I think often that the ways in which eroticism works in pop music is not in a way that’s particularly women-friendly, especially when the artist is male,” she says. “Often the songwriters for the pop I grew up loving as a kid, it was men writing for women which I think we see a lot less now. Often the narrative tension in these pop songs would be about trying to convince a woman to dance with you or sleep with you when they’ve already said no. [Positive K]’s I’ve Got A Man, for example, is a song I love but it’s basically just about pushing past someone’s boundaries after they’ve just stated no. So while I still like a lot of these songs I wish that I’d heard other things as a kid. It’s not romantic to have your boundaries denied. Not sexy. It’s shitty.” As Dupuis readily admits, it’s unlikely that any songs from the subversive Slugger will find

their way onto the American Top 40. However, at least Slugger is using the pop format in a positive way that gives voice to less fashionable topics. It also continues a trend which gives Dupuis cause for optimism; of young female pop stars writing their own songs, such as the thoughtful Lorde. “Men are allowed to exist!” she offers reassuringly. “It’s just that we need more space for other voices, especially when people are speaking for other identities. I think that we’re starting to reward women creatively [in ways] that were sort of unforeseeable ten years ago.” Here, she points us towards the prodigious Julia Michaels who, at 22, has already written for Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. “Let’s have some young women writing songs for adult men because I think that the messages are going to be better.” Dupuis stresses that one of her proudest achievements on Slugger was recording and producing the record entirely independently. Not just extending her praise to female singers and songwriters but also to female guitarists and pro-


Interview: Chris Ogden

grammers, then, she hopes that the record will encourage more women to get involved at all levels of the music industry. “I was very inspired to do this album because I knew about other women who were home producing their own pop music,” she concludes. “I think just adding my name to the list of women who can home record and home produce offers a level of representation to women who still feel very shut out from engineering fields and production fields. If I meet any kids who are like, ‘I didn’t think I could produce my own pop record but I did because you did,’ that would be the ultimate goal.” With Dupuis already thinking of other songs that would work for her Sad13 project, one can’t help but admire her sense of fun, determination and dedication to helping others knock it out of the park. After Slugger, the major leagues surely can’t be too far away. Slugger is released on 11 Nov via Carpark Records



a strategy designed to inspire, encourage and support women in music. Girls That Gig’s diverse and richly talented audience base inspired the move into connecting women in the creative industries in general, and GTG now aims to be the binding force between these creatives. The directory is another growing facet of the project, designed to index people’s talents in music whether that be writing, playing or even events photography. Presented in a zine format, the idea is to connect people and generate work as well as feature the actual work of illustrators and review writers. This kind of resource is open to all, of course, with Roe attesting to male musicians often looking to this talent pool. This makes us ponder the concept of the ‘tokenistic’ girl in the band, which is little better than the attitude that girls can’t be in bands at all. The message that GTG reiterates about equality, however, reassures there’s no room for this attitude. Thus far, they’ve encountered plenty of positivity from females and males alike. “We never set out to be angry or exclusive,” says Hollingworth. “It’s definitely not a ‘man-hating’ thing, it’s geared up towards positivity entirely.”

“We never set out to be angry or exclusive. It’s geared up towards positivity entirely” Vicky Hollingworth

Revolution Girl Style Now “Inspiring women in music” serves as both motto and remit for the Girls That Gig project – we chat to the pioneering duo behind it Interview: Emma Louise Chaplin Illustration: Aimee Chang


eet Vicky Hollingworth and Megan Roe. They’re the brains behind Girls That Gig, a project encouraging the autonomy and celebration of women and girls who love music. Though GTG is still only in its infancy (setting up camp in July of this year), it’s already flourishing as a platform to connect and champion the diverse number of girls and women who share this interest. Studying at Leeds College of Music and playing guitar in two bands, Roe routinely watched YouTube guitar tutorials where she recalls noticing the lack of female presence. Her intentions to remedy this started with a plan to establish her own channel where women were encouraged to share expertise and interest in “anything from tuning a guitar to talking about pedals.” The initial target audience were teenagers, giving them a safe and welcoming space to be enthusiastic about music with other like-minded girls (“because being a teenager is horrible,” Roe affirms). Hollingworth adds that the perception of young women being ‘into music’ is commonly stereotyped as either playing the flute after school or fawning over Cowell factory-standard boy bands. There is rarely encouragement to take up ‘masculine’ pursuits like drumming or even sound production.



Growing up, Roe says her idol was Muse’s Matt Bellamy, “which says it all really. I used to Google ‘top 50 female guitarists’ and there was just nobody I could relate to.” Does she still feel the same now? “Well, it’s definitely better.” This part of our conversation slowly descends into lists of favourite female artists, and a collective sigh is heaved for Warpaint (who we subsequently deem the ‘ultimate’ all-female band). As with most cause-led projects, the idea for GTG quickly morphed once it hit the public domain. Roe realised she would only be scratching the surface of possibility: “It wasn’t just guitarists to think about, there are all kinds of women in the arts that this platform would benefit. “We didn’t think it would take off though; it started out as just a podcast, aimed at the teen market but as we went on we realised the people who were engaging with our content were also in their 20s, 30s and older.” Let’s face it: there’s more to music than just playing or listening. There are also the areas where decisions are made. Sound production. Music management. Areas which are, by and large, dominated by men. This is where Hollingworth comes in. Studying music business management at LCM, she devised

Their approach to music is similarly open and inclusive: “We want to encourage the weird as well! It’s all about being yourself,” Roe explains. “Listen to crazy experimental music, or the heaviest metal if that’s your thing.” This comes across in their diverse roster of podcast guests: “We’ve had all kinds of people on the podcast; saxophonists, singer-songwriters, people into really heavy punk, DJs, producers. As far as we know, we’re the only set-up like this in the North.” Positivity aside, the niche they’ve carved out is also inevitably born from some negative experiences, as Roe recalls with an eye roll: “Rude sound techs, thinking you’re an imbecile. Being looked down on straight away. If you say you play guitar, people just sort of presume that you’re not really good.” Hollingworth’s motivations also come from concern: “I’d be at gigs where the sound technician would always be a guy, most bands on the line-up would be made up of men, especially festivals.” Roe interjects quite zealously: “And they keep hiring guys because that’s just what people expect. If they don’t book and promote female artists things won’t change.” Roe cites a text she studied at college on gender in music, which attributes men with an almost obsessive interest in one aspect of music: the need to become an expert in something. Conversely, the appeal for women is said to be the communicative aspect, their focus more on lyrics and melody than the techy, ‘behind the scenes’ elements. Hollingworth opposes this line of thinking: “I think a lot of that is lack of opportunity, confidence and education in that aspect. It’s now about letting women know that they can get involved in the more technical side… It’s all cool!” Hollingworth and Roe are seeking to do just that. The idea began with ‘top tips’ on the site, gifted by the podcast’s guests on topics like booking gigs and writing lyrics. This educational angle now manifests in their events – workshops and gigs that also seek to celebrate and connect women with an interest in music. And while some events are more centred on networking and making friends, there’s also an extremely practical side. “We’re putting an event on about social media marketing, whether you’re in a band or a singer or


photographer or whatever,” says Roe. “There is a twist though: it’s definitely not just going to be like a lecture. There’s a practical element – one-toone time to really help people develop themselves and their USP.” With all this on a pay-as-you-feel basis, you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere such practical, down-to-earth advice that’s equally accessible. They’re also currently working with anti-violence group White Ribbon to create safety guides for music venues, to help make safer environments for everyone. In terms of ambitions for the project, Hollingworth and Roe each have their own visions: Vicky hopes to develop the facility to manage artists and creatives under the GTG umbrella much like a label service. Meanwhile Megan, the voice of the weekly podcast, sees it going on the road: “If we could get some funding for a nice hippy van, soundproof it up, whack the logo on the side and just tour the UK podcasting all its talents, that would be the dream.” The short-term goal, of course, is to nurture the community they currently have and create strongholds in the likes of Manchester and Sheffield. We agree that, once up and running, the wider project is relatively self-sufficient – there are plenty of like-minded groups working towards these common goals, and surely plenty more who’ll follow their lead. | @girlsthatgig

Girls That Gig’s Dream Podcast Guests

Tegan and Sara

Amber Bain (The Japanese House) and Shura Vicky Hollingworth: “I feel like we have a lot in common, like we could be friends! They both pretty much started out as bedroom producers and have such unique sounds. I’d like to ask them how they write and what they think about the digital age of music; where they see things progressing.” Tegan and Sara VH: “Purely for selfish reasons as I’m a massive fangirl. I’d ask them the secret to their long, successful career, how they adapted and changed their sound over their many albums...  I’d also talk to them about twin things, as I am myself a twin.” Laura Marling VH: “She’s so intelligent and has so much to say on the subject of gender in the industry. She’s just done a series of podcasts called Reversal of The Muse, one with Shura on it!” Maria Brink (In This Moment) Megan Roe: “In This Moment are a heavy metal band from California; [Maria]’s really cool. Also Christine and the Queens, and Merrill Garbus, the frontwoman of tUnEyArDs – she’s awesome, I feel like Merrill just gets it. And of course Debbie Harry!”


Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em W

hen Romesh Ranganathan last spoke to The Skinny, Ed Miliband seemed on the brink of becoming PM and his mother wasn’t a celebrity. “I did the Alternative Election special on Channel 4 with Aisling Bea,” he says of the May 2015 vote, “she had a bit about how Labour were going to need to form a coalition with the SNP in order to get enough seats. All of a sudden the polls came in and the Tories were absolutely smashing it. It was a massive surprise and a good illustration, to me, of how we get our views from social media. I only tend to be friends with people who share my views and perception of things. What you don’t realise is that there are loads of people who don’t think like you. That election really blew my mind showing this.” About 18 months later, that same social media bubble showed no sign of bursting during the EU referendum. “With Brexit it seemed almost like it was a formality we were going to stay in the EU. Then, all of sudden, people are shocked. My Facebook feed after Brexit was full of people talking about how angry they were and calling Leave voters idiots. Now, there is a debate to be had about how the Leave campaign conducted themselves – such as the funding to the NHS and how that’s not actually true – and how that process wasn’t managed properly, but to protest against a vote strikes me as antidemocratic. The idea that people who voted Leave are meatheaded racists is very naïve. Over half the turnout voted for Brexit and to dismiss them, to be honest, I think is offensive. It’s elitist to suggest that your viewpoints are better than anybody else.”

“If my mum gets her own cookery show and I’m only allowed a cameo on it – then I’ll know things have gone a bit too far” Romesh Ranganathan

Ultimately, however, it is better that polarised viewpoints are in the open where they can be debated. “It’s a good thing because now we’re aware how people feel and we can acknowledge it.” When Ranganathan was writing his current show Irrational, he hoped to include material which was slightly more “outward” than his previous work. About to be released on DVD, was he able to capture topics which shift, such as the political landscape, in the finished show? “I talk about how the political climate has changed and about how what we thought were commonly held views are not actually commonly held views... But, comedy is often a snapshot. When I watch stand-up shows from the past, or even old recordings of Mock the Week, you appreciate that this was what was going on at that time. And also,” he adds, “it can be funny to see something said that we now know is completely wrong.” Ranganathan is usually more personal than political on stage, with material that centres on misanthropic gripes towards his family, albeit with a subtext that the joke is on him: “I hope it comes across when I’m complaining about my kids that if I was actually good at being a parent I wouldn’t get

November/December 2016

so frustrated with the situation to complain.” It’s interesting that it is actually Ranganathan’s family material that has developed in the most outwardly direction – outward by some 5,000 miles. His TV Series Asian Provocateur charted Ranganathan’s trip to Sri Lanka, sent by his mother to find out about the culture, customs and family members he’d spent a lifetime in ignorance of. A comedic take on a travel documentary, with a dash of Who Do You Think You Are?, the show is a phenomenal success. Furthermore, the series has not been without some unexpected consequences to the family dynamic closer to home. For while life must be difficult for the children of celebrities, we must spare a thought for Ranganathan. His mother, Shanti, has become famous only after his success. Worse, she’s celebrated for the ease with which she upstages her son. Shanti is forever goading him about every aspect of his personality and appearance, winning every exchange by tying him up with her barbed knots of circular logic. “The reason that my mum is in it is because she wanted to get me in touch with my heritage. There is something always engaging about somebody speaking to their mum, so we knew that was going to be interesting. We filmed the first couple of minutes and she was a little bit awkward but then Ben [Green, series director] said, ‘you just need to be yourself ’ and as soon as that happened she was absolutely great. But there was no plan, I did not expect people to be asking me where my mum is when I’m on tour. The only fear is that if my mum gets her own cookery show and I’m only allowed a cameo on it – then I’ll know things have gone a bit too far.” Now streaming a second series, that fear has really already come to pass. Asian Provocateur is now very much their show as the mother and son double-act visit North America together. It’s even arguable the format is as much like a family sitcom as it is a travel documentary. “My brother is in this series, and what is quite funny is how he throws himself into stuff and he’s actually good at it. If they were making a straight down the line travel show, he’s the guy who should obviously be hosting.” This all further exaggerates the show’s fishout-of-water premise, with Ranganathan the odd one out now both in the situation and with his family – such as when his brother literally runs rings around him during a day at a wrestling school. It also leads to some touching scenes where he has to be rallied by his brother. “I’ll be honest with you, it’s funny you pick up on [the wrestling episode] because it was the most upsetting experience on the whole thing. It really was how it went down and I was worried about it afterwards because I thought it was so raw. I felt like I was back as the fat kid in PE class. My brother said that he found it difficult to watch me so upset and the instructor having a go at me. That’s why he came outside, to try and talk me back up. Underneath, we are a really solid unit.” That unit shows most when Ranganathan casts aside his grumpiness and takes part in some gloriously unsuited activity, whether it’s cheerleading or skydiving. On jumping from the plane he says: “My family didn’t know I was going to do it. So when I did, I thought it’d be like I was proving them wrong – flicking the Vs to them saying, ‘see, I did it!’ But they just came and hugged me and said how proud they were.” With such a close family the absence of his father – who died suddenly in 2011 – is felt on screen. “One of the biggest sadnesses of my life is that he isn’t around. He had a belief in my ability that was greater than my own. He used to say, when I first started, ‘why are you not on TV?’ – and I’d say, ‘Dad, I’ve done six gigs, I have five minutes

of material.’ He came to all of my early gigs and sat at the back with a beer. I remember one, at the Komedia in Brighton, when Jeff Innocent was MC and he smashed it. Dad said, ‘You need to be like that guy, how he is with the crowd and aim at that.’ He could be an honest critic too, but he was a supportive one. With Asian Provocateur he would be over the moon, it’s a show about seeing his family.” There is also something fitting that Ranganathan’s family and career remain so aligned. After all, this is the comedian whose wife opted to give birth to their third child in Edinburgh so the family could stay together during his 2014 Fringe run. And this was in keeping with family tradition; she also supported him as he gave up his secure teaching career for the rather riskier option of comedy: “I started doing stand-up just when we had our first child,” he says, “while doing open mics, Leesa would bring our eldest son in the car seat. He watched so much comedy. Well, he was asleep for most of it. There was a time just after I’d left teaching, when my dad had just


Interview: Ben Venables passed away and we really weren’t making ends meet. Our car was taken away and we couldn’t pay the bills. We were really struggling... we didn’t tell anybody because it’s a very personal thing. I was very conscious that if Leesa turned round and said ‘go back to teaching’ then I would have to because I couldn’t have put my family through that for much longer. But she never said that and now it’s part of the reason why I try and work as hard as I can. Also, comedy can be so transient. Who knows, next year maybe no-one will want to touch me with a bargepole and I’ll be struggling again. You have to work and make the most of opportunities when they are there.” Romesh Ranganathan: Irrational Live DVD and digital download released 21 Nov, £9.99 Asian Provocateur Series 2 is available on BBC iPlayer

Photo: Andy Hollingworth

Ahead of his tour dates, we catch-up with Romesh Ranganathan about Irrational, the changing political times and sharing the spotlight with his family



Loving the Alien

Amy Adams can do it all: sing, dance, and now, in new sci-fi film Arrival, talk to aliens. Here the talented actor tells us about female characterisation and the freedom of this latest role


ome actors have a type. Tom Cruise is the running action man. Tom Hanks is the sweet-hearted guy next door. Clint Eastwood is the laconic cowboy. Who says you need range to be a movie star? Amy Adams, however, has it in spades. She’s been a live-action Disney princess (Enchanted) and a naÏve nun (Doubt); a glamour puss con artist (American Hustle) and a hard-asnails girl from South Boston (The Fighter). As Lois Lane, she’s the most alive element of Zack Snyder’s DC comic movies, despite her role being limited to damsel in distress cliches, while in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, she’s terrifying as the forceful wife of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s eponymous religious leader. “She can do it all,” said Anderson about Adams when we interviewed him back in 2012. And by all, he means the movie star triple threat: she acts, she sings, she dances. “She’s more like an old time actress when they could do everything,” suggests Anderson. “They don’t make them like that so much any more.” Adams adds another string to her bow with new film Arrival. Directed by en vogue Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners), it’s a sombre science fiction film of ideas, filled with jaw-dropping spectacle and spine-tingling setpieces, but the film’s most potent image of all is Adams’ expressive face. She grounds the movie; she gives its chilly sci-fi visuals and grand philosophising a human dimension. Arrival is an alien invasion movie, but not the kind with which Roland Emmerich is associated. At the beginning of the film, a dozen pairs of aliens have appeared on Earth overnight, arriving in elegant space ships that look like skyscraperdwarfing grains of rice. The first clue that this movie might be low on bombast is the locations



the aliens choose to park their ships: not hovering over the White House, Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower, but in less iconic locales like Siberia, off the coast of mainland China and in rural Montana. It’s to the latter ship that brilliant linguistics professor Dr. Louise Banks is whisked by Forest Whitaker’s no-nonsense Colonel to help establish communications with the extraterrestrials. “You made quick work of those insurgent videos,” he says of Louise’s last freelance translation commission with the US department of defence. “You made quick work of those insurgents,” she replies. From this tantalising opening, Adams was hooked. “The first five minutes of something usually makes me decide whether or not I’m going to like a script and this one begged me to keep going,” she says, holding court to a group of journalists at London Film Festival ahead of Arrival’s UK premiere. “When I got to the end of it I had to go back and read it again, knowing what I knew.” As well as the alluring story, her character’s intellect was also a big draw. “I think sometimes females are written as if they’re smart but then not given anything smart to do or say!” she says. “So the fact that she gets to be smart, not just act smart, is awesome.” Louise’s sense of awe on her first encounter with the aliens and her obsession with understanding them – they communicate using inky circles that look like the rings coffee cups leave on napkins – calls to mind Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s a performance of pure empathy and compassion, and Adams knocks it out the park. “I thought it was a great role for her,” Adams co-star, Jeremy Renner, tells us. “It’s roles like Louise that are lacking in Hollywood for actresses of Amy’s caliber; women often just get victim roles” – we turn your attention again to Zack Snyder’s DC

comic films. “It’s a fantastic script which shows the leading woman as smart, and as a kind of superhero! She saves the world, and I think that’s just a fantastic thing.”

“She’s more like an old time actress when they could do everything” Paul Thomas Anderson on Amy Adams

Adams has some less lofty reasons for enjoying playing Louise too. “One of the things I loved about the role, and it sounds so base, was feeling OK to just roll out of bed in the morning and go to work,” she laughs. “I’ve played roles where I’ve lost my vanity before but this one was different because she was so intelligent, and so imagining this as a woman without vanity was incredibly freeing to me.” It’s strange to hear Adams say this, given that she is very much the film’s focus; so much meaning is communicated through her close-ups. Despite being a global story told on a grand scale, Villeneuve’s reliance on Adams' face make this feel like his most intimate work yet. Renner gives some interesting insight into the director’s process: “Denis is very Kubrick-like in his style, with his cranes and his shots and his framing. But when he’s shooting, he’s actually very focused on what the actors are doing, on [Adam]’s beautiful face, and what’s going on in her brain.”


Interview: Jamie Dunn This is the second film on the trot where Denis Villeneuve has sensitively depicted a male-dominated world from a female perspective. In slick crime thriller Sicario we followed Emily Blunt’s FBI agent as she deals with male corruption within a task-force set-up to take down a Mexican drug cartel. Similarly in Arrival, Louise becomes the lone voice of sanity when she has to convince the all-male heads of state of the various territories in which alien ships have landed – including China, Russia and her own government – to steady their trigger fingers while she tries to find out the aliens’ intensions here on Earth. Both films are also slyly critical of America’s current political landscape. Arrival is particularly scathing, showing the US government to be paranoid, fearful and, crucially, unwilling to communicate with other nations, particularly Russia and China. US officials are also shown to be terrified of the right-wing media, who are egging the government on to join China on the offensive. Given that it’s being released worldwide a few days after Americans vote on who will be the new Leader of the Free World, it’s tempting to assume Villeneuve had this upcoming election in mind while making the film.  “I don’t think anybody had this election in mind,” counters Adams. “The politics were kind of implied in the script, and because of what’s going on now that kind of pops out of the film. But it’s been a year and three months since we finished filming and the world is a very different place now.” If Villeneuve didn’t have this current election in mind then he’s been uncannily prophetic. After all, the film’s sly suggestion is that it takes a smart, steadfast woman to temper the US goverment’s macho bullshit and get it talking to the world again. After 8 Nov, this might not sound like science fiction.  Arrival is released 10 Nov by Entertainment One


Chester’s brand-new arts centre, Storyhouse, opens in May 2017. A major renovation and extension of the city’s old Odeon building, it houses two state-of-the-art theatres, a cinema and library, and a programme of significant public art commissions. Artistic director Alex Clifton presents his vision for a place where stories come to life


hester is a city of stories. From its distinctive Tudor buildings to its Roman roads and Medieval walls, history is written in the streets. Heading home from the annual Chester Literature Festival, you can read these narratives in several unique sights, like the elevated walkways of the ‘Chester Rows’ and the colourful Eastgate Clock – all glowing softly in the early autumn light. This is the backdrop for Storyhouse: a new multi-arts centre with storytelling at its heart. The core of this four-floor structure – Chester’s biggest ever public building – is the city’s central library, which moves from its current location on Northgate Street into a new home equipped with facilities designed to set the imagination free, from a touchscreen ‘innovation wall’ to telescopes, microscopes, art materials and paintable windows (and, of course, books). Artistic director Alex Clifton intends it to be a place where Storyhouse’s year-round theatre, cinema and visual art programmes can be further explored; but also, crucially, where the community’s own stories can be told. “Libraries are a place where we share and make stories, where communities can gather together and ask big social questions: Who are we? How shall we live? What kind of community do we want to build for ourselves and our futures?” Clifton says. “And so the library sits right at the heart of the centre because its philosophy sits right at the heart of all the work that we’ll be making.” He notes, too, the vision of Cheshire West and Chester’s local authority that Storyhouse should be physically central: “Next to the cathedral, that’s the spiritual centre; next to the town hall, that’s the civic centre; it sort of completes the triangle as the cultural centre. I think it has as crucial a place.” The interconnectedness of the building is emulated in the organisation’s attitude towards community involvement: hundreds of people, more than 25 charities and every primary school in the county have been consulted on the centre’s engagement programme, and Clifton explains that it is written into the contracts of anyone working with Storyhouse, even freelancers, that they must spend time mentoring others, from school groups to aspiring young actors or directors, to adults with learning difficulties receiving training and support. Put simply, providing meaningful opportunities is about “putting people in each other’s way,” Clifton says. “Sometimes it will bring genuine in-

November/December 2016

Interview: Lauren Strain

spiration; sometimes it’ll bring disagreement, disharmony, but that’s also valid. It’s about us being connected, and acknowledging that there is such a thing as society; that we are defined by our shared culture, by our shared social identity.” It’s a premise that Welsh contemporary artist Bedwyr Williams will respond to in a new piece of work, the first of four public art commissions by Storyhouse to take place in the coming years. Williams will be spending time with people in Chester and its boroughs before presenting his piece – which could use any of the spaces and facilities Storyhouse offers – in autumn 2017.

“Libraries are a place where we ask big social questions: Who are we? How shall we live?” Alex Clifton

Similarly, it’s the library’s human, rather than digital, resources that Clifton is keen to emphasise. Touch-sensitive walls, high-speed WiFi and laptops that visitors can take around the building are all well and good, but “the most special resource is simply the people we have in our team and their commitment to the project,” he says. “I’m as interested in the fact that we’ve got a wet play area and some sinks, some walls that are covered in chalk...” (He’s describing the dedicated children’s library, Storyden, which includes a 25-seat storytelling room with theatre lighting where the contents of dressing-up boxes will surely be put to wild and wacky use.) Finally, these stories will not begin and end in the central library, but be passed along and developed across the 25 connected Cheshire libraries. “Whether it’s the digital art or a performance, or if we’ve got a storyteller in the building, we can share that across the library network,” Clifton says. Sharing, supporting and inspiring: “That’s the model for the future.” Turn the page to find out more about Storyhouse’s opening season of theatre, cinema and visual art, plus full listings



The Great Indoors

Chester’s major new arts venue Storyhouse brings a theatre back to the city for the first time in a decade, and will present a mixture of home-produced summer and Christmas seasons, touring shows and community-led work. We find out more about the opening programme

ne of the more curious British architectural trends of the late 60s was the new-build theatre, often created as part of an urban shopping development. The Bolton Octagon and Charter Theatre (Preston) are still here but others – the Forum in Wythenshawe – have long gone. Chester’s Gateway closed in 2007, meaning the city has been without a building-based theatre for almost ten years. However, that’s due to change in 2017 with the opening of new cultural centre Storyhouse. “The Gateway was wonderful,” says Storyhouse artistic director Alex Clifton, who talks passionately about wanting to democratise culture and the arts. “I grew up and learned my love for the arts in its youth theatre, and watching productions in its 440-seat auditorium. It was part of a utopian vision of theatre as a civic tool, and this is a dream we’re building on at Storyhouse.” Storyhouse – housed in a former 1936 art deco Odeon, and costing £37 million – integrates two theatre spaces (a main house and studio) alongside a library, cinema, cafe and bar. It continues and expands upon the work of the acclaimed Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, which Clifton returned to his home town in 2010 to run (achieving impressive audience figures of 25,000 this summer). Clifton’s intention is to run the two venues in parallel, with some productions taking place across both spaces: Storyhouse’s 800-seat proscenium (which can convert to a 500-seat thrust stage), and Grosvenor’s in-the-round outdoor space. “Storyhouse will be a great partner to Grosvenor Park,” he says, “as we offer our audience a delicious choice for their theatre-going: roof or no roof?” Clifton doesn’t seem fazed by taking on such an ambitious project, though it’s a sensible move to surround himself with the same team who have worked so successfully at Grosvenor Park – designer Jess Curtis included. Curtis, who trained at the Morley Theatre Design Course, has worked on 13 Grosvenor Park productions including Stig of the Dump and The Secret Garden, and will design sets and costumes for all four home-produced shows in Storyhouse’s opening season: Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Beggar’s Opera and Alice in Wonderland (all of which, owing to Storyhouse's commitment to equality, will be performed by an ensemble with a 50/50 gender split). “It is always a challenge and a glory to work outside,” Curtis comments on the differences of designing for outdoors and indoors. “There is a lot of emphasis on the actor in the space, less on

built architecture, as it gets in the way when you design for theatre-in-the-round. The costumes have to work hard to tell the story of the world we are in; they must support the actor in creating a character, and be strong enough to register against a visually busy background.” What about that great British conversation topic, the weather? Curtis considers being at the mercy of the elements a boon, rather than a handicap. “There are many opportunities for magical coincidences to happen,” she enthuses. “Rain falling with great pathos; a sudden shaft of sunlight. It’s interesting to think, what does being outside give us that you couldn’t have inside? The sky – we can let go of a balloon. Earth – we can dig. Space – some of our sound effects walk all around the park.

“Theatre as a civic tool: this is a dream we're building on at Storyhouse” Alex Clifton

“Inside, some of the challenges are the same – understanding the space and the potential to manipulate it. Working in a new space as beautiful as Storyhouse is a massive privilege.” Another member of Clifton’s ‘A Team’ is poet Glyn Maxwell, who was responsible for an inventive Wind in the Willows at Grosvenor Park in 2015 and is writing new versions of both Alice in Wonderland and The Beggar’s Opera for Storyhouse’s opening programme. Many poets make a latecareer swerve into theatre but Maxwell was introduced to the stage at an early age (his mother is a former actor). After studying poetry and drama at the University of Boston, he returned home to Hertfordshire’s Welwyn Garden City in the early 90s and hit upon the inspired idea of staging productions in his parents’ back garden. “Welwyn Garden is a place people chuckle about but it was in the town’s DNA to put plays on because it was this green, idealistic place,” says Maxwell. “A lot of people who lived there in the beginning were theatrical… I’d come back from Boston with these sprawling epics, so I thought, let’s see if my parents mind if we put them on in

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

the garden. We filled every part of the garden, and used every room in the house… we’ve still got that house, it feels haunted by the memories of those plays.” Not every story lends itself to outdoor theatre (The Beggar’s Opera will be indoors only), and writing for the format requires a particular mindset, Maxwell believes. “You’ve got to be aware that a lot of the audience will be very young children; that some people will be hard of hearing. Really, you have to embrace it as a generous social type of theatre – it’s a celebration.” As for Alice, there have been a great many film and television versions of Lewis Carroll’s tale, and numerous stage productions. The characters are familiar enough to be seared into popular consciousness, but it’s a story Maxwell has wanted to adapt for a long time. “A lot of people who know the books would be hard pressed to say what order they happen in,” he says. “The films or the plays – and I haven’t

enjoyed many of them – tend to put things in a different order. There are lots of bits that people don’t tend to remember: there’s a pigeon that says a lot, a lion and a unicorn, a mouse. These are things which don’t tend to get used.” Writing another Alice could seem a thankless task, but Maxwell has an interesting perspective on Carroll’s story, describing it as a golden adventure – the last afternoon of childhood. “To be sad about your childhood coming to an end isn’t dark, it’s natural. [Alice is] rich and strange but it’s not bleak. It will have a melancholy feeling to it but there will also be a lot of fun.” We’re six months away from the official opening but Clifton is already planning the 2018 Storyhouse season and working with community groups to programme the studio; there are endless stories to tell, he believes. “It’s a Chester boy coming back to his home town to set this thing up,” says Maxwell, “and that’s a big deal for me; I’ve had that in my own life.” Turn over to find full listings for Storyhouse summer 2017




Photo: Mark McNulty


Interview: Steve Timms

For All to See In Storyhouse, you can watch cinema in a hanging box structure, and timebased art runs through the building’s corridors and foyers. We speak to the visual programmers of Chester’s exciting new arts centre Interview: Jamie Dunn s there a more romantic metaphor for watching a movie than the idea of “stepping through the silver screen”? When film – or art, or theatre, or literature – is at its best, it feels like we’ve entered its world, like The Purple Rose of Cairo in reverse. All arts venues hope to create this stepping-through-the-screen feeling. At Storyhouse, Chester’s soon to be opened multi-arts centre, you’ll be able to make this journey literally as well as figuratively. Partly housed within the city’s old Odeon theatre, built in 1936, an inspirational architectural decision to preserve the original cinema’s proscenium arch and make it a centrepiece has created a delightful gateway at the heart of the building. “The old screen is actually going to be the connection between the old building and the new one,” reveals David Cotterrell, Storyhouse’s visual art director, who speaks to us down the line from Brussels. “So you’ll actually be walking through where the screen would have been to move from one part of the building to the other.” This is just one of the features that will make Storyhouse such an inspirational space, explains Cotterrell. As part of their planning applications, new public buildings typically set aside money for a sculpture to place at the front, or maybe a decorative façade. Storyhouse’s approach is much more innovative: funds have been put aside for a five-year commissioning programme aiming to bring world-class artists to Chester, and to offer opportunities for emerging artists to experimentally use Storyhouse as a space to develop new time-based artworks. It’s a brave approach. “We’re looking to commission a series of people over the next five years and that process is just beginning at present,” explains Cotterrell. (Welsh contemporary artist Bedwyr Williams has been announced as the first commissioned.) “The idea is to bring artists to Chester, but also to challenge them, to make things that would maybe be impossible anywhere else. But also to encourage audiences, locally and from the wider regions, to think of Chester as a place to encounter new artwork.” Storyhouse won’t have a specially designed gallery space, however. Instead, the circulation spaces within the building will become the gal-

November/December 2016

lery. Many of these new artworks are likely to be on display at the transitional space through the old cinema screen, where a large digital screen will be suspended. “This will lend itself to movingimage projects, but also it is an attempt to reconsider the way the public will engage with multiple activities in a shared space,” says Cotterrell. “There’s a flexible approach to using distributed audios, screen objects and the way in which some of the built-in theatre systems can be used creatively to make intervention in that public environment. For artists it’s an unusual challenge, but it’s a good opportunity as well.”

“The idea is to bring artists to Chester, to challenge them, to make things that would be impossible anywhere else” David Cotterrell

How does Cotterrell picture people using this space? “The central space is a natural place to engage a lot of people,” he suggests. “Once it’s open I think this will become a meeting point, but also a route between people from different areas within the city. It should have an awful lot of people coming through for a range of activities.” This is a key point as far as Cotterrell is concerned: audiences who experience Storyhouse’s various art installations won’t necessarily have come to the building for that purpose. “Maybe they’re visiting the library, the cafe, or maybe waiting to take their seats in the theatre. What’s so exciting is that we will have in [the space] an audience that is partly your standard gallery audience, but it’ll involve a much wider group of people who might not define themselves that way.”

Photo: Mark McNulty


Another reason people might be visiting Storyhouse is to see the best of contemporary film in its 100-seater cinema, which will be housed in a light-box structure suspended above the Odeon’s old foyer area. In fact, expect a lot of people to be at Storyhouse for this reason, as the people of Chester have been without a city centre cinema since the Odeon closed a decade ago. The ethos behind the cinema will be different from the typical commercial model, says Nicky Beaumont, Storyhouse’s film programmer. “It’s going to be all about community engagement,” she says, “getting people involved with the building, trying to build up the idea that the building belongs to the people of Chester; they’re going to have a say about how it’s programmed.” As Storyhouse’s opening is still a way off, Beaumont can’t go into specifics on film titles or seasons, but she does point to the art centre’s current pop-up outdoor cinema, Moonlight Flicks, as an example of the kind of approach she’ll take


to Storyhouse’s programme. “It’ll offer a real mixture of new-release films as well as retro classics and some family orientated stuff,” she says, “so it’ll be quite an eclectic mix with a real indie spirit. It is a single screen, so we can’t do what a multiplex does. But we’ll be choosing the best stories to reflect that kind of Storyhouse ethos that will be going through the building.” This, it seems, is what’s going to make Storyhouse such a special place. Theatre, cinema, visual arts, literature and community will commingle and be in constant dialogue, says Cotterrell: “The idea is that the various artforms end up in a genuine collaboration with the building to realise something that encourages curiosity and questioning about the role of culture in the city, and the role of art within that.” Storyhouse opens in May 2017. Turn the page to find out more about the opening season


What’s on at Storyhouse The Beggar’s Opera 11 May-19 Aug, Storyhouse Stage Launching Storyhouse’s summer 2017 season is a new adaptation of The Beggar’s Opera by poet Glyn Maxwell. Full of bawdy songs and comedy, the Olivier Awardnominated writer’s take on John Gay’s 1728 musical – complete with a brand-new score – promises to be extra sharp-tongued, pushing the satirical tone of the original even harder. Considered a landmark work in the 18th-century ‘ballad opera’ genre – smart and cutting musical plays that used some of the conventions of opera, often in order to skewer ideas of politics and justice – Beggar’s goes one step further and mocks the opera form itself. Telling the story of an accomplished highwayman and the efforts of his ringleader to thwart him, it makes for a very timely bit of programming given its lampooning of the upper class and implicit criticism of inequality.

Alice in Wonderland 19 May-9 Jul, Storyhouse Stage 15 Jul-20 Aug, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre Transforming the stage into a “golden afternoon” at the end of summer, poet Glyn Maxwell presents a new version of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale that is sure to charm kids and adults alike. On the last day of her childhood, Alice encounters a colourful dreamscape of unusual characters, many of whom audiences may not be as familiar with as they think they are (see our interview with Maxwell on page 40). Prepare to experience a fresh, poetic Alice, with director Derek Bond and designer Jess Curtis capturing the heady emotional mix of one of literature’s finest coming-of-age stories. Maxwell’s sophisticated wordplay combines with Carroll’s ‘literary nonsense’ to delightful effect, while a sense of worlds spinning will leave you feeling like you’ve tumbled down the rabbit hole.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 9 Jun-16 Jul, Storyhouse Stage 21 Jul-27 Aug, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre  One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, this forest-set comedy of magic and trickery makes perfect sense as an outdoor as well as indoor performance; and Storyhouse’s commitment to equality in their resident cast – the ensemble will have a 50/50 gender split – will surely lend an extra dimension to this tale of appearance versus reality, swapped lovers and amorphous identities. As Theseus and Hippolyta prepare to be married, other corners of the forest are alive with mischief: four elope in the name of love, a fairy king and queen cast spells to distort vision and thought, and the illusions are heightened by Shakespeare’s clever play-within-a-play approach. Says Storyhouse artistic director Alex Clifton, who also directs this version: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be an on-stage carnival, and celebrate the glorious diversity and volatility of human desire.” Julius Caesar 23 Jun-30 Jul, Storyhouse Stage 3-27 Aug, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre  Underlining Storyhouse’s commitment to tackling “big, important questions about our shared cultural identity” is the choice to present perhaps the ultimate political thriller: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. First performed in 1599 and set in 44 BC, this brutal tragedy exploring the assassination of Caesar and the subsequent Roman civil war interrogates ideas of democracy and rule, heroism and honour; and with a modern aesthetic that’ll appeal to fans of House of Cards (expect no swords and sandals here), Storyhouse promise a staging that’s “perfectly set to take audiences to the rancid heart of power.” Julius Caesar works in counterpoint with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Beggar’s Opera and Alice in Wonderland to complete a season of theatre that considers big turning points in our lives and societies, at all ages and in many different eras – all with startling relevance to ours. See below for full listings

Full Listings: Summer 2017 Storyhouse Stage May

Thu 11 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm preview) Fri 12 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm preview) Sat 13 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sun 14 The Beggar’s Opera (2.30pm, 7.30pm) Fri 19 Alice in Wonderland (7.30pm preview) Sat 20 Alice in Wonderland (12pm preview, 7.30pm) Sun 21 Alice in Wonderland (12pm), The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Thu 25 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Fri 26 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sat 27 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sun 28 Alice in Wonderland (12pm, 4.30pm) Tue 30 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm) Wed 31 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm)

June Thu 1 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm) Fri 2 Alice in Wonderland (7.30pm) Sat 3 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm, 7.30pm) Sun 4 Alice in Wonderland (12pm, 4.30pm) Fri 9 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm preview)


Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre Sat 10 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.30pm preview, 7.30pm) Sun 11 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.30pm, 7.30pm) Wed 14 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Thu 15 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Fri 16 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sat 17 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sun 18 Alice in Wonderland (12pm, 4.30pm) Fri 23 Julius Caesar (7.30pm preview) Sat 24 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sun 25 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.30pm), Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Wed 28 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Thu 29 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Fri 30 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm)

July Sat 1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.30pm), Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sun 2 Alice in Wonderland (10.30am, 2.30pm), Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Tue 4 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Wed 5 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Thu 6 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Fri 7 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm)

Sat 8 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Sun 9 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Tue 11 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Wed 12 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Thu 13 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Fri 14 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sat 15 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sun 16 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Thu 20 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Fri 21 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sat 22 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sun 23 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Thu 27 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Fri 28 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sat 29 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sun 30 Julius Caesar (7.30pm)




Fri 4 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sat 5 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Fri 11 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sat 12 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Fri 18 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm) Sat 19 The Beggar’s Opera (7.30pm)

Thu 73 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Fri 7 4 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sat 7 5 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Sun 76 Alice in Wonderland (12pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (4.30pm)


Sat 7 15 Alice in Wonderland (12pm, 4.30pm) Sun 716 Alice in Wonderland (12pm, 4.30pm) Fri 7 21 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Sat 7 22 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Sun 723 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (12pm), Alice in Wonderland (4.30pm) Wed 26 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Thu 727 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Sat 7 29 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Sun 730 Alice in Wonderland (12pm, 4.30pm)

Wed 9 Alice in Wonderland (2.30pm), Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Thu 710 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Fri 7 11 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) A Midsummer Night’s Dream Sat 7 12  (2.30pm), Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sun 713 Alice in Wonderland (12pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (4.30pm) Wed 16 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Thu 7 17 Alice in Wonderland(2.30pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Fri 7 18 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sat 7 19 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.30pm, 7.30pm) Alice in Wonderland (12pm), Sun 720  Julius Caesar (4.30pm) A Midsummer Night’s Dream Wed 23  (7.30pm) Thu 724 Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Fri 7 25 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (7.30pm) Sat 7 26 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.30pm), Julius Caesar (7.30pm) Sun 727 Julius Caesar (2.30pm), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (4.30pm) Storyhouse – Chester’s brand new £37m theatre, cinema and library – opens in May 2017


Role Reversal It’s one simple change – the world’s women develop the power to electrocute people at will. There is a reversal of gender roles, a transfer of power. Author Naomi Alderman discusses her speculative feminist sci-fi novel The Power


would encourage any woman to imagine that they could electrocute people. Imagining won’t hurt anyone. But it might change how you think and feel about yourself.” This call to virtual arms comes in the middle of a conversation between Naomi Alderman and The Skinny about gender, feminist science fiction and the apocalyptic goings on of 2016. Alderman’s latest novel, The Power, takes the world we live in, and changes just one thing: in the fictional world of The Power, women develop the ability to electrocute people at will, shifting the capacity for violence from men to women. “There’s no country you can go to so as to escape gender,” Alderman points out. “We can’t actually leave planet Earth. So science fiction is the closest we can get to imagining how things could be different. “This book is my hypothesis,” she continues, “and if the novel convinces, then the hypothesis is supported. If it works for you, the reader – do you go, ‘yes!’ or, ‘mmm, yeees,’ or, ‘no but this bit’, or, ‘no no no no no’ – if it works, then we’ve found something out about gender together.” The novel certainly does convince. Told through the eyes of four different characters – three women and one man – who experience the change from very different places, The Power offers a brilliant dissection of both power and gender. Far from becoming heavy or overtly moralising, however, at its heart the book remains an adven-

November/December 2016

ture story in which the boundaries between good and bad constantly shift. Part of the book’s strength lies in this portrayal of victim and villain as hopelessly intertwined and, as a result, its power to make us relate to and root for mob bosses, politicians and cult leaders. “I don’t think anyone gets off lightly in this book,” Alderman muses. “There are people who think they’re winners but I don’t think they are.” This is true of both genders in this narrative, with Alderman making clear that the solution to gender inequality isn’t complete reversal. She laughs. “Men have feelings too!” And as she passionately points out, society’s enforcement of gender norms doesn’t just negatively impact on women; it denies men the ability to fully live as themselves too. “The idea that there are particular qualities or emotions that are reserved to one sex is a crime that we perpetrate on children from the moment they are born,” she insists. “All of us have moments when we are strong and when we are weak, when we are angry and we are also kind. We are vulnerable and we are victorious. We like to have careers and we take joy in our relationships with our children. All of us have moments when we really are very horny and when we actually don’t want to have sex right now. When we deny ourselves one of these things we cut off a part of ourselves. An essential and vital and beautiful part.” The book takes its tone from current events,

and its focus on the young generation of millennials emphasises its feeling of prescience. As ideologies shift to match changing power structures, young women are mobilised through videos shared by a tap on a smartphone screen. Men’s rights activists spread conspiracy theories in online forums whose rhetoric is sickeningly familiar. And televised political debates can make and break careers.

“I’m so excited by young feminists today... They aren’t afraid of not being nice” Naomi Alderman

In some ways the book is surprisingly, frighteningly relevant. “At the start of the year, my American editor reading this novel said, ‘Nuclear weapons, are we still concerned about who has their finger on the button?’ And now…” Alderman breaks off in despair. “It’s been quite a horrifying year for the retrenchment of value systems as to who can make the more horrifying shows of vio-


Interview: Annie Rutherford Illustration: Louise French lence.” In one of the key scenes in The Power, a politician is elected despite, or rather because of, losing control during a public debate. “My editor also didn’t think that Margot was still electable. I was quite careful when writing that part. I didn’t think she could be running for president, but I figured a government senator was maybe okay. Now I think, 'Oh my God, I could have made her president of the world!'" Yet while The Power rings true with all that has been apocalyptic in 2016, it is also a book that offers hope. Alderman’s depiction of the early days of revolution brims with joy and excitement. The power to electrocute is passed from teenage girls to older women, and in one particularly moving scene a girl passes the gift to a group of women imprisoned as sex workers, offering them not just the light they ask for but the freedom they desire. “That was conscious,” Naomi explains. “I’m so excited by young feminists today. I’m inspired by how these young women are not afraid to show their anger. They aren’t afraid of not being nice.” In a move somewhat reminiscent of that classic of feminist science fiction, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the narrative of The Power is framed by letters written thousands of years later. Exchanges between their author Neil and his mentor, Naomi, discuss the possibility of a past in which men were the stronger sex. “I feel that those letters are hopeful,” Alderman remarks. “Because the novel is still going to be published. Even in that world. My thought is, if you change who has the power to inflict violence and change nothing else, there would be a period of violence and revolutions and it would be horrible. But I also do believe that justice is also an instinct in humans. We would find our way back.”  At the same time, the letters offer a wry criticism of today’s culture of publishing and the wider workplace, with a nod to the fact that the novel is published under Naomi’s, not Neil’s, name. Alderman laughs. “We know these things have happened, right? Take the thing around Ferrante. Since she’s been named people have started saying, 'I bet her husband helped her with this.' Now the truth is, as we know from history, we should much more often be asking this about men. We should be looking at male composers, male writers, male scientists and be saying, 'I bet his wife, or his sister, helped him with that.' But we don’t.” Has she ever considered publishing under a man’s name? “Ha. I have. I mean, I have thought of it. I would hire an actor, a nerdy Jewish guy. I’m curious – because you know, the invitations you don’t receive are invisible.” She pauses. “Have you ever considered what would happen if people considered you be that bit more competent?” The talk turns to workplaces: to female bosses, and male colleagues, and the multiple insidious ways in which women, throughout their lives, are taught not to be confident. Alderman mentions the annual VIDA survey, which examines which books are reviewed and in what terms. “Men’s books are far more likely to be called important,” she explains. “A woman might write a ‘family saga’. A man would write a ‘sweeping multi-generational epic’.” For the record, and for VIDA: this is an important book. Pick it up for the gripping plot; keep going for the characters you are proud for and terrified of. Put it down, go out into the streets and feel your hands beginning to tingle with power. And like the young women in the novel, pass the book on. The Power is out now, published by Penguin, RRP £12.99



A Tale of Two Women Zadie Smith’s new novel Swing Time proves that fictional female friends are in with the popular crowd


omplicated female relationships seem to be everywhere in contemporary literature. Take this year’s Man Booker longlist as a snapshot: in Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen, the titular character obsesses over fellow prison employee Rebecca, while Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton and Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk both examine fraught relationships between mother and daughter. But the best-known unorthodox friendship in literature today is surely that of Elena Ferrante’s Elena and Lila in the Italian author’s Neapolitan Novels series. A far cry from traditional literary heroines whose primary concerns are men, marriage and babies, none of these relationships fit into straightforward categories, nor would you particularly want to be friends with any of the characters. And that’s the point. After all, it’s what makes these stories so addictively readable. Published in November, Zadie Smith’s fifth novel, Swing Time, is the most recent in a flurry of books portraying female relationships with refreshing, if sometimes excruciating, honesty. The story centres around two girls who grow up dreaming of being dancers. But while their aspirations and lives drift apart, Tracey is always the benchmark of the unnamed narrator’s successes. Like Ferrante’s Elena and Lila, theirs is far from a healthy relationship. Rather than supporting each other, the girls are easily drawn into comparison and competition: Tracey gets into dance school, while the narrator is dismissed early on as being unforgivably flat-footed; as adults, Tracey flaunts her lively young family in front of the self-consciously childless narrator. But the intensity of their childhood intimacy prevents the narrator from ever fully breaking free of Tracey’s



negative presence – even when, as a personal assistant to an international popstar, she spends most of her time in North America and West Africa, thousands of miles away from her north-west London home.

“Swing Time is the most recent in a flurry of books portraying female relationships with refreshing, if sometimes excruciating, honesty” Turbulent friendships So unforgettable are Ferrante’s characters that it’s hard not to make quick comparisons between Elena and Lila, and Smith’s narrator and Tracey. First off, both pairs compete creatively: for Smith it’s in their dancing, and for Ferrante it’s their writing. Like many childhood friendships, the basis of both is that the girls come from similar backgrounds. In Swing Time, the narrator and Tracey gravitate towards each other as the only “brown girls” in their dance class, while Ferrante’s narrator Elena and her friend Lila are both bright

and promising pupils in a poor and violently patriarchal neighbourhood in 1950s Naples. This subtle doubling lends itself to compulsive comparison, as each narrator sees the different paths she could have chosen, leaving her unable to understand herself without the other: ‘inside was the struggle to leave her, the old conviction that without her nothing truly important would happen to me, and yet I felt the need to get away’ (Ferrante, The Story of a New Name). In both friendships their closeness is undeniable, seemingly inevitable, even if it’s not always wanted. Certainly, they aren’t always very kind to each other. One of Elena’s earliest memories is that Lila deliberately pushes her doll, Tina, through a cellar grate ‘and let[s] her fall into the darkness.’ Meanwhile, at the climactic point of Swing Time, hinted at in the prologue, Tracey abuses her closeness to the narrator in very publicly exposing an embarrassing childhood incident, claiming that it shows who the narrator really is. Trapped by childhood? This idea of really knowing someone is another quietly disconcerting consequence of the lingering childhood friend. No matter how many life changes and experiences the narrator goes through – spanning seven decades and four books in Elena’s case – their closest friend always seems ready to reject change or success as pretentious or meaningless, perhaps out of a desire to limit them to their early lives (in which Lila and Tracey showed more promise). However, while the success of both narrators’ careers takes them away from Naples and London – albeit on very different scales – Lila and Tracey are seen strictly within the limits of their


Interview: Alice Horne Illustration: Josie Sommer

home town, even solely in their childhood neighbourhood. Place is important to Ferrante and Smith as writers, and both of their narrators just as often try – and fail – to escape from their home towns as they try and fail to distance themselves from Lila and Tracey. Of course, this isn’t the first time Smith has written about a complicated relationship between two women. In her previous novel NW, Smith moves between different times and perspectives to show childhood friends Leah and Natalie growing up together, forming and re-forming their identities in relation to each other throughout adolescence and adulthood. Unlike NW, however, in Swing Time we never see the friendship from Tracey’s point of view. Instead, we stay in the often self-doubting, sometimes paranoid head of the narrator; an authorial tactic that shows us the complicated tangle of the narrator’s emotions and self-understanding, without the possibly redeeming balance of another perspective. In other words, the pitfalls and pleasures of female friendship are entirely relatable. In this way, Smith and Ferrante succeed at depicting the diversity and complexity of female identity and experience through their protagonists’ relationships with other women. Both write characters that we can understand and relate to, even if – or maybe because – they aren’t always a bed of roses. At a time when Hillary Clinton is continually criticised for not being ‘likeable’ enough, it is heartening that, in fiction at least, women are (finally) allowed to be difficult. Swing Time by Zadie Smith is published 15 November by Hamish Hamilton Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels are out now, published by Europa Editions


tion for the venue where their career took off is obvious. “Fabric is the one that’s kind of interesting, because we played the first weekend that it opened in 1999. It’s is an amazingly well-run place. There are people who are really making an effort there and that’s great. “I think you’ve got to be careful, you know. You can see what’s happening in places like Berlin, we need to hold on to these places. We want to keep our position. We need to cherish these types of places, you know – it’s not galleries and restaurants in Mayfair, it’s nightclubs in the East End of London that are actually essential to the health of the city.” Having been active in the campaign to stop Fabric’s closure, we ask Findlay what he believes is the best course of action for the many club goers currently feeling powerless to forestall the club’s fate.

“It’s not galleries and restaurants in Mayfair, it’s nightclubs in the East End of London that are actually essential to the health of the city” Tom Findlay

Keep On Groovin’ We catch up with Tom Findlay, one half of the UK dance music giants Groove Armada, to talk about past successes, current tours, and plans for the future Interview: Claire Francis


ore than any other British dance music outfit of their era, in the late 90s Groove Armada successfully realised both critical and commercial acclaim. With hits like At The River, I See You Baby (Shaking That Ass) and Superstylin’, Andy Cato and Tom Findlay secured their big room dancefloor credibility while maintaining their diverse production approaches. The duo’s releases first aired in 1997; by 2004, they had a greatest hits album, The Best of Groove Armada. The wealth of years has also honed the renowned Groove Armada live performance, which culminated in the 2010’s Black Light tour. Following their acclaimed Fabriclive 87 release in May this year, September saw the British dance music legends headline Annie Mac's All Day Rave in Leeds, and in December they'll also take to the turntables for a special show at Manchester's Warehouse Project. On the day that The Skinny calls Findlay for this interview, Riva Starr’s remix of Superstylin’ had held the top spot on Beatport for three weeks running. Surely, we ask, it’s just further proof of Groove Armada’s enduring influence? “He’s done an amazing job with it really,” Findlay states modestly. “Keeping it really simple, letting the vocal do the work… it’s lovely. It’s been

November/December 2016

rooted to the top of the Beatport chart! There’s something magic about that vocal – which is obviously nothing to do with me – but it sort of takes any kind of groove really well. “I think that’s what he’s done really cleverly; he’s sort of not over-egged it, you know? It’s got a couple of great breakdowns, he’s put the vocal to the forefront of the mix… yeah, he’s just done a lovely job. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how successful it’s been. We’ve been playing the original version for about 17 years, so it’s nice to have somebody else play it for a change!” Findlay certainly puts into perspective the length of the duo’s career; next year marks the 20th anniversary of Groove Armada proper, with the aforementioned At The River released as a single in 1997 and limited to just 500 copies (it also appeared on their debut LP Northern Star). You could forgive the pair if, in the intervening years, inspiration had began to run dry. But a run of EPs on Hypercolour, Moda Black, Defected, and Danse Club later, plus a new single – Tune 101 – out on Steve Lawler’s VIVa Warriors, only underscores Groove Armada’s vitality. “We’ve got a new tune coming out in the New Year,” Findlay reveals, “which is great – not unlike Superstylin’, in some ways. It’s a tune we’ve been

playing out a lot and it’s been doing really well. “It’s kind of the 20th anniversary of us,” he explains. “I don’t know when you’d say the first moment is, but we recorded in 1997, so 2017 is twenty years! I’m not one of these people that’s massively into nostalgia, but when you’ve got a landmark like that, you do kind of think back.” With a massive summer of touring behind them, including sets at Eastern Electrics and Parklife festivals and the Elrow opener at Space in Ibiza, Findlay also reflects on Groove Armada’s longevity as a live act. “It’s a change of pace with everything, we’re not as intense about it. I see some DJ schedules now and they just kind of make me wince. I guess we just don’t want to do that anymore. “But I just came back from DJing in Colombia and Chile, and playing places there and generally feeling really enthused about what I’ve got in my record box. We maybe do things a little bit differently to how we did 10, 15 years ago, probably pace ourselves a bit better.” Recounting the earlier days of Groove Armada’s career inevitably leads us to a discussion of the controversial closure of London’s Fabric nightclub. With the duo’s Room 3 residency back in the club’s early days still the stuff of legends, Findlay’s affec-


“There seem to be a lot of events taking place, people making noise; that needs to happen. And I guess there is an appeal process which I think is underway. Hopefully Fabric are in a position to get some decent legal minds involved and turn it around. Hopefully common sense will prevail there. I think everyone is optimistic that might be the case. I get the feeling that people are wanting to do more, but I think they’ve actually done a lot already.” From their roots in raw house music and 90s raves, there’s little that Groove Armada haven’t turned their hand to over the course of their two decade career. Aside from their own instantly recognisable productions, Cato and Findlay have clocked up a famed Late Night Tales compilation; played a key part in establishing one of London’s biggest music festivals, Lovebox; played iconic live shows at some of the world’s best venues, and released eight studio albums which collectively have sold millions of copies and garnered both Grammy and Brit nominations. As their 20th anniversary looms, is there anything that remains for Groove Armada to accomplish? “For the 20th anniversary there’s maybe an idea, a chance of doing some live shows again, which would be really lovely. We stopped doing the band in 2010, and that felt like the right thing to do at the time. Treading those sort boards one more time with a band would be an amazing thing to do. I’ll see if we get any offers first!” Findlay laughs. “For me, I’ve got my kids, my son’s 14 and my daughter’s 10, and they never really saw us play with a band. That would be a really nice thing, to do that one more time. There’d be a sense of closure I think, if we could do that.  “Sometimes we’ll be playing together and something will work great, there’ll be a combination of three records that’s brilliant, and we be like, ‘remember that’. But we never do,” Findlay explains. “But that’s the joy of DJing live, just trying different things out and trying to find a connection with people. And once you do, then trying to stay on that peak for a while.” Groove Armada play The Warehouse Project, Manchester with Joris Voorn, KÖlsch and more, 2 Dec, 9.30pm, £29.50/£35



Interpreting Roald Dahl This December, the West Yorkshire Playhouse stages an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved novel about witchcraft and the awkward journey to adulthood, The Witches. At the risk of ruining your childhood, we look at the responses to Dahl’s canon Words: Holly Rimmer-Tagoe path from poverty to tremendous wealth that is all too impossible outside of the world of the novel. Miss Honey in Matilda Critics are divided as to whether Miss Honey is a prototype for a bland ideal of wholesome femininity or a beacon of sisterly encouragement for Matilda. Miss Honey’s name can be seen as a signifier for her particular brand of sickly kindness. She appears to be incapable of any action outside the realms of acceptability, and has no qualms at the end of the novel when she rapidly moves from being a professional woman to a full-time adoptive parent to Matilda. In many ways, she fulfils the role of an angel-like figure of virtuousness to contrast with the barbarous, authoritarian character of Miss Trunchbull.


oald Dahl’s posthumous reputation as a writer is entirely different depending on who you ask. For some, he’s the celebrated writer of their childhood, a storyteller with a gift for characterisation who transported them to new worlds and sparked their developing imagination. For others, his work is riddled with gender stereotypes and a romanticised idea of the military, as well as stories where child neglect becomes a mere plot device on the path to an artificial happy ending. Is Matilda really a feminist story? Why are bossy girls like Violet Beauregarde immediately cast as the villains of the piece? We take a look at some of Dahl’s famous creations and the reader responses they’ve provoked. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Some readers see Charlie as pretty much a com-

plete incarnation of the Tory idea of a poor person. He is the embodiment of ‘noble poverty’ – unassuming, unquestioning and awe-struck by the wealth of others. He diligently lives in a cramped house and is eventually fortunate enough to benefit from the benevolence of factory owner and creative genius Willy Wonka. With the heady mix of trickle-down economics, unsafe factories and dodgy food manufacturing, it’s easy to see why some give Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a +10 mark for Toryness. Alternatively, Charlie’s tale can be read as a satire on the very idea of a few lucky winners getting a golden ticket out of poverty. Dahl purposefully gives the story a surreal edge with edible pavements and mechanical clouds, making it unreal and exaggerated. The factory becomes a hyperreal fantasy that is separate from the lived experience of poor children of the 1960s. Charlie’s character is a form of wish-fulfilment; he tracks a

“It’s easy to see why some give Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a +10 mark for Toryness” On the other hand, Miss Honey can also be viewed as an emblem of female solidarity, uplifting the deserted female protagonist and acting as a mentor for Matilda’s sharp intellect and psychokinesis. In vast swathes of children’s literature, plucky, adventurous masculinity – of the kind shown by Alex in the Alex Rider novels – is often called upon to save the day; so by placing Miss Honey’s example of female solidarity as the moral backbone of the book, Matilda can alternatively be viewed

as an illustration of the power of women supporting each other against the odds. Either way, now is as good a time as ever to revisit Tim Minchin’s musical version of the book. The BFG in The BFG The BFG has found new currency given the recent release of Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation, but it has also been read anew by those interested in eco themes in literature. The BFG is the only giant not to eat humans; instead, he snacks on snozzcumbers and drinks frobscottle. The BFG’s ‘giant vegetarianism’ becomes synonymous with his compassion. It’s only because he abstains from human munching that he becomes the anti-hero of the book, saving Sophie from the other pesky giants. The BFG’s character has also been read as a narrative about disloyalty and betrayal. For some readers, the BFG isn’t a hero in disguise. He seems to isolate himself from the wider giant community. The BFG also dedicates his life to making human children happy and is unable to act as a unifying figure between the giants and humans, eventually calling in the arms of the state – the Queen and the Air Force – to take retribution on his own kind. Any writer worth their salt is bound to invite a vast array of views on their work – it’s usually a good indicator that their work is multifaceted and rich in meaning. Dahl himself once wrote: ‘So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.’ As the literary world celebrates the centenary of his birth this year, he’d likely take comfort in the idea that his books are still voraciously read and dissected in myriad different ways.  The Witches runs 2 Dec-21 Jan at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Festive Theatre Highlights It's not all pantos and carol concerts, y'know: here's our guide to the best end-of-year theatre Ballroom beauties (and beasts) in Leeds Indulgence is served up in thick, glitter-icing slices this Christmas in Leeds, as West Yorkshire Playhouse welcomes the UK premiere of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical (30 Nov-21 Jan). Based on Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 film, this production choreographed by Hairspray’s Drew McOnie pairs original songs plus new bangers from the likes of Sia with the story of Scott, a champion dancer who breaks free of convention. It’s a ten from Len.  Meanwhile at Leeds Grand Theatre, Northern Ballet put the tail in fairytale with a revitalised Beauty & the Beast (15 Dec-7 Jan). The romance of the season should shiver to life with a score performed live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, including pieces by Saint-Säens, Bizet and Debussy.  Humanity and hauntings in Liverpool Physical theatre company Gecko bring their moving and sensitive work Institute to Liverpool Playhouse for just four performances (16-19 Nov). As four figures clamber among filing cabinets filled with



lost stories and fading memories, Gecko unspool two years of research into the way we nurture and relate to each other, triggered by artistic director Amit Lahav asking the company: what does it mean to care for one another in a busy world of high-pressure targets and expectations? What does it mean to lose everything and everyone? Where do you turn? Also at the Playhouse for a short run is terrifying crowdpleaser The Woman in Black, directed by Stephen Mallatratt, based on the ghost story by Susan Hill and long dubbed the most frightening theatre experience going (7-12 Nov). And if you’d rather split your sides than scare yourself silly, you could check out the first production by the Lantern Theatre crew since they moved out of their old home. Scouse: A Comedy of Terrors – a play by Andrew Cullen imagining the government’s response to Liverpool’s demand for independence, first performed in 1997 and revived because relevant – is at the Dome, Grand Central (17 Nov-15 Dec). 

Ghosts of Christmas past in Manchester There’s lots of winter fare on offer in Manchester, from an alternative Christmas cabaret called ‘Yule Be Sorry’ (ho ho ho!) at HOME, led by ‘post-drag, post-gender performance avalanche’ David Hoyle in an evening of song, comedy and paint (16 Dec), all the way through to a dance theatre adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Little Match Girl at the Lowry (24-26 Nov).  Indeed, the Lowry really brings it this season, staging everything from the grand – Opera North’s full four-opera ‘Season of Secrets’ programme (9-12 Nov) – to the intimate, with the circus artists of Circoncentrique presenting Gasp, a duet in which they remain in perpetual motion with hoops, balls and wheels throughout (20 Nov).  But the gem of the calendar is surely a new adaptation by celebrated choreographer Matthew Bourne of the Powell & Pressburger film The Red Shoes (29 Nov-3 Dec), in which this tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the


world’s greatest dancer is set to a new score by Terry Davies using the golden-age Hollywood music of Bernard Herrmann (Hitchcock, Welles, Scorcese). We’ll also be booking for COAL at Contact Theatre (7 & 8 Dec), a dance theatre performance marking 30 years since the Miners’ Strike and telling a story of community, solidarity and survival; environmentally conscious puppet show The Man Who Planted Trees at the Royal Exchange (19-31 Dec); and – because it wouldn’t be the Christmas holidays without bravely attempting some great literature you’ve been meaning to tackle for 20 years – Ibsen’s Ghosts at HOME (18 Nov-3 Dec).  Finally, the flaming brandy on the top of the Christmas cake comes courtesy of the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, who bring a snowy Nutcracker to the Bridgewater Hall on 3 and 4 Jan – transporting you back to the magic of Christmas eve, if you’re sad it’s all over already. Happy 2017!  For more recommendations and to find out what’s on, head to


November/December 2016


Old Dog, New Tricks After a bruising experience on his last film, Dying of the Light, which was taken off him on completion and re-cut, Paul Schrader is back with full artistic control for wild crime caper Dog Eat Dog


he 1970s are routinely hailed as the greatest period in the history of American film, but the filmmakers responsible for those extraordinary achievements have experienced wildly divergent career paths over the subsequent four decades. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg became moguls, Martin Scorsese managed to sustain a career attempting to make personal films in the studio system, while directors like Brian De Palma and Francis Ford Coppola enjoyed periods in Hollywood’s good graces in the 80s and 90s, before being cast out once more. Paul Schrader has always felt slightly removed from that group, however. He didn’t make his directorial debut (Blue Collar) until 1978, when the freedom enjoyed by directors in that era was on the verge of being curbed. Schrader can pinpoint the moment when he felt that the ground had shifted, as he left Hollywood in 1984 to make Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. “The first three or four films I made for the studios,” he recalls. “Then I went to Japan, I came back, and the studios weren’t making those kinds of films anymore. They were now independent films. I just kept making them.” A sense of independence is important to Schrader. He has never received the widespread acclaim of his peers, he has never received an Oscar nomination (not even with his screenplays for Scorsese’s films), and a number of his films have barely been released, but over the course of his career he has quietly put together one of the most impressive and distinctive bodies of work in American cinema. As eclectic as they are, each film has Schrader’s unmistakable stamp of artistic and intellectual provocation, which is why the experience of making Dying of the Light in 2014 hurt him so badly. The film was taken away from Schrader and re-cut against his wishes, leading to an online campaign by the director and stars Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin, to no avail. Schrader walked away from that experience bruised but resolute. On the next Paul Schrader film, he was going to make sure he had final cut.



The film that Schrader has chosen to exercise his editorial rights with is Dog Eat Dog, a film that’s quite unlike anything he has ever made before. When I suggest that some of his stylistic choices here are as audacious and surprising as those in Mishima, he responds with laughter. “Sure, but it’s not quite as intellectual.” Schrader attacks this adaptation of Edward Bunker’s novel with the verve and energy of a man secure in his artistic freedom, and excited by the opportunity to venture into uncharted territory. “I had been involved in an unpleasant situation with Nic and we just wanted to work together again, to prove that we could make a film that people would see,” he says. “I read this script and I thought maybe this is the one. Nic wanted to do it, but now I was doing a crime film and I thought, I’m not a crime film director, you know, so I’d better start studying. I had a whole summer studying crime films, and how do you make one after Scorsese, after Tarantino and after Guy Ritchie? So that became the goal, to make a crime film that felt like it was made in 2016.”

“When audiences don’t think art is important, well then it’s awful hard to make important movies” Paul Schrader

Schrader distinguishes his take on the genre by turning everything up to 11. Dog Eat Dog is an outrageous caper centred around three unapologetic scumbags (played by Cage, Willem Dafoe

and Christopher Matthew Cook) as they attempt to pull off a big score and avoid getting sent back to the jail at which they first met. It’s wilfully offensive, gruesomely violent and frequently hysterically funny, with Willem Dafoe’s unhinged performance as the psychotic but needy Mad Dog setting the tone. The opening five minutes alone will have you either shaking with laughter or shaking your head in disgust. “As we got into it, more and more I kept thinking, this stuff is funny, I can’t take these guys seriously,” Schrader says, “and we just kept moving more and more along that road. Then when I was editing it, I realised that if people started laughing in the opening scene they’d laugh throughout, but if they don’t then they’ll never laugh. So we had to really amp up that opening scene in the editing to make it very, very clear that if you’re taking this movie seriously, you’re in the wrong theatre.” Working on such a tight budget can bring its own problems - and Schrader tells me that Nicolas Cage temporarily quit Dog Eat Dog on the first day of filming after discovering that he hadn’t been paid - but for the most part he is happy to work on this smaller scale. “I don’t need that much money,” he explains. “I don’t need that much money in my life and I don’t need that much money on screen. I’d rather just do something lower key, I don’t need the big toys. There was a documentary that I watched about De Palma, where Brian said all he wanted to do was to get the big toys – the cranes, the cameras, the big sets – and I’ve never felt that. It has become relatively inexpensive to make a film now, so the film that took 45 days when I began now takes 25 days, and you have more footage.” But while Schrader is keen to embrace the new tools available to him, he admits that it’s hard to keep apace with cinema’s technological advancement. “I used to think that we were entering a period of transition,” he says. “I now believe that we have entered into a period of constant transition, and we will never get out of it. Just like the


Interview: Philip Concannon computer is out of date by the time you open the box, every film model is out of date by the time you finish the film. The distribution models, the technology models, it’s all changing very quickly.” What does all of this mean for cinema as a popular art form? Schrader came up in an era when films mattered, but in the age of streaming precious few contemporary films seem capable of making the kind of cultural impact that we once took for granted. Schrader believes the responsibility for this lies not with the filmmakers or the studios, but with us. “Movies aren’t going away, but the 20th century notion of them is going away. Movies used to be the centre of the social conversation and audiences were turning to artists for advice: what do we think about the war? What do we think about gay rights? Women’s rights? Black rights? And the moment audiences ask artists for input, great art will emerge, it’s that simple. When audiences don’t think art is important, like my kids don’t think movies are important, well then it’s awful hard to make important movies.” OK, so we might not be able to make a case for Dog Eat Dog being an ‘important’ movie, but it does represent the return to prominence of a vital American filmmaker. Schrader has put the unpleasantness of Dying of the Light behind him and he is determined to keep pushing forward, reinventing himself and exploring new possibilities as he has done consistently for over 40 years. “What can I do that I haven’t done before? What can I do that’s different? What new challenge can I try? Can I self-finance a movie and pull it off? Can I make a film about a girl in a closet, you know?” he says, referencing his 1988 film Patty Hearst. “I go to the cinema sometimes and look at the screen and I think, how do they stay awake? They’ve all made this film five, six times before. The next film I’m doing will be a film unlike any I’ve ever tried to do.” Paul Schrader celebrated his 70th birthday this summer, but this old dog can still bite. Dog Eat Dog is released 18 Nov by Signature Entertainment


Silence Is Golden It’s been a funny old year for duct-taped mime Sam Wills, aka Tape Face, who made it to the finals of America’s Got Talent 2016. He breaks his silence to chat to us about Cowell, Trump, and a certain skit involving oven gloves...


s oven gloves my Stairway to Heaven?” Sam Wills ponders. The man behind the tape of ‘Tape Face’, his mute alter ego, is having a slight existential crisis. “When the gloves come out now there’s a reaction. It’s a funny one and I’m very much torn at the moment, because I’ve got a re-edit of that joke that I can do, but also the audience at these shows now are coming because of these fucking gloves.” He is of course talking about the video that recently went viral of Tape Face on America’s Got Talent, using oven gloves to sing a love ballad to one another. It has brought him fame and thusly some expectation, but from Wills’ cheery New Zealand lilt you feel that this is the kind of problem he lives for. You might have noticed the more-than-slight geographical incongruence in that last sentence. Although Wills lives in London and was born in New Zealand, he just finished near the top of America’s biggest talent show. “Some people flagged it on social media but you just have to be eligible as a performer,” he says. “It’s a light entertainment variety show, not like I was running for President.” As lamentable as such shows are within the entertainment industry, the Kiwi does seem to have pulled a fast one on Simon Cowell and his chums. “It’s such a dreaded word and it’s thrown around so much in the comedy industry – ‘Oh, this’ll be good exposure’ – and so much of the time it’s bullshit,” Wills says. “I set my goals very clearly. I just wanted to get some exposure and reach the top ten.” And reach the top ten he did, becoming a viral internet sensation along the way. “It was an opportunity to use this TV show, just as much as they’re using me. I knew I was making good television. I knew I was going to be the odd character.” Wills was keen to keep his interactions to a minimum and decided early on that he was going to keep the tape on the entire time, on stage and off – a twofold attack that would create further mys-

November/December 2016

tique about this already pretty enigmatic creation, and which also wouldn’t reveal his native New Zealand accent and turn a jingoistic nation against the plucky foreigner. “Maybe it’s the street performer sneaky pirate in me,” he says. “I got away with that. There’s a part of me that’s thinking, ‘Shit, I think I might have got one over them.’ Which is quite nice.” Breaking America with America’s Got Talent Wills landed in London about nine years ago after performing on the streets of his native Christchurch, “and I’m still building my way up,” he claims. “I’ve always wanted to go over to the States, do some shows over there. To do that again in America I’d have to move to LA, go to the comedy circuit and rise up through the ranks. That’s gonna take eight years, nine years again and I don’t have time for that.” The hustler in Wills couldn’t pass up a surefire way to gather that crowd more quickly – much like he would back when he worked that golden lunchtime hour, trying to get world-weary office workers who’d trudged out for sustenance to pass over their hard-earned cash into his upturned hat. With America’s Got Talent, Wills managed to do that and more, attracting a bigger legion of fans and even a verbatim copycat. “It popped up and I was like, ‘That’s it, I’ve made it,’” he reminisces of the time when he saw that his act had been lifted, move for move, by an impersonator on a small Brazilian talent show. Rather than flip out at his intellectual property being so blatantly ripped off, Wills tracked the fellow down via his die-hard fanbase and dropped the young Brazilian ‘Rosto de Fita’ a line: “Hello, my name’s Sam Wills, I think you may have heard of me,” he laughs. “I ended up having a really lovely chat with him, he’s a clown who works in Brazil and genuinely he just needed the money, and from

that street performer point of view I was just like, yeah, if you need the money you do the show.” This laissez-faire attitude to art and commerce marks Wills apart from most comedians, and indeed most artists. He enjoys what he does and remembers all too well what it is like to be a struggling performer. When trying to get a key spot at the Edinburgh festival or in London his familial group of clowns, acrobats, jugglers and more would gather and divvy up times – “but if you were late, you didn’t get a spot. Didn’t matter who you were.” He’s still got that down-to-earth ragamuffin sense of mischief and glee that would entertain the people of Covent Garden on their limited breaks, even when performing to a packed house with Mel B as a prop.

“I’m trying to remind adults of that feeling of being a kid” Sam Wills

The joy of live performance TV has called in the past, most notably with BBC Three’s pilot The Tape Face Tapes, and there will no doubt be offers from further afield after Wills’ impressive turn on the world’s most famous talent show. But it will always be live performance that drives him. “I’m always going to be about live performing,” he says. “Comedy needs to be seen live. You can film whatever you want and it goes out to a million people, but you go and perform in a room to 200 people that have paid for a ticket and want


Interview: John Stansfield to see the show – that’s incredible.” The feeling of performing live can’t be captured in a viral video, he suggests. “For me I’m always creating material that I want to perform live. So all the stuff that goes out on TV or whatever is just an advert to come and see the live show.” Live comedy is what Wills does best, amazing onlookers with household items. Folk may come to see the oven glove routine but they stay glued for all the rest – and then they come back to show their friends what this man can do with staplers, a tape measure and myriad other mundane items. The beauty of a silent comedian is the timelessness – and because he isn’t speaking, he’s not having to make mention of whatever depressing disasters might be unfolding right outside the bubble of a Tape Face performance. “It’s a complete break from reality,” Wills says. “And for me that’s one of the most therapeutic parts of my show, is that there’s no current events. You know, Donald Trump doesn’t exist in my show. It’s quite nice. Whereas a comedian who has to go out there and talk about the current state of the world... Christ, you’d wanna kill yourself afterwards.” By sealing up his mouth and opening the minds of his spectators, Tape Face is able to keep his sanity and provide a very welcome respite from the Armageddon that’s developing in the same country where he just wandered into the top ten of a variety show. “I’m trying to remind adults what it is to just remember that feeling of being a kid,” he says. “It’s important to look at things in a different way and remember to switch off and play.” At a time when the older generation seems to be consistently punishing younger ones, this may be the most sage advice you can get from a man who doesn’t speak. Tape Face performs at The Lowry, Salford, 13 Nov



Epic Sail DIY producer Paul Fleming, aka Baltic Fleet, scooped the 2013 GIT Award before disappearing from the public eye – here he tells us about success, Lancastrian churches and new album The Dear One


altic Fleet may have nautical nomenclature but in Paul Fleming – the brains behind the Widnes-born, boundary-pushing electronic project – you couldn’t meet a man with his feet planted more firmly on the ground. The unexpected winner of the 2013 GIT Award (set up by the Get Into This blog to celebrate musical talent from the Merseyside area), Baltic Fleet’s rapid rise from relative unknown to the talk of Merseyside’s music scene and beyond provided a real test of the affable Fleming’s creative and personal mettle. Indeed, getting dragged from crafting sultry instrumental electronica in his bedroom to being handpicked by Yoko Ono to play at a festival curated by the lady herself is enough to make anybody sit up, blink and think twice. Yet as Towers – the album released in the same period Baltic Fleet picked up the prestigious prize – scaled new heights and looked set to propel Fleming’s group to deserved fame and recognition, it all seemed to go quiet on the Northwestern front. Baltic Fleet looked to have sunk without trace. Say it ain’t so! The Skinny sits with Fleming in the surprisingly cozy yet neon-laden confines of Liverpool’s Brewdog bar. Sipping on iced water, the man who earned his spurs as the keyboard player in Echo & The Bunnymen for six years speaks in reflective, measured and intelligent ways on new album The Dear One, the trappings of fame and the weight of expectation. For somebody undertaking their first face-to-face interview since the release of Towers, Fleming – fittingly – doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. “Winning the GIT Award brought different attention,” he ponders. “Things span off for a year



after that and it took me to places I never expected to go. Baltic Fleet had always been something in my bedroom – my own personal journey – that I was doing for my own ends and then suddenly I was thrown right on the radar. Commercial success was never my main goal but it certainly moved above anything I’d ever imagined it would be.” So, we venture carefully, what happened? What prompted such an absence just as Baltic Fleet seemed on the cusp of setting sail and plotting a course for the big time? Life happened. In among the comedown of winning the GIT Award, writing and rehearsing, playing to a swollen Liverpool Sound City crowd and hobnobbing with the likes of Sean Lennon at an aftershow party (“it was a strange experience,” Fleming laughs), a personal tragedy took hold. “My mother became ill at the end of that year and passed away shortly after,” he says. “For about five months after I didn’t play a note, I didn’t touch an instrument. I stayed strong for my family but I felt totally lost at the time. Over time, I finally switched everything on and began to play, creating songs that became a part of the new record. It represented me coming back after that time and carrying on past the grief that I felt.” There were also commercial and artistic pressures that came with being propelled unexpectedly into the spotlight. Fleming speaks of certain expectations and how they can cling to you, how others get into your ear and urge you to strike while the iron is hot, even if you don’t feel ready: “I wanted to just follow the path that I’ve always wanted to follow, which was an organic feel. I didn’t want to just jump on the back of an award and push a record out too early.”

He also found solace away from the pressures of expectation with film scores for Liverpool-based features such as Native and short films like Schrödinger’s Waltz. Even in the midst of grief, Fleming remained active in some sense, kept his chops up and helped to improve the sound and concept of Baltic Fleet. His label Blow Up Records also provided a safe, creative haven and allowed him the right amount of time to learn, grow and return to the fold when it felt right. It’s a tactic that has paid off in spades, the subsequent recording sessions yielding a plethora of material that may be the basis for a quick followup to The Dear One as either another full LP or a smattering of EPs.

“I could keep going until I’m 60, 70, playing ambient piano as a pensioner” Paul Fleming

Baltic Fleet is a labour of love that encompasses the organic, everyday facets of life that go largely unnoticed by many. It’s a project imbued with emotion and catharsis, and festooned with the bookends and circular travels that make up the bulk of our lives. Taking its name from the


Interview: Joseph Viney famous Liverpool pub passed every day by thousands of people, Baltic Fleet provides an enigmatic interpretation of normality, twisting it every which way into something special that leaves much to the imagination of the listener. The story behind the creation of The Dear One provides a clear picture of how Fleming reduces the seemingly ordinary into something wonderful. “I was in a local church – middle-of-nowhere Lancashire – and I was learning about the man who built it,” he recalls. “He’d built schools nearby and other places and he’d done it all for his wife. I found this diary of his in the church and he called his wife ‘the dear one’. As their story progressed through these pages, she became ill and on the last page he called her by her name – Frances – and it revealed she passed away shortly after. I was very intrigued by his total dedication to her. He’d done all of these amazing things for this one person, and I used my imagination to translate all of these other names and places in the diary into what appears on the record.” The Dear One may just be Baltic Fleet’s best record to date. Deemed “a big step forward” by Fleming, the record is the sound of one man throwing the shackles off. This is nowhere more evident than on tracks such as Swallow Falls, with its shifting, sub-tropical rhythms and faintly ominous aural backdrop that evolves seamlessly into something like laser warfare. La Cygne waves goodbye to prior creative processes and presents a raw, emotional and cathartic soundscape performed via live takes. The stand-out remains the album’s eponymous track; it’s spoken of with paternal pride by Fleming as he details how, while it sounds as if it was created by machines, it’s all hand-played and assisted only by a single click-track. Baltic Fleet quietly thrives on the idea of proving others wrong. It’s not something worn on the group’s sleeve, and so you need to dig more deeply into the psyche of the music to find it. But when you do, you realise it’s a large part of what propels them and encourages them to keep moving forward. Where others may say Baltic Fleet peaked with the GIT Award victory – allowing successive winners such as Forest Swords and All We Are to take their place in the sunshine of adulation – Fleming sees it more succinctly as an opportunity for laying foundations and growing from there. Forgive the pun, but The Dear One scales more heights and traverses more peaks than Towers could purport to have done. Fleming notes that, while being aware of the probable consensus of many observers, the best is still to come. “For an artist like me I could keep going until I’m 60, 70, until I’m playing ambient piano as a pensioner, but I’m happy that I’m always moving forward creatively,” he says. “I want to be progressive and I want my sound to be progressive. I don’t want it to be of a time, I want to push boundaries and change it up. “Personally I’ve not reached a peak; externally, I don’t really care if anyone thinks that we have or not. This is my own journey and if people want to join in and listen then I hope they enjoy the ride. “Baltic Fleet is about bringing friends along, working on my ideas, bringing people along for that journey. It’s as simple as that really. It’s just an entity. It’s a shifting thing. The people I work with change that journey and process in their own ways and it works perfectly.” He laughs, before checking himself and reverting to type; affable, unassuming, curious. “I’m a pretty normal guy,” he says quietly. If such an attitude pays off so handsomely, why can’t we all be normal too? The Dear One is released via Blow Up Records on 11 Nov


November/December 2016





Album of the Month



Slugger [Carpark Records, 11 Nov]


‘I say yes to the dress when I put it on / I say yes if I want you to take it off / If you want to, you’ve gotta get a yes.’ God, how good does it feel to hear these words out loud? At the time of writing (pre-8 Nov/potential doomsday), eleven women have raised their voices with allegations against presidential candidate Trump’s grab’n’grope policies. Footballer Ched Evans literally got out of jail free after his accuser had her sexual history used against her in court. A legal battle for Ke$ha’s freedom from producer Dr. Luke disintegrated into a slut-shaming circus that prioritised capital investment over her emotional and physical safety, as well as her career. These are just a chosen few; a handful of bleak examples of our culture’s thoroughly fucked attitude towards sexuality. Are you angry? So are we. Sad13 is Sadie Dupuis of US indie band Speedy Ortiz, and she’s turned her frustrations with the music industry’s male gaze into Slugger; an album that speaks to the soul of any person who feels threatened by a cavalier approach to gender politics, be it at work, at home, or at a rock show. Like the advice column we’ve never had, Dupuis covers ‘just a friend’ conversations, consent, trust, arseholes (real and metaphorical), self-worth, solitude and emotional abuse

with eloquence and empathy. Crunchy, catchy hooks mean you’ll be humming these anthems all day – and there’s nothing more satisfying than an earworm that’s also shouting out for equality. Slugger dances from indie jams to synthpowered bedroom discos, and American rapper Sammus’ bars on the record’s closer, Coming Into Powers, are a roof-raising celebration of selfpowered creative independence. Tell U What (‘I’m worth every dime you have / Tell you what, I’m not worth your violence’) is a succinct suckerpunch that says it all, standing up to bullying partners with assertion and awareness. Dupuis’s rock gems may be concise (and often extremely personal), but they capture a whole world of complexities and contradictions. She turns internet slang into kitsch curation on <2, a spiralling, laugh-track spit-back with a truly noughties put-down, and Line Up borrows pop-punk pacing for a thrill ride, with shoutouts to wealth redistribution and supposed safe spaces. Nuanced, thoughtful discussions broadcast with power and volume: please give Sad13 all your yesses. But only if you want to. [Katie Hawthorne] Sad13

Listen to: Get a Yes, Coming Into Powers

Kristin Hersh

Wyatt at the Coyote Palace [Omnibus Press, 28 Oct]

rrrrr XAM Duo






XAM Duo [Sonic Cathedral, 4 Nov] XAM Duo is the self-titled debut from Hookworms’ Matthew Benn and Deadwall’s Christopher Duffin. Comprising six tracks in total, it’s a collection of ambient improvisations where synths meet saxophones – scuzzy, jazz-tinged, bleepy, and in places, euphoric. At 23 minutes long, I Extend My Arms Pt I & II is a highlight, gradually building over an unnerving drone before getting squelchy and dark midway through, gradually morphing into a glorious Dan Deaconesque pounder that’s easy to get lost in; the similarly epic René (a mere 18 minutes this time) brings proceedings to a perfect close. It isn’t always the easiest of listens, but persistence pays off: XAM Duo is ultimately very rewarding. [Tallah Brash] Listen to: I Extend My Arms Pt I & II

Monument Builders [Kranky, 11 Nov] Do we have any control over our own realities? Can beauty exist amid wanton destruction? If so, should we enjoy it? On Monument Builders, ambient maestro Loscil creates a post-industrial hinterland that’s one of the most captivating releases of 2016. A breathless and dense record built on crackle, fuzz and fugue, what really captures the imagination are the fleeting, stark melodies on almost every track. These are the flowers sprouting through the cracks of an abandoned factory, in the form of a horn (Red Tide), a piano (Drained Lake), or chopped up vocals (Weeds), recalling the jarring juxtapositions of the Notwist or Ben Frost. Monument Builders is an augmented reality to spend time with, explore and get lost in. [Finbarr Bermingham]

November/December 2016

Listen to: Weeds

FLOTUS [City Slang, 4 Nov] The term ‘alt-country’ never sat well with Lambchop, whose music owes as much to blues, soul and jazz, as it does to their Nashville roots. FLOTUS sees Kurt Wagner’s troupe sever links with the genre completely; only the superb 12minute opening track In Care of 8675309 sticks within the parameters of traditional song structure. The rest of the record sees Lambchop venture further down an electronic rabbit hole than expected. Wagner’s vocals are morphed with vocoder and distortion. Pedal steels have been replaced with samplers and synthesisers, and it works. 18-minute album closer The Hustle is ethereal and appropriately epic. Lambchop are at their most adventurous, and it sounds wonderful. [Finbarr Bermingham] Listen to: NIIV, The Hustle

‘I’m doubled over on my knees again,’ sings Kristin Hersh on her tenth solo album. ‘Only way I know how to be.’ Of course, the raw emotion in her remarkable songs has only ever been the entry point rather than the crux; as with everything she’s done since Throwing Muses began rubbing salt in their own wounds (along with sugar and dynamite), these songs smoulder with mystery. Wyatt… contains 24 tracks of largely acoustic beauty, fraught with a tension that tantalises,


Woman [Ed Banger, 18 Nov]


It’s been almost a decade since French electronic duo Justice unleashed their debut record on the world – potentially grim reading for readers old enough to remember that. In Justice’s defence, the Parisian act never over-saturated themselves, only releasing three albums in nine years (lest we forget: 2007’s †, 2011’s Audio, Video, Disco precede this new offering). It’s a nice surprise to have them back, and even nicer to find the duo have retained their pleasurable take on industrialinfused electronica, with 70s disco touches.


comforts and baffles in turn. The likes of Shotgun blister like scalded flesh, while elsewhere raw verses suddenly bloom into delicate sweetness, keeping you on the very tips of your toes. Published in the form of a book (containing stories and photographs that may not illuminate the album’s meaning, but certainly expand the conversation surrounding it) with the music spread across two CDs, it’s a beautiful package, albeit potentially daunting to absorb. Still, the obliqueness is only a challenge if you allow it to be; the depth of Hersh’s music has always revealed itself over time rather than through simple earworms (although they’re present on the mighty Killing Two Birds). Secret Codes contains the record’s biggest clue, however, homing in on its subtly spiritual nature: ‘Sorta know how to pray / You just ache with hope til it goes away’. Beat that. [Will Fitzpatrick] Listen to: Killing Two Birds This is chiefly because Woman is fresh, exciting and more than anything, a fun listen. Early singles such as opener Safe and Sound lean into the band’s deep knowledge of all things disco, while Randy manages to strike pop gold once again, and Alakazam! masterfully blends that exciting combination of disco and electronic music for which they have become famed. While nothing on Woman is quite as bombastic as when † was first unleashed on an unsuspecting public, there’s plenty of intriguing stuff to chew on here with deep cuts such as Chorus and Heavy Metal, resulting in a terrific return from the French duo. Much like Daft Punk before them, Justice have maintained their high standards. [Adam Turner-Heffer] Listen to: Chorus, Safe and Sound, Alakazam!




Love Songs: Pt Two [Ninja Tune, 11 Nov]

Archie Fairhurst’s new album, Love Songs Pt. Two, is a more intense, yet at times more tender, follow-up to his debut EP Projections. Singed to Ninja Tune and making music under the moniker Romare, the artist uses a collage-like approach to his production, inspired by the method adopted by American artist Romare Bearden. Cutting and pasting together samples, bass lines and percussion, Romare’s sound is warm and groovy with the disco influences on this record evident. Tracks such as All Night, and My Last Affair boast soulful vocals which offer some clear references to the glorious sounds of the 70s. Without many lyrics to further decorate the music on offer, the album often feels like a perfectly extended DJ mix, a factor assisted by its coherency and fluidity. The use of such an eclectic melting pot of samples also gives it an incredibly timeless feel. Long Songs Pt. Two succeeds most, however, in its striking use of crescendo. Within tracks, and across the LP as a whole, Romare develops an intensity that distinguishes it from his past releases, as the sound constantly builds in layers. At times, the record feels more dominating than Projections ever was. Romare explores different elements of love, as summarised in each track’s name: from New Love, to Honey, and My Last Affair, we experience first dances and explore new lovers, passionate anger and sexual desire. While Romare is a master when it comes to constructing unique and unusual sounds in his music (the opening of his 2015 single Roots for example), sometimes this can be more abrasive than enjoyable – New Love, we’re looking at you. Overall though, this is a warm piece of percussive and melodic greatness; stand-out single Who Loves You? is sure to explode across dancefloors. [Kenza Marland] Listen to: Who to Love, My Last Affair

Natalie McCool

The Great Unknown [Fortress Sounds via Ditto Music, 25 Nov]


Indie, synth-infused rock is a tricky wheel to reinvent, but Natalie McCool gives it one almighty go. Another winner for PledgeMusic campaigns, the Liverpudlian’s latest album arrives fan-backed and tour-tested: The Great Unknown is slick, sophisticated, and feels just right in its own skin. Chris Martin and Paul McCartney have voiced support for the songwriter in the past, but McCool sprints past any hyped celeb endorsements to fund her record and find her own feet. The record’s ballads show off McCool’s crystal-clear vocal ability and sensitive, intelligent songwriting: When You Love Somebody, You and I and Fortress are open-hearted and full of glittering optimism. ‘Pinch yourself if you know what I’m talking about,’ she suggests, and you will. Still, you could just as easily argue that McCool and band are better when they’re angry. Dig It Out is a perfectly pitched look-at-me-now, a satisfying middle-finger to feeling held back. Magnet is an opposites-attract anthem that Taylor Swift would sell her soul for (just wait ‘til the guitar kicks in and tell us this doesn’t deserve all of Tay Tay’s future record sales). Feel Good is spiked with surprisingly gothic, badblood, skin-shedding frustration and balanced by a chorus of pure pop hedonism: ‘I do it just to feel good,’ she sings – half confession, half shrug – and that self-confidence is exactly what gives The Great Unknown so much magic. [Katie Hawthorne] Listen to: Dig It Out, When You Love Somebody





Babes Never Die [FatCat, 4 Nov]


Glasgow’s Honeyblood, aka Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers, are back with sophomore album Babes Never Die, a follow-up to 2014’s self-titled debut. Boasting 12 tracks, with the first and last acting as musical bookends, it’s a well wrapped package with no obvious signs of ‘difficult second album syndrome’. After the crescendoing mantra of ‘babes never die, babes never die’ on Intro, we’re thrown head first into the heavily percussive title track,

complete with a supremely catchy chorus. Following this is the album’s first single Ready For the Magic, a powerful track with bags of sing-along potential, then we’re straight into Sea Hearts, which sucks you in with its Britpop-esque intro. The drums kick in, and before you know it, they’re sipping tequila and not giving a fuck who knows it – as you quickly learn, the reason for all this is ‘just a little heartbreak’. Honeyblood promise to ‘break hearts that get in our way.’ You believe them. Love is a Disease and Walking at Midnight offer a brief breather, following that high-energy triumvirate, before the muscular Justine, Misery Queen grabs hold of you again. The album loses momentum a little towards the end, but the bittersweet Cruel – Babes Never Die’s sole ballad – regains your trust and interest; there’s a vulnerability in Tweeddale’s vocal

that makes you hang on her every word. Finally, there’s Outro, a cheeky little samba number reminiscent of a Casio keyboard demo. It’s embellished with an adorable melody played on a recorder, with Tweeddale’s distant ‘ba da ba daaah’s layered on top: dreamy. Overall, and despite a brief lull, Babes Never Die is enjoyable from beginning to end. Peppered with catchy choruses and heroic riffs, and with sing-along moments galore, it’s much fuller, better rounded and more complete than 2014’s Honeyblood. The best thing? When it finishes you’ll head straight back to the start to relive it all over again. [Tallah Brash] Listen to: Sea Hearts, Love is a Disease

Papa M

Highway Songs [Drag City, 11 Nov]


12 years have somehow passed since the last Papa M record (rarities compilation Hole of Burning Alms). Since then David Pajo’s played with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol, and reunited once more with seminal post-rock progenitors Slint, but little was then heard from him until February 2015, when Pajo tragically tried to take his own life. The largely instrumental Highway Songs documents his difficult journey since then, from the depths of despair to his current position (finally playing guitar for its own sake again, and happy to be alive). Opener Flatliners is a crushing, sludgedout cry unto the void, easily the heaviest piece of music Pajo’s recorded since his stint with stoner metal quartet Dead Child. It’s followed by The Love Particle, where sampled strings disintegrate into a frantic series of glitches and static. At the centre of the piece, a child’s voice whispers, ‘I love you, Daddy’ – rare poignancy amidst the clatter. Elsewhere, Dlvd provides a tentative flash of fragile optimism, while Walking on Coronado is a shot of sunlight injected straight in the heart. The best is saved for last, however, as Pajo’s true shot at self-redemption makes for a stunning close: Little Girl is a country ballad with a plea for his daughter to “teach me to love again.” Here, with the guitarist solo-ing flashily and emotively like Slash at the cliff’s edge, it’s the only way the record could possibly end. [Will Fitzpatrick] Listen to: The Ballad of a Small Player

Baltic Fleet




The Dear One [Blow Up Records, 11 Nov] Baltic Fleet have moved from the harsh industrial wastelands of previous record Towers and planted their lightning conductor firmly into the rural heart of Lancashire and the Pennines with The Dear One. Taking its cue from a builder’s lovelorn diary, The Dear One provokes the intensity the subject demands. The thumping insistence of Swallow Falls blends seamlessly with the hypnotic La Cygne, which in turn gives way to the shimmer and shine of the title track. You’d be forgiven for thinking the 2013 GIT Award winners had slipped through the cracks once fame had found them, but Baltic Fleet have struck back with what may just be their best effort yet. [Joseph Viney] Listen to: Swallow Falls


Primitives [City Slang, 4 Nov] If Primitives feels familiar, it might be because you’ve heard it already. Texan producer Roger Sellers released this LP on Punctum Records in 2014, but he returns with a brand new alias, a new record label and three extra tracks to wrap up the ceremony. If you missed it the first time, you’re in for a trip. Bayonne twists and folds thousands of layers and loops, utilising the echoes of old pianos and draining sinks to add some earth to his technical wizardry. Warm, cavernous drums provide the heart and backbone of the record, but for all Primitives’ hypnotic powers, when it’s over you’ll wake up on the same sofa. [Katie Hawthorne]

Listen to: Appeals, Omar


The Stone is Not Hit by the Sun, Nor Carved With a Knife [Gizeh Records, 7 Nov]


Three tracks. 80 Minutes. By the time opener The Stone shudders to a halt, and there’s still nearly an hour to go, this much is clear: unlocking this remarkable work is the key to connecting to its uncompromising mode. Learning its language, breathing its rarified air and braving its mass of driving beats: The Stone is Not Hit by the Sun, Nor Carved With a Knife is a record to learn. Exultant soundscapes are constructed from the kind of dark matter that recalls the arch riffery of doom-metal, composed with skill and care. This record is generous throughout, asking much of the listener, and paying back with interest every time. Superb. [Gary Kaill] Listen to: The Stone, The Sun, A Knife


Photo: Amy Muir


Green Party Racking up support across the board, politically-minded post-punk outfit Cabbage seem destined for bigger things. Lyricist Joe Martin discusses their craft and what’s next for the five-piece Interview: Bethany Garrett


tarting out simply as a project to exorcise a collection of songs lingering around, less than a year on from their first gig Cabbage are being heralded as post-punk’s politically-charged, pottymouthed messiahs. Picking the brains of the band’s principal lyricist and poet Joe Martin, however, it becomes evident that, despite tackling Donald Trump, the injustice and absurdity of austerity and all the perks of neoliberal capitalist society in their lyrics, the Greater Manchester five-piece haven’t made a deliberate or conscious effort to position themselves as a political band. Instead, as he explains, “It’s just a natural talking point that’s seeped into the music – it’s such a bizarre political climate at the moment, it’s just occupying our minds.” Martin cites Mancunian poet Mike Garry and punk poet John Cooper Clarke as inspirations, as well as celebrating Irvine Welsh’s knack for the grotesque. He also enthuses about the Evidently poetry night in Salford: “It’s great – you get a different poet every week and then everyone gets to do one poem each on the open mic. It’s on an industrial estate so you get the most bizarre mix of people; all ages, male and female, all reeling off poetry about their jobs or family members or drinking habits. Poetry can come from anywhere really, anyone can do it and it’s unlike music, where you sound like you’re influenced by someone else, because everyone has their own unique story.” Praising Sleaford Mods for setting spoken word to music, Martin weighs up whether Cabbage’s work should be considered in the same vein: “Sometimes, but equally the music is really important. We spend a lot of time focussing on the dynamics and getting it to be a real slap in the face that builds and takes you by surprise. We like the idea of it being pretty unlistenable at times, especially live, but then it’ll go straight back to something that packs a punch.” Punchy it is – Cabbage possess the industrial energy and seismic chug of The Stooges or MC5 but laced with lyrics that document the strange and hellish political world we inhabit in 2016. They’ve been likened to Lancastrian brethren The Fall as well as the Happy Mondays (which Joe attributes to “the live attack of the two singers who, you know, do like to move around a lot”) but would rather add something new to Manchester’s

November/December 2016

luminous musical heritage than emulate past glories. They nail this sentiment with the tonguein-cheek garage rock of Tell Me Lies About Manchester, which gently mocks and namechecks the city’s alternative musical antiquity while celebrating its colourful characters.

“We like the idea of it being pretty unlistenable at times” Joe Martin

A series of three EPs is underway, all produced by Simon ‘Ding’ Archer of The Fall and apearing via James Skelly’s Skeleton Key Records. September’s Uber Capitalist Death Trade was the first of this holy trinity to be set upon the world, with Necroflat in the Palace (the title track touches on Jimmy Savile’s criminally under-questioned relationship with the Royal Family) and Terrorist Synthesizer (this one’s about our good saviour, Jeremy Corbyn) to follow up before the year is out. The 12 tracks are set to be released collectively on vinyl in December – just in time for the Queen’s Christmas speech. Not ones to sit still, Cabbage are getting ready to go back into the studio, with Skelly on production duties this time: “We had a lot of angry punk songs that needed to come out. They were quite political, screaming and shouting and he [Simon Archer] was the perfect man to document those. But we’re writing a lot more music and we intend on putting something out at least every year, so we want to explore different realms with a different producer and see what happens.” Uber Capitalist Death Trade is out now via Skeleton Key Records. Cabbage play The Magnet, Liverpool (4 Nov), Stereo, Glasgow (17 Nov) and Club. The. Mammoth all-dayer, Liverpool (21 Jan, with The Fall, Hookworms, Eagulls and more)




Under the Influence: XAM Duo A guide to ambient music, culled from the record collections that informed XAM Duo’s debut album


ou may already know Matthew Benn and Christopher Duffin via their respective work with psych explorers Hookworms and DIY dreampoppers Deadwall, but the pair also work together as XAM Duo, whose mesmeric debut album draws from a sublime combination of droned-out electronics and astral jazz. We asked them to provide an introduction to ambient music, and while they admit these tracks may not “traditionally” fulfil that criteria, the playlist certainly meets their own definition – as Benn explains, “I treat it as music you can fall asleep to.” Gas – Untitled 2 [Pop, Mille Plateaux, 2000] Matthew Benn: “I sent my friend some tracks that I was working on, and he said, ‘You should give this a listen.’ I was like, ‘Shit, it’s already been done!’ It’s a very natural sound; it sounds like running water and wind blowing in the trees. It’s not his most ambient album, but it was the first one I listened to, so it’s the one that’s stuck with me the longest.” Christopher Duffin: “The dance element is really subliminal. When we do our live sets we want to incorporate a little part of that, rather than just being really heavy all the way through.”

The Necks – Open [Open, Fish of Milk, 2013] MB: “We went to see The Necks while we were in the middle of recording this album. I’d never seen them before; it’s super intense. All their albums are one track and usually an hour long – this particular one’s a bit more experimental. There’s no electronics, it’s super spacious and minimal – it taught me not to be scared of playing one little phrase round and round again, and develop on that. If you do it properly it can become quite meditative. ” CD: “I remember reading a quote, I think it was in Miles Davis’s autobiography; he said silence is the easiest thing to play, but the hardest thing to make sound right. I’ve always really liked that; things don’t have to be constantly in your face.”

Spacemen 3 – Feels So Good [The Perfect Prescription, Glass, 1987] MB: “Probably my favourite album ever. There’s a few other tracks on this record that I could’ve picked – maybe like Transparent Radiation or Ecstasy Symphony would’ve been more apt – but this one has a drone running all the way through it, and it’s so softly sung and played. The horns remind me of those old Stax records, and The Rolling Stones in the early 70s: I Got The Blues, stuff like that. I have a playlist on my phone where I’ve actually taken the two loud songs off this album, so it’s kind of… ‘all chiller, no filler’. It’s got to a point now where the opening chords of that playlist are almost like a sedative. If I ever need to get to sleep I just put that on, I’m just instantly flat out. So I probably usually don’t make it to this song that I’ve picked.” Ornette Coleman – Sleep Talking [Sound Grammar, Sound Grammar, 2006] CD: “This kind of spiritual, jazz-tinged stuff has formed the basis of a lot of the more ambient kind of stuff on our record. This track sounds exactly like the title suggests; there’s beats that almost fade in and out and vaporise, it feels really lucid. The saxophone lines sound like halfremembered thoughts or conversations; it just keeps trailing off and separating itself, which I

really like. I love all of Ornette Coleman’s stuff, but this track just floors me every single time.” Alice Coltrane – Journey into Satchidananda [Journey into Satchidananda, Impulse!, 1971] CD: “The first time I heard it, it just absolutely took me to another place. When I got into Alice Coltrane, I’d read about what it would sound like, and it kind of sounded exactly as I was expecting and not like I was expecting at all. We both love Pharoah Sanders, who’s on this record, and Rashied Ali plays drums on it as well, who’s just the best.” MB: “I listened to this album a lot in Morocco, and when I put this album on now it almost sounds like dry heat, like desert.” Luke Abbott and Jack Wyllie – Xantako [Luke Abbott and Jack Wyllie, Buffalo Temple, 2015] CD: “The very first thing that Matt sent over. I just presume, when anybody asks me to play saxophone on anything, they just want a million notes a minute, but hearing this piece felt really comforting. You can hear the air flow, you can almost feel the instrument in your hands. It totally just takes you on this really sedate journey without pushing you around.”

Interview: Will Fitzpatrick MB: “It reminds me of how they did those Colin Stetson records – they put something like 25 microphones all over him, just playing one saxophone part, so they recorded his throat, and the air, and all the valves... It sounds very natural and organic.” John Hassel and Brian Eno – Ba-Benzélé [Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics, Polydor, 1980] CD: “I just panicked and thought, ‘Brian Eno!’ After the first chunk of recording that we did, I did a bit of research about bands that have natural-sounding instruments as well as electronics, and this record came up. It just helped me think about the shape of the sound, and the space, and how it’s quite delicate but it pulses at the same time. I also love the fact that they fell out after it: after Eno did My Life in the Bush of Ghosts [with David Byrne], John Hassel didn’t like it, and he told him, haha.” XAM Duo is released via Sonic Cathedral on 4 Nov. The band support Anna Meredith at Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds on 1 Nov, and The Early Years at Wharf Chambers, Leeds (24 Nov) and Aatma, Manchester (25 Nov)

“The saxophone lines sound like half-remembered thoughts or conversations...” Christopher Duffin

Terry Riley – Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band [A Rainbow in Curved Air, CBS, 1969] MB: “We recorded the first time we ever played together. We went out for Indian food, sent lots of records to each other and just talked about music for maybe a month or something. I knew Chris was planning on playing saxophone, and I was sending examples of saxophone with synthesizers like this album. Terry Riley had this set-up called the ‘Time Lag Accumulator’ – it’s got this really disorienting effect where he’d play something and then it appears in the other channel 15 seconds after. It all gets really chaotic, but in a really beautiful way.” CD: “On the track I Extend My Arms we actually looped the organ that way… well, we didn’t loop it, it was a very long delay and a very short delay to emulate a similar kind of sound. That was one of the records that really blew me away when Matt sent it over.”





In Cinemas Paterson

Director: Jim Jarmusch Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Released: 25 Nov Certificate:


Jim Jarmusch’s films have always been fascinated with outsiders. His characters are often loners (Only Lovers Left Alive), reprobates (Down by Law) or more often than not, misanthropes (Broken Flowers and Stranger than Paradise). Although they come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, they’re all united by their inability to integrate into modern society. Jarmusch’s latest film is no different. Adam Driver stars as Paterson, an unassuming bus driver and aspiring poet, who rejects smart-phones and laptops, choosing instead to write his ideas in a secret notepad. His life is one of routine: he wakes up at 6.30am, drives his routes, returns home to eat with his girlfriend, Laura (Farahani), before walking their English Bulldog, Marvin, to a local bar where he enjoys a solitary beer. Each day feels the same, but it’s not. Jarmusch is a master in the art of conversation and each journey offers Paterson the occasion to listen to the stories of his passengers and perceive the beauty that resides in the world. He then jots it all down in his notepad


in an attempt to emulate the raw, observational poetry of his idol, William Carlos Williams. Like a sonnet that grows more profound with each reading, the cyclical rhythms of Paterson take the monotony of working-class life and transpose it into art. This isn’t to say Jarmusch is

Son of Joseph

Director: Eugene Green Starring: Victor Ezenfis, Natacha Regnier, Fabrizio Rongione, Mathieu Amalric, Maria de Medeiros Released: 16 Dec Certificate: 12A


A riff on the Biblical nativity, Eugene Green’s The Son of Joseph follows Vincent (Ezenfis), a young boy determined to uncover the identity of his absent father. His investigation leads to Oscar (Amalric), an obnoxious publisher who’s clearly averse to shouldering the responsibilities of fatherhood. Realising this, Vincent instead gravitates towards Oscar’s brother, Joseph (Rongione), a far more suitable father figure. What ensues is a comic tale of misplaced paternity boasting one of cinema’s funniest sex scenes and a hilarious chase sequence completely devoid of suspense; after all, you can’t have a nativity story without a donkey! Green’s trademark adhesion to the alienating conventions of Baroque theatre (principally involving static compositions where characters look directly into the camera and recite their lines with flawless diction) is embellished with an endearing playfulness that culminates in a strange and beguiling experience. Layering the mythic and the prosaic with the intimate and the broad, The Son of Joseph is a quiet masterpiece from one of cinema’s most distinctive voices. [Patrick Gamble] Released by MUBI

blind to the harsh realities of life, and the film is peppered with subtle allusions to the outside world, be it the toy gun one character wields during a protracted break-up, or the framed photo of Paterson in full army regalia that suggests the film could be read as an allegory for

The Unknown Girl

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne Starring: Adèle Haenel, Jérémie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione, Thomas Doret, Christelle Cornil, Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne Released: 2 Dec Certificate:


The Dardenne brothers are not the kind of directors one associates with genre fare, and while The Unknown Girl meets all of the prerequisites of their social realist oeuvre, it also plays as something of an ultra-low-key film noir. Dr. Jenny Davin (a brilliantly subtle Adèle Haenel) is a GP in Liège who becomes inexplicably entwined in – and consequently obsessed by – an unexplained death. Having ignored the buzzer at her surgery door only to find the unidentified woman mysteriously dead shortly after, Jenny is driven by guilt to investigate. The stylistic flourishes of genre are nowhere to be seen, nor is the narrative vim. Patients come and go and Jenny goes on house calls, as the Dardennes continue to explore the commonplace difficulties of life for the working classes. Each patient adds to the tapestry of a stratUM of the city’s life, and also to Jenny’s demonstrable devotion. Banal check-ups are punctuated by sometimes quite dramatic skirmishes with the local underworld, but it’s the icy grip of self-loathing and remorse that make Haenel riveting to watch. [Ben Nicholson] Released by Curzon Artificial Eye


Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa Starring: Teruyuki Kagawa, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Yûko Takeuchi Released: 25 Nov Certificate:

Dog Eat Dog


Director: Paul Schrader Starring: Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe. Christopher Matthew Cook, Paul Schrader Released: 18 Nov Certificate: 18

Like most Kiyoshi Kurosawa films, Creepy burns slow as asbestos, with similarly poisonous possibilities. The Japanese auteur once more drags horror from the backwoods into the lonely spaces of the urban everyday; the banality of evil so true a term to apply to the director’s unsettling oEuvre. In Creepy Kurosawa plots conjoined narratives. A retired detective pursues the cold case pet project of a family disappearance. Simultaneously, his wife encounters their creepy neighbour. Coincidence brings these strands ever closer on the journey to a disturbing destination. As with past masterpieces Cure and Pulse, here Kurosawa remains a maestro of ominous mood building, offering only the slightest show of ankle and what’s to come. Again, the lurking subtext is of a disintegrating national sense of self. What differentiates Creepy from his best work, however, is format rather than theme or tone. Behind the curtain can never match imagination, and after the reveal halfway through the film’s twohour running time, a second act of overt horror is a very different proposition to the masterfully played mystery of the first. [Alan Bett]

Dog Eat Dog is a Paul Schrader film, but not as we know it. From the opening scene, which is reminiscent of Natural Born Killers in its delirious violence, this is a film that hurtles forward with a manic, unflagging energy and a complete disregard for the rules of storytelling or good taste. Schrader’s high-octane adaptation of Edward Bunker’s novel reunites him with Nicolas Cage, but it’s his regular collaborator Willem Dafoe who steals the movie, with his performance as the unhinged Mad Dog setting the tone for a film that can be simultaneously repellent and hilarious. Along with the hulking Christopher Matthew Cook, there’s a Three Stooges-like quality to this despicable trio as they embark on a lucrative kidnapping venture that can only end badly. The plotting might be messy but it’s the style that grips, with Schrader and his young crew ensuring that almost every scene is vibrant, shocking, alive. Dog Eat Dog is the work of a director determined to make the most of his freedom, and it’s Schrader’s best film in years. [Philip Concannon]


Released by Eureka Entertainment

November/December 2016

PTSD. But this effortlessly cool film inhabits its own world, a wistful one in which language still has the power to cultivate art from the mundanity of everyday life. [Patrick Gamble] Released by Soda Pictures


Director: Clint Eastwood Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Valerie Mahaffey, Delphi Harrington, Mike O’Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Gunn, Holt McCallany, Ahmed Lucan, Laura Linney Released: 2 Dec Certificate: 12A


Sully is Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial example of complex American mythmaking. Tom Hanks stars as Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot lauded for the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ in January 2009, when US Airways Flight 1549 lost both engines to a flock of geese and made a textbook-perfect water landing in the middle of New York City with zero loss of life. Rather than open with the event itself, Sully begins with a nightmare sequence of the manoeuvre going disastrously wrong and Sully awakening in a cold sweat. Without any establishment of the story as it happened, Eastwood dives into the stress of Sully unable to enjoy his hero status in the grip of the mandatory investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the personal self-doubt it caused. One wonders, in this opening, if Eastwood has gone too far this time in his dour deconstructions of American legends, but such misgivings prove just as unfounded as the cross-examination of Sully himself – Eastwood is a craftsman of exceptional, innate storytelling judgement, and this proves the most suspenseful, character-rich and ultimately redemptive angle to approach the Flight 1549 story. By the time the reenactment comes, we’re so wound up with a willingness to be surprised by the complications of this tale that it becomes an immediate human drama anew, with personalities we care about, a dense sense of physical danger and an inspiring study in individual professionalism, from the cockpit to the flight crew to the rescue teams and the passengers themselves. Eastwood remains an American master, and if some of the finer details lack finesse, like the plasticky, undergraded digital photography, and the occasional dopey crowd shot, such quibbles are subsumed by the overall emotional whomp. [Ian Mantgani] Sully was the surprise film at London Film Festival Sully is released by Warner Bros




Sci-fi Beyond Borders Chinese Sci-fi sensation Cixin Liu discusses the genre’s cultural anomalies while visiting the UK to launch Death’s End, the final part of his Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, and introduce The Wandering Earth, a collection of short stories


ixin Liu is China’s leading science fiction writer and quite simply a phenomenon. He is author of the multi award-winning Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, which includes The Three-Body Problem, the first work of translated fiction to win a Hugo Award. In addition, he has won the China Galaxy Science Fiction Award nine times, and the Nebula award twice. His writing has stretched far beyond China’s borders and fans in high places include Mark Zuckerberg, who selected The Three-Body Problem as one of the titles for the Facebook book group, A Year of Books, and Barack Obama, who chose it for his holiday read in 2015. 

The Skinny: Do you recognise any noticeable differences between Chinese sci-fi and Western works? Cixin Liu: I feel that science fiction is the most universal genre. Science fiction is the only genre in which mankind appeals as a whole, whereas in other genres nations and individuals are divided. In science fiction, the crisis is faced by all of humanity, not just individual nations, and in this way it is a unifying genre. In most mainstream fiction, the author depicts the differences between humans, but in science fiction there is a focus on commonality. In terms of elemental differences, Western science fiction often comes from a Christian background, and focuses on the crisis or morality of

certain acts, such as the impact of cloning and life-creation, and this impact is often portrayed as severe and significant because of this Christian background. This is not apparent in Chinese science fiction and we do not have this crisis. In Chinese culture we do not have a ‘doomsday’ mentality; the sense of time is infinite, and I think this is reflected in all Chinese literature, not just science fiction. It makes for a more optimistic outlook.

to supplement what mainstream literature is lacking in social commentary and use it as a form of criticism. A lot of good works take this approach and in China, the term for this is Sci-fi Realism. However, I was a science fiction fan who became a science fiction writer, and my intention has never been to comment on social issues, but to fly with my imagination and deliver these science fiction concepts.

“In Chinese culture we do not have a ‘doomsday’ mentality; the sense of time is infinite”

How did it feel for The Three-Body Problem to be chosen as a Facebook book group title and Barack Obama’s 2015 holiday read? There is a peculiar phenomenon happening with The Three-Body Problem. Although literary circles care less about the trilogy, it has caused some ripples in IT and tech – especially with big companies. In the States this is reflected also, as with Mark Zuckerberg’s selection. Stories like The ThreeBody Problem create extreme environments, and these may inspire and engage entrepreneurs. I hope Barack Obama finishes the trilogy, and then perhaps he will be motivated to increase research into alien life. It is the one uncertain element faced by humans in today’s age. We could be meeting aliens tomorrow, or in 10,000 years in the future – or maybe never! But when it happens, all

Cixin Liu

What social concerns feed into your own work? Whether East or West, there is a proportion of authors who have used science fiction as an angle

Interview: Alan Bett

the problems we face today will become negligible. A superpower like the States should be allocating more money to researching this. Why do you think the book has resonated so strongly with readers internationally? I think humanity as a united force is key to the success. Back in the 1980s there was a new wave of activity and science fiction was pushed forward to the mainstream. In my opinion this took away the vibrancy and lightness of science fiction at its best. I think The Three-Body Problem appeals as something new, something unapologetically science fiction. Imagination is everything, it has no boundaries, and this appeals to readers of the trilogy because it is so new to them. Some young writers have a lot of influence in the science fiction community because of this. Another factor may be that China as a nation is itself on the rise. The economy is growing, it is centre-stage and under the spotlight across the world, so readers are paying attention for the first time. Literature can be a forecast for a nation’s power. Britain had a strong export market, now the States dominate. China may be next, and many more will follow me to be centre-stage. Death’s End is available now and The Wandering Earth will publish in 2017, both from Head of Zeus, RRP £18.99

Coffee & Cigarettes & Art With Blue Velvet returning to cinemas and Twin Peaks coming back to TV, we have David Lynch on our mind. But where has he been for the last decade? Jon Nguyen, director of brilliant new doc David Lynch: The Art Life, has some answers


e miss David Lynch. Ten years have now passed since his sinister LA masterpiece Inland Empire confounded and terrified us back in 2006. Where’s he been in that time? What’s he been doing? If Jon Nguyen’s new documentary David Lynch: The Art Life is anything to go by, we have a good idea. “[Lynch] smokes cigarettes, and he drinks coffee, and he paints day to night – that’s all he does,” says Nguyen when we sit down with him at London Film Festival the day after The Art Life’s UK premiere. You wouldn’t think this daily routine would make for the most fascinating documentary subject, but it does. As we observe Lynch potter around his studio creating nightmarish charcoal drawings and crepuscular sculptures, we’re soothed by the Blue Velvet director’s apple pie voice on the soundtrack as he discusses his memories of childhood growing up in 50s Montana and Idaho, his student days studying art in Boston and Philadelphia, and his move to Hollywood to create his first feature, Eraserhead, which he describes, quite accurately, as “a dream of dark and troubling things.” The 70-year-old filmmaker is notoriously reluctant to discuss his films, but Nguyen and his team tease out some evocative anecdotes from Lynch’s past that have echoes in his later work. We hear about the night an adolescent Lynch was confronted by a naked woman coming out of the dark as he played with his little brother on the curb outside his house (which calls to mind Blue Velvet), a story of the time he got stoned and then stopped on the highway when he became hypnotized by his headlights illuminating



the white lines on the tarmac (shades of Lost Highway’s bookends) and a hilarious yarn about walking out of a Bob Dylan concert because, from on stage, the troubadour look to be the size of Lynch’s thumb (the little people in Mulholland Drive, perhaps). “We were hoping to hear him talk about his personal life, his past life,” says Nguyen. “I was hoping that we were going to get some clues to some of his films, and, of course, a lot of little stories that pop up make you think of certain scenes and moments from them. But David would never say the two are connected.” Nguyen also points to a more subtle connection with Lynch’s films and the way in which the director seems to compartmentalise his life. “He has this anxiety about keeping his family life, his art life and his personal life separate. That reminds me of how his characters often have different lives or switch roles. Like in Lost Highway or Mulholland Drive, all of a sudden one character will become someone completely different.” How did they get the notoriously private Lynch to open up? “The first time we interviewed David at his house, he just sat with his arms crossed and a cigarette in his hand and wouldn’t talk to us,” recalls the director. That film became Lynch, a fly-on-the-wall doc following the making of Inland Empire. The key to getting Lynch to open up, says Nguyen, was persistence. “The first 700 hours of filming him for Lynch, during the whole process he was clearly awkward with a camera following him. But now, he’s like, ‘I don’t even notice you guys any more.’ I guess after being around him for so long, we just became familiar. That’s how

it is with anybody. If I hang out with you for 12 hours, by then I’ll forget your mic is there and I’ll talk a little differently.” One had assumed that Lynch hasn’t returned to filmmaking for a decade because of financial reasons. He wouldn’t be the first master filmmaker to be left out in the cold for years because no one would bankroll his/her wild vision. Nguyen’s film, however, makes it clear this isn’t the case: Lynch is completely content in, as the director calls it, “the art life.” “David doesn’t do anything unless he gets the creative spark,” explains Nguyen. “We know


Interview: Jamie Dunn

him as a filmmaker because that’s what he’s famous for, but really he’s spent his whole life painting. When he was a senior in high school he’d already gone through six different personal painting studios. When I was a senior in high school, I was just out drinking and smoking. Everybody thinks that David became a painter later or that art is just a side project. But really it’s filmmaking that’s the side project. Painting is his real true love.” David Lynch: The Art Life will be released by Soda Pictures in 2017 Blue Velvet is rereleased 2 Dec by Park Circus


Crash Land

Vampire in Love



By Doug Johnstone

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION! Our readers are voting in The Skinny Food and Drink Survey 2017, but do they know about your business? Advertise your café, pub, restaurant, brewery or food shop in The Skinny and make sure they do. Speak to our sales team to find out how! 0161 831 9590 @theskinnymag @theskinnynorth /Theskinnynorth

Illustration: Mica Warren

Finn Sullivan, an idealistic and headstrong university student, has his life turned on its head after showing his chivalrous side in the defence of a stranger’s honour. Finn becomes the inadvertent cause of an aeroplane disaster – the novel’s title not only describes its main event but also its after-effects on his life and those around him. Orkney might seem like an incongruous setting for a crime thriller, yet the barren claustrophobia of the island only adds to the tension and atmosphere. But although the bodies do stack up fairly quickly, the novel almost escapes the typical ambience of the genre, feeling more like a naïve love story for the most part. Less a whodunit than a why-the-hell-are-you-still-doing-it, the reader might feel like smacking their head against a brick wall at the frustrating Finn, who’s not an unreliable narrator but occasionally an infuriating one. You are, at times, as likely to puzzle at the author’s intentions as to second guess them. That’s not to say that the characters don’t ring true, however. The innocence of inexperience is captured perfectly in Finn, while the doting grandmother, ill-used girlfriend and femme fatale stereotypes are all fleshed out fully and believably. The ever-popular crime novelist Doug Johnstone offers another page-turner to keep you gripped until its denouement. [Jonny Sweet]

This collection of short stories is bizarre, and that’s entirely the point. We witness a dinner party with Margeurite Duras, our narrator hopelessly intoxicated with amphetamines. We see the family life around a mute boy, who seems unnervingly to have come straight out of Kafka. We delve into the mind of a listless, restless, agitated museum guard, a woman trapped by her family and confronted with suicidal thoughts many times in a single day. “What’s for supper?” her son asks. “Death,” she says, “death.” It is testament to Vila-Matas' style that this reply to her son is delivered with lightness. It sounds brutal out of context, but in the world of the story it is almost off-hand. The stories are taken from Vila-Matas’ entire career, but they hang thematically: almost too much so. The first few all deal with suicide, and the intensity of the short form gives the reader little space for breath (that is the point, of course). For the most part, the translation captures the lightness and digressiveness that VilaMatas is known for – but there are moments where a stricter editorial eye would have helped refine the whole. Vila-Matas is a highly acclaimed Spanish writer, and it’s refreshing to find a publisher looking to translations of bold works from other languages, this collection the work of Margaret Jull Costa. [Galen O’Hanlon]

Out now, published by Faber & Faber, RRP £12.99

Out now, published by & Other Stories, RRP £12.99

Absolutely On Music

November/December 2016

By Enrique VilaMatas, translated by Margaret Jull Costa

By Haruki Murakami, Seiji Ozawa, translated by Jay Rubin

Disappearing Glasgow: A Photographic Journey



By Chris Leslie

Music for Murakami is little less than a religion, a major part of his personal life and a vital ingredient in the recipe for his now world-famous prose. There’s a rhythm to his writing that echoes the smooth jazz he’s known to love and seldom a scene goes by in a Murakami novel without a mention of the song playing in the background. In Absolutely on Music, Murakami sits down with acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa for a series of conversations. Listening to classical records as they talk, their discussion revolves mostly around Ozawa’s own career, spinning off from that central point into anecdotes about the musicians he has worked with and deeper talk of what music has meant to both he and Murakami throughout their lives. Its cool, conversational style is one of the trademarks of Murakami’s writing – his novels all have the easy calm of a bar room dialogue – and Absolutely On Music has the particular feel of sitting at a table with two friends while they bat around their ideas. How much you get out of it will depend a little on your interest in the subject itself, but even if they lose you as they go deeper into its mechanics, it’s easy to sink back and enjoy the flow of their erudite chatter. [Ross McIndoe]

There’s something about a still image of something gone that’s truly haunting. Perhaps to do with the age we live in, where everything is fast-moving and fleeting, that something grounded can still have such a lasting effect. That’s what Chris Leslie brings to the table in Disappearing Glasgow. Evoking the harrowing beauty of poetry and the narrative depth of prose, Leslie – please forgive the term – truly captures Glasgow. From the ground up, the keen eye of this acclaimed photographer and filmmaker details the nostalgic poverty that Glasgow is built on with an evident passion for the city. Some photos are included that could only have been taken through some pretty risky means. Whether you’re from Glasgow or not, the echoes of life ringing in this book make it possible to feel a sense of home, even in the images of rubble and devastation. These images will return to you long after you’ve first viewed them. For this reviewer, it’s the curling wallpaper that pulls back to reveal a mural of a stag in an abandoned tower block flat. For others, visual ghosts might rise from the images of a dilapidated bingo hall or the demolitions themselves. Leslie finds a certain beauty in those demolitions and shows a city on its knees, looking upwards towards a now-blank skyline, waiting. [Rosie Barron]

Out 15 Nov, published by Vintage, RRP £20

Out now, published by Freight Books, RRP £20




Win ice skating tickets!


Win a copy of artist Rachel Maclean’s first monograph W

ot u :-) about? presents a major solo exhibition of entirely new work by acclaimed Scottish artist Rachel Maclean (who will represent Scotland at the 2017 Venice Biennale), curated by Bren O’Callaghan and Sarah Perks. Maclean uses the fairytale genre to examine the murky boundary between childhood and adulthood. She explores ideas of happiness and childhood as qualities that can be packaged and sold, resulting in dark and unsettling adventures located in a netherland reminiscent of the super-saturated, candy-coloured palette of children’s television. Wot u :-) about? is at HOME, Manchester, from 29 Oct 2016 – 8 Jan 2017, in partnership with HOME, University of Salford Art Collection, Artpace, Zabludowicz Collection, Frieze Film and Channel 4 Random Acts. To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Rachel Maclean’s first monograph, which


iverpool’s fabulous Ice Festival is on its way back to get everyone in the Christmas spirit… and with an even more stunning location. The festival, which runs from 11 Nov to 3 Jan, is moving to a new home on the city’s iconic waterfront, fitting in even more Christmassy entertainment for all ages. The centrepiece of the event will be an undercover 600-square metre ice rink where festival-goers can get their skates on and glide around with the beautiful backdrop of the Three Graces. And they can keep the fun going by having a go on exhilarating rides, including the 45-metre real ice slide. After all that exertion, they can head to one of the many food outlets, bars and cafes and a Liverpool-themed Ice Bar where they can sample sub-zero cocktails. Part of the One Magical City campaign, the

Ice Festival will be open every day from 11am. To be in with a chance of winning 8 tickets for the ice rink, simply head to theskinny. and correctly answer this question: What is the name of the British ice dancing team who became the highest scoring figure skating pair of all time at the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics? a) Vic and Bob b) Mel and Sue c) Torvill and Dean Competition closes midnight Sun 27 Nov. Winners will be notified via email within two working days of closing and will be required to respond within 48 hours or the prize will be offered to another entrant. Our Ts&Cs can be found at More info:

accompanies the exhibition, simply head to and correctly answer this question: In which year will Rachel Maclean represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale? a) 2016 b) 2017 c) 2018 Competition closes midnight Sun 4 Dec. Entrants must be aged 15 or older. Winners will be notified via email within two working days of closing and will be required to respond within 48 hours or the prize will be offered to another entrant. Winner can collect prize from box office if local or it can be sent out by post. Our Ts&Cs can be found at More info: #WotUSmilingAbout



Leeds Music Tue 01 Nov



The composer and producer signed to Moshi Moshi - celebrated for combining contemporary classical with electronic and avant-pop styles - is joined by experimental duo Let’s Eat Grandma. CC SMUGGLERS

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

Folk band CC Smugglers are currently eager to hit the road with new material. THEATRE OF HATE

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £15

Previously disbanded 80s postpunk unit, now putting in the odd live appearance with Kirk Brandon at the helm and various new members. JACK SAVORETTI

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–22:00, £20

The Italian-English solo acoustic singer plays a set accompanied by his trusty guitar.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £15

Texas country singer based in Austin. THE VRYLL SOCIETY + HIDDEN CHARMS

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £8

Co-headline show.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £19.50

The singer/songwriter and electronic producer presents his unique brand of dubbed-out soul, hybrid electro, effects-manipulated vocals and adventures in rabbit jumpers (caveat: he wore a rabbit jumper, like, once – and we’ve basically never recovered). BEACONS METRO: CAT’S EYES

HOWARD ASSEMBLY ROOM, 19:45–23:00, £12.50

Alt pop duo made up of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and soprano and classical multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira.

Thu 03 Nov



Lewisham-bred MC, hailed as the face of grime’s next generation. TOM SPEIGHT

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £7

Music maker from London, stopping off as part of his UK tour. THE MISSION (THE 69 EYES + DJ MARTIN OLDGOTH)

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £27

30th anniversary tour.


HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £7

Young Leeds-based, bearded avant popster.

Fri 04 Nov



Tuareg musicians mixing electric blues and traditional Malian vocals, with lyrics rather hypnotically sung in French and Tamashek. DREADZONE

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £16

Combining dub, electronica, reggae, folk, rock and many other genres. Eclectic AF. LUCY DACUS

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £6

Richmond-based singersongwriter. THE JAPANESE HOUSE

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £9

Dark and dreamy synth-heavy soundscapes from the 20-year-old solo artist less cryptically known as Amber Bain.


HIFI, 20:00–02:00, £15

Suited and booted dub collective Gentleman’s Dub Club, who also take in elements of ska and roots reggae, perform for Fiesta Bombarda’s Birthday Carnival.


Dan Smith-led indie ensemble who may or may not have their faces painted as skulls (aka, they definitely will).

Sat 05 Nov WAND

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:00–22:00, £10

Los Angeles-based psych-rock outfit. PREOCCUPATIONS

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £11

Post-punk outfit, originally under the moniker of Viet Cong. THE WAILERS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–22:00, £21

The reggae legends perform their legendary album, erm, Legend in its entirety.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

The fiddle player from The Frames/Glen Hansard carves out his solo career. SILVERSUN PICKUPS

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £SOLD OUT

LA alt-rockers, who released their fourth studio album last year. BEACONS METRO: MARGARET GLASPY

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £7

The Californian singer-songwriter tours her debut album, Emotions and Math.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

Brighton band making dark and flowery psychedelia, with surf riffs straight outta 1950.



Silver Lakes indie-rockers whose core trio met at high school, to be joined later by a bassist and a drummer.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

London based trio The Wave Pictures – Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar and vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass) – return with their brand new album Bamboo Diner in The Rain which sees The Wave Pictures battling against the robot music apocalypse. CALE TYSON

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

Nashville singer-songwriter raised in Fort Worth, channelling small town American nostalgia into country melodies. TOM ODELL

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Chichester-born singer/songwriter who studied at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. BABA NAGA

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, FREE

Spiritual psychedelia heads.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £7

Brighton-based abrasive pop outfit. BEACH SLANG

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £12

American punk rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who formed in 2013. PSYCHIC TV

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £20

The experimental audio-visual fiends, led by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge, hit up Leeds with their only UK date outside of London. JACK GARRATT

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £18.50

London-based singer/songwriter starting to rise up the ladder towards a meagre amount of fame. LAIL ARAD

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £6

With smart, funny songs, Lail Arad enjoys tumbling lyrics that even conjure Lou Reed at times. Stylised vocals, sultry sing-speak passages and modulating licks – equally suggestive of the Mediterranean and the metropolis. Kindred of Courtney Barnett.

November/December 2016

Wed 16 Nov


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £8

Thu 10 Nov


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £5

Local indie poppers.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Indie folk rock hard-knock from Denver, Colorado, touring with his band of spirited musicians. NATHANIEL RATELIFF

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

Indie folk rock hard-knock from Denver, Colorado, touring with his band of spirited musicians, with his latest release, Falling Faster Than You Can Run, doing all the talking. CHAS AND DAVE


Cockney duo formed back in’t 1972, playing what they term ‘rockney’, and we just call, erm, annoying. MIKE DRONES + RADEK RUDNICKI

WHARF CHAMBERS, 20:00–01:00, £0 - £3

Mike Drones delivers post-electrodub mutations alongside York’s digital mainstay Radek Rudnicki.

Fri 11 Nov TRAAMS

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £7

Krautrock trio hailing from Chichester, currently signed to Fat Cat Records. AN EVENING WITH GLEN MATLOCK

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £20

The Sex Pistols founding member hits the road for a nostalgic tour. THE HEBRIDES ENSEMBLE AND PSAPPHA

HOWARD ASSEMBLY ROOM, 19:15–22:00, £15

Two of the UK’s foremost contemporary music ensembles team up for a unique collaborative programme as they both celebrate their 25th birthday.

Sat 12 Nov NATTY


The North London Singer-songwriter and producer performs with his band, The Rebelship. FOY VANCE (THE WILD SWAN + RYAN MCMULLAN)

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £15

Bangor-based musician influenced by the southern states of America, touring with his latest album, The Wild Swan.

Sun 13 Nov ALCEST + MONO

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £16

The two revered shoegazing acts team up for a European tour. HONEY ARCADE (SOUNDS LIKE A STORM + TUNNELS)

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £4

Garforth’s finest, peddling some sturdy alt indie sounds.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £17.50

The founder of the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses performs a rare solo show.

Tue 15 Nov



Joan Wasser continues to mix sweet pop melodies with a more hard-edged guitar nous, touring this November as her collaborative project with Benjamin Lazar Davis. WADE BOWEN + WILLY BRAUN

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £12.50

The country singer from Waco, Texas, and Reckless Kelly’s Willy Braun team up for a co-headline show. SLAVES

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £16

Two white middle class guys named Slaves. Hmm. Standard two-piece rock. DAEDELUS

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £TBC

LA-based producer Alfred Darlington does his one-man electronic thing.

Alternative acoustic two piece from Leeds, made up of Stephen Budd and Al Lavelle.



One of the UK’s most distinctive performance companies celebrates its 20th anniversary, with artistic directors Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan responding to songs picked out by collaborators.

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £6



VARIOUS VENUES, 13:00–00:00, £15 - £30

Amazing Snakeheads’ Dale Barclay unveils his new venture. HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £6

Taiwanese rapper fusing hip hop, slam poetry, jazz, soul and electronica.



The co-founder of Sonic Youth hits stages once more under is solo guise. RAG N BONE MAN

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

One-man brutal trash blues noise machine, on drums, harmonica, guitar and expletives. HONEYBLOOD

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £10

Despite their minimal setup, Honeyblood’s songs are fully formed and perfectly assured. With nothing extraneous, their music is driven through tightly-bound instrumentals and laced with the sheer strength and beauty of Stina’s voice. THE DAMNED

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

The seminal punk foursome take to the road again, now rather impressively celebrating their 40th year of being. SAMIYAM

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £10

It all started at a Detroit strip club with a platter of deep-fried beef taquitos, where Sam Baker met a fan who told him to take his music work more seriously. He’s now a successful artist hip-hop producer who lives in L.A.. SITKOVETSKY PIANO TRIO

HOWARD ASSEMBLY ROOM, 19:15–22:00, £17.50

H&L Festival expands to two days for its third year, taking over Left Bank and Brudenell Social Club with a whole host of live acts from across the globe.

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £6

Leeds-based grunge three-piece. THE POP GROUP

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £17.50

The post-punk provocateurs take new studio album, Honeymoon on Mars, on the road. WOLD PEOPLE

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £10

Psychedelic folk-rock with flecks of the blues, from the London, Bedford and North Yorkshirestraddling foursome. LIVE AT LEFT BANK

LEFT BANK, 18:30–23:30, £4

Featuring acoustic performances by singer-songwriters Pete Greenwood, Fuzzy Jones, Steven Preacher and Lisa Marie Glover, along with sets by DJ Decknologist.

Sat 19 Nov


O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £22.50

The Gaslight Anthem frontman shows us his new solo stuff. MICHAEL BALL AND ALFIE BOE

FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £35 - £65

The Broadway and West End star returns to the stage in his music guise alongside every mum’s favourite tenor, Alfie Boe. ALEX CAMERON

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £7

Aussie synth musician, who does the rounds with debut solo album, Jumping the Shark. THE BLEEDING OBVIOUS (BERLYN TRILOGY + SCOTT WAINWRIGHT)

UNITY WORKS, 19:00–23:00, £5

Launching their self-titled debut album.


WHARF CHAMBERS, 19:30–02:00, £10

The first Goth City Festival, celebrating the gothic and post-punk heritage of Leeds and Yorkshire. COURTEENERS

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £25

The popular Manc lads play a string of dates ahead of their fifth album.

Sat 26 Nov



LEEDS TOWN HALL, 19:30–22:30, £46.50

An evening of cinematic nostalgia via soundtracks from films including Funny Girl, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, Hello Dolly, Star Wars, Gigi, Gone With the Wind and more. TOMMY CASH

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £8

Brian Eno-endorsed instrumental noise rockers return with new stuff.

Wed 30 Nov


Synth-pop singer, songwriter and producer from Cologne; aka Marius Lauber.


Cherished and celebrated alt-rock band who formed in Bellshill in 1989. THE SKATALITES

THE WARDROBE, 19:00–22:00, £25

60s ska veterans from Jamaica featuring an ever-changing roster of musicians. HAZEL ENGLISH

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £7

Indie-pop musician from Oakland, California.


VARIOUS VENUES, 19:00–23:00, £15 - £30

H&L Festival expands to two days for its third year, taking over Left Bank and Brudenell Social Club with a whole host of live acts from across the globe.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £16.50

Scott has garnered serious critical acclaim throughout his 10 year career and has taken this time to nurture his songwriting craft. JPNSGRLS

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £9


The Welsh alternative rockers tour their new album, The Peace & Truce of Future of the Left.

Raunchy flower punk from the Illinois-residing five-piece outfit, bringing the fresh-faced rock’n’roll energy by the bucket load.


Fri 18 Nov Mark Brzezicki and Bruce Watson continue to tour as Big Country, with new vocalist Simon Hough replacing Stuart Adamson.

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £12

THE ORWELLS THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £10

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £7.50



Canadian indie quartet.

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:00–22:00, £22.50


Off-beat Estonian rapper, whose self-produced music videos have pushed him into the realm of obscure viral fame.

Sun 20 Nov

Performing Dvo?ák’s magnificent Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor ‘Dumky’. BIG COUNTRY

Fri 25 Nov

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £7


Panic Room frontwomam AnneMarie Helder strides out on her own.



The electronic/ambient efforts of Terrible Records’ Sam Ray, who’s out promoting latest album, Talk to You Soon. CIGARETTES AFTER SEX (TENDER)

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

Ambient pop from one of Brooklyn’s hottest exports, stopping off as part of their European tour. AIRBOURNE

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £19

Longhaired Aussie hard rockers known for crafting underdogchampioning anthems with reckless abandon.

Wed 23 Nov WEIRDS

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, FREE

Hypnotic psych-rockers from Leeds, who recently released a new EP, Weird Sun. OLIVER PINDER

OPORTO, 19:00–22:00, £5

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £6

Split 7” launch show.

Catchy Exeter punk rock band. ROOSEVELT

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:00–22:00, £7


THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £11

Korg Delta led five-piece fueled on a chugging motorik rhythm. ALABAMA 3

O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £20

Legendary Brixton collective, best known from the theme tune of TV show The Sopranos. They combine techno beats with country instruments in a way that’s best sampled live. SARAH CONNOLLY AND JOSEPH MIDDLETON

HOWARD ASSEMBLY ROOM, 19:15–22:00, £20

Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly is joined by pianist Joseph Middleton to delve into the quintessence of English song. MIKA SINGH

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £22.50

The King of Bollywood heads to the First Direct Arena for the very first time. KAZOOPA FESTIVAL


Brand new inner-city, multi-venue, DIY-loving festival, with sets from Young Kato, Lisbon, The Wholls, The Tapestry, Jack Jones, The Repeat Offenders and more.



The revered Arkestra return with their 60th anniversary tour, celebrating six decades of unsurpassed avant-garde jazz. SOUL IN THE WARDROBE

THE WARDROBE, 13:00–21:00, £7

Northern Soul all-dayer with Pat Brady, John Parker, Paul Atkinson & Sammy Seaman, Mally and special guest DJ Malc Burton.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £7

Recently-formed Manc band chock with American alternative folk references, but with a distinctive Northern English touch. RIZZLE KICKS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20

Teenage talents Harley AlexanderSule and Jordan Stephens do their thing, mixing pop with some old-school hippity-hop. In baseball caps. Obviously. PSYCHIC ILLS

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £8


Spawned from electronic-centered home recording experiments, the NYC quartet continue to explore a variety of musical terrain, honed by plenty of time on the road.


Tue 29 Nov

Singer-songwriter from Queensbury, Yorkshire.

Thu 24 Nov The London alternative rock foursome plays tracks from their debut album, So Long Forever. REEF

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 20:00–23:00, £20

The Gary Stringer-led 90s rockers return to a live setting. JIM BOB (CHRIS TT)

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

The Carter USM singer returns as a solo artist. JESS GLYNNE

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £25

The wild-haired British singer/ songwriter heads out on her Take Me Home tour.

Find full listings at


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £6

22-year-old London-based singer, songwriter and producer from Southampton, now signed to Ninja Tune/Counter Records. FELIX RIEBL

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £20

The co-founder and frontman of Aussie alt troupe The Cat Empire tours his third solo album, Paper Doors.



The Belfast-born songwriter and poet takes to the stage. TOURIST

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £12.50

London-based electronic chappie with a passion for field recordings and analog wizardry. PIXIES

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Heading out on a world tour in support of their sophomore postreunion album, Head Carrier, which also sees Paz Lenchantin officially join the permanent line-up. A-F-R-O

HIFI, 19:30–23:00, £10.50

18-year-old MC from Los Angeles with witty word play, a distinctive voice and a complexity to his rhyme schemes.

Thu 01 Dec


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £20

The Rock Island folk-rock songstress (aka Elisabeth Corrin Maurus) hits town.



The energetic Welsh ensemble do their overwrought folk-punk thing, touring on the back of yet another album of indie gems. CAST

UNITY WORKS, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

The Liverpool Britpoppers return. PLACEBO

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £27.50

With six studio albums and more than 12 million records sales, Brian Molko and his band of alternative rockers return to mark the 20th anniversary of their eponymous debut album.

Sun 04 Dec


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £6

American queer punk duo, with Ben Hopkins on guitar and vocals and Liv Bruce on drums and vocals. HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £12.50

The North Carolina songwriter (aka M.C. Taylor) plays a set of his delicate and mystical country tunes. BIFFY CLYRO

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £29.50

The Kilmarnock rock outfit tour in support of new album, The Ellipsis.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £15

NYC band returning with their sophomore album, Hit Reset.



Glenn Tilbrook (best known as a member of Squeeze) hits the road this Autumn on his first solo acoustic UK tour in three years. ROD STEWART

FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £62.50 - £75

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £12.50

The husky-voiced, mullet-headed one is touring again – now five decades on with a staggering 27 studio albums under his belt, including most recent platinumselling albums Time and Another Country.


Thu 08 Dec


Fledgling young Oxford singer/ songwriter, best known for his stripped-down YouTube take on Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. LEEDS BECKETT STUDENT UNION, FROM 19:00, £28

Steve Hogarth’s longstanding band of rockers, returning with a new studio album, F.E.A.R - an acronym for Fuck Everyone and Run. LEVELLERS (FEROCIOUS DOG + GAZ BROOKFIELD)

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

The longstanding Brighton rock ensemble celebrate 25 years of Levelling the Land.

Fri 02 Dec


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £13

The Boxer Rebellion are back, bringing atmospheric, energetic and driven rock our way after the April release of their new album, Ocean by Ocean. OOZING WOUND

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £7

Chicago-based metal-meets-rock unit of the grimy hardcore sludge variety. THE DUNWELLS

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £12

Folk rock bunch hailing from Leeds, made up of brothers Joseph and David Dunwell and cousins Robert Clayton and Jonny Lamb. THE SAW DOCTORS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–22:00, £25

The Irish collective of songwriters celebrate their country of origin through song, as is their way. TALIB KWELI

HIFI, 19:30–23:00, £18.50

The influential New York MC deft at making minds tick and bodies move, such is his talent. ALTER BRIDGE

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 18:00–21:00, £30

Formed from the ashes of Creed, three of the original members continue to rock (with the added vocal skills of Myles Kennedy).


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £9

Canadian folk artist Mathias Kom returns to the UK with a full band in tow for this latest round of Burning Hell shows. LARKIN POE

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £12

Traditional bluegrass-styled offerings from sister duo Rebecca and Megan Lovell, with a selection of original songs and covers sung in the sweetest of vocal harmonies. THE CORAL

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

The Wirral five-piece make a comeback, now on their eighth album, Distance Inbetween, which was recorded at Parr Street Studio in Liverpool. YOUTH CLUB

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £7

Southend-on-Sea’s finest, churning out likeable indie pop.

Fri 09 Dec


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £13.50

Psychedelic doom band hailing from Cambridge, drawing influences from late 60s metal.

Sat 10 Dec


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £14

You thought they’d stay partying like nu-rave never went away, but the Shrewsbury-via-Leeds group embark on a farewell tour. HAPPY DAGGERS (PNEUMA + MEIHAUS + PEAKES)

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £TBC

Rising Leeds five-piece fusing classic indie sounds with disco and soul. MOZART UNWRAPPED

HOWARD ASSEMBLY ROOM, 19:15–22:00, £5

The National Opera Studio repeats its sell-out programme of moments from three of Mozart’s finest operas: The Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni.



Sun 11 Dec

Mon 19 Dec

LEEDS GRAND THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £29.50 - £100

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £13.50


Stage musical actress known for iconic roles in Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Evita and Cats.


The Japanese experimental outfit perform tenth album, Pink, in its entirety.

Mon 12 Dec

Tue 20 Dec

LEEDS GRAND THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £45

HOWARD ASSEMBLY ROOM, 19:15–22:00, £25


Unlikely collaboration between musical theatre singer and rock legend, with their Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour. THE FRATELLIS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

The Glasgow indie-rockers, led by lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Fratelli, celebrate 10 years of Costello Music.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £14

Yorkshire singer/songwriter working her virtuoso guitar magic on the blues genre. A FILETTA

HOWARD ASSEMBLY ROOM, 19:45–23:00, £15

Corsican male voice choir formed in 1978 to preserve the island’s traditions.


BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £10

Experimental cosmic funk inspired by everything from Sun Ra and Funkadelic to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. REAL FRIENDS


American pop punkers from Illinois signed to Fearless Records. SUPER FURRY ANIMALS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £30

The Welsh psychedelic rockers, having come back to celebrate the reissue of their fourth LP Mwng, return to Manchester as part of a special People’s Assembly show as part of week-long series of protests against the Conservative government.

Fri 16 Dec



Sardonic post punk veterans known for their relentless touring schedule and surrealist humour. WE ARE SCIENTISTS

THE WARDROBE, 19:00–22:00, £16.50

California-based indie-rockers with a penchant for big riffs, on the road showcasing a selection of new songs. ANDRÉ RIEU

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 20:00–23:00, £45

Famous Dutch violinist and conductor.

Sat 17 Dec



Festive shenanigans with a punk rock twist. KULA SHAKER

O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £22.50

The post-Britpoppers celebrate the 20th anniversary of K, performing the album in its entirety for the first time. WINTER WONDERLAND


Violinist David Le Page leads a handpicked group of musicians in an atmoshperic concert of snowladen festive music. STATUS QUO

FIRST DIRECT ARENA, 20:00–23:00, £48 - £55


Performing classic texts associated with Christmas from some of the lesser-known master composeres of the Renaissance.

Wed 21 Dec CATE LE BON

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £15

The Welsh singer-songwriter returns with her fourth album, Crab Day.

Thu 22 Dec


LEEDS TOWN HALL, 19:30–21:30, £27.50 - £39.50

Following sell-out performances across the globe, The Definitive Rat Pack brings you an evening of festive classics, including White Christmas, Baby It’s Cold Outside, The Christmas Song and Let It Snow, plus other old favourites.

Liverpool Music Tue 01 Nov

Mon 07 Nov

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–23:30, £5


More singalong pop with substance, via Tunstall’s trademark earthy melodies and folky guitar, mixed to great pop effect with disco stomp and clever keyboards. KALICHSTEIN-LAREDO-ROBINSON TRIO

ST GEORGE’S HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25

One of the world’s finest piano trios make a rare Liverpool appearance in their 40th year. THE SOLID GOLD ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SHOW

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £28.50 - £33.50

Marty Wilde, Eden Kane, Mike Berry, Mark Wynter and The Wildcats join forces. GOGO PENGUIN

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £12

Manchester’s acoustic-electronica trio return with new album, Man Made Object, via Blue Note Records. DREAM WIFE

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £4

London-based trio peddling poolside pop with a bite. MARTIN TAYLOR

THE BRINDLEY, 19:30–21:30, £16

Witness five decades of guitar expertise come to life live on stage with the multi awardwinning Martin Taylor.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £21

The reggae legends perform their legendary album, erm, Legend in its entirety. VAN MORRISON

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 20:00–23:00, £45 - £80

The OBE-furnished Irish singer/ songwriter plays a set cherrypicked from his back catalogue.

Wed 09 Nov


THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £8 - £10

Dive into the heroic adventure of The Shahnameh, written by Iranian poet Ferdowsi over 1000 years ago, through words and music. VAN MORRISON

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 20:00–23:00, £45 - £80

The OBE-furnished Irish singer/ songwriter plays a set cherrypicked from his back catalogue. MOTHERHOOD (HER’S + SUB BLUE)

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £5


MAGUIRE’S PIZZA BAR, 19:30–23:00, £3 - £4


A night showcasing new music from the Northwest, with touring artists from further afield filling the main support slots - this time welcoming, among others, Manchester’s Prose and singersongwriter Tom Grennan. KAGOULE (ABATTOIR BLUES)

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £4

Nottingham-based rock troupe, who released debut LP Urth last year. LIVERPOOL JAZZ CLUB


With house band, Stan Williams, John Padfield, Andrew MacKenzie, David Fishel, Grant Russell and Ed Hannaby, and a free-for-all jam session. MAZ O’CONNOR


Rising star of the British folk scene, fusing traditional and contemporary folk sounds.

Thu 03 Nov


LEAF, 19:00–22:00, £12


Solo garage noise project of R.A. Gray, crafting pop-infused psych sounds reminiscent of a bad trip. YUSSEF KAMAAL

24 KITCHEN STREET, 19:30–23:00, £10

Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams take inspiration for their jazz from the jungle, grime and broken beat of London. PIERRE BENSUSAN


The ‘Mozart of Guitar’ finger style acoustic guitar virtuoso is recognised as one of the great guitar players of the 21st century.

Thu 10 Nov


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £42

Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune is performed alongside Brahms’ Third Symphony and more. THE MEN THAT WILL BE NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING (ANDREW O’NEILL)


Southport’s first ever fiddle festival, celebrating the learning, teaching, dancing and music of the fiddle and string section. PEACHES

INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY, 20:00–23:00, £15

The Canadian electro legend heads to UK shores. CHRIS WOOD


The self-taught musician, composer and songwriter showcases his love for the unofficial history of English-speaking people.


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 20:00–00:30, £7

Midlands-based cow punk skiffle group. ANJASA

THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £8 - £10

Apsaras Arts’ latest dance production exploring the beauty of architecture. ROD STEWART

ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £62.50 - £75

The husky-voiced, mullet-headed one is touring again – now five decades on with a staggering 27 studio albums under his belt, including most recent platinumselling albums Time and Another Country. THE REAL THING

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 20:00–23:00, £20 - £28.50

The Real Thing return with their mix of sweet soul music and disco. NICK ELLIS


Nick Ellis’ debut album, Daylight Ghosts, will be launched with a live performance at The Scandinavian Seaman’s Church in Liverpool.


Southport’s first ever fiddle festival, celebrating the learning, teaching, dancing and music of the fiddle and string section. JACK GARRATT (SERAMIC)

LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTS, 19:00–23:00, £18.50

London-based singer/songwriter starting to rise up the ladder towards a meagre amount of fame.

Sun 13 Nov SOBI

LEAF, 20:00–23:00, FREE

Wordily-named steampunk band from London.

23-year-old singer-songwriter, originally from London, now based in Hannover, who released new EP Biting Back earlier this year.


Fri 11 Nov

ECHO ARENA, 18:00–22:00, £45 - £50

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £42

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 14:30–17:30, £15 - £42

Alt pop duo made up of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and soprano and classical multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira.

Also featuring the UK premiere of Henryk Miko?aj Górecki’s Two Tristan Postludes and Chorale.

Fri 04 Nov CABBAGE

THE MAGNET , 19:30–23:00, £6

Manchester-based five-piece serving up discordant post-punk. HIGH TYDE

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £4

Sun 18 Dec

Sat 05 Nov

LEEDS TOWN HALL, 15:00–17:00, £16 - £25

Tue 08 Nov

Sugar-coated pop-rock.

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt continue to tour the Status Quo name (aka prepare yourself for the easiest air guitaring in the world).

A perennial favourite of Opera North, Howard Blake’s score to Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman is brought magically to life alongside a screening of the film that no Christmas should be without.

New project from an 11-piece band, whose rock is underpinned by funk/disco sounds and a 4-piece horn section.

Wed 02 Nov

Brighton quartet continuing to stake their claim as one of the indie world’s hottest prospects, having spent the last year honing their distinctive sound.





Local music showcase. KSI

O2 ACADEMY, FROM 19:00, £12.50

Rapper, comedian, actor and YouTube personality. STEVE FORBERT


ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £10


Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune is performed alongside Brahms’ Third Symphony and more. REN HARVIEU & ROMEO

ARTS CLUB, 18:00–22:00, £13

The Salfordian singer-songwriter teams up with The Magic Numbers’ Romeo Stodart. SHYSTIE

24 KITCHEN STREET, 17:00–23:00, £10

Shystie heads up a night alongside 2K, Miss Deep, Grime Of The Earth, Local2Global, Rosh, Profit&Saint, The LyricSmith, Mondo, Suspect&Beatboy, Felcon, Surgeon, Prefects, Leogical, L.O.E, WAZ and DJ Joey Espo. FIESTA BOMBARDA’S AUTUMNAL CARNIVAL (NATTY)

THE FLORRIE, 19:00–01:00, £16

Singer-songwriter and producer Natty performs for Fiesta Bombarda’s colourful seasonal carnival.


Mick Hucknell once claimed he’d slept with more than 1000 women. Keep your wits about you tonight.




LEAF, 20:00–23:00, £12

The string-shredding singer/ songwriter performs strippedback renditions of songs, with only her acoustic guitar for company. APPLEWOOD ROAD

ARTS CLUB, 19:30–23:00, £13.50

Folky threesome on tour to support their eponymous album, which was recorded in analogue in Nashville.



Award-winning big band directed by multi-instrumentalist and composer Danny Miller.

Thu 17 Nov


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

The English rock unit, featuring former members of Happy Mondays and Ruthless Rap Assassins, embark on a 21st anniversary tour for It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah. MACIEK PYSZ

THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £11.50

Jazz musician, guitarist and composer, playing compositions from debut album, Insight, and second album, A Journey, along with music from other composers. SHOW OF HANDS

EPSTEIN THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £22

Devonshire folk and roots duo Steve Knightley and Phil Beer tour new album, Long Way Home. MICHAEL BALL AND ALFIE BOE

ECHO ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £35 - £65

The Broadway and West End star returns to the stage in his music guise alongside every mum’s favourite tenor, Alfie Boe. BENEDETTI’S BRAHMS (ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA)

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19 - £45

The UK’s favourite violinist performs works by Brahmns and Strauss. WADE BOWEN

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £10

Country singer from Waco, Texas, back with new album, Watch This. GENGAHR

BUYERS CLUB, 19:30–22:00, £11

Smooth melodic indie-rock unit.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £14

The all-screaming Basque folktronica five-piece head our way as part of their 2016 world tour.


THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, FREE

Honouring the composer, performer, concert promoter and teacher. COURTEENERS (MILBURN + CLEAN CUT KID)

ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £28 - £32

The popular Manc lads play a string of dates ahead of their fifth album. DR. HOOK STARRING DENNIS LOCORRIERE

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £38.50

Original front man Dennis Locorriere leads a band under the original Dr. Hook name. THE VAPORS

ARTS CLUB, 19:30–23:00, £25

Ensemble of four musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra who play music fused from gypsy jazz, tango and Klezmer.

The new wave band reunite for a series of intimate gigs, featuring original members David Fenton, Edward Bazalgette and Steve Smith.

Tue 15 Nov

THE KRAZYHOUSE, 19:00–23:00, £18.50


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:00–22:00, £28.50 - £75

The first major tour in over four years from the singer and actor, who heads down memory lane by revisiting the hits from his 50-year repertoire. STEVE GUNN


New York-based guitarist and songwriter out touring his latest LP, Eyes on the Lines.


The – let’s face it, slightly bizarre – Finnish hard rockers bring the mayhem, all monster masks, hard riffs and O.T.T. pyrotechnics.

HONEYBLOOD O2 ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £10

Despite their minimal setup, Honeyblood’s songs are fully formed and perfectly assured. With nothing extraneous, their music is driven through tightly-bound instrumentals and laced with the sheer strength and beauty of Stina’s voice.

Sat 19 Nov

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £42

Vasily Petrenko conducts Kian Soltani on cello for Elgar’s nostalgic, hugely popular Cello Concerto. PURSON

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £8

Featuring a line-up of top percussionists, singers and instrumental players.

In the wake of signing a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records, Purson have played Download festival and became the proud recipient of the Vanguard Award at the Progressive Music Awards 2015.

EPSTEIN THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £23.50

Thu 24 Nov




California-based, Brit-born songwriter best known as Kim Wilde’s former backing singer. THE LAST WALTZ

ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £28

Marking the 40th anniversary of The Band’s last ever gig with a concert of songs from the 1976 setlist at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom.


THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £10

Pianist Lauryna Sableviciute performs the music of Debussy, Kurtag and others. BY THE RIVERS + WILL AND THE PEOPLE

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £8


The Leicester six-piece, fond of crafting ‘real music’ since their 2010 inception, join forces with Brit four-piece Will and The People for a co-headline tour.


THE BRINDLEY, 19:30–21:30, £12


DISTRICT, FROM 22:00, £13

Colombian born Roberto Pla and his Latin ensemble perform live.

The founder of the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses performs a rare solo show.

Sun 20 Nov



A folk-rock band with a history, pedigree and a bright future. They have risen to become festival favourites with three critically acclaimed albums. Appearing here in their acousticish format. AVATAR

O2 ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £10

The Gaslight Anthem frontman shows us his new solo stuff.

Swedish metal band.

THE CAVERN CLUB, 19:00–22:00, £8 - £10

Young pop-meets-rock scamps hailing from the delightfully named Dingle, in Ireland.


Liverpool-based brothers Keith and Stu Xander and their band debut their first album, combining soul, blues and rock. ROACHFORD

EPSTEIN THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £18

Columbia Records’ biggest-selling domestic artist for over 10 years. JESS GLYNNE

ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £28

The wild-haired British singer/ songwriter heads out on her Take Me Home tour. BENEDETTI’S BRAHMS (ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA)

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 14:30–17:30, £19 - £45

The UK’s favourite violinist performs works by Brahmns and Strauss. MICHAEL CHAPMAN (NICK ELLIS)


The Thurston Moore-collaborator and British folk mainstay heads out on the road.

Mon 21 Nov



The former Million Dead singer turned folk troubadour does his thing – full of his usual rockabilly charm – backed by his live band, the Sleeping Souls. KLEZMER-ISH


Ensemble of four musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra who play music fused from gypsy jazz, tango and Klezmer.




Dar Williams presents the fruit of nine whole studio albums, packed with clever, mature songwriting.


Wed 23 Nov

The award-winning Scottish folkie, currently breathing new life into the genre, fronts her own 12-piece supergroup.



THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £11.50

The London-based American drummer plays with his quintet. EHNES QUARTET

ST GEORGE’S HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25

James Ehnes’ quartet play their way through Mozart, Bartók, Dvo?ák and Tchaikovsky.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £13.50


THE MAGNET , 20:00–02:00, £5 - £8

Rumjig launch their debut album. NICK HARPER AND THE WILDERNESS KIDS

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £15

The English singer/songwriter and guitarist does his acoustic folk-rock thing, complete with trademark acerbic lyrics. BEANS ON TOAST

CONSTELLATIONS, 19:30–23:00, £12

Politically-charged one man folkmachine from London, via Essex.


Free launch party featuring Deathly Records signees Lilium and OVVLS plus ETCHES and God on My Right to celebrate the release of Lilium’s debut single. THE LAST WALTZ


Marking the 40th anniversary of The Band’s last ever gig with a concert of songs from the 1976 setlist at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20

Teenage talents Harley AlexanderSule and Jordan Stephens do their thing, mixing pop with some oldschool hippity-hop. In baseball caps. Obviously. DEACON BLUE

ECHO ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £29.50 £39.50

The Glasgow-formed 80s popsters play tracks offa their seventh LP, Believers, some 25+ years and still going strong. MAXIMUM RHYTHM AND BLUES

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £26.50 - £33.50

An evening of rhythm and blues nostalgia with The Manfreds, PP Arnold and Zoot Money. BILL RYDER-JONES

FLORAL PAVILION, 19:00–23:00, £12.50

A viciously talented multiinstrumentalist, film score composer and minimalist musician. His latest record, West Kirby County Primary, is a total treat. Well worth a gander IRL. Have we gushed enough yet?

American singer/songwriter, best known for his 1980s hit, Romeo’s tune.





London-based indie-rockers who started life as Fear Of Flying, out and touring their new LP, Friends. SOUL II SOUL (SMOOVE AND TURRELL)


The multi Grammy award-winning soul outfit return with their inimitable Funki Dred style.


The Mighty Wah! frontman sings some songs and tells some tales.

Sun 27 Nov


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £14

Detroit underdogs with enough joyful hooks, mischievous wordplay and unexpected pathos to worm their way into your heart.



Featuring tunes by Berlioz, Górecki and Saint-Saëns. SHEELANAGIG


Feel-good, groove-heavy arrangments from the high-energy five-piece.

Mon 28 Nov


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £29.50 - £55.50

An evening of cinematic nostalgia via soundtracks from films including Funny Girl, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, Hello Dolly, Star Wars, Gigi, Gone With the Wind and more. TYKETTO

O2 ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £16

Hard rock veterans formed in 1987 by Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn.

Tue 29 Nov


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19.50 - £45

The multi award-winning recording artist is joined by the 23-piece Gori Women’s Choir, masters of the ancient Georgian tradition of polyphonic singing.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

The Glasgow indie-rockers, led by lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Fratelli, celebrate 10 years of Costello Music. MERCURY

THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £11.50

Now a five-piece line-up, Mercury tour new album Sea Speak. THE SAW DOCTORS

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:00–22:00, £25 - £35

The Irish collective of songwriters celebrate their country of origin through song, as is their way. THE WEST AFRICAN BLUES PROJECT

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC MUSIC ROOM, 20:00–23:00, £12.50 - £14

The new collaboration between Senegalese vocalist Modou Touré and Brit blues maestro Ramon Goose.

Thu 01 Dec NEW WORLD

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £42

Pianist Seong-Jin Cho leads the way for Dvorak’s muchloved symphony, famous for soundtracking a Hovis ad back in the day. And in its own right, of course. BKO QUINTET

24 KITCHEN STREET, 20:00–00:00, £8

Modern Malian music from five men with diverse backgrounds and varying musical influences. A-F-R-O

BUYERS CLUB, 19:30–23:00, £11.50

18-year-old MC from Los Angeles with witty word play, a distinctive voice and a complexity to his rhyme schemes.


THE MAGNET , 19:30–23:30, £8

London-based punk-rock trio formed way back in’t day (as in 1976), still touring and recording. NEW WORLD


Pianist Seong-Jin Cho leads the way for Dvorak’s muchloved symphony, famous for soundtracking a Hovis ad back in the day. And in its own right, of course. EMMY THE GREAT

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £14

More kitchen sink-style melodic storytelling from the Londonbased singer/songwriter, out celebrating the release of her new studio album. THE VRYLL SOCIETY

INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY, 19:00–23:00, £10

Liverpool-based five-piece mixing in everything from Funkadelic to Aphrodites Child and krautrock. THE LANCASHIRE HOTPOTS

O2 ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £13

Five Northern blokes in flat caps singing songs about the wonders of modern day life.

Sat 03 Dec THE MOONS

THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–00:30, £10

Northampton-based foursome, trading in psychedelic garage-pop beats, infused with a bit of indie and soul for good measure. ENDORPHINMACHINE

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £12

Celebrating the music of the late, great, funk heavyweight Prince. AMADOU & MARIAM

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19.50 - £28.50

Married couple who met in the orchestra of The Institute for the Young Blind in Bamako, now fusing pop, blues and Malian music with aplomb. THE DUNWELLS

STUDIO 2, 19:00–22:00, £TBC

Folk rock bunch hailing from Leeds, made up of brothers Joseph and David Dunwell and cousins Robert Clayton and Jonny Lamb. IAN PROWSE AND AMSTERDAM (THE SUMS + KYLE CROSBY) ARTS CLUB, 18:30–22:00, £15

The Cheshire singer/songwriter reunites with his group Amsterdam after a stretch solo. THE NIGHT CAFÉ

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £6

Liverpudlian quartet out on their UK tour.



A new addition to the British folk scene, award-winning and all that.


24 KITCHEN STREET, 19:30–23:00, £18

The influential New York MC deft at making minds tick and bodies move, such is his talent.

Tue 06 Dec


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £16.50

The Leeds indie rock group return with new album, Going, Going... LEVELLERS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

The longstanding Brighton rock ensemble celebrate 25 years of Levelling the Land. SETH LAKEMAN

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £22.50 - £28.50

The Devon folk singer/songwriter and virtuoso fiddler does his damned impressive live thing, shredding strings as he goes.


ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £39 - £50

Former frontman of The Verve, continuing to ride the solo wave with forthcoming album, These People. LIVERPOOL JAZZ CLUB


With house band, Stan Williams, John Padfield, Andrew MacKenzie, David Fishel, Grant Russell and Ed Hannaby, and a free-for-all jam session.

November/December 2016

Thu 08 Dec

Tue 13 Dec

UNITY THEATRE, FROM 19:30, £4.50 - £9

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £42


LIPA’s music students premiere new seasonal songs and arrangements alongside well-known festive favourites. All served up with lashings of mulled wine and mince pies.


O2 ACADEMY, FROM 19:00, £22.50

Hertfordshire and Bedfordshirehailing duo riding the wave of country music’s recent success.


THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £TBC

Allerton Brass return with their annual festive shindig. RED PRIEST: WINTER BAROQUE CARNIVAL

ST GEORGE’S HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25


Vocalist Gary Williams leads the way for a musical Christmas party.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £22.50

The post-Britpoppers celebrate the 20th anniversary of K, performing the album in its entirety for the first time. THE HUMAN LEAGUE


The Human League are ready for another tour of their oncepioneering new wave.


THE MAGNET , 20:00–23:00, £13.50

Baroque supergroup Red Priest - a nod to Vivaldi’s nickname, btw - give a spectacular twist to music by Corelli, Handel, Bach and more.

The Fife dweller and sometime Fence Collective dabbler heads our way.

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £24.50 - £34.50

Famous Dutch violinist and conductor.


The prolific man behind Move, ELO and Wizzard brings his rock ‘n’ roll band our way. GALACTIC EMPIRE (NICK JOHNSTON)

ARTS CLUB, 18:30–22:00, £10

Heavy metal band performing iconic film soundtrack hits. HOOTON TENNIS CLUB


The ascendant Liverpudlians and recent Heavenly signings head our way. CONNIE LUSH


British Blues bastion and local lass brings her dynamic band to Liverpool. Her powerhouse performances and soaring blues vocals have had her tagged as the UK’s answer to Janice Joplin.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £15

Liverpudlian rockers from the same era that spawned Echo & The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. JAMES & THE CHARLATANS

ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £42 - £54.50

Two Brit heavyweight acts combine forces in a one-off show. BIG BAND WONDERLAND

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £42

Vocalist Gary Williams leads the way for a musical Christmas party.


Psychedelic doom band hailing from Cambridge, drawing influences from late 60s metal. CONNIE LUSH


British Blues bastion and local lass brings her dynamic band to Liverpool. Her powerhouse performances and soaring blues vocals have had her tagged as the UK’s answer to Janice Joplin.


THE MAGNET , 19:00–23:00, £14.50

British supergroup comprising Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), guitarists Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai) and Justin Lockey (Editors) and film-maker James Lockey of Hand Held Cine Club. LIVERPOOL WELSH CHORAL: STEP INTO CHRISTMAS


Get into the festive spirit with the Liverpool Welsh Choral and presenter Louise Minchin. SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS

THE ATKINSON, 19:30–22:30, £10 - £15

L’Orchestra dell’Arte perform a family Christmas concert.


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £29.50 - £65

Perhaps Wales most famous opera singer, returning with tracks old and new.


ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £50 - £105

Fri 16 Dec CAST

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20

The Liverpool Britpoppers return. THE MOUSE OUTFIT (CUL-DE-SAC + THE BLOWBACK HORNS)

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £12 - £15

Fronted by UK hip-hop legend Dr Syntax and verbal acrobat Sparkz, this nine–piece band’s horn-heavy and funk-driven live show combines original grooves with classic hip-hop, b-boy and funk breaks. ANDY MCKEE


Acoustic guitar soloist with a dedicated online community of followers, playing a duo of sets with no support.

Sat 17 Dec


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–23:45, £4

Local music showcase.

Mon 19 Dec O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £27.50

Manchester Music


Tue 01 Nov


The Glasgow-formed 90s mainstays make their live return, marking the release of their new album, Everything At Once. LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, FROM 19:30, £39.50 - £42.50

A festive concert of carols and seasonal tunes staged in full 18th-Century costume in an atmospheric candlelit setting. KSENIJA SIDOROVA


Accordianist Ksenija Sidorova performs in an intimate concert.


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19 - £45

The Phil’s long-running and widely loved carol concert series returns for Christmas.

Wed 21 Dec


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:00–22:00, £22.50 - £38.50

Festive show with the vocal harmony quintet based in London, where they were discovered whilst working as decorators. Obviously.



Festive shenanigans with a punk rock twist. SING-ALONG WITH SANTA


Festive family concert. SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19 - £45

The Phil’s long-running and widely loved carol concert series returns for Christmas. SPACE (THE BOSTON SHAKES)

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £12.50

Expect the likes of Female of the Species, Neighbourhood and Me & You Against the World and tracks from their new album.


Vibe Youth Radio presents a showcase.



MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £19.50

The singer/songwriter and electronic producer presents his unique brand of dubbed-out soul, hybrid electro, effects-manipulated vocals and adventures in rabbit jumpers (caveat: he wore a rabbit jumper, like, once – and we’ve basically never recovered).

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £12.50



Re-live the pop-fuelled halcyon days of your youth with a bumper line-up of late 90s/early 00s cheese.

The Warner Music-signed Nashville songwriter crosses the pond. GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £8

Oh Pep! Is the clever moniker chosen by Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs, who formed the band when in secondary music school in Melbourne. DECONTAMINATION #7 BOULEZ/ BOWIE


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £25


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £19

American rapper, model and fashion designer. Jack of all trades ‘n’ all that… PJ HARVEY




London based trio The Wave Pictures – Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar and vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass) – return with their brand new album Bamboo Diner in The Rain which sees The Wave Pictures battling against the robot music apocalypse.


Festive family concert. SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19 - £45

The Phil’s long-running and widely loved carol concert series returns for Christmas.


ECHO ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £53 - £61.50

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt continue to tour the Status Quo name (aka prepare yourself for the easiest air guitaring in the world). SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19 - £45

Tue 27 Dec

A load of much-hyped pop fodder get together for a pre-Christmas shindig.

Rapper, comedian, actor and YouTube personality.


Thu 22 Dec

ECHO ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £75




ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Young British singer-songwriter (aka Jasmine van den Bogaerde) imbued with a voice steeped in soul and world-weariness.

The one-time Mercury prizewinner, and 2011 nominee, cherrypicks gems from her recent beauty of an album.

The Liverpool Britpoppers return.

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT


60’s package tour promising an all-out nostalgia fest.


Featuring RNCM student performers and composers across the Pop and Classical study programmes, with music by Boulez, covers of Bowie classics and new works inspired by both composers.

The Phil’s long-running and widely loved carol concert series returns for Christmas.



Thu 03 Nov


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £17.50 - £42.50

The best musical songs revisited in orchestral form.

Wed 28 Dec


The venerable comic goes back on tour again, celebrating a milestone for The Happiness Show.

Thu 29 Dec


The venerable comic goes back on tour again, celebrating a milestone for The Happiness Show.

Sat 31 Dec


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19 - £45

Singer, songwriter and performer Joe Stilgoe pays tribute to the music that brought Hollywood to life with classics from and inspired by great films.

ECHO ARENA, 18:30–22:00, £62.50 - £75

The husky-voiced, mullet-headed one is touring again – now five decades on with a staggering 27 studio albums under his belt, including most recent platinumselling albums Time and Another Country. SING-ALONG WITH SANTA


Festive family concert. SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19 - £45

The Phil’s long-running and widely loved carol concert series returns for Christmas.

Find full listings at


With sales now topping one and a half million albums and two Grammy nominations to date, Afro Celt Sound System celebrate their 20th anniversary with a stunning new album, The Source and a UK tour. ZOMBIE ZOMBIE

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–23:00, £10

French duo turned trio making electro-horror pop inspired in equal measure by John Carpenter’s film scores and electronic music artists like Suicide and Silver Apples.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:00–22:00, £28.50 - £38.50

The first major tour in over four years from the singer and actor, who heads down memory lane by revisiting the hits from his 50-year repertoire. SAXON


Power metal five-piece riding along on frontman Biff Byford’s howlin’ squawk of a vocal, out for their 35th anniversary tour. ANNIHILATOR (MASON)


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £11


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

Scottish singer/songwriter with a career spanning some 25+ years, playing exclusive new songs and hits from her back catalogue alongside a full live band. DAWES


North Hills, Californian quartet of the Americana soul persuasion.



A red hot evening of Latin American Big Band Jazz with the RNCM Big Band and guests Andy Scott and Dave Hassell, letting loose with the music of some stellar Latin and jazz greats including Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie. MERCHANDISE

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:00–22:00, £8


Florida-based band of rockers, riding along on interestingly experimental punk and hardcore soundscapes.


GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £5

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £15

The Canadian thrash metal unit bring the noise.


Dark and dreamy synth-heavy soundscapes from the 20-year-old solo artist less cryptically known as Amber Bain.

London-born, Johannesburgraised, Dorset-based singersongwriter hits the road with debut EP, Let it All Out.

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Richmond-based singersongwriter.


Hardcore punk band formed by former Gallows and Pure Love frontman Frank Carter. CORY HENRY AND THE FUNK APOSTLES

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £14 - £18

Multi-instrumentalist and producer whose primary instrument is the organ. RNCM SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


Featuring Nicholas Maw’s rousing American Games for wind orchestra, André Jolivet’s bluesyinfluenced virtuosic trumpet concerto and Prokofiev’s loftily heroic Symphony No 5. EMANUEL AND THE FEAR

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £6

The Brooklyn folk/rock/psych troupe head out with new album Primitive Smile after a four-year hiatus.


Live music showcase, giving a stage to local up-and-coming performers.


SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:00, £6


FALLOW CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £5

With smart, funny songs, Lail Arad enjoys tumbling lyrics that even conjure Lou Reed at times. Stylised vocals, sultry sing-speak passages and modulating licks – equally suggestive of the Mediterranean and the metropolis. Kindred of Courtney Barnett.


Live music showcase, giving a stage to local up-and-coming performers.

Fri 04 Nov


ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £16.50

London-based trio led by folkster Andrew Davie (formerly of Cherbourg). THE WAILERS

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £21

The reggae legends perform their legendary album, erm, Legend in its entirety.

MUTTIS KINDER HOME, FROM 21:00, £10 - £12

Award-winning acapella wunderkinds Claudia Gray, Marcus Melzwig and Christopher Nell bring their cabaret show our way.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £17

Triple package Southern rock. CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £23.50 - £25

The gender-queer electro-pop alter-ego of French singer-songwriter Héloïse Letissier. SISTER SLEDGE

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:00–22:00, £25

Sisters Debbie, Joni, Kim (sans Kathy) bring the classic D-I-S-C-O vibes through old favourites like Thinking of You, He’s the Greatest Dancer, All American Girls and, of course, We Are Family. FUJIYA & MIYAGI

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:00, £10

The Brighton-based trio continue in their synth line and rich hooks endeavours. THE LOVELY EGGS (THE HORNBLOWER BROTHERS)

GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £10

Following the release of their critically acclaimed album This Is Our Nowhere and their sold-out tour, champions of the UK underground scene The Lovely Eggs hit the road again for another round of punk rock good times. OFF THE RECORD

VARIOUS VENUES, FROM 10:00, £15 - £35

Brand new multi-venue music festival and conference from the folk behind Sound City, Kendal Calling, bluedot and Louder Than War, curated by the likes of Guy Garvey, Huw Stephens, Lara Baker and Tom Lovett. BRUISING (SLOTFACE + PLAZA + CAESAR)

FALLOW CAFE, 19:30–23:00, £5.50

Flat Plastic and DIY present Leeds quartet Bruising.

Sat 05 Nov


Just under a year on from their show at The Albert Hall last November – their first live date in Manchester for almost 10 years – The Cinematic Orchestra return to home turf with their inimitable nu-jazz/electronica combo. Expect tingles all over. 3 DOORS DOWN

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £22

No-frills styled rock quintet led by vocalist and co-founder Brad Arnold. BLUES PILLS


Swedish blues rock troupe who’ve previously supported Rival Sons. THE CADILLAC THREE

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:30–22:30, £15

The Southern American rockers head out on the international circuit with their Don’t Forget The Whiskey Tour. MUTTIS KINDER

HOME, FROM 21:00, £10 - £12

Award-winning acapella wunderkinds Claudia Gray, Marcus Melzwig and Christopher Nell bring their cabaret show our way.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 18:00–02:00, £30

Manchester hip hop festival. CORINNE BAILEY RAE

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £25

Once seen cycling around in a sundappled white dress, the Leeds singer-songwriter follows up her grief-stricken second record with a return to summery optimism, with third album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers. THE BRIGHT BLACK (RIVET CITY + FT MYERS)

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £8

Glam funk and soul-inspired pop foursome. THE GRAVELTONES

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £10

The Australian blues-rock duo return to Northern soil.



Manchester Music ALBERTA CROSS



FALLOW CAFE, 19:30–23:00, £12

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £9

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Anglo-Swedish outfit channelling Southern American sounds. COQUIN MIGALE (URBAN THEORY + MARUJA + FEZ)

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £7

Emphatic indie rock from the North East.



Previously disbanded 80s postpunk unit, now putting in the odd live appearance with Kirk Brandon at the helm and various new members. PREOCCUPATIONS

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

Post-punk outfit, originally under the moniker of Viet Cong. AMANI LIVE

BAND ON THE WALL, 13:30–18:30, £5

Monthly contemporary African music event in BOTW’s Picturehouse Bar, with live tunes, storytelling, spoken word, dance, visual art and food. TINARIWEN

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £24 - £28

Tuareg musicians mixing electric blues and traditional Malian vocals, with lyrics rather hypnotically sung in French and Tamashek. BASTILLE

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £30

Dan Smith-led indie ensemble who may or may not have their faces painted as skulls (aka, they definitely will). DYRK SHIVAY

THE KING’S ARMS, 19:30–21:00, £8

Folk singer-songwriter from Heidelberg, Germany.

Mon 07 Nov THE 69 EYES


Multi platinum-selling Finnish gothic rock outfit. JOHN PAUL WHITE

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

Formerly one half of The Civil Wars, the American singersongwriter returns with his first release in nearly a decade. CROSA ROSA

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £5

Nottingham-based trio peddling what they call ‘wobbly rock’.



The Devon folk singer/songwriter and virtuoso fiddler does his damned impressive live thing, shredding strings as he goes. SILVERSUN PICKUPS


LA alt-rockers, who released their fourth studio album last year. LOCAL NATIVES

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £17

Silver Lakes indie-rockers whose core trio met at high school, to be joined later by a bassist and a drummer. CRYSTAL CASTLES

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £16.50

Torontoan electronic experimentalists comprised of showstealing frontwoman Alice Glass and the seemingly reclusive beat maker Ethan Kath. WHITNEY

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £10

Louisiana rock ‘n’ rollers, touring off the back of their debut album, Get Gone. BRYDE

FALLOW CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £5

Emerging London solo artist, who released debut EP, EP1, earlier this year via Seahorse Music. MARGARET GLASPY

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £8

The Californian singer-songwriter tours her debut album, Emotions and Math.


O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £14 - £18

Manchester’s acoustic-electronica trio return with new album, Man Made Object, via Blue Note Records. CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN


Indie rock’n’roll quintet full of guitars and songs about love an’ that. TOM ODELL

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £23.50

Chichester-born singer/songwriter who studied at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. LAKE STREET DIVE (BASIA BULAT)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £16.50

Free country’ band formed in Boston, taking on multiple influences from jazz, Motown and various other genres. MICK FLANNERY

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £12.50

Irish singer-songwriter who honed his craft in Boston and Nashville, lending a stateside twang to his body of work. JOSEPH ARTHUR

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:30–23:00, £13.50

The Fistful of Mercy and RNDM folk rocker returns with latest studio album, The Family. WILL VARLEY

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £10

The rambling folk singer, who walked over 500 miles along England’s south coast with a guitar on his back, heads back out on the road for a series of new dates. ST GERMAIN

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £25

Ludovic Navarre’s pioneering acid/nu jazz project returns to stages, two decades after the release of his groundbreaking debut, Boulevard. BRAINBOW

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–23:00, FREE

An evening of acoustic sounds in BOTW’s Picturehouse bar, curated by Mike Wilson and headlined by local folk/blues favourite, Jo Rose. CHARLOTTE OC

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £8

Blackburn-born singer-songwriter Charlotte O’Connor tours her future pop sound.

Thu 10 Nov



Yorkshire lads known for their rock and metal musical stylings.




Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams take inspiration for their jazz from the jungle, grime and broken beat of London. SHEELANAGIG (SLING)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £11 - £15

Feel-good, groove-heavy arrangments from the high-energy five-piece. JOHN BRAMWELL

ROYAL NORTHERN COLLEGE OF MUSIC RNCM, 18:30–22:00, £17.50 - £19.50

The I Am Kloot singer/songwriter and frontman hits the road solo. SONDER (PRIMA + JEKYLL + SARAH DE WARREN + AZIZ IBRAHIM + TAMSYN + LA MODE + MOHAWK RADIO + MORE)

VARIOUS VENUES, 19:00–23:45, £15

Four-day music, comedy and arts festival taking over multiple venues in the Northern Quarter, showcasing creative talent from across the region while supporting good causes. WRETCH 32 (MOSTACK)

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £15

Tottenham-based rapper and former grime MC, touring in support of his third studio album, Growing Over Life. LAS KELLIES (BLOOMS + SPRINTERS)

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £8

Fiery Argentine trio drawing on their post-punk and punk roots, with added inspiration from reggae and dance music. TRANSFIGURED NIGHT

PEEL HALL, 19:30–19:30, FREE

Scotland’s Hebrides Ensemble and contemporary classical music ensemble Psappha team up for a joint tour marking their 25th anniversaries, taking to Salford for a specially-devised night. Book your free ticket via,

The classic folkster continues to croon without pal Art.


Featuring Mendelssohn’s briny Hebrides Overture, Bruch’s Second Violin Concerto and Janá?ek’s Jealousy, before the concert concludes with Vaughan William’s stormy Sixth Symphony. JIMMY EAT WORLD

Arizona-hailing rock quartet led by the inimitable Jim Adkins; still going strong after over 20 years. JORDAN RAKEI

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £8

Genre-hopping artist touring off the back of debut album, Cloak.


The Raincoats, seminal post-punk band, godmothers of grunge and inspiration to a generation of riot grrrls celebrate over three decades of doing things the way they think they should be done. NIGHT AND DAY’S LOCAL SHOWCASE (THE VENGALIS + BEACH ROYALS + THE JUNTA) NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £6

Live music showcase, giving a stage to local up-and-coming performers.

Sat 12 Nov


O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:00–22:00, £16

Dutch symphonic metal named after the Kingdom of Delain in Stephen King’s novel The Eyes of the Dragon. ARCHITECTS

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £18

Hardcore Brighton foursome, mixing a pummeling concoction of post-metalcore, metal and progressive to suitably headmangling effect. THE GRAHAM BONNET BAND


The former Rainbow and Alcatrazz frontman returns with a new band and material. THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £12



The award-winning Scottish folkie, currently breathing new life into the genre, fronts her own 12-piece supergroup. SMOOVE AND TURRELL

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–22:00, £12 - £16

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £18.50

THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:30–22:30, £16.50

London-based singer/songwriter starting to rise up the ladder towards a meagre amount of fame. NEW MODEL ARMY

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:30–22:00, £20

Post-punk five-piece from Bradford, named after the English revolutionary army of Oliver Cromwell. CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN


Indie rock’n’roll quintet full of guitars and songs about love an’ that. BUGZY MALONE

ALBERT HALL, 18:00–22:00, £14

The 24 year-old rapper continues his rise as one of the UK’s most promising new artists. D’BANJ (TEKNO)

Nigerian singer-songwriter, aka Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £12

Mancunian metalheads, blending metal with everything from industrial electronica to hip hop and opera. BARRON (TYPES + NEW LUNA)

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £5

Quartet hailing from Stockport, Devon and Yorkshire peddling anthemic piano riffs. THE LOW ANTHEM (AND THE KIDS)

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £15

The Rhode Island indie-folk quintet head our way, admired (by us, anyway) for recording one of their LPs in an abandoned pasta sauce factory. KING (DJ JAMIE GROOVEMENT)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–23:00, £10.50 - £14.50

Twins Paris and Amber Strother are joined by honourary sister Anita Bias in their dream-pop trio.


Scott has garnered serious critical acclaim throughout his 10 year career and has taken this time to nurture his songwriting craft. FLAMINGODS: MAJESTY

THE WHITE HOTEL, 20:00–02:00, £9

The rhythm-driven psychedelic pop five-piece curate and headline an evening at Salford’s White Hotel, joined by Anchorsong and Aldous RH, with more acts to be announced. LIBERATE YOURSELF FROM MY VICE LIKE GRIP (MOTHER + ILL + THE YOSSARIANS + SHIELD PATTERNS + ANDY OR JENNY)

ISLINGTON MILL, 18:00–02:00, £5

Broken Grey Wires, a contemporary art organisation exploring mental health, hosts a night of live music and art.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £22.50

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £23 - £27.50

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–03:00, £15.50 - £19.50



GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:00, £7


Louisiana quartet intent on making amplified soul for a new generation.


The People’s Assembly Against Austerity welcome Frankie Boyle and guests. BEN CAPLAN AND THE CASUAL SMOKERS

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:30–23:00, £10

The Canadian folk musician from Nova Scotia is joined by his band. ALCEST + MONO

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £15

The two revered shoegazing acts team up for a European tour. TERRACE MARTIN AND THE POLLY SEEDS (BETTER DAYS DJS)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £12 - £18

LA-based musician, rapper and producer, who has in the past lent his skills to everyone from Quincy Jones to Snoop Dogg. YUSUF (CAT STEVENS)

Yusuf Islam, formerly known under the stage moniker of Cat Stevens, returns to the stage.

Tue 15 Nov GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £16

Canadian rockers, returning with fourth studio album, aptly titled IV. THE COOKERS

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £18 - £22

Classic American hard-bop troupe led by Herbie Hancock trumpeter Eddie Henderson and the great saxophonist, Billy Harper. JULIA HOLTER

MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL, 19:00–23:00, £18.50

The LA-based musician again displays her gift for merging high concept, compositional prowess and experimentation with pop sensibility. Go marvel.



Re-Imagining Sondheim is a modern masterpiece of the piano, which saw Anthony de Mare ask 36 composers ranging from Steve Reich to Wynton Marsalis to respond to Stephen Sondheim’s greatest songs. WALLIS BIRD

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £12

The string-shredding singer/ songwriter performs strippedback renditions of songs, with only her acoustic guitar for company.


Live music showcase, giving a stage to local up-and-coming performers.

Sun 13 Nov

Wed 16 Nov

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £15

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–22:00, £22.50


Country singer-songwriter from the States, continuing the legacy of his father, country singer Rhett Akins. FOY VANCE (RYAN MCMULLAN)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–22:30, £15

Bangor-based musician influenced by the southern states of America, touring with his latest album, The Wild Swan. JACK SAVORETTI

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £20

The Italian-English solo acoustic singer plays a set accompanied by his trusty guitar. KRISTIN HERSH

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £SOLD OUT

The founder of the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses performs a rare solo show. FOSTER AND ALLEN

THE LOWRY: QUAYS THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £16 - £22

The Irish musical duo stop by as part of their world tour.




Will Sheff fronted Texan indie-rock ensemble who more than know how to hook a crowd, so expect the odd tearjerker, acoustic interludes and plenty off-kilter elucidation

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 14:15–16:15, £13 - £41


Mon 14 Nov

GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £20



Andrew Manze returns to the Hallé to conduct a typically imaginative and compelling programme.

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 18:30–22:00, £57.35 - £111


Fri 11 Nov

Comic tunes from the Aussie satirist.

Longstanding London-based folkrock crew in a re-jigged guise, but still featuring founding members Phil Odgers and Stefan Crush on lead vocals and guitar.

Geordie duo of vocalist John Turrell and DJ/producer Jonathan Watson, deftly putting their seductive spin on all genres of soul.



MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £22.50


The Canadian electro legend heads to UK shores.

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £65 - £75

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £14 - £18

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £35

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £16

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:30–22:30, £19.50

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £41

Cult Australian trio still going strong after 25+ years, out doing their genre-defying thing in a live setting.


Indie rock’n’roll quintet full of guitars and songs about love an’ that.

Whitney’s debut album, Light Upon the Lake, marks the culmination of a short, but incredibly intense, creative period for the band comprised of guitarist Max Kakacek and singing drummer Julien Ehrlich. Support from Julia Jacklin. THE NECKS

The anti-folk songstress showcases her new album, Remember Us To Life, in a live setting.



Mighty fusion of gypsy-jazz, swing and high-octane electronica from the raggle-taggle French natives.


GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £16.50

Joan Wasser continues to mix sweet pop melodies with a more hard-edged guitar nous, touring this November as her collaborative project with Benjamin Lazar Davis. LACUNA COIL


The Italian metalheads tour in support of their eighth studio album, Delirium.


Mighty fusion of gypsy-jazz, swing and high-octane electronica from the raggle-taggle French natives.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £7.50

Dublin-based electronic type. LACUNA COIL

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £16.50

The Italian metalheads tour in support of their eighth studio album, Delirium. RAG N BONE MAN


One-man brutal trash blues noise machine, on drums, harmonica, guitar and expletives. LAURA MVULA

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £19.50

Glenn Tilbrook (best known as a member of Squeeze) hits the road this Autumn on his first solo acoustic UK tour in three years. INCOGNITO (DJ ANDREA TROUT)

Classic soul offerings from US singer/songwriter/producer/DJ/ rapper/all-round talented bugger.

AATMA, 19:00–22:00, £8

Young Bristolian singer-songwriter embarking on her debut headline tour of the UK.



Krautrock trio hailing from Chichester, currently signed to Fat Cat Records. THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £6

Mancunian indie trio return to home turf.


GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £4

Lancashire young acoustic pop act.


Live music showcase, giving a stage to local up-and-coming performers.

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £SOLD OUT

PALACE THEATRE MANCHESTER, 19:30–22:30, £26.75 - £28.75


Fri 18 Nov

The Texas jazz musician takes his latest release, ArtScience, out on the road. NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £12.50

Country singer from Waco, Texas, back with new album, Watch This. SHOW OF HANDS WITH MIRANDA SYKES


Devonshire folk and roots duo Steve Knightley and Phil Beer tour new album, Long Way Home, and are once again reunited for their autumn tour with the talented Miranda Sykes on double bass. SARAH JAFFE

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £7

Soulful Texan crooner who weaves gentle melodies with dancefloorready electro-pop sounds. JAKE MORLEY

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £10

More acoustic loveliness from the London singer/songwriter. SOBI

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–23:00, £6

23-year-old singer-songwriter, originally from London, now based in Hannover, who released new EP Biting Back earlier this year.


NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £12.50

The country singer from Waco, Texas, and Reckless Kelly’s Willy Braun team up for a co-headline show.


O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £25

American alternative rock ensemble of dapper chaps (aka they wear shirts and clearly visit the hairdresser a lot), formed by Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith 10+ years ago. GLENN HUGHES & LIVING COLOUR

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £23

The some-time Trapeze, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath bassist hits the road alongside Grammy winners Living Colour. PHANTOGRAM

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £9

Organic-meets-electronic duo hailing from Saratoga Springs, NY, make up of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, out trailing new album, Three. CRYSTAL FIGHTERS

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–22:00, £16.50

The all-screaming Basque folktronica five-piece head our way as part of their 2016 world tour. THE HALLÉ: WAGNER, BEETHOVEN AND SIBELIUS

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13 - £41

Andrew Manze returns to the Hallé to conduct a typically imaginative and compelling programme. REVEREND AND THE MAKERS

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £12

Jon McClure and his band hit the road for an intimate acoustic show.


The enduring success of Incognito is one of the great stories of UK music during the last four decades.

Former Mercury Award nominated soul singer returning with a new studio album, The Dreaming Room. ROBERT GLASPER EXPERIMENT

The pair tour in support of a new collaborative record inspired by Stateside railroad travel.


A night in debt to the sights and sounds of the 60s. WILCO

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Chicago alt-rock group, still going strong after their 1994 formation with 10th studio album, Schmilco.


O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £17.50

Indie folk rock hard-knock from Denver, Colorado, touring with his band of spirited musicians. TEENAGE FANCLUB

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:30, £18.50

Cherished and celebrated alt-rock band who formed in Bellshill in 1989. THE DAMNED

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 20:00–23:00, £25

The seminal punk foursome take to the road again, now rather impressively celebrating their 40th year of being. THE SLOW READERS CLUB (PUPPET REBELLION + LARKINS)

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:30–22:00, £10

Electro/indie outfit from Manchester, churning out everything from catchy upbeat indie tunes to introspective ballads. SIMPLY RED

MANCHESTER ARENA, 18:00–22:00, £45 - £50

Mick Hucknell once claimed he’d slept with more than 1000 women. Keep your wits about you tonight. THE SKATALITES


60s ska veterans from Jamaica featuring an ever-changing roster of musicians. SLAMBOREE

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

The one-of-a-kind dub rave massive returns for another huge party. MICK JENKINS

GORILLA, 18:30–22:00, £13.50

Member of Free Nation, a hip hop group promoting creative thought without accepting narrow views imposed by The Man, who’s on the road with his debut album. STEVE ‘N’ SEAGULLS


Finnish country group, continuing to put a bluegrass twist on wellknown hard rock and metal tunes with their second album. MARTIN STEPHENSON AND THE DAINTEES

THE LOWRY: QUAYS THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £25

British rockers fusing elements of rockabilly, show tunes and rootsy-pop into their mix.



Formed in 1962 by Vivian Stanshall and Rodney Slater, the band were originally known as the Bonzo Dog Dada Band, later joined by others to become The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. SOUP & DANSE SOCIETY

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £4

Elliot Wheeler’s two bands see him on stage all night, with the last gig in Manchester for Soup for the next two years.


Co-headline show from two highly-praised rising Manc outfits.


Amazing Snakeheads’ Dale Barclay unveils his new venture. DR HOOK FT. LOCORRIERE

PALACE THEATRE, 19:30-22:30, £25 - £32.40

After years out of the limelight, Dr Hook is back on the road, fronted by Dennis Locorriere, the man who originally sang all the songs you remember from all that time ago.



An explosive mix of blues and rock that’s been leaving audiences illuminated and exhausted for three decades. ALABAMA 3

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:30–22:00, £20

Legendary Brixton collective, best known from the theme tune of TV show The Sopranos. They combine techno beats with country instruments in a way that’s best sampled live. PETER BROTZMANN’S FULL BLAST

ISLINGTON MILL, 20:00–23:30, £13

Saxophonist and free jazz circuit stalwart Peter Brotzmann returns to the Mill with his brain-melting power jazz trio Full Blast. THREE QUARTERS


The pop-punk vets return for their 10 year reunion. THE POP GROUP

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:00, £17.50

The post-punk provocateurs take new studio album, Honeymoon on Mars, on the road. DINOSAUR JR.

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Dinosaur Jr (aka the bastard kids of Neil Young and Black Sabbath) continue to ride the wave of their reunion years, with J. Mascis’ vocals still imbued with the ability to knock a grown man floorwards. We welcome you, bleeding ears. WHEN SOUND SYSTEM RULED THE DANCEHALL

BAND ON THE WALL, 21:00–23:00, £10 - £15

Six iconic sound systems come together for one night only, with Classic Sound, Hussla, Baron Turbo Charge, King Taurus, Jah Guide, Megatone and more. THE BACKROOM SESSIONS: UNKEEPABLE

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £4

The ever-underground band head to Gullivers’ back room for an intimate gig. SINES AND SQUARES FESTIVAL


A festival of concerts, presentations and more celebrating the recent huge resurgence of interest in analogue and modular synthesizers.



Carlisle rockers celebrating 10 years in the biz. DR HOOK FT. LOCORRIERE

PALACE THEATRE MANCHESTER, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £32.40

After years out of the limelight, Dr Hook is back on the road, fronted by Dennis Locorriere, the man who originally sang all the songs you remember from all that time ago.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £15

After making a name for themselves on the NYC subway system, Lucky Chops are redefining what it means to be a brass band. THE HALLÉ: WAGNER, BEETHOVEN AND SIBELIUS


Detroit underdogs with enough joyful hooks, mischievous wordplay and unexpected pathos to worm their way into your heart.

PALACE THEATRE MANCHESTER, 19:30–22:30, £28.75 - £30.75

THE KING’S ARMS, 15:00–23:00, £15



Fri 25 Nov

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–22:30, £32.50 - £42.50

The Glasgow-formed 80s popsters play tracks offa their seventh LP, Believers, some 25+ years and still going strong. ELECTRIC SIX

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £13


American alt-pop songstress and former contestant on the Stateside version of The Voice. RIZZLE KICKS

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £15



RNCM Saxophone Day is the UK’s largest annual saxophone gathering, which for its 16th year is going Dutch, with some of the leading sax artists from the Netherlands.

Mon 21 Nov BETH HART

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–23:00, £28.50

American singer/songwriter who found fame with LA Song, which aired during the final season of the mighty Beverly Hills 90210. THE LAFONTAINES

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £6

Motherwell outfit deftly combining portions of hip-hop, pop, rock and electro into one thumping melodic block of noise.

Tue 22 Nov KALEO


Icelandic rock group formed in 2012, returning with their second studio album, A/B.


Possessing more nous than the puerile band name might suggest, the New Jersey outfit do their acoustic-cum-indie-cum-dancecum-punk thing – packaged up with catchy choruses, an oftengalloping pace, and lyrics that mix flip humour with sincerity. EDEN’S CURSE (C.O.P UK + EVOLVE)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:00–23:00, £10

Multi-national melodic metal unit featuring five musicians from four different countries. SKLONIŠTE


Provocative work combining new music for classical accordion, poetry, photography and film, commemorating the spirit of the Sarajevans who lived through the longest siege in modern history. KINDRED THE FAMILY SOUL (TRINA BROUSSARD)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £15 - £22.50

The Philadelphia duo bring the feel-good vibes with their lovedup soul. PAISLEY

EAGLE INN, 19:30–22:30, £TBC

The indie rock project of Liam Floyd and David Barth, who perform ahead of their forthcoming debut album, set for release in 2017. FRANK WILDHORN AND FRIENDS

PALACE THEATRE MANCHESTER, 19:30–22:30, £19.50 - £54.50

The Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominated Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn makes his UK concert debut.


Modern Malian music from five men with diverse backgrounds and varying musical influences.

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £13 - £17

San Francisco jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter is joined by his full band.


Scruff of the Neck Records presents an evening with grungy postpunk three-piece LIINES, who’ll be joined by fellow Mancs Warm Widow and the Kraut-inspired psychedelic-pop of Warrington’s Danxia.

Andrew Manze returns to the Hallé to conduct a typically imaginative and compelling programme. CHARLIE HUNTER


With her opening drum machine thud and flickering guitar, Hannah Lou Clark is assured and sublime. She manages to suspend moments in time before unfurling and hurtling you into something not unlike Sharon Van Etten.

Teenage talents Harley AlexanderSule and Jordan Stephens do their thing, mixing pop with some oldschool hippity-hop. In baseball caps. Obviously.

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13 - £41




An evening of rhythm and blues nostalgia with The Manfreds, PP Arnold and Zoot Money. TERRORVISION (TAX THE HEAT)

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:00–22:00, £17.50

Playing Regular Urban Survivors and more. MICHAEL BALL AND ALFIE BOE

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 18:30–22:30, £35 - £65

The Broadway and West End star returns to the stage in his music guise alongside every mum’s favourite tenor, Alfie Boe. PALACE

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 18:30–22:00, £9.50

Former Twitch band member, who built his subsequent solo career busking on the streets with a loop station.

The London alternative rock foursome plays tracks from their debut album, So Long Forever.

MANCHESTER ARENA, 18:00–22:00, £30

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £26.50


Formed from the ashes of Creed, three of the original members continue to rock (with the added vocal skills of Myles Kennedy). CIGARETTES AFTER SEX

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:00, £10

Ambient pop from one of Brooklyn’s hottest exports, stopping off as part of their European tour. WEYES BLOOD

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £7.50

Solo project of New York-based musician Natalie Mering, aka exJackie-O Motherfucker member and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti associate. NORTHCOTE & JON SNODGRASS

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £9

The solo project by big-voiced singer-songwriter Matt Goud is joined by Jon Snodgrass of Drag the River. MAN AND THE ECHO (SUGARMEN)

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £8

Warrington pop outfit fronted by Gaz Roberts. WHITNEY: QUEEN OF THE NIGHT

PALACE THEATRE MANCHESTER, 19:30–22:30, £18 - £25

Celebrating the life and music of Whitney Houston, starring rising West End star Rebecca Freckleton.



American deathcore band formed in California. WALKING ON CARS

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £13.50

Young pop-meets-rock scamps hailing from the delightfully named Dingle, in Ireland. BLACK STONE CHERRY

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £28

Kentucky rockers riding along on their anthemic tunes and longflowing locks. GONG

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

The legendary prog-jazz eccentrics Gong play continue the legacy left by late main man Daevid Allen. HOW TO DRESS WELL

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £12

Moniker of experimental pop producer Tom Krell, who shot to fame in 2010 with debut album Love Remains, and continued this upward trajectory through to fourth and latest release, Care.


MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £40 - £50

The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra play their way through classics from the King as part of a live concert experience featuring the voice of Elvis (we’re slightly confused, too), with a special appearance from Priscilla Presley. THREE TRAPPED TIGERS

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:15, £10

Brian Eno-endorsed instrumental noise rockers return with new stuff.

November/December 2016


Late 80s shoegaze pioneers hit the road after reuninting last year. THE ORB

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £20

The legendary ambient producers drift dreamily towards the end of their third decade in existence.


A new, two-day micro-festival celebrating grassroots live music, creative collaboration, community networking and multimedia art/ film and performance. BEN MONTAGUE

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £10

Tousle-haired acoustic singer/ songwriter blessed with an acute sense of melody. MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY WIND ORCHESTRA


Award-winning MUWO return to perform a range of works, from Malcolm Arnold’s English Dances to Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto, featuring soloist Shannon Gateley. THE WHIP


The Manc electronic trio, making insanely danceable tunes that they term “sweat music”, headline Night and Day’s birthday celebrations.

Sun 27 Nov


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 17:00–19:00, £13.50 - £41

Panic Room frontwomam Anne-Marie Helder strides out on her own.

A superb cast of soloists joins Sir Mark Elder and the orchestra for a concert performance of Das Rheingold, the first part of Wagner’s epic The Ring of Niebelung.

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £16


GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £9


London-based indie-rockers who started life as Fear Of Flying, out and touring their new LP, Friends. LAURENCE JONES

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–22:00, £12.50

Laurence Jones, a blues-rocker from the land of Shakespeare, brings his tunes our way. FOUNDATIONS FESTIVAL

THE KING’S ARMS, 15:00–23:00, £15

A new, two-day micro-festival celebrating grassroots live music, creative collaboration, community networking and multimedia art/ film and performance. QUATUOR DANEL WITH RICHARD WHALLEY


The Belgian quartet are joined by pianist and composer Richard Whalley NIMMO

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £7.50

London five-piece signed to Columbia Records. Going places basically. THE WHIP

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £12.50

The Manc electronic trio, making insanely danceable tunes that they term “sweat music”, headline Night and Day’s birthday celebrations.

Sat 26 Nov



The longstanding Brighton rock ensemble celebrate 25 years of Levelling the Land. HINDS (WILLIE J HEALY + SWEAT)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £13.50

The hotly tipped Madrid lo-fi garage outfit continue to tour their debut release. CHANCE THE RAPPER

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £25

The Chicago hip-hop artist hits the road in support of his latest album Surf, released in May for free on the internet all modern n’ that. AIRBOURNE

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:00–22:00, £19

Longhaired Aussie hard rockers known for crafting underdogchampioning anthems with reckless abandon. SLAVES

ALBERT HALL, 18:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

Two white middle class guys named Slaves. Hmm. Standard two-piece rock.


Two white middle class guys named Slaves. Hmm. Standard two-piece rock.


SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:00, £7.50

Catchy Exeter punk rock band. O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 20:00–23:00, £45 - £75

The OBE-furnished Irish singer/ songwriter plays a set cherrypicked from his back catalogue. THE FRATELLIS

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

The Glasgow indie-rockers, led by lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Fratelli, celebrate 10 years of Costello Music. THE SLOW SHOW

GORILLA, 19:30–22:30, £15

Recently-formed Manc band chock with American alternative folk references, but with a distinctive Northern English touch. DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £13 - £17

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Dubioza Kolektiv blend local Balkan flavours with ska, punk, reggae, electronica and hip hop. THE CURE (THE TWILIGHT SAD)

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £25 - £50

The gothic 70s post-punkers head to Manchester for their first show in the city for over a decade, playing through three decades’ worth of material.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–22:30, £29 - £47.50



Brighton born singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg’s pared back new guise (i.e. five piece band becomes one).


MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL, 19:00–22:00, £16.50

SYO perform the first concert of their new season, conducted by Tim Crooks and Christopher Orton. OSKAR’S DRUM

EAGLE INN, 19:30–22:30, £5

Performing their first headline show to celebrate the release of debut album, A Cathedral of Hands. ROOSEVELT

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £8

Synth-pop singer, songwriter and producer from Cologne; aka Marius Lauber. RADIAN + DALEK (EX-RETINA + SEVERED SHADOW TRIO)

ISLINGTON MILL, 19:00–23:30, £10

A night of Viennese electronica, cult hip hop and more.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £30

Steve Hogarth’s longstanding band of rockers, returning with a new studio album, F.E.A.R - an acronym for Fuck Everyone and Run.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:00–22:00, £22.50 - £38.50

Festive show with the vocal harmony quintet based in London, where they were discovered whilst working as decorators. Obviously. BILL RYDER-JONES

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

A viciously talented multiinstrumentalist, film score composer and minimalist musician. His latest record, West Kirby County Primary, is a total treat. Well worth a gander IRL. Have we gushed enough yet?


American purveyors of Southern Rock, who released debut album Southernality last year. THE BOXER REBELLION

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £14

The Boxer Rebellion are back, bringing atmospheric, energetic and driven rock our way after the April release of their new album, Ocean by Ocean. CARA DILLON

THE LOWRY: QUAYS THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £21

Delicate-voiced Irish singer/ songwriter, joined live by her partner and husband Sam Lakeman (brother of Seth).


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £12.50 - £16.50

Expect rum-soaked songs from the BBC 6 Music favourite and pals. ANIMAL NOISE

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £6

Wed 30 Nov

The co-founder and frontman of Aussie alt troupe The Cat Empire tours his third solo album, Paper Doors. STOCKPORT YOUTH ORCHESTRA



O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £22.50

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:00, £20

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 18:30–23:00, £16

Metalcore from Dallas, Texas, returning with new album, This Light I Hold.

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £9

NYC rock trio, out trailing new album, The Boy Who Died Wolf.

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–23:00, £10.50 - £14.50

Dar Williams presents the fruit of nine whole studio albums, packed with clever, mature songwriting.


The experimental indie heads head our way as part of their Little Things tour.


An evening of cinematic nostalgia via soundtracks from films including Funny Girl, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, Hello Dolly, Star Wars, Gigi, Gone With the Wind and more.


Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concertois joined by Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, Ravel’s Tzigane and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, complete with The Great Gate of Kiev.


The mighty F’Rabbit take some time out from conquering the US-of-A – where they’ve spent the past two months – to play a series of UK dates, a selection of new tunes quite rightly in tow. LAZULI


90s formed group combining progressive rock with world and electro music. LISSIE (TEDDY THOMPSON)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £20

The Rock Island folk-rock songstress (aka Elisabeth Corrin Maurus) hits town. AGNES OBEL

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

The folk-inspired Danish singer/ songwriter takes to the road to play tracks offa her new album, Citizen of Glass. MYSTIC BRAVES

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £8

Psych rock from Echo Park, Los Angeles. SEWAGE FARM (LOCEAN + ARK)

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £6

The collaborative efforts of Nine Black Alps’ Sam Forrest and Danny Trew Barton of White Firs, playing a special early headline show in support of their forthcoming release on Desert Mine Music.

Thu 01 Dec THE ALARM

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £22.50


The University Big Band return with what’s sure to be a high energy show.


O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £36 - £42.50

The Human League are ready for another tour of their oncepioneering new wave. PIERCE THE VEIL (LETLIVE + CREEPER)


The Welsh metal titans return to the live stage. THE SAW DOCTORS

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £25 - £35

The cream of Manchester’s drag scene take to the stage for a festive bash.


Handel specialist Christian Curnyn joins the orchestra, Hallé choir and soloists to conduct the composer’s magisterial Messiah for the perfect lead-up to Christmas. BIG COUNTRY

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £20

Mark Brzezicki and Bruce Watson continue to tour as Big Country, with new vocalist Simon Hough replacing Stuart Adamson. THE LANCASHIRE HOTPOTS


Five Northern blokes in flat caps singing songs about the wonders of modern day life. JOHN COOPER CLARKE & HUGH CORNWELL

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 18:30–22:00, £24

Cooper Clarke’s trademark rapidfire, biting political verse is cast aside as he debuts as lead vocalist alongside Hugh Cornwell for their collaborative album, This Time it’s Personal, featuring songs the pair grew up with. BLOSSOMS

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Psyche-pop riffs, vocal melodies, a film noir meets 60s aesthetic, a range of audible references from Arctic Monkeys via Abba to The Doors.


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 18:30–22:15, £14

Three breaking blues and rock acts come together for a tripleheadline concert tour. CATHERINE TYLDESLEY

THE LOWRY: QUAYS THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £21

Some soap actress branching out to explore ‘her lifelong love for music’. No taaaa. BIFFY CLYRO (BRAND NEW)

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £29.50 - £38.50


Five piece euphoric indie pop/ rock lot hailing from London and featuring neither Eliza, nor indeed a bear.

Hot Chip/Scritti Politti’s Rob Smoughton unveils his new band.

ALBERT HALL, 18:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

Blue Kassette headline as Lock 38 head to Manchester for the first time.


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £10

Despite their minimal setup, Honeyblood’s songs are fully formed and perfectly assured. With nothing extraneous, their music is driven through tightly-bound instrumentals and laced with the sheer strength and beauty of Stina’s voice.


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–21:45, £10 - £15

Some of the UK’s finest gospel vocalists help you settle in to the festive season. PETE TONG PRESENTS IBIZA CLASSICS

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £65

Anthems of the Balearic Isles are performed by The Heritage Orchestra, conducted by Jules Buckley, with special guests Candi Staton, John Newman and Jessie Ware. THE GREASY SLICKS

ISLINGTON MILL, 20:00–02:00, £10

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £5


Cairo’s electro chaabi keyboard pioneer Islam Chipsy is joined by his band EEK for a live set.

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £15

Metalcore quartet hailing from Australia, bringing cheeky charm by the bucket load.

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–22:00, £13.50 - £41

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £9

Psyche-pop riffs, vocal melodies, a film noir meets 60s aesthetic, a range of audible references from Arctic Monkeys via Abba to The Doors.





Mon 05 Dec

The Irish collective of songwriters celebrate their country of origin through song, as is their way.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £15

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MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £30

The Kilmarnock rock outfit tour in support of new album, The Ellipsis.

The blues rock trio tour Europe in support of their debut release.

The Southend on Sea ensemble take their eponymous debut album out on the road.


Post-hardcore outfit founded by brothers Vic and Mike Fuentes.

Welsh new wave rock quartet, heavily influenced by Welsh language and culture. NOTHING BUT THIEVES

Sat 03 Dec




MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £12

Traditional bluegrass-styled offerings from sister duo Rebecca and Megan Lovell, with a selection of original songs and covers sung in the sweetest of vocal harmonies. PLACEBO

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:00–22:30, £27.50

With six studio albums and more than 12 million records sales, Brian Molko and his band of alternative rockers return to mark the 20th anniversary of their eponymous debut album.

Tue 06 Dec


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £18 - £22

Maxi Jazz returns with his fearsome live band The E-Type Boys. DANIEL DOCHERTY

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–23:00, £7 - £9

Acoustic folk-pop singer/songwriter from Glasgow.

Wed 07 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 14:15–16:15, £13.50 - £41

Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé, Ryan Wigglesworth, conducts Mother Goose - five ‘fairy-tale’ pieces Ravel originally composed for the children of two friends, while German violinist Viviane Hagner performs Brahms’s Violin Concerto. AGAINST ME! (MILK TEETH + MOBINA GALORE)


90s punk rockers from Florida touring latest record Shape Shift with Me. KATE TEMPEST

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £18

English playwright, performance poet, Ninja Tune-signed rapper and all-round literary starlet Kate Tempest returns in full-band guise, performing songs from her Mercury-nominated album, Everybody Down.

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £5 - £6



Live music showcase, giving a stage to local up-and-coming performers.


Presenting Verdi’s Messa De Requiem, which was composed in response to the death of Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni.

Sun 04 Dec


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £30

The Welsh metal titans return to the live stage. THE SHIRES

BRIDGEWATER HALL, FROM 19:00, £22.50 - £27.50

Hertfordshire and Bedfordshirehailing duo riding the wave of country music’s recent success. PIXIES

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £32.50

Heading out on a world tour in support of their sophomore post-reunion album, Head Carrier, which also sees Paz Lenchantin officially join the permanent line-up. THE JULIE RUIN

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £14

NYC band returning with their sophomore album, Hit Reset. AMANI LIVE

BAND ON THE WALL, 16:00–18:30, £5

Monthly contemporary African music event in BOTW’s Picturehouse Bar, with live tunes, storytelling, spoken word, dance, visual art and food.

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £6


MANCHESTER ARENA, 18:30–22:00, £62.50 - £75

The husky-voiced, mullet-headed one is touring again – now five decades on with a staggering 27 studio albums under his belt, including most recent platinumselling albums Time and Another Country. OCEAN COLOUR SCENE

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £30

The Birmingham Brit-poppers return to a live setting to mark their 20th anniversary of hit album Moseley Shoals. THE HALLÉ: RAVEL, HAYDN AND BRAHMS

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £41

Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé, Ryan Wigglesworth, conducts Mother Goose - five ‘fairy-tale’ pieces Ravel originally composed for the children of two friends, while German violinist Viviane Hagner performs Brahms’s Violin Concerto. GENGAHR

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £11

Smooth melodic indie-rock unit. TALIB KWELI (SPEECH DEBELLE + J CHAMBERS)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £15 - £18

The influential New York MC deft at making minds tick and bodies move, such is his talent.





THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:30–22:30, £12

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:00–23:00, £6.50

The Swedish noise rockers tour off the back of their new LP, Universe. MARISSA NADLER (MARY LATTIMORE)

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £11

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and painter based in Boston.

Fri 09 Dec SHURA

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

Pop producer and singer/songwriter, aka Aleksandra Denton when she’s off stage.

Part of X Factor wannabees Overload Generation, if that’s in any way an advert. PAUL YOUNG (HUE & CRY)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £25

The former frontman of Kat Kool and The Kool Cats, Streetband and Q-Tips. SCHOOLBOY Q


Californian hip-hop artist, known to his mammy as Quincey Matthew Hanley. ANDY MCKEE

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £19.50


Acoustic guitar soloist with a dedicated online community of followers, playing a duo of sets with no support.

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £70

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £40 - £60

A host of pop, erm, talent combine to celebrate the festive season. JANET DEVLIN

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £12.50

Northern Irish singer-songwriter, who you may remember from her fresh-faced days refusing footwear on stage during an X Factor stint. Now with added ukulele, just to add insult to the injury. GIRL BAND

GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £10

Irish post-punk hotshots currently getting the music press’ pants in a twist. BY THE RIVERS & WILL AND THE PEOPLE

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–23:00, £7 - £11

The pop, soul and reggae six-piece are joined by Will and The People. NE-YO

O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £56.25

LA-based r’n’b artist, producer, actor and dancer who’s so sick of love songs; so tired of tears. Poor tyke.


ALBERT HALL, 18:00–22:00, £22.50

The post-Britpoppers celebrate the 20th anniversary of K, performing the album in its entirety for the first time.


Mask-wearing noise rockers Evil Blizzard are joined by Bad Guys and Glass Mountain for a festive show. CLAY

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:00, £8

Leeds export and serious upand-comer Clay create a fusion of Factory Records-style indie with a falsetto groove. COCO MBASSI

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–23:00, £10 - £12.50

Cameroon singer, whose music has deep African roots but branches out to classical music, soul, gospel, jazz, Latin and even pop. AD SOLEM: THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER CHAMBER CHOIR

ST ANN’S CHURCH, 19:30–21:15, £2 - £10

An evening of muisc, poetry and spirituality.

Sun 11 Dec ASH

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £25

The Irish Britpopsters play all the hits and live favourites of a 20+ year career, marking the anniversary of 1996 album, 1977. THE HALLÉ: RAVEL, HAYDN AND BRAHMS

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £41

Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé, Ryan Wigglesworth, conducts Mother Goose - five ‘fairy-tale’ pieces Ravel originally composed for the children of two friends, while German violinist Viviane Hagner performs Brahms’s Violin Concerto. THE HALLÉ: CHRISTMAS FAMILY CONCERT

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 15:00–17:00, £15 - £24

Join The Hallé for their annual fun-filled festive family concert, full of sing-alongs, jingle-alongs, seasonal surprises, orchestral antics and audience amazement.




It’s been over 20 years since the release of his first studio LP, though no doubt it’ll be the likes of Sail Away and Babylon from later record White Ladder that give Mr Gray his loudest cheers as he plays us through his back catalogue. THE COMET IS COMING

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £10.50 - £14.50

Experimental cosmic funk inspired by everything from Sun Ra and Funkadelic to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Mon 12 Dec


O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £15

Fast and heavy riffs courtesy of the Columbus five-piece. CATE LE BON

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £12.50

The Welsh singer-songwriter returns with her fourth album, Crab Day. KORN & LIMP BIZKIT

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:00–22:30, £39.50 - £48.50

Californian nu-metallers Korn get back on the road for a jaunt with fellow rap-rock/metal heads Limp Bizkit.

Tue 13 Dec


O2 APOLLO MANCHESTER, 19:00–22:00, £35 - £65

Thu 15 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, FROM 19:30, £29.50 - £40

Manchester-based amalgamation of post-punk, psych and shoegaze.


A festive concert of carols and seasonal tunes staged in full 18th-Century costume in an atmospheric candlelit setting. THE ALBION CHRISTMAS BAND

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £18.50

Founder of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band, Ashley Hutchings is joined on stage by Kellie While, Simon Care and Simon Nicol for festive music, spoken word, readings and dance. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £50 - £80

Anthony Kiedis et al return to pretty much wipe the floor in the funk-rock stakes, in support of their latest album. MUMS FESTIVE CONCERT


Join the Manchester University Music Society Symphony Orchestra for a festive special.


Live music showcase, giving a stage to local up-and-coming performers.

Fri 16 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £21 - £43

Following huge Hallé successes with her tributes to Ella Fitzgerald and the First Ladies of Song, singer, songwriter and broadcaster, Clare Teal performs a selection of seasonal favourites, alongside some great orchestral arrangements. RICHARD HAWLEY PRESENTS DISGRACELAND (HENRI HERBERT)

BAND ON THE WALL, 21:00–23:00, £12.50 - £16.50

New night of live music and DJ sets curated by producer, songwriter, guitarist and bona-fide national treasure Richard Hawley, this time with the Jim Jones Revue’s Henri Herbert. MADNESS

The Broadway and West End star returns to the stage in his music guise alongside every mum’s favourite tenor, Alfie Boe.

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £35 - £47.50

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £28

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:00, £10

THE 1975

Local indie rockers done “good”, depending on what you measure that by.


O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £18.50

The Floridian indie rock lot head our way for the last time, armed with their 10th and final album. REAL FRIENDS (KNUCKLE PUCK + WITH CONFIDENCE)


The longstanding Camden Town ska ensemble embark on their brand new UK tour. FRANK HAMILTON

London-based singer/songwriter known for his highly successful EP, You, Your Cat and Me, produced at the bargain price of £800. GEMINI ENSEMBLE CELEBRATORY CONCERT: PROFESSOR PHILIP GRANGE AT 60


Internationally acclaimed ensemble Gemini performs a concert to celebrate Philip Grange’s 60th Birthday.

American pop punkers from Illinois signed to Fearless Records.

Sat 17 Dec

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–22:30, £45

Join The Hallé for a seasonal selection of traditional carols for orchestra, choir and audience.


Unlikely collaboration between musical theatre singer and rock legend, with their Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour. THE DUNWELLS

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–23:00, £11

Folk rock bunch hailing from Leeds, made up of brothers Joseph and David Dunwell and cousins Robert Clayton and Jonny Lamb. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £50 - £80

Anthony Kiedis et al return to pretty much wipe the floor in the funk-rock stakes, in support of their latest album. LUCA’S WINTER (RNCM CHAMBER ORCHESTRA AND BIG BAND)


World première of Tim Garland’s Luca’s Winter,an epic festive work for big band, chamber orchestra and narrator - think modern update of Peter and the Wolf and Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 15:00–17:00, £21 - £43


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £20

Home is Where the Heart is THE CORAL

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–22:00, £22.50

The Wirral five-piece make a comeback, now on their eighth album, Distance Inbetween, which was recorded at Parr Street Studio in Liverpool. AYNSLEY LISTER

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £14

The Leicester-born blues guitar legend does his thing. JAMES HUNTER SIX


R’n’b troubadour James Hunter returns with latest album, Hold On! EVERY TIME I DIE

GORILLA, 18:00–22:00, £15

New York-hailing metalcore bunch

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:15, £7



Another instalment of the music festival, this time with south-east London’s InHeaven, surfery garage types The Orielles and others.

Sun 18 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 15:00–17:00, £21 - £43

Join The Hallé for a seasonal selection of traditional carols for orchestra, choir and audience. HALLÉ CAROL CONCERTS

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £21 - £43

Join The Hallé for a seasonal selection of traditional carols for orchestra, choir and audience. PURPLE RAIN

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £SOLD OUT

A celebration of Prince with full eight-piece live band. THE BREATH (KIRK MCELHINNEY)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £10 - £14.50

Composed of guitarist Stuart McCallum, his fellow Cinematic Orchestra alumni, John Ellis and Luke Flowers, and Honeyfeet’s Ríoghnach Connolly. THE WILDHEARTS WISH YOU A MESSY CHRISTMAS (HEY! HELLO! + THE MAIN GRAINS)

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £20

The British rock veterans head out on’t road, with Ginger reunited with his bandmates CJ, Jon and Ritch. THE MANCHESTER FESTIVE HAPPENING

ALBERT HALL, FROM 15:00, £3 - £35

Manchester Camerata play a festive selection at Albert Hall.



The Australian rockers return with their new record, Thick As Thieves, released earlier this year. STATUS QUO

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £48 - £55

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt continue to tour the Status Quo name (aka prepare yourself for the easiest air guitaring in the world).

Tue 20 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 13:30–14:45, £16 - £25

The animated classic by Raymond Briggs is accompanied live by the Hallé performing Howard Blake’s beautiful score. THE HALLÉ: THE SNOWMAN

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 16:00–17:15, £16 - £25

The animated classic by Raymond Briggs is accompanied live by the Hallé performing Howard Blake’s beautiful score.

Wed 21 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 11:00–12:15, £16 - £25

The animated classic by Raymond Briggs is accompanied live by the Hallé performing Howard Blake’s beautiful score. THE HALLÉ: THE SNOWMAN

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 13:30–14:45, £16 - £25

The animated classic by Raymond Briggs is accompanied live by the Hallé performing Howard Blake’s beautiful score. THE WONDER STUFF (BENTLEY RHYTHM ACE + FUZZBOX + STEVE LAMACQ)

O2 RITZ MANCHESTER, 19:00–23:00, £20

30 years since the The Wonder Stuff’s first rehearsal in the The Black Country, the group returned to their roots to record their latest album in Stourbridge and are now back on tour with a new arsenal of material.

Thu 22 Dec


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–23:00, £10 - £14

Manchester-based ska 11-piece – best known as the high-energy house band from monthly club night, Shake n Bake – presenting their take on Christmas cheer.

ANDRÉ RIEU MANCHESTER ARENA, 20:00–23:00, £45 - £95

Famous Dutch violinist and conductor. JAMES ARTHUR


The 2012 X-Factor winner now tumbling down the rungs of the pop world.

Fri 23 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £21 - £43

The Hallé raises the rafters with music from the comedies, adventures, romances, swords and sorcerers that make us feel Christmassy. THE MOUSE OUTFIT

BAND ON THE WALL, 20:00–23:00, £8 - £12.50

Fronted by UK hip-hop legend Dr Syntax and verbal acrobat Sparkz, this nine–piece band’s horn-heavy and funk-driven live show combines original grooves with classic hip-hop, b-boy and funk breaks. BANDANTE

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £8

The new band from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds guitarist, George Vjestica.

Sat 24 Dec

Clubs Find listings below for weekly and monthly fixtures at clubs across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. For regularly updated listings including one-off club nights and the best parties from independent promoters, head to

Leeds Clubs Liverpool Clubs

Manchester Clubs


Albert Hall

O2 Academy PROJEKT, 22:00-04:00, £5

An 2700-capacity indoor festival vibe each week, with Co2 jets, confetti cannons, pyrotechnics and dancers, with residents PBH and Harley Sanders playing deep house, future house and classic club anthems.



PROPAGANDA’S ATTIC, 22:30-04:00, £4-£5

BRIDGEWATER HALL, FROM 15:00, £29.50 - £40

Sing along to all your faves.

Long-running indie night, serving 28 cities across the UK, Ireland and Australia; expect The Libertines, The Fratellis, Kate Nash and such.

Mon 26 Dec

Canal Mills



BRIDGEWATER HALL, FROM 15:00, £29.50 - £40

The Bridgewater Hall finishes up its Christmas season in style.

Thu 29 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £21 - £43

A top line-up of star vocalists supported by a rock band and over eighty Hallé musicians - celebrate what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday year.

Fri 30 Dec


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £21 - £43

Stephen Bell celebrates the ultimate British hero through the spine tingling sounds that gave musical voice to the films, with catch title sequences and haunting songs performed by vocalists Alison Jiear and Matthew Ford.

Sat 31 Dec


BAND ON THE WALL, 20:00–23:00, £17.50 - £22.50

Ring in 2017 with a band, as BOTW welcomes Haggis Horns for a stomping full live show.


BONGO’S BINGO, 18:00-23:30, £5

A bingo rave with DJs, dance-offs and, of course, bingo.

The Warehouse FRIDAYS

STICKY FEET, 23:00-02:00, £TBC

Leeds’ biggest weekly bass night, powered through monstrous Funktion One dance stacks.


JUICEBOX, 21:00-02:00, FREE

Indie night spanning alt rock, 60s, Northern Soul,

Brooklyn Mixer WEDNESDAYS


Join the No-Wave DJs as they play hip hop, r’n’b, funk, soul and indie each week.

Camp and Furnace THURSDAYS

BONGO’S BINGO, 18:00-23:30, £5

A bingo rave with DJs, dance-offs and, of course, bingo.



LOVE WEDNESDAYS, 22:00-04:00, £TBC

Billing itself as Liverpool’s biggest weekly student event, with three levels of house, r’n’b, hip hop, party anthems and guilty pleasures.


BONGO’S BINGO, 18:30-23:00, £5

A bingo rave with DJs, danceoffs and, of course, bingo.


MR SCRUFF KEEP IT UNREAL, 22:0003:00, £12

No less than a DJ mastermind, known for playing marathon sets, mixing a junk-shop bag of sounds and bringing his beats to life with squiggly, scribbled animations.


Black Dog Ballroom NQ

#HASHTAG, 22:00-04:00, £TBC

LOVE FRIDAYS, 22:00-03:00, £2-£3


Three levels of nostalgic pop, dance anthems, r’n’b and hip hop, topped off with stilt walkers, dancers and trapeze artists.

Hark back to the Soul Train and Studio 54 days with chic disco and grooves.

LEVEL SATURDAYS, 22:00-04:00, £TBC



Laser shows, trapeze artists, acrobatics, fire eaters and more complement the EDM, dance, progressive house and pop anthem soundtracks from the past and present.



Two floors, three DJs and a whole lotta, er, style – allegedly.

The Attic


4MATION, 22:00-03:00, FREE

4Mation returns with a free night of underground house and tech house.


Black Dog’s resident DJs spin everything from disco and house to hip hop and chart smashers.

Black Dog Ballroom NWS MONDAYS


Party hip hop, grime, r’n’b, dancehall and much more down in Black Dog’s downstairs club, UnderDog. TUESDAYS


Party vibes aplenty with Co2 cannons, confetti guns and balloons, all soundtracked by r’n’b, bass and house tunes. FRIDAYS


Black Dog's weekly club night, which sees the end-of week thirst of Manchester's 9-5ers quenched by £12 bottles/£3 glasses of Prosecco.

Factory 251 MONDAYS

QUIDS IN, 23:00-04:00, £1-£2

Cheap as chips Monday student night, where the price of various drinks match the alluring entry fee (which rises to £2 after midnight, btw). THURSDAYS

F//CK TH//RSDAY, 22:30-05:00, 99P-£5

Student Thursday-nighter, with resident DJs Steve Davies, Bill Murray's Rock n Soul club and Nicola Bear serving up anything from retro classics to electro mashups across three rooms. FRIDAYS

#FRI251, 22:30-05:00, 99P BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Student Friday-nighter, with mashups in room one, indie, funk and Motown in room two, and electro house in room three. SATURDAYS


Three rooms of commercial dance, indie and deep house, powered by Funktion One Sound.


SUNKEN MONDAYS, 22:00-04:00, £1-£15

A weekly student night playing the very best in house and techno.


Mint Lounge FRIDAYS

TOP OF THE POPS, 22:30-04:00, £4

Get your weekend off to a great start with this healthy mix of dancefloor fillers and guilty pleasures served up by residents and guest DJs. SATURDAYS

FUNKADEMIA, 22:30-04:00, £5-£6

Mancunian nightclub institution – delivering a chronological history of soul on a weekly basis, courtesy of their DJ collective.

Night and Day Cafe


ELECTRIC JUG, 23:00-03:00, £3

Serving up the best of the 60s, ranging from psych and rock'n'roll to Britpop and soul.


THIS FEELING, 20:00-03:00, £5

Indie club night featuring tunes from Arctic Monkeys, Blur, Courteeners, David Bowie, The Smiths and much more. FRIDAYS/SATURDAYS (EVERY SECOND OF THE MONTH)

ANTIX, 23:00-03:00, £3

Cult indie, electronica, psychedelia, retro anthems and more from the Antics residents and guest DJs.

O2 Ritz


ULTIMATE POWER, 22:30-03:00, £8

Club night sweeping the nation, offering up nothing but power ballads. It's like one big communal karaoke night.


REVOLT, 23:00-03:30, £3

A night of rock and metal with beer pong matches all night. FRIDAYS

The Thirsty Scholar



DJ Rob Gordon spins the best new wave, post-punk, Madchester and Britpop. THURSDAYS (EVERY SECOND OF THE MONTH)


With originals and rarities, dubplate and up-to-date.

The Ruby Lounge


REMAKE REMODEL, 23:00-03:30, £4

A night of alternative rock'n'roll shenanigans.


DEADBOLT, 23:00-03:00, £5

Ruby Lounge regular, often seen throwing special themed parties. FRIDAYS (BIMONTHLY; EVERY LAST OF THE MONTH)

PEEPSHOW, 23:00-03:00, £12

Cabaret-themed night of avant-garde and alternative entertainment.


BREAK STUFF, 23:00-03:00, £3

Power ballads and dad rock anthems, from AC/DC to ZZ Top.


HOWLING RHYTHM, 23:00-03:00, £5

The 60s soul and Motown-centric night returns for another outing, serving up even more Northern soul and funk courtesy of the Howling Rhythm residents. SATURDAYS (EVERY LAST OF THE MONTH)

ABSOLUTE SHITE, 23:00-03:00, £4

Proudly one of the worst nights in Manchester; expect some of the worst tunes known to humankind.

GET DOWN, 23:00-03:30, £2-£3

Funk, indie, Motown, soft rock, alt anthems, pop punk and pyahhh guilty pleasures.


P.A.R.T.Y, 22:00-03:00, £4

Funky house, grime, r'n'b, UK garage and more at the veteran club.

Soup Kitchen MONDAYS

REMAKE REMODEL, 23:00-03:00, £2-£4

A night of alternative rock'n'roll shenanigans.


SWING TWING, 23:00-03:30, £5

Always summery vibes from the Swing Ting boys, pushing their street and soundsystem numbers.



Anthemic house music from the Secluded residents, Kirk Paten, Fi La Funk, Lee Freeland, Francois Jean, Jake Angelo and Diana McNally.

Twenty Twenty Two FRIDAYS


Theatre Leeds Theatre CarriageWorks Theatre ANNIE

24-26 NOV, 7:30PM, PRICES VARY

A musical set in 1930s New York, Annie tells the story of a flamehaired orphan in pursuit of her real parents, and whose fate takes a U-turn when she’s chosen to spend Christmas with a billionaire. Matinees available. SNOW WHITE

11-12 NOV, 7:00PM, £14.50 - £16

Classic panto fodder featuring a rosy-cheeked fair maiden and her band of dwarves... You know the rest. Matinee performances also available. MUDDY COWS

10 DEC, 7:45PM, £9 - £11

Delving into the world of elite female rugby, in a scrum of personal battles, crashing tackles, rucking mothers and real life hookers. YOU FORGOT THE MINCE


A new play by Francesca Joy, directed by Stephen Whitson. GENERATE: LEEDS

7-8 NOV, 7:30PM, £5

Generate: Leeds are a group of young local theatre makers, whose two weeks’ worth of work culminates in a celebration of new, devised and physical performance. BOOKISH

12 NOV, 7:45PM, £6 - £8

Tom Adams and Laura Mugridge present an interactive show about what books inspire, where you can choose one of five books to get a quiz about cheese, a song about body language or something else altogether. IMPACT

17 NOV, 7:45PM, £8.50 - £10.50

Two one-act plays, both delving into how lives can be changed in a second and the life-changing decisions that then need to be made. CINDERELLA

2 DEC-7 JAN 17, TIMES VARY, £10 - £19

More in the way of annual panto fare, taking on the story of Cinders, her ugly step sisters, wicked step mother and run in with a dashing prince.



Northern Ballet bring the famous fairytale to life, with a live score from the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Matinees available.


GOLD TEETH, 22:00-03:00, £4.50-£5


GIRLS ON FILM, 22:00-03:00, £3-£6

Pink lady cocktails, disco balls, glitz and glamour – a club night where you're free to let your inner 80s child loose.

November/December 2016


15 DEC-7 JAN 17, 7:00PM, £10 - £47

Northern Ballet bring the famous fairytale to life, with a live score from the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Matinees available.

Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre LEVIATHAN

2 NOV, 7:30PM, £12.50

Multi award-winning choreographer James Wilton returns to Leeds with a reimagining of Herman Melville’s seminal novel, Moby Dick, blending athletic dance, martial arts, capoeira and partner-work.


18 DEC, 7:00PM – 10:00PM, £9 - £12.50

Bringing together a selection of rising burlesque stars from across the UK, competing for prizes and a performance contract.

West Yorkshire Playhouse THE WITCHES

2 DEC-21 JAN 17, 7:00PM – 8:30PM, £14 - £16

Stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, the surprisingly scary factor of which you might be able to hack nowadays. Maybe. Matinee performances also available. 946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS 1-5 NOV, 7:30PM, PRICES VARY

Kneehigh use music, puppetry and foolishness to bring to life Michael Morpurgo’s novel revealing the secrets the US and British governments tried to hush. Matinees available. THE BOYS IN THE BAND


Mark Gatiss stars in the first major revival of the iconic play set in late-1960s’ New York. Matinee performances also available. WHOSE SARI NOW?

10-12 NOV, 7:45PM – 9:00PM, £12 - £14

30 NOV-21 JAN 17, 7:30PM, £13.50 - £40

Broadway and West End musical set in the 20s, featuring cell blocks, smokin’ guns, pinstripe trousers and and all that jazz, we’re told. Matinees available. THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW


New stage adaptation of the BAFTA award-winning film about six steelworkers with nothing to lose - well, except their clothes. With former Hollyoaks stars and, er, Eastenders’ Jack Ryder directing (?!) Matinees available.

Legendary weekly mixed-bag night, often invites use of the term 'carnage'.

Based on the BAFTA awardwinning film, following a young working class music fan produce the finest soul band Dublin’s ever seen. Matinees available.

22-26 NOV, 7:30PM, £19 - £44



The Deaf Institute


5-10 DEC, 7:30PM, £21 - £46.50

Leeds Grand Theatre

The latest incarnation of the favourited rock’n’roll musical heads our way. Matinees available.

Hip hop, r’n’b, house and ping pong going strong until 4am.

Whimsical musical based on the classic movie, starring Sarah Harding as a heartbroken woman who spins pottery with her lover’s corpse? Or something like that. Matinees available.

Examining the role of the sari in the lives of five characters, including a young mother giving birth in a war zone and a Malaysian historian. Matinees available.

Residents Lee Majors and Bad Osiris spin hip hop, r’n’b, disco, garage and house throughout the night. SATURDAYS

GHOST: THE MUSICAL 14-19 NOV, 7:30PM, £17.50 - £38.50




7-12 NOV, 7:30PM, £16.50 - £25

A ma-hoo-sive musical inspired by the famed recording session which united Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first (and last) time. Matinees available.


UK premiere of a brand new musical inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s offbeat classic film, which follows dancer Scott as he follows his heart and breaks the rules. Matinees available.


2 DEC, 7:30PM, £6 - £8

Showcasing new work by independent choreographers and dance companies working on the small scale for a fresh taste of new dance.

Liverpool Theatre Echo Arena CINDERELLA

16-24 DEC, TIMES VARY, £12.50 - £68

More in the way of annual panto fare, taking on the story of Cinders, her ugly step sisters, wicked step mother and run in with a dashing prince.

Epstein Theatre ALADDIN


Panto take on the pauper who becomes a prince thanks to a lamp and a bit of elbow grease THE RUBY SLIPPERS

5 NOV, TIMES VARY, £16.50 - £19.50

A new comedy drama set in The Ruby Slippers drag bar, exploring love, friendship and identity. OLIVER THE MUSICAL

11-13 NOV, TIMES VARY, £12.50 - £14.50

LHK Youth Theatre present their take on the classical musical, based on Charles Dickens’ 1838 novel of the little shit who asked for more. LIVER BIRDSONG: THE LIVERPOOL BLITZ MUSICAL

29 NOV-3 DEC, 7:30PM, £15.50 - £18.50

World premiere of the new British musical by Tony Bradley and Rebecca Myers, markingn the 75th anniversary of the Blitz. Matinee performances also available. CINDERELLA

13 DEC, TIMES VARY, £12.50

More in the way of annual panto fare, taking on the story of Cinders, her ugly step sisters, wicked step mother and run in with a dashing prince.

Everyman Theatre


26 NOV-21 JAN 17, 7:00PM, £10 - £30

The traditional fairytale is given the festive panto treatment, featuring double act Adam Keast and Francis Tucker. Matinee and earlier performances also available. HEADS WILL ROLL

8-12 NOV, 7:30PM, £9.50 - £26

A new dark comedy about delisuion, vanity and the corruption of power from the insatiably curious Told by an Idiot. Matinees available. AT THE END OF EVERYTHING ELSE

4-5 NOV, TIMES VARY, £8 - £11.50

A carbon friendly performance using pedal power, puppetry, animation, music and sound, where the only power used comes the energy generated by the team on stage.



9 DEC-14 JAN 17, 7:30PM, £9.50 - £28

10-12 NOV, 7:30PM, £8 - £10

A festive music hall show with sing-a-longs, human catapults, daring escapologists and, er, a live cow? Matinees available.

Royal Court Theatre


UNTIL 12 NOV, 8:00PM, £16 - £18

Alan Stocks’ comedic show combining rude jokes with singing nuns. Matinees available. SCOUSE OF THE RISING SUN

25 NOV-9 JAN 17, 8:00PM, £13

J B Priestley’s Northern comedy is brought to life by Northern Broadsides. Matinee and earlier performances also available. THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE


A new play by Andrew Bovell, telling the story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings. Matinees available.


2-5 NOV, 7:45PM, £5 - £7

YEP tackles one of the most controversial political stories of modern times. Matinees available. SUSAN HILL’S THE WOMAN IN BLACK

7-12 NOV, 7:30PM – 9:30PM, £9.50 - £28

Stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s best-selling novel, combining the intensity of live theatre with a cinematic tension inspired by the world of film noir. Matinee performances also available.

Find full listings at


11 NOV, 6:00PM, £3

12 NOV, 9:00PM, £10 - £12.50


A magical new adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ timeless adventure from APL theatre. AUSTENATIOUS

3 NOV, 7:30PM, £12

In which a brand new Jane Austen work is improvised before your very eyes, based on a single audience suggestion. CORK JACKETS AND DRILL

10 DEC, 7:30PM, £8 - £10

Using song and narration to tell the story of the 1886 Southport lifeboat disaster, which claimed the lives of almost all the crew members of the Southport and St Anne’s lifeboats.




England’s avant-guardian David Hoyle returns to Homotopia hosting a night of live music, dance and spoken word. DADAFEST: ASSISTED SUICIDE THE MUSICAL

17-18 NOV, 8:00PM, £8 - £10

Disabled activist, actor and comedian Liz Carr has chosen the spectacular world of musical theatre as the backdrop to exploring the complex and controversial subject of assisted suicide in her new show. DADAFEST: SWAGGA

21 NOV, 8:00PM, £8 - £10

Promising dance crafted out of everyday bullshit, strong wills and trembling flesh. DADAFEST: GIVE ME A REASON TO LIVE

Prepare thyself for a whirlwind of contortionists, flying aerialists, demon dwarfs, sword swallowers, and any other weird thing you can think of – yep, it could only be The Circus of Horrors.

23 NOV, 8:00PM – 8:40PM, £8 - £10

2 NOV, 7:00PM – 9:00PM, £15



As the nation celebrates 400 years of William Shakespeare’s legacy, Ballet Theatre UK create a new production to tell the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers with astonishing grace and heartbreaking intimacy.

The Capstone


10 NOV, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £8 - £10

Choreographer Rosie Kay presents a new interpretion of the seminal work by Dutch/Italian choreographer Emio Greco. STRICTLY SICKLY

16 NOV, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £8 - £10

An interdisciplinary, interactive performance combining the energy of a talent show with the fun of a tea dance.

Andrew Cullen’s Scouse comedy returns after almost 20 years since its first run in Liverpool, being brought back to life for the festive season by Lantern Theatre Productions, which was created following the closure of the Liverpool’s much-loved Lantern Theatre earlier this year after the site was sold to developers.


Third year dance students at LIPA take on the 60s British musical. Matinees available.

21-22 DEC, TIMES VARY, £12.50 - £15



10-12 NOV, 7:30PM, £4.50 - £9

The Atkinson

The Dome

A funny and moving show in which four male performers portray four very familiar humans, each driven by a desire to care and be cared for. Matinees available.


Feminist film-maker, DJ and poet Sandi Hughes takes us through her archive of photographs, film and printed material capturing the marginalised of Liverpool in the 60s, 80s and 90s.

The Royal Court’s Christmas show returns, this time promising more gag, more songs and more silliness. Matinees available.

Liverpool Playhouse INSTITUTE

A powerful, heartfelt and comic story of one man’s obsession with a forgotten icon, Birminghamborn skater John Curry, who was outed as gay by a German tabloid newspaper.


17 NOV-15 DEC, 7:45PM, £7 - £14

Unity Theatre


1 NOV, 7:30PM, £6 - £8

An evening of dance and physical theatre featuring new work by local, national and international artists: Wild Thing, Passionaria - A Fantasia of Ham and Sequins, and A Blighted Life.


3-5 NOV, TIMES VARY, £8 - £10

Ashleigh Owen presents a onewoman show parody inspired by the success of her award-winning cabaret piece Fat Girl’s History of Dance. HOMOTOPIA: SCRATCH AND SEE

8 NOV, 8:00PM, £5

Regular evening of work-inprogress pieces - this time welcoming special guests as part of Homotopia.

Performer Claire Cunningham uses dance to delve into the work of medieval painter Hieronymous Bosch, exploring religion, religious art and the judgement of souls and bodies. 24-26 NOV, 7:30PM, £4.50 - £9

Koltès’ reimagining of the real-life killer is brought alive by acclaimed dramatist Martin Crimp in a visceral, absurdist and seductively macabre dark comedy. Matinees available. DADAFEST: CAN I START AGAIN PLEASE

24 NOV, 8:00PM – 8:55PM, £8 - £10

A powerful piece of theatre examining humans’ cognitive ability to process trauma and our linguistic ability to represent it. Features parallel stories both spoken and signed in BSL. MARY BARTON

1-3 DEC, 7:30PM, £4.50 - £9

Third year acting students at LIPA take on Elizabeth Gaskell’s epic social classic set in mid-19thcentury Manchester. Matinees available.

Manchester Theatre Contact Theatre RAW (RHYTHM AND WORDS)

28 NOV, 8:00PM, FREE

Contact’s regular open mic night RAW (Rhythm and Words), presenting short performances from poets, vocalists and MCs. MOTHER’S RUIN

25 NOV, 8:30PM, £8 - £12

Alt cabaret from the trailblazing queer performance platform Mother’s Ruin. ONE MIC STAND

18 NOV, 7:00PM, £4 - £7

A night of poetry, music and visual art from Young Identity Manchester, featuring a line-up of the city’s young spoken word elite. CANDOCO DANCE COMPANY

16-17 NOV, 8:00PM, £7 - £13

Double bill from the cutting-edge Candoco Dance Company, who feature disabled and non-disabled dancers, inviting audiences to consider what cdance can be.


22-24 NOV, 8:00PM, £7 - £13

A re-enactment of Elvis Presley’s 1968 Comeback Special (sort of) and an experiment in time drag wearing another time as drag and dragging another time into the present. COAL

7-8 DEC, 8:00PM, £10 - £15

A powerful and emotional dance theatre show about life at the coal face from choreographer Gary Clarke, marking the 30th anniversary of the end of the 1984/85 British Miners’ strike. THE SIEGE OF CHRISTMAS

15-22 DEC, TIMES VARY, £7 - £13

Festive immersive theatre for the young and young at heart. ANDY FIELD: LOOKOUT

4-5 NOV, TIMES VARY, £5 - £7

Site-specific theatre that involves a one-to-one encounter between an adult audience member and a child performer, taking place “somewhere high up overlooking the city”.


18-30 NOV, 7:00PM, £10 - £26.50

David Watson’s new version of Ibsen’s 1881 play, exploring how some legacies are hard to escape and some ghosts can’t simply be laid to rest. Matinee performances also available. TWO MAN SHOW

10 NOV-10 DEC, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12

Abbi and Helen present a playful new show about man and men, addressing masculinity and patriarchy through words, music and dance. ALEXANDER GEIST: SWANSONG

3 NOV, 9:00PM, £10 - £12

Combining the dry wit of Morrissey with the soundscape of Moroder and the sensibilities of Manet, Giest brings his ‘morose disco-soul’ to the stage with projection and live performance. WORLD FACTORY

7-10 DEC, 7:30PM, £20

Riffing on our awareness of mass production and vulture capitalism, World Factory gives you a first-hand experience of the sharp end of fast fashion. Matinees also available. YULE BE SORRY: A CHRISTMAS CABARET

16 DEC, 8:00PM – 11:00PM, £15

Post-drag, post-gender performance avalanche and avant-garde legend, Manchester’s own David Hoyle presents an unmissable evening of high comedy, sound, vision, paint and song.

Hope Mill Theatre PARALLEL

1-5 NOV, 8:00PM, £8 - £10

Darkly comic drama exploring our understanding of home, purpose and charity. Matinee performances also available. THE SNOW QUEEN

12-17 DEC, TIMES VARY, £8 - £15

A new adaptation of the classic tale, with stunning original music by James Atherton. Morning performances also available.



HAIR THE MUSICAL 12 NOV-3 DEC, 7:30PM, £15 - £20

A bunch of hippies celebrating peace and love in late-1960s New York, in the shadow of the Vietnam War. Matinee performances also available.



Literary festival honouring the oral, written and published word.

6-10 DEC, 7:30PM, £12 - £15

Palace Theatre Manchester


Cult comedy rock musical written by Alan Menkin and Howard Ashman, telling the tale of a hapless florist as he raises a plant that feeds on human flesh. Matinee performances also available.


Black comedy from Northern actor Will Travis, telling the tale of an unemployed and down-trodden Joe Bloggs, who becomes enslaved by larger than life ‘avatars’ of the game. Matinees available. 19-23 DEC, 8:00PM, £15

An adult-only cabaret show of all things naughty and nice featuring singers, dancers, burlesque and comedy.

International Anthony Burgess Foundation FALLOUT

24-26 NOV, 7:30PM, £9

A new play by Jackie Thompson and Anna Wood about women, friendship and having a blast, featuring an all-female cast, creative team and crew.


17-18 NOV, 7:00PM – 8:30PM, £4 - £6

Four contrasting shows focusing on contemporary works and new writing.

O2 Apollo Manchester



The heinous nan, Bernie the nurse, Sam from Essex and more in brand new sketches by Catherine Tate.

Octagon Theatre CINDERELLA

18 NOV-14 JAN 17, TIMES VARY, £10 - £25

Five rats. One romance. No cheese. This is a familiar fairytale, with a big twist - the rats are in charge! Matinees and earlier performances available. THE WINTER’S TALE

UNTIL 5 NOV, TIMES VARY, £11 - £27.50

With song, dance, laughter and one of the most extraordinary climaxes in any of Shakespeare’s plays, this deeply moving story is brought to life in Bolton on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Opera House ALADDIN


Panto take on the pauper who becomes a prince thanks to a lamp and a bit of elbow grease LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST

23 NOV-3 DEC, TIMES VARY, £17.75 - £50.75

The Royal Shakespeare Company try their hand at one of Shakespeare’s early classic comedies. THE CIRCUS OF HORRORS

7 NOV, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £19 – £32


UNTIL 5 NOV, 7:30PM, £17.90 - £42.90



The story of that Geordie lad who just wants to dance, dad. Matinees available. JANICE HUGHES SCHOOL OF DANCE

20-21 NOV, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £18.65

Dance showcase.

Royal Exchange Studio SPINE

8-12 NOV, 7:30PM – 8:35PM, £10 - £12

Hilarious and pan-generational call to arms for our modern age from Clara Brennan, charting the friendship between wise-cracking teenager Amy and an elderly East End widow.


17-19 NOV, 7:30PM – 8:30PM, £10 - £12

Shining a light on our world of globalisation and greed, zero-hour contracts and The Big Bang Theory, and how violence worms its way into every aspect of our lives. WRECKING BALL

4-5 NOV, 7:30PM – 8:30PM, £10 - £12

Britain’s biggest burlesque show makes its way North after a run on London’s West End, complete with giant martini glasses ‘n’ all. LA BOHEME

12 NOV, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £26.50 - £38

Puccini’s romantic opera is brought to the stage, setting the action in 1960s Paris, telling the tale of the doomed Mimi, dying of consumption while falling in love.




20-22 DEC, 7:30PM – 9:30PM, £8 - £10

Focusing on two main characters, Carla and her brother Paul, whose lives spiral out of control when their mother dies of cancer.

The Lowry Studio MACBETH

17 NOV, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12

A cast of three take on Shakespeare’s classic tale of ambition, betrayal, murder and manipulation, bringing it to life through physical theatre and song. HAPPY HOUR

24-25 NOV, 8:00PM, £10 - £12

A poignant, fast paced, hilarious comedy exploring our 21st century obsession with happiness and success, combining Tmesis Theatre’ trademark physicality with humour, music and text from long-term collaborator Chris Fittock. DAUGHTERS OF FORTUNE: MIA

1-2 NOV, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12

Revealing the truth about learning disability and parenthood in today’s society. MANPOWER

A daring new play by Frazer Flintham, exploring the pioneering work of Manchester-based charity Prevent Breast Cancer. Matinee available.


1-19 NOV, TIMES VARY, £5 - £16.50

Intertwining the account of Alan Turing’s most heroic hour with the story of his betrayal and neglect by the nation he helped in its darkest hour. SWEET CHARITY

3 DEC-21 JAN 17, TIMES VARY, £5 - £16.50

Broadway classic, based on an original screenplay by the brilliant Federico Fellini, that takes audiences spinning through the dance halls, churches and streets of 1960s New York. FRANK O’HARA: IN THE HEART OF NOISE

6 NOV, 3:00PM, £10 - £12

An evening of poetry and music in celebration of Frank O’Hara, 50 years since his death, featuring performance and discussion with poet and critic Mark Ford and players from Aurora Orchestra.

Royal Northern College of Music RNCM LA VIE PARISIENNE

The King’s Arms


A black comedy telling the dark tale of an unemployed and downtrodden Joe Bloggs, who becomes enslaved by larger-than-life ‘avatars’ of the game.

Royal Exchange Theatre




29 NOV-3 DEC, 7:30PM – 9:30PM, £12 - £15

10 NOV, 8:00PM, £10 - £12

7 DEC, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £21 - £36

New stage adaptation of the BAFTA award-winning film about six steelworkers with nothing to lose - well, except their clothes. With former Hollyoaks stars and, er, Eastenders’ Jack Ryder directing (?!) Matinees available.

In a world where a virus named The Strain is wiping out the human race, the military are tasked with containing it and taking out anyone who is infected...

Funny, surreal and unsettling play exploring how subtle abuses of power shape out relationships with art, with language and with each other.

Prepare thyself for a whirlwind of contortionists, flying aerialists, demon dwarfs, sword swallowers, and any other weird thing you can think of – yep, it could only be The Circus of Horrors. THE FULL MONTY

CHILDREN OF CAIN 7-10 NOV, 7:30PM – 9:00PM, £9

A whistle-stop tour of glittering Paris nightlife, La Vie Parisienne was Offenbach’s first full-length operetta and is a brilliant tangled tale of flirtatious masquerading and romantic intrigue. LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS

5 NOV-3 DEC, 7:30PM – 9:00PM, £3

Top comedians from ComedySportz base sketches on true stories, using suggestions from the audience to inspire the basis of the improv. SCRIPTS ALOUD

28 NOV-19 DEC, 7:30PM – 10:00PM, £5

An evening of new short plays performed with script in hand. COLLISION COURSE

3-5 NOV, 7:30PM – 9:00PM, £8 - £10

Set in a dystopian future, Collision Course is the debut play from Craig Baxter, telling the story of a theist and atheist who are together during the final moments before the end of the world.

A new show from Two Destination Language, Manpower is a celebration of everyday maleness. GENESIS

11-12 NOV, 8:00PM, £10 - £12

The Lowry: Lyric Theatre BLOOD BROTHERS

15-19 NOV, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £23 - £33

The favourited musical tale of separated-at-birth twins who grow up on opposite sides of the tracks. Matinees available. THE RED SHOES


The world premiere of Matthew Bourne’s magical new adaptation of the iconic Powell and Pressburger film, where life imitates art with fateful consequences. Matinees available. CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG

6 DEC-15 JAN 17, 7:30PM, £14 - £33

A wacky inventor, his children and his pal Truly Scrumptious try to outwit a child-hating Baron and an evil child catcher. Matinees available. OPERA NORTH: IL TABARRO / SUOR ANGELICA


An evening of vintage Puccini, where a double bill of intense oneact dramas takes audiences from the darkly atmospheric music of Il Taborro to the ethereal beauty of Suor Angelica.

The Lowry: Quays Theatre YAMA

15-16 NOV, 8:00PM, £15 - £17

Damien Jalet’s awe-inspiring piece bulked up to full-length form, taking its inspiration from the pagan and animist rituals practised among the mountains of Tohoku in Japan. OPUS 7

1-2 NOV, 8:00PM, £13 - £15

A company of musicians and daredevil acrobats serve up a cocktail of funky brass beats and physical feats. THE BOYS IN THE BAND


Mark Gatiss stars in the first major revival of the iconic play set in late-1960s’ New York. Matinee performances also available. THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE


A new play by Andrew Bovell, telling the story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings. Matinees available. WHO CARES?

22 NOV, 7:00PM, £10

Verbatim theatre production based on a year of interviews, offering rare insight to a year in the lives of three young carers from Salford.

Waterside Arts Centre JOURNEY’S END

2 NOV, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12

A harrowing look into the humanity of the First World War, based on R.C. Sherriff’s own experiences in the trenches. ANNIE


A musical set in 1930s New York, Annie tells the story of a flame-haired orphan in pursuit of her real parents, and whose fate takes a U-turn when she’s chosen to spend Christmas with a billionaire. Matinees available. WORKSHY

17 NOV, 8:00PM – 9:00PM, £8 - £10

A personal story about the ups and downs of the customer service industry, and the differences between those who work to make money, those who work to feel fulfilled - and those that don’t work at all.

Comedy Find listings below for weekly and monthly fixtures at comedy clubs across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. For regularly updated listings including one-off shows and the best nights from independent promoters, head to

Leeds Comedy

Liverpool Comedy

Manchester Comedy


Baby Blue

Frog and Bucket Comedy Club


JONGLEURS, 20:00-22:00, £15.50-£16.50

Four top comedians come together for one night of solid laughs. SATURDAYS

JONGLEURS, 20:00-22:00, £16.50-£17.50

Four top comedians come together for one night of solid laughs.


COMEDY SESSIONS, 20:00-23:00, £10-£12

The HiFi’s weekly evening of funny stuff.



Serving well at doing exactly what it says on the tin, with weekly free comedy to ease you into the week.



Regular triple headline show, with three comics lined up to tickle your funny bone.

Camp and Furnace


STAND UP FOR MONDAYS, 19:30-22:15, £6

All-female stand-up night with great headliners fresh from Edinburgh and beyond. SATURDAYS

LIVERPOOL COMEDY CLUB, 19:30-23:00, £13.50

Promising the cream of the international comedy crop.

The Holiday Inn, Lime St FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS



22-26 NOV, 7:30PM, £10 - £32

One of the greatest companies in the world takes on the 16thcentury epic, regarded as one of the most enduring love stories in Chinese literature. Matinees available.


WORK IN PROGRESS, 20:30-23:00, £3-£5

Headline comedians treat us to brand spanking new material. Not for the cupboard-lover comedy fan, this night showcases material which is most definitely a work in progress. THURSDAYS

THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE, 19:00-23:00, £7-£13

BARREL OF LAUGHS, 19:00-23:00, £13-£19


Showcase night for up-andcomers and undiscovered stars, offering a great value night out if you don't mind being a comedy guinea pig.

The Jacaranda WEDNESDAYS


Hot Water Comedy Club take to The Jac with new material from pro comedians from across the UK.


LIVERPOOL COMEDY CELLAR, 20:30-23:30, £13.50

The Liverpool Comedy Cellar features the cream of the international comedy circuit “up close and personal” every Saturday.

The Slaughterhouse WEDNESDAYS (MONTHLY)

THE LAUGHTER FACTOR, 20:00-23:00, £3-£5


One of Britten’s greatest operas, in which the journeys of the titular young sailor from Melville’s novel of the same name are brought to life by evocative and powerful new staging.

LIP SYNCIN’ BATTLE, 20:30-23:00, £3-£6

Comics, guest celebrities and the general public all battle to become the best Lip Sync in the city.


Triple headline show with a delightfully hilarious line-up of circuit funny-folk.

10 NOV, 7:00PM – 10:00PM, £10 - £39


Watch four top class comics, sat comfortably at a table while enjoying your comedy with food and drinks.

9-10 NOV, 6:30PM – 9:30PM, £10 - £39

Sumptuous period staging of Richard Strauss’ comic masterpiece returns with gorgeous music, lavish costumes and romantic intrigue.

A ten-act long heckle-fest inviting a handful of amateurs to take to the stage and try to Beat the Frog, and the audience decides who stays – brutal!

New and established comics take to the stage, for an evening of chuckles with their resident compere leading the way.

A monthly event giving comics the chance to try out new material before the weekend shows – it helps if you think of yourself as a comedic guinea pig.



BEAT THE FROG, 19:00-23:00, FREE-£3


LAUGHTERHOUSE, 20:00-23:00, £10-£15


LAUGHTERHOUSE, 20:00-23:00, £17.50

Triple headline show with a delightfully hilarious line-up of circuit funny-folk.


Pepper your weekend with laughs from four top class comics, sat comfortably at a table while enjoying your comedy with food and drinks, followed by Frog and Bucket's classic cheesy disco until late. SATURDAYS

BARREL OF LAUGHS, 19:00-23:00, £15-£22

Pepper your weekend with laughs from four top class comics, sat comfortably at a table while enjoying your comedy with food and drinks, followed by Frog and Bucket's classic cheesy disco until late. SUNDAYS (EVERY FIRST OF THE MONTH)

LAFF TIL YA FART, 20:00-23:00, £7

Trevor Lynch presents the latest in a series of comedy nights, aptly titled Laff 'til Ya Fart.

SATURDAYS THE BEST IN STAND UP, 19:00-21:30, £16-£22

Regular night of standup with a line-up of five top circuit comedians.


KING GONG, 19:30-22:30, £4-£6

A night of standup from some fresh-faced comics trying to break on to the circuit – be nice.


NEW STUFF, 19:30-22:30, £2-£4

MC Toby Hadoke presents a showcase of new, never seen before material from established acts of the circuit. SUNDAYS (EVERY THIRD OF THE MONTH)

NEW COMEDIANS, 19:30-22:30, £2-£4

Alex Boardman's New Comedians series continues.


D.A.F.T, 20:00-23:00, £8

Comedy's strangest and strongest acts come together for an evening of silliness hosted by Randolph Tempest (Phoenix Nights, Ideal, The Detectorists).



Keeping expectations low with this night of open mic standup, opening up the stage to anyone willing to give it go.


XS MALARKEY, 19:00-22:00, £3-£5

The rather ace comedy night continues with its usual Tuesday night shenanigans.

Waterside Arts Centre


BEST OF BUZZ COMEDY, 20:00-00:00, £10-£12

The Waterside's regular comedy night, featuring one of the UK comedy circuit's up and coming stars.



All-female line-up of comics from the Laughing Cow bunch; a group that has helped the likes of Sarah Milllican and Jo Brand launch their careers.



GROUP THERAPY COMEDY CLUB, 19:0022:00, £10-£12

Manchester’s much-loved monthly comedy club, known for bringing in the big guns of the national and international circuit.

The Comedy Store THURSDAYS

STAND UP THURSDAY, 20:00-23:00, £8-£12

Regular night of standup with a line-up of five top circuit comedians. FRIDAYS

THE BEST IN STAND UP, 20:00-23:00, £12-£18

Regular night of standup with a line-up of five top circuit comedians.


Art Leeds Art Abbey House Museum DECADES OF YOUTH

UNTIL TBC, TIMES VARY, £3.40 - £4.20

Revealing stories from members of the local community about being young from the 40s right up until the 00s, told through objects, photo and film. CRIME & PUNISHMENT

UNTIL 31 DEC, TIMES VARY, £3.40 - £4.20

Exploring the dramatic changes in crime and punishment over time, this exhibition features displays on Victorian street crime, deadly poisons that could be bought over the counter and gruesome man traps.


5-6 NOV, 10:00AM, FREE

Showcasing work from Yorkshire’s fine printmaking community including Jonathan Wilkinson, Karoline Rerrie, Nancy Power, The Lost Fox, Alison Deegan, James Bywood and many others.

Gallery at Munro House EVERYDAY OBJECTS


Topsy-turvy re-imagining of the everyday objects you find in your home, as designer Jason Taylor takes everything from a Biro pen to the Ikea Billy bookcase and tinkers with them to create bizarre new pieces that play on our imagination. THE WICKED + THE DIVINE


An exhibition as part of this year’s Thought Bubble Festival, featuring a selection of imagery from the comic series by London-based comics illustrator Jamie McKelvie and writer Kieron Gillen.

Henry Moore Institute



Re-visiting an ambitious public sculpture scheme from 1972, including – for the first time since its original showing – Nicholas Monro’s 5m tall King Kong. CARVING: A TRADITIONAL SCULPTURE


A landmark work in the history of conceptual art, Eleanor Antin’s Carving: A Traditional Sculpture saw the artist reduce her food intake over a period of time, while photographing herself naked each day.



The Preservative Party (Leeds City Museum’s group of young curators) pays tribute to those involved in WWI with a unique exhibition exploring how those from the region were affected, showcasing the impact on local civilians, soldiers, nurses and industrial workers. COURAGE, CONSCIENCE & CREATIVITY


Part of Leeds City Museum’s First World War commemorations, featuring two strands: a year-anda-half-long community project by a group of women from different faiths and stories and material curated by the Leeds Quakers and the Bradford Peace Museum.

Leeds Industrial Museum WOMEN, WORK AND WAR

UNTIL 24 SEP 17, TIMES VARY, £3 - £3.80

Honouring the vital role women played in the First World War, through stories of women working in the city’s munitions manufacturing - which began in Armley and expanded to the Barnbow site in East Leeds.

Left Bank



An exhibition of photography from Abandoned Yorkshire, a collective of urban explorers who capture lost heritage and document our changing environment.


UNTIL 31 DEC, 10:00AM – 4:00PM, £4.40 - £5.50

Before Florence Nightingale became The Lady with the Lamp, she was part of a large, fashionable Victorian family. Find out more about her early life with her beloved cousin, Marianne Nicholson, and their time spent at Lotherton Hall.

Road Studios



An exhibition curated by Amanda Marie Atkinson, highlighting homelessness as a human consequence of austerity through photography, illustration, sculpture, installation, poetry and performance by artists Bekki Perriman, Mark McGowan (The Artist Taxi Driver), Tony Mallon, Alan Williams, Amanda Marie Atkinson, Kim Ross-Houle, Tomo, Helios Bernal Alcantarilla, Marianne Skovdahl and Kaylen Forsyth. Admission is free, with all donations going to a number of local voluntary organisations who provide support and provisions to homeless people in Liverpool. The gallery will also be used as a base for street team work, providing an opportunity for people who are homeless to view the work, while also getting a hot meal and provisions.


25 NOV, 5:00PM – 12:00AM, £12.50

A fusion of art, heritage, culture and stunning illumination making its Yorkshire debut.

The Hepworth Wakefield


UNTIL 19 MAR 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

While Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge is closed for renovation, 2016 Turner Prize nominee Anthea Hamilton - known for her art-pop, culture-inspired sculptures and installations - reappropriates objects that were on display, using unexpected details as starting points for new works. THE HEPWORTH PRIZE FOR SCULPTURE

UNTIL 19 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

An exhibition of work by Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten and David Medalla - the four shortlisted artists for The Hepworth Prize For Sculpture, a new £30,000 biennial award. A CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION

UNTIL 30 SEP 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Continuing Wakefield’s tradition of supporting contemporary artists through exhibitions and acquisitions, and of the legacy founded in 1923 with The Wakefield Permanent Art Collection, which sought to champion those who used art to reflect contemporary experience. THE HEPWORTH FAMILY GIFT AND HEPWORTH AT WORK

UNTIL 1 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A unique collection featuring 44 of Hepworth’s working models, currently on permanent display at The Hepworth Wakefield, and supporting display exploring Hepworth’s studio environment.

November/December 2016

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery


Liverpool Art


60 years since the violence of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, this exhibition celebrates the life and work of Hungarian-born painter György Gordon, who settled in Wakefield after escaping as a refugee from the violence in Hungary.

The Tetley



Bringing together recent moving image works by artists such as Amelia Crouch, Patricia Esquivias, Sian Robinson Davies, Liz Magic Laser, Kate Liston and Yuri Pattison, alongside works by KP Brehmer, John Latham, Semiconductor and John Smith.

Various venues THOUGHT BUBBLE

1 NOV, 12:00PM – 12:00AM, £VARIOUS

The UK’s largest annual festival of comic art, celebrating everything from independent and small press comics to globally revered superheroes COMPASS FESTIVAL

11 NOV, 12:00PM, £VARIOUS

The biennial Compass Festival is back to champion the realm of interactive, contemporary live art.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park NOT VITAL

UNTIL 2 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

The first major exhibition in the UK from internationally renowned Swiss sculptor Not Vital, echoing Vital’s nomadic and diverse practice through paintings, works on paper, indoor pieces and outdoor sculptures. ANGELA HARDING: FLIGHTS OF MEMORY

19 NOV-26 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE



Exploring our willingness to accept photography and the moving image as an authentic way of perceiving the world, and how this has led to a breaking down of the boundaries between the real world reproduction of it; between truth and fiction.




Curated by Rob La Frenais, No Such Thing as Gravity features new commissions and existing works by local, national and international artists including Tania Candiani, Yin-Ju Chen, Gina Czarnecki / John Hunt, Nick Laessing, Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Helen Pynor and Sarah Sparkes, with artworks including a car fuelled by water, a ghost-inducing robot and portraits made of skin cells. DAY OF COLLISIONS

10 NOV, 11:00AM – 7:15PM, FREE

Day of Collisions is a full day of activities investigating the relationship between art and science. The day is presented in collaboration with Arts at CERN - the official art programme of the cradle of the World Wide Web and home of the Large Hadron Collider - where the world’s leading physicists and engineers investigate the fundamental mysteries of our universe. Entry is free, apart from the Roy Stringer lecture costing £10.

An immersive video installation by artist and academic Nishat Awan, tracing a route through the borderlands of the ‘refugee crisis’ and narrating stories of migrant journeys and the clandestine crossing of borders.


3 DEC, 10:00AM, £2

More than 200 regional artists will be selling their wares at St. George’s Hall, with live performances, workshops and more also going on across two days.

Merseyside Maritime Museum


UNTIL 31 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Marking the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania, telling the story of the ship while also considering the role of Liverpool’s liners in WWI. TITANIC AND LIVERPOOL: THE UNTOLD STORY

UNTIL 31 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Exploring Liverpool’s central role in the Titanic story, where real life stories of those who sailed on the ship are told through film footage, images, costumes and interactive elements. IN SAFE HANDS: LIVERPOOL PILOTS

22 JUL, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Exploring the development of the Liverpool Pilotage Service, from the explosion of growth in the 18th and 19th Centuries, decline in the mid to late 20th Century, through to the thriving port of the 21st Century.

UNTIL 1 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE


1-27 NOV, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Liverpool Cathedral



UNTIL 26 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE


UNTIL 8 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

17 large linocut prints by Pablo Picasso, being displayed for the first time outside of the British Museum to showcase the progressive process that Picasso explored in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Museum of Liverpool

Celebrating local talent by people who live, work, volunteer or study in Knowsley, who’ll be showcasing their 2D artwork at Huyton Gallery, with the Young Artists Open (for those ages 17 and under) also part of the overall exhibition.

Interdisciplinary South African artist and sound art pioneer James Webb showcases We Listen for the Future, an exhibition comprising of four sound pieces.


Huyton Central Library

Painter and printmaker Angela Harding works principally in block print, combining vinyl or lino with layered coloured silkscreen to express the mood and atmosphere of the changing seasons and the flora and fauna of the British countryside. JAMES WEBB: WE LISTEN FOR THE FUTURE

Lady Lever Art Gallery

International Slavery Museum UNTIL 11 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Photographs depicting the slavery that continues to exist in modern day India. AFRO SUPA HERO

UNTIL 11 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A celebration of the importance of role models and icons in combating discrimination, shown through London-born Jon Daniel’s personal collection of pop cultural heroes and heroines of the African diaspora, in the form of comics, games and action figures. CONTINUING THE JOURNEY

UNTIL 31 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Project exploring the struggle of Merseyside’s black community to reach racial equality and social justice, taking you from post-war Britain through to the 1980s to tell the tales by voices were heard and those that were not.

Invisible Wind Factory


11 DEC, 11:00AM, FREE

Continuing the legacy of previous Christmas Kazmarts with craft and food vendors, mulled drinks and more.

Kirkby Gallery PANORAMA


A stunning exhibition and new photographic body of work featuring images of people and places from across Knowsley, submitted by the entrants to this year’s SPACES 2 Knowsley Wellbeing Photography Competition.


As the UK’s most-filmed city outside of London, this exhibition shines the light on Liverpool’s cinematic history through around 40 original film posters from the 1950s and beyond. 1916 EASTER RISING: THE LIVERPOOL CONNECTION

UNTIL 31 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Community display spanning photography, medals and other archive material marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, exploring the roles that Liverpudlian men and women played in this pivotal moment in history. FIRST WORLD WAR: CHARITY AND LIVERPOOL’S HOME FRONT

UNTIL 3 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Exploring the work of some of the charity organisations that formed during World War 1, giving muchneeded assistance to returning soliders and their families, as well as looking at how these charities function today.

Open Eye Gallery


UNTIL 18 DEC, 10:30AM – 5:30PM, FREE

Group exhibition of new photography enabled by the first national Jerwood/Photoworks Awards, with work by Matthew Finn, Joanna Piotrowska and Tereza Zelenkova.


23 SEP, 10:00AM – 6:00PM, FREE

Following a two-month residency at Speke Hall, Alice May Williams presents a new commission drawing on the venue’s arts and crafts heritage, using William Morris’ News From Nowhere as a starting point.


UNTIL 31 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Dazzling 1930s evening gowns take centre stage in this exhibition, revealing how the glitz and glamour of Hollywood was reflected in the fashions of the period.

Find full listings at

Tate Liverpool


UNTIL 3 SEP 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Tate Liverpool directs its focus to the work of Tracey Emin and William Blake to reveal surprising links between the two famed artists, including a shared concern with spirituality, birth and death. The exhibition will welcome – for the first time in the North of England – Emin’s My Bed (1998), the unflinching self-portrait told through stained sheets and detritus that was to become the controversial and iconic artwork she’s most known for. My Bed, along with drawings by Emin from the Tate collection, will be presented alongside pieces by visionary British poet and artist William Blake, including The Blasphemer (c.1800) and The Crucifixion: Behold Thy Mother (c.1805). YVES KLEIN

UNTIL 5 MAR 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, £8 - £10

The UK’s first museum solo exhibition in over 20 years of Yves Klein, one of the post-war era’s most influential figures who was known for an artistic breadth that embraced painting, sculpture, performance, theatre, music, film and architecture. EDWARD KRASIŃSKI

UNTIL 5 MAR 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, £8 - £10

The first UK retrospective of Edward Krasiński (1925–2004), one of the most significant Eastern European artists of the 20th Century, featuring works from across his career. CÉCILE B. EVANS

UNTIL 19 MAR 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

The first solo exhibition in a UK public institution of London-based artist Cécile B. Evans, exploring the movement of data, artificial intelligence, and the possibilities of collaboration between humans and machines.



Drawn from The Atkinson’s own collection of Victorian art, this exhibition looks at the themes of travel, storytelling, the antique past and nature. TINTED STEAM & LIQUID LIGHT: WATERCOLOUR PAINTINGS FROM TURNER TO SARGENT


Outstanding examples of watercolour art from the permanent collections of The Atkinson and The Williamson, Birkenhead, illustrate the medium’s delicate fluidity and versatility. MAY THE TOYS BE WITH YOU

19 NOV-5 MAR 17, TIMES VARY, £3

A Star Wars collections of memorabilia, toys and posters owned by collector Matt Fox. THE LANDING: EVOCATIONS BY MALCOLM FRYER AND IAN NORRIS


Work by Malcolm Fryer and Ian Norris, who began to collaborate after noticing a mutual interest in the handling of paint, and the similarities in their painting process and ethos.



An exhibition of work by Dubai born, London based artist of Egyptian origin, Adham Faramawy, whose practice spans moving image, sculptural installation and print to examine how identity is constructed in the twenty-first century. KEITH PIPER: UNEARTHING THE BANKER’S BONES


New solo show from renowned British artist Keith Piper, addressing contemporary anxieties about race and class through the perspective of a fictional future, featuring the premiere of a threechannel video installation from which the show takes its title.


An exhibition curated by the AaA collective - a group of five people with learning disabilities - exploring what it means to be independent by making your own decisions, drawing on the collective’s personal knowledge and experiences around the continued lack of choice and control.



Displaying the work of Dubai-born, London-based artist of Egyptian origin Adham Faramawy, who uses technology to examine how identity is constructed in the twenty-first century. OUT OF THE BLUE


Celebrating the achievements from the past three years of Out of the Blue, a project that has engaged with 200 children and families from Norris Green, Walton, Anfield, Granby, Breckfield and Kensington in community-based clubs and workshops.

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts POP!

13 DEC, 10:30AM – 2:00PM, FREE

An exhibition of installations and mini sets inspired by the Pop Art movement, exploring its groundbreaking use of colour, collage and culture in the 1950s and 1960s.

The World Museum


17 OCT, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Featuring mummified specimens such as jackals, crocodiles, cats and birds, this exhibition explores ancient Egyptian animal mummies, and unveils the background of the religious practices behind their role as votive offerings to the gods.

Victoria Gallery and Museum HARD TO HANDLE

UNTIL 31 DEC, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

An exhibition exploring the development of hafted tools - y’know, stuff that’s attached to a handle of some kind, like an axe or hammer.

Walker Art Gallery


UNTIL 1 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A stunning collection of 16 garments from the collection of Peter Farrer, who has been cross-dressing since he was 14, with a particular focus on women’s period costume including evening dresses made between the 1930s and 1980s. BENEDICT DREW: KAPUT

UNTIL 26 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Using a mix of video, audio and sculptural elements, artist Benedict Drew reflects on society’s uncertain relationship with technology through a large, fluorescent image of Richard Branson. ZOO LOGIC

UNTIL 26 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Two installations by Turner Prizewinning artist Mark Leckey, representing his long-standing interest in moving image and broadcast technology - and, specifically, in Felix the Cat. LOOKING NORTH

UNTIL 26 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A new exhibition of new work by artists from the Northwest, including drawings, paintings, video and sculpture from Mary Griffiths, Joe Fletcher Orr, Paul Rooney, Jason Thompson and Jesse Wine.

Manchester Art ArtWork Atelier HARD FOCUS

2-10 NOV, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Group exhibition curated by artist Helen McGhie, featuring the work of 11 artists, each of whom examine the role of contemporary photography in the ‘expanded field’. The exhibition will also be supported by a programme of events, including a half-day symposium on 5 Nov exploring contemporary photography through poetry, critical debate and art discourse to creatively examining the position of tactile, physical images taking up space in a tech-complex, claustrophobic world. Book here.



Harrison Edward’s new fluroscent themed solo exhibition. You’ll know his work if you’re a Manchester night-out frequenter, with his original artwork displayed across popular Manchester haunts such as Crazy Pedro’s, Home Sweet Home and Junkyard Golf Club. Expect bright things, screen prints & collage washed down with (probably) cheap beer. CHRISTMAS POP-UP PRINT SHOP

10 DEC, 11:00AM, FREE

Manchester Print Fair presents the second Christmas Pop-Up Print Shop, this time at B.Eat Street’s new gallery space.

Castlefield Gallery


2-6 NOV, 1:00PM – 6:00PM, FREE

For its annual Head to Head exhibition, Castlefield Gallery welcomes Greek artist Vasilis Asimakopoulos and Berlin-based Dane Christian Falsnaes - the latter of whom will be exhibiting for the first time in the UK. MINIATURE WORLD

18 NOV-22 JAN 17, 1:00PM – 6:00PM, FREE

An exhibition of film, sculpture, 2D work, astronomical artefacts, miniature models, and diagrams of the finite-infinite relation, together acknowledging our relentless pursuit for knowledge while also considering the potential of things in small-scale.

Central Art Gallery



Following his vibrant India series two years ago, artist Simon Parkin returns with work inspired by the landscapes of the Peak District.

Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art


UNTIL 22 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Yorkshire born artist Kirsty Harris explores the notion of nuclear explosions as cultural, historical and aesthetic objects. KUO I-CHEN

1-13 NOV, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Residency from Taiwanese artist Kuo I-Chen, who interrogates the process of residencies themselves. Working with different artists, studios and university courses across the city, I-Chen will explore the concepts of collaboration and exchange. EXTRASTELLAR EVALUATIONS II

UNTIL 15 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Taiwanese artist Chen Yin-ju presents an exploration of cosmic events and human behaviour through the processes of mythology, scientific research and artistic response, marking Manchester’s position as European City of Science this year.




The Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme brings University of the Arts London graduate Chloe Ting to CFCCA for a residency, in which she explores 21st-century global issues from a Chinese context.

Colin Jellicoe Gallery



A changing mixed exhibition of drawings paintings and graphics by gallery artists including Sheila Dewsbury, David Ainsworth, Diana Terry, John McCombs, Janice Powell and Tricia Warrington.



A new photographic exhibition from the award-winning Benji Reid, the celebrated performer and creative director, regarded as one of the most compelling cultural makers in contemporary British theatre. HOME IS…

12 NOV, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £6 - £11

Exploring how emotional and psychological displacement shapes people’s concepts of home, Home Is... showcases poetry-theatre and a mixed media art exhibition that merges spoken word with poetry and traditional visual arts - theatre, animation, dance and documentary.




An exhibition by photographer and filmmaker Mark Leeming, fusing masculinity with flamboyance to blur the binaries of femme vs masc, via the avenues of digitally enhanced imagery, colour, sparkle and all-out kitsch. WOT U :-) ABOUT?


Solo exhibition of new work by acclaimed Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, using the fairytale genre to examine the murky boundary between childhood and adulthood.


15 NOV, 12:00PM – 12:00AM, £VARIOUS

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural bash with another round of screenings, talks, workshops, retrospectives and exclusives.

Imperial War Museum North


17 AUG, 3:40PM – 3:40PM, FREE

Exploring how men and women found new ways to dress as clothes rationing took hold in 1940s Britain, featuring original clothes from the era including military uniforms and functional fashion.

Instituto Cervantes


UNTIL 31 JAN 17, 9:30AM – 5:30PM, FREE

A selection of portraits by self-taught photographer Pierre Gonnord, celebrating the strength of the human condition.



Annual Christmas fair with stalls from Islington Mill residents, plus food, drink and performances throughout the weekend. ISN’T SHE LOVELY

3 NOV, 6:00PM – 9:00PM, FREE

Debut exhibition by photographer Heather Glazzard, showcasing her candid and unreserved approach to the lens.

MMU Special Collections



Books, paintings, prints and sketchbooks by the artist Rena Gardiner, who was best known for her guidebooks to historic places and the countryside, alongside work by artists inspired by Rena including Eric Ravilious, John Piper and Edward Bawden.



Thirty two designers display over one hundred pieces in a dynamic display conveying the essence of the unique Japanese design ethos. FASHION AND FREEDOM


Vivienne Westwood, Roksanda, Holly Fulton, J JS Lee, Emilia Wickstead and Sadie Williams unveil new pieces inspired by the impact of WWI on women’s lives and fashion, alongside wartime pieces from MAG’s costume collection and original short films. BORIS NZEBO URBAN STYLE


Cameroon-based Boris Nzebo addresses the complex relationship between individuals and the urban spaces they inhabit in his first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery. GOODBYE TO ALL THAT

1 JUL, 4:00PM – 4:00PM, FREE

A display of art of the First World War, commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. JAI REDMAN: PARADISE LOST


A selection of new and existing oil paintings and watercolours, which function as contemporary interventions within the historic collections, from Jai Redman, whose work combines modern materials with a passion for traditional painting techniques. THE EDWARDIANS


Curated as a complementary display to Vogue 100 and Fashion & Freedom, The Edwardians explores the glamour, rural nostalgia, landscape and city of the 1900s.

Manchester Craft and Design Centre


10 NOV-4 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:30PM, FREE

Materials, makers and ideas meld together in this cutting edge exhibition that defies expectations of contemporary glass, showcasing three UK artists who collaborate with the unique material to capture its elemental power.

International Anthony Burgess Museum of Science and Foundation UNWRAPPED FAIR Industry 19 NOV, 11:00AM – 4:00PM, FREE

Organised by Manchester-based artists and printmakers Lois Gilbert and Emma Brown, Unwrapped is a new print fair aiming to showcase the work of artists and makers from the North, with a particular focus on hand-printed artworks. With 20 stallholders on board, expect to find cards, zines, ceramics, postcards, homewares, tote bags and unframed prints, while support from Fred Aldous and G.F Smith means there will also be a free gift-wrapping service available. Keep an eye out for the full list of traders over on Twitter.




UNTIL 25 JUN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Combining science, art and history, Wonder Materials tells the story of graphene - the world’s first two-dimensional material that was isolated by scientists in Manchester, and is one of the strongest, lightest and most conductive materials in the world.

National Football Museum





50 years on from England’s golden summer, the National Football Museum pays homage to the 1966 World Cup with an immersive exhibition, which features the 1966 Jules Rimet trophy and ball from the final among much, much more.


5 NOV, 11:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Following six months on the Paper mentoring scheme, nine artists present new work inspired by, you guessed it, paper. THE CAT SHOW

12 NOV-17 DEC, 11:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A group show featuring a breath of emerging and internationally acclaimed artists, whose work somehow embodies and immortalised felines.


25 NOV-8 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, £DONATIONS

An exhibition exploring the lives of those who worked on railways during WWI, as well as the LMSPatriot Project - the building of a new national memorial engine. PROMISING HOME

UNTIL 15 JAN 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, £DONATIONS

Urging us to consider the value of a council estate, this exhibition examines the economic and social role of housing by drawing on a range of responses to the Pendleton estate in Salford, through video, photography, artworks, texts, textiles and everyday archaeology. DEDICATED TO ALL DEFENDERS OF HUMAN FREEDOMS. THE ART OF PAUL PETER PIECH

UNTIL 12 FEB 17, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, £DONATIONS

A major retrospective of the career of artist, humanitarian and campaigner Paul Peter Piech, whose influences included politics, equality, jazz and poetry. GUNS TO GOODS

1-6 NOV, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, £DONATIONS

A portrait sculpture by Karen Lyons of Dr Erinma Bell MBE DL, which has been re-created from an original clay model using metal recycled from de-commissioned hand guns obtained from police custody, celebrating Erinma’s achievements in the cause for peace.

The Holden Gallery FROM SLOW TO STOP


Bringing together a group of works by pieces by David David Claerbout, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, Hans Op de Beeck, Adrian Paci and Hannah Starkey that make things slow down or stop, exploring the notion that there is an ever-quickening pace to contemporary life.



A prolific artist, poet, musician, author and publisher, Jeff Nuttall was one of the few people in the early 1960s to publish William S. Burroughs’ most experimental writing. Yet, despite being one of the most pivotal figures in British counterculture, the Lancastrian-born polymath is little remembered today. The John Rylands Library’s provocative new exhibition is set to change that with this new exhibition, exploring Nuttall’s pioneering use of art as rebellion is a template for modern activism. Warning: rude stuff!

A large-scale mural and collection of prints by Dutch artist Jeroen Erosie, who is part of a wave of European graffiti artists.

The Portico Library



The Manchester-based mother and daughter duo showcase a series of delicate botanical paintings, which take inspiration from The Portico’s collection of historic illustrations on flora and horticulture around the world.


18 NOV, 12:00PM – 12:00AM, FREE

A new festival born from the evolution of Bury Light Night. LIGHTWAVES

9 DEC, 12:00PM – 12:00AM, FREE

Digital light festival returning for another 10 days of illuminations and artworks from across the globe.

Waterside Arts Centre



Featuring puppets, props and production artwork from a range of Aardman titles including Wallace and Gromit, The Pirates and more, following the success of last year’s Puppet Masters exhibition at Waterside.

Whitworth Art Gallery REVOLUTIONARY TEXTILES 1910-1939


Exploring the outburst of creativity that took place against the backdrop of political tumult in the early decades of the 20th century, when textile design took off in new directions. VISIONS OF THE FRONT 1916-18


In commemoration of the Somme (2016 being its centenary) and to mark the other terrible battles of the First World War, this exhibition brings together work created from the experiences on the front line of battle. MARCANTONIO RAIMONDI AND RAPHAEL

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The first exhibition in over 35 years (and the first ever in the UK) featuring the works of Marcantonio Raimondi, one of the leading printmakers of the Italian Renaissance and best known for collaborating with Renaissance artist Raphael.






Birmingham-born Idris Khan unveils his second exhibition at the Whitworth, drawing inspiration from the history of art, music, philosophy and theology by focusing on the mediums of painting, drawing and photography. ARTIST ROOMS: ANDY WARHOL


Focusing on themes of death, politics and identity to present Warhol’s reading of the American Dream at a particularly crucial time in American politics, drawn from a collection of international modern and contemporary art called Artist Rooms. KATE DAUDY: THIS IS WATER


Inspired by an ancient Chinese literary practice of inscribing poems on to objects in order to understand the universe through art and nature, Daudy’s body of written interventions spans a variety of mediums.

The Lowry



Five international artists explore convergences between contemporary visual art and dance, their works inspired by the Rambert Archive and by Marie Rambert’s call for ‘perpetual movement’ - ceaseless change in the search for new art and ideas.


Reclaim the Night

Words: Chloë Maughan Illustration: Holly Bagnall

Why are we still not out of the dark ages when it comes to women living their lives after nightfall?


ate one night, the doorbell rang. I’m typically not inclined to answer past midnight, as it reads all too often like the beginning of a horror film, but having not heard my housemate arrive home, I ignored my better judgment and shuffled across the hall to the front door. I stopped short. Through the translucent glass I could see a figure I didn’t recognise. A man. Broad and tall. I was fully aware he’d seen me, but not wanting to play out the plot of Scream that particular night, I ducked and crawled back to my room. He had to be in the wrong place. He’d go away. Some minutes passed. The doorbell rang again. I stood my ground, or more aptly cradled it, as I peered at the window from a crack in my door. He started pounding at the window. I grabbed my phone and typed to anyone I thought might still be awake: “There is a man trying to get into my house and I don’t know what to do.” At least that way, when I couldn’t be found the following morning, someone would at least know where to look. After ten minutes things went quiet. I left my watching post and armed myself with my duvet, and lay in the light until exhaustion pulled me to sleep. I awoke, safe, light still on. At breakfast I told my flatmate of my ordeal. “Shit,” she said, sadness filling her eyes, “I fell asleep waiting for pizza.” Often when I recount this tale, I tell it as a humorous story, in which my nervous nature is the punchline. Silly woman fears murderer, accidentally leaves pizza man stood out in the cold. But the story is about something much more sinister... Talk to your friends about their night time routines, and very quickly you’ll see a pattern emerging. Women talk of walking with keys clenched between fists and dialling fake calls to deter strangers. They work on de-feminising themselves, by tucking their hair into the collar of their shirt and standing broader. They place headphones in their ears, with no music. They are forever protecting their boundaries, and forever in a state of hypervigilance. This constant state of fear is why, for a lot of women, it hurts when men in authority brag about sexually assaulting women as just “locker room talk”.

November/December 2016

It’s why it hurts when a woman’s sexual history is brought into court, and used against her. Because for so many women that scenario – of being the complainant in the witness box – evokes our biggest fear. A fear that we too will be assaulted, and left without juncture to turn to, harassed and unbelieved. A lot of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by men that don’t treat women as objects for their clawing hands. But if the last month in politics has been a reminder of anything, it is just how many of those ‘other’ men exist. Those men who have suggested that, as a reward for doing time, in light of the recent not guilty verdict, Ched Evans should get a free pass to do what he wants to women. Those who think that bragging about assaulting women, and berating them on stage is just politics, or just what men do. And even the ‘nice guys’ who fail to recognise that headphones, for many women, are a piece of armour. A way of saying to the world, ‘Hey, just leave me be.’ Michelle Obama discusses the horror Trump’s misogyny has evoked, highlighting that we are not past the point where men believe they can simply do anything to a woman. What’s worse, I think, is that it’s taken these extremes to highlight the scale of the problem, when in reality we never were past that point, and nor have our behaviours suggested we ever really believed we were. This month marks the beginning of Reclaim the Night season, a movement with roots spanning as far back as the Take Back the Night marches of the 1970s. That’s 40 years of women marching in their thousands to protest the fears they face everyday, and the constant state of hypervigilance that has been flung upon them. Indeed, in her research at the University of Durham, Fiona Vera-Gray found that women are walking to shield themselves from sexual assaults every day. It’s scattered throughout the choices we make in our daily routines. Questions over whether the colour we’re wearing draws too much attention, which route home will give most freedom from interaction, and what facial expression will most shield us from the unwanted calls of strangers. A lot of the time we ignore just how pervasive and commonplace these are, allowing us instead

to adopt that easier lens Michelle Obama critiques: the idea that we are past this. But even before Trump, before Evans, before How to Talk to a Woman Who is Wearing Headphones, there was already the fear that the man staring across at us might be the murderer instead of the pizza guy. It’s time to erode that lens. So women, attend your local Reclaim the Night marches, and talk

loudly and openly about those barriers you so often find yourself having to put up. And men, support us, and when you see the walls (the headphones, the mobile phones, the doublelocked front doors), respect them, instead of knocking them down.

A Guide to Locker Room Talk Sick and tired of the men around you bringing their locker room talk into the outside world? Find yourself wishing these chaps came with a handy pamphlet to help you decode their slurs? Get up to speed with Deviance’s handy phrasebook... Words: Kate Pasola What he says: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” What he means: Women are currency. Also, I'm unaware the term ‘piece of ass’ died a death in the late 80s along with acid wash denim and my current hairstyle How to respond: If you don’t have a reaction gif to hand, perhaps simulate vomiting. Not only will it demonstrate your repulsion, harkening to the idea of bodily functions might jolt your target into realising women are sentient beings rather than walking, talking ass-hosts. What he says: “If that woman weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” What he means: Even the prospect of interfamilial intercourse won’t deter me from my warpath of sexual terror How to respond: Consider calling the police.


What he says: [Re: a ten-year-old girl] “I’m gonna be dating her in 10 years, can you believe it?” What he means: My scumbaggery knows no limits. Sexualising children is okay if it elevates my social status. How to respond: Maybe call the police? Idk. What he says: “Grab them by the p**sy. You can do anything.” What he means: You think i’m intrusive now? Just wait till you see what I can do with your fundamental human rights... How to respond: Yeah, no – you should definitely call the police. What he says: “Such a nasty woman.” What he means: I'M FLAILING How to respond: Smile back. Nastily.






The Skinny North Nov/Dec 2016  

The Skinny North is Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester's leading entertainment and listings magazine