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March/April 2017 North Issue 43





P.26 LOOK Photo Festival

P.45 Emily Dickinson

P.58 Certain Woman

P.48 International Music Festival

March/April 2017 I N D E P E N D E N T



Issue 43, Mar/Apr 2017 Š Radge Media Ltd. Get in touch: E: T: 0161 833 3124 P: The Skinny, Studio 104, Islington Mill, 1 James Street, Salford, M3 5HW 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 Books Comedy Deviance Travel

Lauren Strain Jamie Dunn Jess Hardiman WIll Fitzpatrick Holly Rimmer-Tagoe John Stansfield Kate Pasola Paul Mitchell

Production Production Manager Designer

Sarah Donley Kyle McPartlin

Sales Digital Sales and Marketing Manager

Caroline Harleaux

Sales Executives

Issy Patience James Taylor

Online Digital Editor Web Developer

Peter Simpson Stuart Spencer

General Manager

Kyla Hall

Editor-in-Chief Publisher

Rosamund West Sophie Kyle


Contents UP FRONT

06 Chat & Opinion: Horoscopes, last-minute news and LOLs.


Director Ben Wheatley teams up with one of his stars, Sharlto Copley, to discuss his latest release, Free Fire.


Personal Shopper filmmaker Olivier Assayas tells us why Kristen Stewart is the bomb.


Dutch auteur Paul Verhoeven returns after a ten year absence to promote Elle. We take the opportunity to talk to him about sex, satire and Isabelle Huppert.


Pulled Apart by Horses’ Robert Lee on getting the band’s attitude and spirit back for new album The Haze.


Emily Dickinson was more than a feminist hero. As Terence Davies' new film exploring the life of the American poet reaches cinemas, we consider the innovations in her work.


If you thought you didn’t want to listen to a detailed comedy podcast about serial killers, think again. We meet the devilishly funny minds behind All Killa No Filla.


Planning your summer escape? We’ve searched high and low to bring you a careful selection of the best International Music Festivals happening in 2017.

08 Fury: Independent venues need your

support now more than ever; we speak to Islington Mill founder Bill Campbell about the vision for its future.

09 Graphic Content: A further look at the work of our cover artist Adam Menzies.


Heads up: Your at-a-glance guide to cultural happenings in March and April.



Art & Theatre: The season’s key exhibitions and shows, and a glimpse of the plans fashion designer J.W. Anderson has up his sleeve for The Hepworth gallery.


Gigs: The best new music coming to a venue near you; an interview with music box innovator Hannah Peel; plus some extremely sexy record recommendations from Wild Beasts’ Tom Fleming.


Clubs: The parties you shouldn’t miss, both locally and around the world in our pick of Europe’s best dance festivals.

50 North London alt-goth-rockers Desperate Journalist talk growing up and their sophomore album, aptly named... Grow Up.


Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle discusses the band's collapse and resurrection, eleven years after their last album.


Groundbreaking visual design company 59 Productions bring Paul Auster's novel City of Glass to the Stage this March; director Leo Warner tells us about making magic


A celebration of Nasty Women, 404 Ink’s first book is out this month and has already smashed its Kickstarter target many times over.


Megan Bradbury discusses telling the story of New York ahead of the publication of Everyone is Watching, which strings together the tales of four historical figures.


Kelly Reichardt opens up about her singular approach to filmmaking ahead of the release of Certain Women.


Sounds from the Other City festival is famed for its mind-bending atmos; we roll up our wizards’ sleeves and investigate this year’s occult happenings.

20 Comedy: If you only see one comedian this month, make it Tom Lawrinson.


Film & Books: Screenings and readings to put in your diary, plus a deep-dive into La Movida, the vibrant period of cultural activity in Spain that followed Franco’s death and which inspires this year’s ¡Viva! festival.




Food & Drink: We went packaging free for a week so you don’t have to (pretty sure that’s how it works). Plus: the best new food and drink openings, and finally, an answer to the question: WTF is sherry? Showcase: What do our cities say about us? LOOK Photo Festival explores different viewpoints on Liverpool and Hong Kong.


Travel: The Living Abroad series takes a trip to Vietnam with a guide to starting over in Ho Chi Minh City.


Deviance: Sex numerics. Relation calculations. Bonk tallies. Why do we bother keeping count? Here’s why we shouldn’t.



Music: Album reviews, and a catch-up with Manchester faves Former Bullies on the release of their new EP, Stranger.


Film & DVD: March and April in a cinema near you, reviewed; oh, and only an interview with the pope of trash himself, John Waters!


Books & Competitions: The latest reads, plus your chance to win all sorts of rad stuff.


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


The Last Word: With World Book Night approaching, The Skinny team get all emosh thinking about the book that changed their lives.



We talk to John Grant about his North Atlantic Flux programme, Neu! Reekie! about ‘festival of the counter culture’ Where Are We Now? and Showcase the Humber St Gallery programme.




Part Chimp frontman Tim Cedar tells us about Japanese slug myths and the importance of events like Salford's Fat Out Fest. Austra frontwoman and driving force Katie Stelmanis talks utopian visions and third album Future Politics.

March/April 2017



Shout Outs

Crystal Balls With Mystic Mark

Lara Williams

Threshold crowdfunder Due to a shortfall in this year's funding, organisers of Liverpool’s grassroots music festival Threshold have launched a crowdfunding campaign, hoping to raise £9,000 to help support the event, taking place 31 Mar-2 Apr. Get involved at crowdfunder. An Evening with Gwendoline Riley and Lara Williams We’re teaming up with Waterstones Deansgate to welcome Gwendoline Riley to discuss her latest novel, First Love, on 16 March. She’ll be joined by Manchester-based Lara Williams, whose short story collection Treats got a big thumbs up from us last year. Tickets: Come to Quizlington Mill! We’re celebrating our 4th birthday (!!!!) this March with the return of Quizlington Mill, our super-brilliant, super-funny pub quiz raising funds for the #SaveIslingtonMill campaign. Join us and John Stansfield (Sham Bodie, The Skinny’s Comedy Editor) for LOLs and more at Islington Mill, Salford on 30 Mar. LET’S GET QUIZZICAL. Bar open from 7pm, quiz starts 8pm, £2 entry. Smithdown Road Festival Funk and soul supremo Craig Charles will headline this year’s Smithdown Road Festival, the annual community weekender of art, music, food and culture spanning Liverpool's Smithdown Road area, taking place 29 Apr-1 May. Find out who else is on the lineup at Oyé announce first acts for 2017 For the 25th anniversary of Africa Oyé, the UK’s largest free celebration of African and Caribbean culture, this year’s festival welcomes acts who’ve worked with Oyé in the past for a ‘festival of headliners’ – said headliners are Mokoomba, Jupiter & Okwess International and Dizzy Mandjeku and Odemba OK Jazz Allstars. Get tickets at Hope and Glory Festival With over 50 acts confirmed, music and arts



festival Hope and Glory takes over Liverpool’s St George’s Quarter this August, having just announced new acts The Blinders (we’ve been reliably tipped off that Cabbage are fans), Newcastle quartet Coquin Migale and Liverpool’s own VYNCE. Takes place 5-6 Aug; tickets available at LightNight returns Liverpool’s eighth annual LightNight takes place on 19 May, promising more light projections, live music, hands-on workshops, dancing, arts and crafts, spoken word, street performances and late-opening exhibitions, with over 100 free events all along the theme of ‘Time’; see exactly what organisers Open Culture have in store for you at, when the full programme is announced in April.

ARIES You become hooked on the new fight-date website, OkDickhead! Thanks to its revolutionary matching algorithm it’s now easier than ever to find someone in your area to fight. Hone down possible matches based on incompatible likes and dislikes, check out each arsehole’s photos before you give them a ‘shove’ or send them an insult-filled chat message. After a bit of goading you can see if they’re starting, and if you really don’t get on, arrange to meet up for a drink and have a fight about it.

VIRGO This month you go to the shamanic sex-health clinic to find out the results of your test. The card is turned to reveal a giant tombstone with the word DICKROT on it. But the tarot reader explains that may just mean “rebirth or something.”

TAURUS Going out with Jigsaw from the Saw movies is hard work. You understand that it’s his passion and you want to support him as he spends long hours developing his fiendish and ironically symbolic torture devices, but is it too much to ask that he just empties the dishwasher now and again?

SCORPIO Your dream is to one day be able to untie the shoelaces that your mother tightened with her iron grip back in 1993. Then maybe you’ll be able to choose your own shoes.

GEMINI This month you make uncomfortable third eye contact with God. He always comes over when this happens, all chatty, telling you to start setting fire to people’s houses and slaying the demons that disguise themselves as children. CANCER The only emoticon that could ever speak to how you feel would be a crying poo on fire emoji.  EO L You have started to think that naming train stations after monarchs is a terrible idea after spending five hours defusing a row with your spouse following a text you sent them saying you were “just coming into Victoria now.”

LIBRA The wonderment of life: a beetle has probably just crawled right inside another animal’s butt and it didn’t even care. Simply amazing.

SAGITTARIUS In March you’ll cry so much water it puts out the sun. All that’s left will be billions of bodies boiling in an endless sea of dark water. CAPRICORN While there are people starving to death there are people out there getting their cats liposuctioned because they’re too fat. If only there were a charity that fed the liposuctioned fat to hungry people. You must start this charity – it is your life’s work. AQUARIUS Like your symbol, the jug, you’re always full to the brim with liquid, get smashed easily and aren’t at all conscious of your surroundings. PISCES What would you do if it all went to shit tomorrow, every man and woman for themselves? I’d go down to the British Museum and eat Cleopatra.

Leeds International Festival We’re excited for the first Leeds International Festival, taking place 22-30 April. Keep an eye on over the next few weeks, where we’ll be getting suitably giddy about the programme. Further, less-giddy info also available at Manchester Jazz Festival Returning to the city this summer 28 Jul-6 Aug, Manchester Jazz Festival will be taking over venues with live music and more – including the MJFcommissioned Cottonopolis, an immersive jazz, video and dance music experience from pianist and composer Andy Stamatakis-Brown, exploring Manchester’s past as the hub of the industrial revolution and its pivotal role in the Madchester dance scene during the late 80s and early 90s. ...and a final gig or two We’re looking forward to catching Parlophone’s indie lot VANT at Manchester’s Deaf Institute on 26 Apr, along with Brighton’s psychedelic surf outfit The Wytches at Headrow House on 25 May – all stopping off as part of a tour in partnership with Bushmills Whiskey.

By Jock Mooney THE SKINNY

Online Only

Ask Auntie Trash:

Dim the Lights As if all the festivals chat in this magazine weren’t enough, head over to the website for details on SICK! Festival, Festival No. 6, Bluedot and many many more.

In a break from her usual rant, Auntie Trash pays tribute to an old friend, taken too soon Illustration: Stephanie Hoffmann Track premieres from bands and artists from across the scene! Weekly gig guides to the best live music across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester! Interviews with Wild Nothing, Ibibio Sound Machine and Andy Shauf! Recap the best bits of Glasgow Film Festival, and get a glimpse at the year ahead with our scouting report from Berlin Film Festival. Stuck for somewhere to take a date, eat vegan or get your coffee fix? We’ve got the food and drink guide for you.

Wild Nothings

Photo: Claire Maxwell Sean Johnston tells us about the relaunch of A Love From Outer Space, and we’ve a natter with Eats Everything.

Photo: Frazmatazz

Convexe et Concave, 1955, Maurits Cornelis Escher

Credit: Creative Commons


Spot The Difference Stairedy Cats At first glance these images seem indistinguishable, but like any good M. C. Escher picture, it’s all a trick of the eye. You see, there are a few important differences between these images. One’s a mind-boggling lithograph, the other a photo of a kitten’s gaff. One features a badly designed staircase, the other a happy feline homebase. One’s a catacomb, the

other a cat’s, er, home. You get the picture. But which one’s which? Take a step back, get a bit of purr-spective and see if you can spot the difference and let the cat out of the bag. Meow-be you’ll end up our lucky winner and land a copy of The Abundance by Annie Dillard, courtesy of our pawsome pals at Canongate. What you waiting for – cat got your tongue? No prEscher.

Competition closes at midnight on Sun 26 Mar. 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

March/April 2017

y friend died a few weeks ago. Those five words are hard to write, and even harder to say. My friend died suddenly and we don’t know why. It’s not really something that you can casually slip into conversation: “Hey, how are you? What are you up to? Oh, by the way, my friend died last week.” It is the most unnatural of sentences, for the most surreal of days. He is gone. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. Dim the lights on Broadway, we have lost one of our best. Mark was exceptional. He was fabulous; loud, riotous and welcoming; you knew you were safe with him. He was a ball of energy, he made everyone welcome. We met when he was transferred to a restaurant that I had somehow found myself working in the year before. I was a 23 year-old drama graduate working in the kitchen and he was an 18 year-old waiter who’d just left home to go to university. A born performer, he would happily belt out a musical number whilst pirouetting perfectly, and always with that smile across his face. Mark’s grin could light up a whole building, not just the room that he was standing in. He loved to dance and sing. I loved to stand and watch when the kitchen wasn’t busy. Even when the kitchen was busy, he would come running in from the restaurant, grab me by the shoulders and spin me around singing Don’t Rain on My Parade’(‘Don’t tell me not to live, just sit and puttaaaa, life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of buttaaaaa’). Despite my reluctance to dance, and a worldview that was infinitely more pessimistic than his, we became friends. When he wanted to try a deep fried Mars bar for the first time, I took him to Cafe Piccante. He took me to get one of those once oh-so fashionable fish pedicures in the dead of winter, and we

sat side by side as these tiny fish nibbled at our toes. We once gatecrashed a pub quiz, took over the losing team and still lost. But Mark oh-so suavely managed to give his number to one of our team mates. Mark had a packed social life; so many friends, dance practice, rehearsals, shows, university work, internships, volunteering, he gave his time and his enthusiasm so generously. A few years ago, he started going to New York to train, to dance and after a while, we fell out of contact. The last time I saw him was during the Fringe a few years ago, and we chatted about the musical I’d just been to, which of course, he’d already seen. We promised to gatecrash another pub quiz when he came back from New York, but we drifted apart instead, each of us too busy, too distracted, too far away. I kept an eye on his adventures on Facebook. I knew he was due to be in a show in late February, and made a note to get back in touch. As the opening night drew nearer, I would often pass the theatre where he was due to perform and thought, “I will message Mark when I get home.” I said this to myself for weeks, “I must, no, I will message Mark when I get home”, repeating that line in my head and then forgetting as soon as I walked in the door. A few days ago I found out that it was too late, and the message remained unsent. So here it is: Hi Mark, it’s Trash. I’m sorry I’m rubbish at keeping in touch. I’ve got so much to tell you. How’s the show going? I’m so proud of you. Do you fancy going back to the pub quiz at The Street? I’ll buy the first round. I love you. xxx Mark Hewitt 1991 – 2017  If you are struggling with a loss, call Cruse Bereavement Care on 0808 808 1677, or visit



A Place to Call Home Salford arts venue Islington Mill won its lengthy licensing dispute in February, but the fight is far from over. Like all independent spaces, it needs your support Interview: Jamie Dunn


t the heart of any buoyant cultural scene you’ll find great buildings, from Warhol’s Factory to the Haçienda in Manchester. Not that there is anything particularly special in the bricks and mortar of these iconic structures. What makes buildings like these so vital is that they are crucibles where collaborations take place, where self-expression is encouraged and no idea is off-limits. They give people from all walks of life and all kinds of artistic disciplines the opportunity to come together in a single space in which to create. Two decades ago, designer Bill Campbell found this same sense of freedom in a set of dilapidated cotton mill buildings situated in an industrial no man’s land on the edge of Salford, between the city’s thoroughfare Chapel Street and the posh business and shopping districts of neighbouring Manchester. “When I had the opportunity to come in this building in 1996, no one had been here in 30 years,” recalls Campbell on a brisk February morning. Surrounded by lush potted plants and verdant climbing ivy, we’re sat at a bench in the cobbled courtyard at the centre of the mill buildings, now known collectively as Islington Mill. Back then, the structure had seen better days, but that’s what made it so liberating. “There was nothing to damage; it couldn’t get any worse than what it was.” By 2000, Campbell had raised funds to buy the building and, around it, a community had begun to form. “I knew if it was ever turned into apartments, then people would never have access to it again,” he says, “so one by one we just introduced the different things we felt would be useful to people. Sounds from the Other City festival started in 2004; we had three years of doing sporadic gigs, then we got licensed and set up the venue in 2008; the bed and breakfast in 2010. So each time it bolted on with another bit that seemed fun – and that’s why we’ve got a sort of melting pot of people and things that happen here.” What’s prompted our discussion today is a recent issue that’s been hanging like a cloud over the much-loved venue for four years: a licensing review brought about by noise complaints from four residents of a nearby 56-flat tower block. The hearing took place in Salford on 6 February, and the premises licence was continued, thanks in part to an unprecedented level of backing from ardent fans of the venue. “We got a huge amount of support from people in the area including the buildings next door, Salford, and the whole country,” says Campbell. “The lawyers had never seen anything like it.” We’re speaking to Campbell two days after the hearing, but his mood is hardly celebratory. “We’re relieved to have got it over with – for now – but it doesn’t feel like a victory,” he sighs. “There’s a sense that the grievances have not been fully resolved; that noise isn’t the only issue.” We’re joined by Verity Gardner, who, along with Emma Thompson, is the programmer of Fat Out, DIY promoters who’ve been residents at the Mill for the last two years. “I think it’s about not being heard or listened to,” she suggests. “There’s a lot of changes going on in the area, and perhaps some residents are feeling like they’ve not been included.” If this is the case, it seems an unfair burden to expect the Mill, a not-for-profit independent venue operating on a shoestring budget, to represent the whole regeneration of the area. And as Campbell points out, any outreach the Mill might have the capacity to do is severely curtailed when time and funds are swallowed up by legal proceed-


ings. “You’re literally stressing,” says Campbell, “spending money on lawyers, having endless meetings about what we need to do; that is time that’s not going into our community, that stops us saying, ‘Hey, do you wanna do something in our space?’’’ They’re relieved that the ordeal is over, but fear the agreements put in place at the hearing will increase scrutiny of the Mill’s operations. “It will mean more financial elements for us in terms of extra staff, more security to adhere to the conditions,” explains Gardner. “The nights we do won’t change, but we will be more considerate about how many late nights in a row we have.” So eclectic are the Mill’s activities, this problem is easily avoided. “If you look at our calendar,” she adds, “we’ve electronic nights, live gigs, weddings, birthday parties, exhibitions, film screenings, so we want to keep that variation.” They’re under no illusions, though. Sticking to these new restrictions won’t always be easy given the nature of the Mill. “It’ll be a struggle,” agrees Campbell. “We need to rely on the people who come here to understand what’s at stake.” There’s also the challenge to communicate to locals and officials what’s so special about the venue. “We’re not a pub, we don’t wanna be a pub, we’re not about selling alcohol for selling alcohol’s sake,” he says. “Every event we do is a cultural activity as far as we’re concerned: we don’t have student offers or happy hours. We only open when we’re doing something purposeful. Each event attracts its own crowd, so communicating what that means to be here can be quite difficult.” The biggest problem, perhaps, is that the complaints weren’t caused by the volume inside the Mill, but by the noise from people on the street causing a racket as they were leaving. “There’s only a certain amount of control we have over that,” adds Campbell. “We can’t go running after people halfway down the street!”

“We’ve got a melting pot of people and things that happen here” Bill Campbell

Islington Mill isn’t the only independent venue to find itself under threat from noise complaints. There are concerns in Liverpool, for example, following the recent green light given by the council for developers to build a block of 200 flats off Blundell Street, which could potentially change the makeup and atmosphere of the Baltic Triangle, an abandoned industrial area of the city that’s recently flourished with the opening of an array of music venues and creative spaces. As we take our conversation inside the Mill’s bed and breakfast, to its double-height communal space festooned in fairy lights, we ask Campbell why he thinks it’s indie venues that are suffering through gentrification and redevelopment, while commercial ventures seem to be thriving? “It’s because indie venues don’t have the skills,” he suggests. “We didn’t set out to know how to manage a legal process. We’ve never been to a hearing before so it was quite terrifying to go knowing our future is in jeopardy here. The chains,

the bigger venues, they have access to lawyers and a whole team with experience in these matters.” Greater Manchester is particularly blessed when it comes to sparky indie venues (The Eagle, The White Hotel, Soup Kitchen, Antwerp Mansion and Hidden are all namechecked during our interview), many of which can thank Islington Mill for showing that it’s possible to approach running a venue with a DIY ethos and still be successful. “There’s a healthy competition and healthy camaraderie between us all,” says Campbell, “but we’re perhaps working quite singularly and focused on getting the next event done, focusing on things like, ‘Are the toilets clean?’, ‘Is there enough booze?’, ‘Has the marketing been done?’, ‘Is anyone even gonna turn up?’ All those pressures mean we’re not spending time talking to each other in a unified way.” The Mill has a natural break coming up. A massive and still ongoing fundraising campaign, the funds for which will be matched by Arts Council England and Salford Council, will allow extensive building works to begin this year. “We have got capital money from the Arts Council and that is literally to change the building and replace the roof,” explains Campbell. Making the Mill accessible, in every sense of the word, is a priority during these renovations too. A lift will be installed, making all the studio spaces accessible, and the utilitarian entrance is getting a facelift. “Coming into the building, there’s something quite nice about it being like a prison door,” laughs Campbell, “but perhaps if

we’re talking about issues with our residents next door, perhaps they’ve found coming through that door difficult, so a new access way would allow more people to feel like they can come in – it’d be a major next step for us.” Campbell sees this downtime, which also coincides with Fat Out’s residency coming to its natural end, as an opportunity to spend the next year being more outward-looking. “We’ll have that time and energy to speak to people about what we could do as a sector to be stronger together rather than working apart,” he says. And the onus isn’t just on the venues to keep going in the face of obstacles and opposition. The people who use and love these spaces have a responsibility too. Campbell’s message is clear: “Help us, please! I think sometimes people assume we’re here forever. Everything that happens here is because someone comes here and does it. Show the love you have for the place: introduce new people to what we do and hopefully raise some money. Please help us and other indie venues. Don’t assume that this is all easy; it’s not.” For more details about Islington Mill, what’s coming up and how you can get involved, go to For more on the fundraising campaign and how to donate, go to Fat Out Fest takes place 14-16 Apr. For more details, go to


Graphic Content T

his month’s cover is by Adam Menzies, an illustrator from Bradford currently residing and studying a masters in Manchester. He often utilises bold colour palettes in his work, coupled with lots of crazy pattern. He also dabbles in comics, one of which you can see here. An example of his repeat pattern work can be seen on the cover, but mainly he creates one off pieces for a range of different clients, from editorial pieces about glam-rock stars’ imaginary tombstones to logo design for breweries. His subject matter and influences currently tend to be about the everyday, finding humour in mundane situations.

March/April 2017



Compiled by: Jess Hardiman

Time to lumber out of your wintertime hibernation for fresh new sounds at Sounds Like THIS festival, a celebration of radical feminism on International Women's Day and a few highspirited boozy events. Spring's afoot, kids! Let's go frolic.

Wonder Women

Merseyside Dance Initiative celebrate the 25th anniversary of LEAP dance festival, going all out with a dedicated pop-up dance house which will host works by national and international names including Glasgowbased dance theatre company Barrowland Ballet, award-winning dancer and choreographer Gary Clarke and many more. 1-12 Mar, Make Liverpool, times and prices vary

Manchester celebrates International Women's Day with feminist festival Wonder Women, the annual creative response to the city's badass legacy of radical feminism. Spanning art, music, film, theatre and discussion, highlights include a pop-up cinema event at People's History Museum and an all-female techno night at Texture. 2-12 Mar, Manchester, various venues, times and prices

Barrowland Ballet: Whiteout

SICK! Festival

From the folk behind Sheffield's Tramlines festival comes its springtime precursor Outlines, returning for a second year with the likes of Aussie trio Jagwar Ma, Slow Club, indie-pop quartet The Crookes, Leeds DIY heroes Cowtown, psych outfit Hookworms and Glaswegian R'n'B duo Bossy Love. 3-4 Mar, various venues, Sheffield, times vary, £20

Jagwar Ma

WOW Festival

Photo: Leah Henson

Outlines Festival

Part of the programming for Hull's year as UK City of Culture, WOW (Women of the World) is a festival of talks, debates, music, film, comedy and activism celebrating women and girls, while also tackling inequality in all its forms. Panel discussions with Maxine Peake and group exhibition The Female Gaze are just a couple of the good 'uns; check out the full programme at 10-12 Mar, Hull, various venues, times and prices

Celebrating life, death and survival, SICK! Festival tackles the challenging but vital parts of daily life with a programme of theatre and arts events, including Jaamil Olawale Kosoko's #negrophobia, which examines the erotic fear associated with the black male body, and Liz Aggiss's Slap and Tickle, a dark physical commentary on cultural mores and sexual taboos. 8-25 Mar, Manchester, various venues, times and prices

Maxine Peake

Rifle through more than five tonnes of retro jackets, jumpers, tees, dresses, accessories and more at Liverpool Vintage Kilo Sale, where you simply scoop up everything you want and pay by weight, at the rate of £15 per kilo. A good, easy way to pad out the wardrobe with old garbs that'll feel new to you. 12 Mar, Liverpool Guild of Students, 11am, £3

Suspiciously Cheap Comedy

Doffing a cap to the Irish patron saint and our Emerald Isle neighbours, Independent Liverpool commandeer one of the year's best piss-ups with a St Patrick's Day Weekender. Over the two days you can brace yourself for Guinness, Irish whiskys and gins, Irish scran like stew, soda bread and Taytos, live bands and more. 17-18 Mar, Great Baltic Warehouse, Liverpool, 12pm, £7.50

Following sell-out shows in London and Edinburgh, Suspiciously Cheap Comedy makes its way to Salford! The comedy night, brought to you by the good bods behind Goose and Gein's Family Giftshop, will launch up 'ere with Luisa Omielan, Alun Cochrane and Adam Riches, with MC Kiri Pritchard-McLean. All bound together by a suspiciously cheap price tag... 13 Mar, New Adelphi Building, Salford, 7pm, £5


Luisa Omielan

No Boundaries

Northern Restaurant and Bar



Liverpool Vintage Kilo Sale

St Patrick's Day Weekender

The North's largest hospitality trade exhibition, Northern Restaurant and Bar returns to host 300 exhibitors, 65 live demos and a debate with Gary Neville and Michael O'Hare. The event itself is only for those working in the restaurant and bar industry, but others can also get a slice of the action with fringe events around the city centre. 21-22 Mar, Manchester Central, 10am, free (industry registration required)

Credit: Peoples' History Muesum

Heads Up

LEAP Dance Festival

Manchester Three Rivers GIn

Two venues join forces for one conference as No Boundaries rolls into Manchester and Hull, where speakers will be live-linked from each location to create a symposium on the role of arts and culture, also finding positive new ways to influence change and support growth in our confusing, rapidly changing world. 28-29 Mar, HOME Manchester & Hull Truck Theatre, 10am, from £60


No Boundaries


Manchester Film Festival

The Cocktail Experience

Manchester Film Festival returns for its fourth bash, introducing a new strand of 'Rising Stars', which showcases emerging talent from in front of and behind the camera. Along with appearances from the likes of Timothy Spall, Karen Allen and Stef Dawson, you can also expect world premieres, experimental indies and live panel discussions. 2-5 Mar, Manchester, various venues, times and prices

Celebrate the brightest of the Leeds bar scene with The Cocktail Experience, a boozy celebration playing host to 18 of the city's biggest bar brands. Following last year's sell-out debut, exhibitors for 2017 include The Alchemist, Pintura, Manahatta and Revolución de Cuba, all ready to quench that thirst with something spectacular. 3 Mar, Aspire, Leeds, 6pm, £15 Katie Says Goodbye

The Cocktail Experience

Spirits Festival

Wild Pansy Press

Sounds Like THIS Festival

David Cronenberg Season

New music festival Sounds Like THIS launches this month, celebrating the best in new music and bold, boundary-pushing approaches to sound. Confirmed acts include electronic producer Rival Consoles, Nonclassical label founder Gabriel Prokofiev, electro-acoustic pioneer Elsa Justel and electronic duo A Man Called Adam. 14-24 Mar, Leeds, various venues, times and prices

Cult film specialists Grimm Up North present their David Cronenberg Season, paying homage to the Canadian horror icon by screening four of his most distinctive films: Scanners, Videodrome, Crash and, of course, The Fly – arguably his most successful, starring an oft-topless Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. 16 Feb30 Mar, Odeon Printworks, Manchester, times and prices vary

Gabriel Prokofiev

Liverpool's first festival dedicated to spirits, the aptly named Spirits Festival (why mince your words, eh?) comes from the minds behind Malt of the Earth Whisky Co., Whisky Business, Craft Beer Expo and Black Lodge Brewery. Tickets include entry, unlimited – yep, unlimited – samples of premium distilled gin, whisky, rum, vodka, cognac, tequila and mezcal, a souvenir taster glass, a water bottle and a pipette. 10-11 Mar, Constellations, Liverpool, times vary, £22

Credit: Mark Walsh - FLickr

The longest-running artists' book fair outside of London, the International Contemporary Artists' Book Fair celebrates its 20th birthday this year, welcoming stalls from the likes of PagePaperStitch, Village Books, Wild Pansy Press and more, along with creative workshops throughout the weekend from papersmith supremos GF Smith. 4-5 Mar, The Tetley, Leeds, 10am, free

Photo: Chris Taylor

International Contemporary Artists' Book Fair

The Fly

Sheffield Adventure Film Festival Immerse yourself in the adrenaline-fuelled world of life outdoors with the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, screening more than 100 films across five screens and two days, featuring everything from running and climbing to surfing, skiing and 'bike packing' – that's backpacking by bike, of course. 1719 Mar, The Showroom Cinema, Sheffield, times vary, £6.50-£8.50

Cedar Wright

Dodos Delight

Threshold Festival Confirmed acts for this year's Threshold Festival include analogue electronic musician Hannah Peel, rising Manc outfit False Advertising, Liverpool pop'n'rollers RongoRongo, Welsh three-piece Gravves and Irish folk singer Tiz McNamara. Hyped! 31 Mar-2 Apr, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, times and prices vary False Advertising

March/April 2017

Photo: Wes Foster

¡Viva! Festival HOME's annual ode to Spanish and Latin American film, theatre and visual art, this year's ¡Viva! festival commemorates the 40th anniversary of the abolition of censorship in Spain, an era known as La Transición – turn to p21 for more on how that feeds into the programme, which features the world premiere of Republica. 31 Mar-17 Apr, HOME, Manchester, times and prices vary





Alan Moore

Photo: Mitch Jenkins

The brainchild of DJ and Super Weird Substance label founder Greg Wilson, the 14 Hour Super Weird Happening kicks April off for us with comics legend Alan Moore, playwright Daisy Campbell and author John Higgs, who come together for a "gathering of the tribes" with live music, DJs, exhibitions, live art, spoken word, panel discussions and performance. 1 Apr, The Florrie, Liverpool, 11am, £15

Inner-city multi-venue music bash 2Q Festival returns for round two this month, after launching last year in a bid to help put Derby on the map as a destination for bands. For 2017 the bill welcomes Pulled Apart by Horses, Milburn, Temples and Benjamin Francis Leftwich, alongside rising names like The Wytches, Black Honey, Idles and Fizzy Blood. 1 Apr, various venues, Derby, £22.50

Pulled Apart by Horses

Manchester Print Fair

Liverpool Print Fair

Showcasing independent art and design, Manchester Print Fair is, without doubt, one of the city's favourite arts-based events, bringing its creative communities together under one roof (this time under that stunning domed one of the Central Library, no less). Along with checking out the stalls you can get involved in hands-on workshops. 8 Apr, Central Library, Manchester, 11am, free

You can get in on the printed action in Liverpool, too, with the Liverpool Print Fair, a joint venture from The Print Social and Bluecoat Print Studio that'll feature work by artists, illustrators and designers using a variety of methods like screenprinting, linocut and etching. 8 Apr, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, 10.30am, free

Manchester Print Fair

Transform Festival

Ethan and The Reformation

Photo: Jack Kirwin

When in Manchester Festival Taking over Night and Day Cafe, The Castle, Gullivers and new Northern Quarter gig hole Jimmy's, When in Manchester Festival takes some of the city's best small venues and packs them with big sounds from The Tuts, Ethan and The Reformation, Asylums, White Room, South Island Son, The Strawberries, Sapho, Rood and many more. 15 Apr, various venues, Manchester, 3pm, £14

Photo: Amy Muir

2Q Festival

14 Hour Super Weird Happening

Billing itself as a celebration of bold, local and international theatre, this year's Transform festival ups its game with its "boldest festival yet" – the first citywide edition. Coursing through theatres, arts venues and outdoor spaces, performances and events will highlight activism, community collaboration, the digital age, gender politics and, perhaps the most topical of all, the future of Europe. 1922 Apr, Leeds, various venues, times and prices


Anna Meredith

Islam Chipsy

Leeds Digital Festival

Live at Leeds Festival

Having welcomed over 6000 people last year, the city-wide Leeds Digital Festival returns for 2017 with all things coding, digital music, digital art, women in tech, startups, UX/Design, FinTech (financial technology, love), information security and data. Keep those eyes locked on to for line-up announcements. 22-29 Apr, Leeds, various venues, times and prices

Wild Beasts, Jagwar Ma, Rag'n'Bone Man, Slaves, White Lies, Nothing but Thieves, The Pigeon Detectives, Black Honey, Let's Eat Grandma, Dream Wife, Flamingods, Honeyblood and Clean Cut Kid are all confirmed for Leeds' award-winning, multi-venue trek-about Live at Leeds. Find out who else you can catch at 29 Apr, various venues, Leeds, 12pm, £32.50




Jagwar Ma


Photo: Amy Muir

We're VERY excited for the debut Safe as Milk festival, bringing a Pontins site in North Wales to life with one of the most interesting, forward-thinking contemporary music programmes we've seen for some time – including electronic enigma Actress, experimental pop composer Anna Meredith, Ghanaian dance artist Ata Kak and Egyptian livewires Islam Chipsy & EEK. All over it mate. 21-23 Apr, Pontins, Prestatyn, £199

Photo: Leah Henson

Safe as Milk Festival

The Northern Vegan Festival graduates to a larger space this year, taking on the lofty Manchester Central convention centre with 200 stalls, talks, cooking demos and a seated cafe area. You'll also find lots of vegan-based goodness at fringe venues The Thirsty Scholar, Friends Meeting House and Cross Street Chapel. 1 Apr, Manchester Central, 11am, £5

Fancy a daiquiri in some Victorian prison cells? Cocktails in the City will be commandeering the town hall – including its lesser-trodden corners like the courtroom and clock tower – with pop-up stalls from 20 of the city's finest cocktail bars. Entry includes one cocktail and a cocktail booklet, while drinks on the evening will cost £6. 6-7 Apr, Leeds Town Hall, 6pm, £12

Fat Out Fest

Hop City is the UK's first hop-led beer festival, coming to you from the good people of Northern Monk Brew Co. Alongside them, you'll find beers from Magic Rock, Cloudwater, Siren Craft Brew, The Kernel, Verdant and more, plus international breweries like the USA's Other Half and Sweden's Stigbergets. Hop to it, brah! 13-15 Apr, Northern Monk Brew Co., Leeds, times vary, £12 session/£60 all sessions

The annual party from Salford-based promoters Fat Out is back for more this month, as Fat Out Fest rolls into Islington Mill for three days of live music, workshops, stalls, conversation and all the glitter. The line-up features the likes of Blood Sport, Ill and Mums, but head to for the full picture. 14-16 Apr, Islington Mill, Salford, times vary, £25-£65

Credit: Sam Needham

Hop City


Photo: Elmore

Cocktails in the City

Credit: Jake Hollings

Northern Vegan Festival

Ready to smack you round the chops with punk rock from across the globe, the volunteer-run, not-for-profit Manchester Punk Festival returns with the likes of The Murderburgers, Denim & Leather, Strike Anywhere, The Toasters, Faintest Idea, Paint It Black, Belvedere, Martha, After the Fall, The Filaments, Inner Terrestrials and others. 20-23 Apr, various venues, Manchester, times vary, £35


Photo: Andy Sawyer

Manchester Punk Festival

Wrong Festival

Paint It Black

New noise-rock festival Wrong lands in Liverpool this month, where we're promised "all varieties of weird and filthy rock music" from a line-up including The Wytches, Heck, The Cosmic Dead, Part Chimp, Blacklisters and Elevant – set across the Invisible Wind Factory, North Shore Troubadour and Drop the Dumbulls. 22 Apr, various venues, Liverpool, 1pm, £20

The Wytches

Photo: Sam Huddleston

Liverpool's Affordable Vintage Fair Liverpool's Affordable Vintage Fair is back for its first hurrah of the year, taking to the super-atmospheric Lutyen's Crypt at the Metropolital Cathedral and filling it with 40 traders selling pre-loved clothing, accessories, homeware, furnishings, vinyl and knitting patterns. 22 Apr, Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool, 11am, £2

March/April 2017



Photo: Debbie Ellis

Wild Beasts

Photo: Luke Hannaford

The day after Live at Leeds, Cumbrian odd-popsters Wild Beasts head back across the Pennines to headline FestEvol Gardens, joined by Pulled Apart by Horses, The Parrots, The Sundowners, The Big Moon, InHeaven, Cabbage, Dream Wife, Ulrika Spacek, Pink Kink, The Orielles, Peaness and more for an all-dayer of the UK's finest alt-rock sounds. 30 Apr, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool, 3pm, £25

What better way to close the month than with everyone's favourite grassroots party? That's a rhetorical question, BTW, because if you don't go to Sounds from the Other City you're a fuggin fool. Programmers Now Wave, Hey! Manchester, Grey Lantern, Comfortable on a Tightrope, Sham Bodie and NTS are all on board; you should be too. 30 Apr, various venues, Salford, 2pm, £23

Sounds from the Other City



Photo: Alexander Bell

Sounds from the Other City Festival

FestEvol Gardens


Cultural Highlights

Yorkshire Sculpture Park Get outdoors and embrace the arrival of spring with a trip to one of the UK’s most unique art galleries, where you’ll be able to spend a day discovering iconic work by world-renowned artists including Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore – all out in the open air. Set across 500 acres in the 18th-century Bretton Estate in West Bretton (one mile from junction 38 on the M1), Yorkshire Sculpture Park has become a leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. And after almost half a century leading the way for modern and contemporary sculpture, this year the park celebrates its 40th birthday.

Romeo & Juliet Throughout 2017 the gallery will host a jampacked programme of exhibitions and events, while the birthday celebrations get underway with the biggest UK exhibition to date by leading sculptor Tony Cragg, alongside [Re]construct, an exhibition curated from the Arts Council Collection in the 18th-century chapel. As always, entry is free – you’ll only have to pay to park the car. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, open 10am-5pm

Fashion On The Ration Since opening back in 2002, the multi award-winning Imperial War Museum North has become one of Greater Manchester’s favourite attractions, and has helped put Salford Quays on the map as one of the North’s thriving cultural centres. Just a short tram or bus ride from Manchester city centre, the museum is based on the simple but increasingly resonant concept of a world broken by conflict, where potentially tough subject matter is handled delicately and creatively: a combination that makes it an unmissable family-friendly day out. Along with permanent exhibitions and collections, there’s still time to check out Fashion On The Ration: 1940s Street Style, IWM North’s special exhibition exploring how fashion survived – and even flourished – under the strict rules of rationing


William Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers is brought bang up to date in Leeds this March, as West Yorkshire Playhouse stages a fresh and vibrant new production. Set in contemporary urban Verona, the story follows two teenage sweethearts as they struggle to let their love blossom amidst the hostility of a brutal, long-standing feud between their two families. This tale of intergenerational conflict, social unrest and divided communities finds new resonance in its present-day setting, at a time when love can still be dwarfed by hate – and, even more pertinently, as the UK navigates its exit from the European Union.

Directed by Amy Leach (Kes, The Night Before Christmas), Romeo & Juliet is the Playhouse’s first major production of 2017 and stars Dan Parr and Tessa Parr in the titular roles, while Lady Capulet is played by TV star Natalie Anderson, best known for her role as Alicia in Emmerdale and in Wicked on the West End. Romeo & Juliet, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, 3-25 Mar, times vary, £13.50-£30 (a transaction fee of £1.95 will be applied to all phone and internet bookings)

O.K. – The Musical in 1940s Britain. From ‘onesies’ worn in air raid shelters to jewellery crafted from aeroplane parts, Fashion On The Ration unveils how circumstances led to innovative, new approaches to fashion. You’ve got until 1 May to find out more about a unique aspect of wartime Britain, and maybe pick up a few frugal tips yourself. Fashion On The Ration: 1940s Street Style, IWM North, Salford, until 1 May, 10am-4pm (last entry 3.30pm), £6/£4.50 concessions, £3 children/Art Fund member, IWM members free

Witness the production and performance of a musical unfold gradually in the unusual setting of an art gallery, as Berlin-based artist Christopher Kline brings O.K. – The Musical to Tate Liverpool. The gallery spaces will be turned into a working set as people of all ages and backgrounds from Liverpool and Lancashire meet, rehearse and prepare for the show – from acting and singing to set design, lighting and prop-making – using their own experiences to influence the direction of the narrative. Tate visitors can then drop in throughout the day to observe the show as it comes to life, with performances of the finished musical on 29 and 30 April. The project explores and restages the history and folklore of Kline’s home of Kinderhook in

New York State, and is part of an annual series of experimental commissions called We Have Your Art Gallery. You may remember the first, Art Gym, from spring last year, when the Tate became an interactive creative workout space that swapped kettlebells and treadmills for lectures, workshops and art stations. O.K. – The Musical, Tate Liverpool, 1 Apr-1 May (performances 29 & 30 Apr), free



Now Showing

On Stage

The best in theatre this season

ne of Britain’s most successful young fashion designers, Jonathan Anderson offers a response to The Hepworth Wakefield’s modern art collection in a major new exhibition opening this March. Titled ‘Disobedient Bodies’, the show sees the 33-year-old – who as well as running his own J. W. Anderson label is creative director of Spanish luxury brand Loewe – bring works from the gallery’s catalogue of contemporary British art together with selected design pieces, in order to create thought-provoking contrasts and ‘dialogues’.  Visitors can expect to see garments by designers including Issey Miyake, Helmut Lang and Christian Dior placed in conversation with figurative works from artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Sarah Lucas and Alberto Giacometti. Sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, the two Wakefield-born artists who lie at the core of The Hepworth’s collection, will feature prominently; further pieces come from modernist pioneer Constantin Brancusi, abstract-leaning French artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Turner Prize winner Rebecca Warren, amongst others. Born out of Anderson’s personal interest in modern art, the exhibition not only invites the

audience to consider how the human body has been reimagined through time but also offers an insight into Anderson’s own creative vision, which has often played with gender fluidity and non-traditional silhouettes. Pieces from his ruffle-tastic A/W 13 menswear collection will be on display, and the designer himself should be in a buoyant mood after a very well-received presentation of his A/W 17 collection at London Fashion Week in February. The gallery spaces will be transformed by textiles hung to create a series of smaller, intimate rooms, and you’ll even be able to pull on some togs for yourself as part of a tactile experience featuring giant knitted garments designed by Anderson, engouraging visitors to play with shape and touch. Disobedient Bodies is the first in a series of collaborative exhibitions, which will see The Hepworth work with figures from creative fields outside the visual arts including fashion and music, film and literature, to challenge what we expect to see in an art gallery.  Disobedient Bodies: J.W. Anderson at The Hepworth Wakefield, 18 Mar-18 Jun, Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (closed Mondays), free

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1936

Spring theatre in Leeds Ah, spring. New life, new love, new jerks dicking you around. Celebrate the mood of the season with the world premiere of Northern Ballet’s Casanova, choreographer Kenneth Tindall’s exploration of the man behind the scandalous legend, which promises to expose a story ‘so sensational you won’t believe it’s real’ (Leeds Grand Theatre, 11-18 Mar). At West Yorkshire Playhouse, we’re intrigued by the sound of TANK, an award-winner at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe about an American scientist who, in 1965, lived with a dolphin for ten weeks to try to teach it to speak English. Learn more about this controversial experiment in an intimate production in the Barber Studio (3 Apr).  And don’t miss the chance to see a brand new dance company make its debut, as artist Didy Veldman launches her Umanoove troupe with a piece exploring society’s endless search for fulfilment. An intricate full-length work, The Happiness Project has been made in collaboration with violinist and composer Alexander Balanescu, who’ll perform live alongside the four dancers (The Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, 26 Apr). Fresh ideas in Liverpool  Liverpool Everyman has long led the way in educating young theatrical talent. This year, they take things further with The Everyman Company – 14 resident actors performing five entirely homeproduced plays, right through to the summer. The Company have taken their cue from recent world events, harnessing a sense of urgency to produce plays that they feel carry a message of “magic, meaning and humanity.” This season, catch Fiddler on the Roof (until 11 Mar), The Conquest of the South Pole (24 Mar-8 Apr)  and The Story Giant (13-29 Apr).

Meanwhile on the Playhouse stage, Paul McGann stars in Moira Buffini’s Gabriel (4-8 Apr), a tense drama set in Nazi-occuped Guernsey where a stranger washes up on the shore, changing everything for a family held captive. Bold stagings in Manchester If you’re one to get all moony over Michael Fassbender as Rochester in the film of Jane Eyre (we’ve all been there), you can take those emotions to the stage with the National Theatre’s touring production of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, which comes to the Lowry, Salford (8-15 Apr). But it’s really all about Paul Auster this season, as spellbinding creative direction company 59 Productions bring an adaptation of the US author’s so-called ‘unadaptable’ novel City of Glass to the stage (HOME, 4-18 Mar); and speaking of great American talents, as Laurie Anderson fans we’re really excited to hear her score for Robert Lepage’s one-man show about two estranged brothers, The Far Side of the Moon, at the Lowry (1 & 2 Apr). Finally, there’s the fantastic SICK! Festival, which tackles our pressing physical, mental and social challenges through theatre, film, comedy and more. Among many highlights, don’t miss ‘football-dance-theatre explosion’ Michael Essien I Want to Play As You..., a piece confronting the issues facing young African players who come to Europe hoping that football will be their route out of poverty (Contact Theatre, 24 Mar). For more recommendations and to find out what’s on, head to

How My Light Is Spent

Federico Fellini’s Oscar-winning 1954 masterpiece La Strada jumps from the screen and onto the stage in a new adaptation from Olivier Award-nominated director Sally Cookson, with Nino Rota’s classic theme updated by a beautiful new score from Benji Bower. Originally starring Fellini’s wife as an innocent and youthful tightrope walker torn between a future with a brutish strongman or a loveable fool, the story finds new relevance as an antifascist social critique that champions the marginalised. 24-29 Apr, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, 7.30pm (matinees available), £13.50-£30,

Winner of the Judges’ Award in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, How My Light Is Spent is Alan Harris’s play about an unlikely duo who turn each other’s world upside down. Said twosome are 34-year-old Jimmy and the adult line operator he calls each week, Kitty, whose lives combine for a funny and hopeful exploration of loneliness, longing and feeling left behind. 24 Apr-13 May, Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm) £10-£12, How Much of This Is Fiction

How Much of This Is Fiction

House of Ghetto: Black Pride

March/April 2017

Casanova in rehearsal

La Strada

House of Ghetto

Portraits of the founding members of the House of Ghetto, a vogue house based in Manchester working across dance, video, fashion and photography, go on display at HOME in April. Combining photographer Cornel’s distinct style with the six colours of the LGBT Pride flag, these striking images celebrate the House and its members’ unique flair and combined strength. 7 Apr-15 Jun, HOME, Manchester, normal opening hours, free,

Credit: Courtesy of The Hepworth Wakefield. Photo: Stuart Whipps


La Strada

In a very timely move, FACT stage a large exhibition of politically inspired media art that looks at the boundary between fiction and reality, and at a public discourse in which the term ‘post-truth’ has become common. The participating artists not only examine deception but actively use it in their work – resulting in a show that presents the artist as trickster or ‘dark jester’, employing hoaxes, hacks and ruses to reveal uncomfortable truths and alternative futures. 2 Mar-21 May, FACT, Liverpool, Tue-Sun 11am-6pm, free,


How My Light Is Spent

Events Guide


Photo: Lauren Godfrey

Expect to see the human body in a new light at fashion designer J. W. Anderson’s takeover of a Yorkshire gallery

Guest Selector: Wild Beasts The band’s Tom Fleming on the songs behind Boy King


ild Beasts returned last year with Boy King; an album that saw the Kendal-formed quartet examine the self-destructive effects of 21stcentury notions of masculinity, with a heavier focus on electronic sounds. As the band prepare to headline Liverpool’s FestEvol Gardens, bassist Tom Fleming reflects on some of the sounds that inspired the album, bringing us “the most Boy King-ass playlist since Boy King.” With an offer like that, how could we refuse?

put out has your voice pitched up to such a point that it’s unrecognisable. Silly as it all was, I really do think this is that good; this track in particular has barely been off on the tourbus. Lindstrøm – Closing Shot [Windings EP, 2016] A pre-gig staple, for when you’ve been awake for 26 hours and need to find the energy. Has that city-at-night blur to it and I find it impossible not to burst into a huge grin every time I hear it. It’s that squelchy bassline, I think. Quite literally played before every show we played in 2016.

The Rolling Stones – Beast of Burden [Some Girls, 1978] I really like this period of the Stones. Despite the presumably massive budgets they always sound like they don’t give a single fuck, and I love the guitars wrapping around each other. Jagger even sounds likeable!

Sonic Youth – Becuz [Washing Machine, 1995] I recently started going over the alternative rock of my youth and picking some diamonds out of the mud. This whole record is great – pacing, sounds, artwork, everything, and the track has stayed with me for years. You could spend a lifetime going into Thurston and Lee’s guitar interplay, but this is an excellent place to start.

Oneohtrix Point Never – Blue Drive [Rifts, 2012 expanded reissue] OPN has been a staple for years with us – he even did a remix back in the Two Dancers days – and he remains so. This is an enormously deep recording. Very, very still and very simple, but it finds its way deep into the folds of your brain.

Xasthur – A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors [A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors, 2001] I love Xasthur. I think his black metal days may be behind him, but I’m always looking for solo electronic music that doesn’t sound like it’s been minted straight from the same plugins as everyone else is using. This sounds like it’s been recorded in a basement with the washing machine running, and it’s beautiful. If depressive astral projection is your thing (it is mine).

Van Halen – Panama [1984, 1984] I feel as if Van Halen, and indeed a lot of that eye-liner LA metal sort of thing, are due a critical reappraisal (although it’s not as if they ever stopped being huge). I know it comes over as subtle as one of David Lee Roth’s magnificent codpieces, but underneath the presentation is a beautifully tight little pop song, and the playing is ludicrous. Trust.

Nine Inch Nails – The Becoming [The Downward Spiral, 1994] Nine Inch Nails were a constant touchstone for us making the last record, and we spoke a lot with John Congleton (producer) about this track in particular. Try and imagine an alternative today where tracks with

Frank Ocean – Nikes [Blonde, 2016] Imagine having the most absurdly hyped record of the year in your pocket, ramping up the tension to a ridiculous degree, making people wait, then making them wait more, then the first track you

these themes, sounds and rhythms come out on major labels with huge budgets. You can’t, can you? Shirley Collins – Cruel Lincoln [Lodestar, 2016] I’ll admit, I was a little starstruck when we recently became labelmates with Shirley Collins. I suppose this is a pretty unreconstructed folk record, and not going to recruit anyone who’s being brought up on radio-friendly R’n’B, but for the fans, this is an absolute goldmine. Love her.

Imogen Heap – Headlock [Speak For Yourself, 2005] Put Imogen Heap into WhoSampled if you want a diverting hour. It was a Clams Casino sample (for Soulja Boy of all people) that sent me back to this track. It’s a totally bonkers pop song that seems to prefigure Sia and maybe even Hatsune Miku. Maybe I’m falling down a well there, but it’s great. Boy King is out now via Domino. Wild Beasts play Live at Leeds 2017, 29 Apr, FestEvol Gardens at Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool, 29 Apr

Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon

Photo: Alexander Bell


Welsh singer Charlotte Church, who has long since shed her voice of an angel in favour of potty-mouthed political activism, continues to go gloriously off-piste with her Late Night Pop Dungeon, a touring show that sees her joined by a raucous 10-piece band to revisit disparate floorfillers from Nine Inch Nails to En Vogue and everything in between. Sign us right up. 1 Apr, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 7.30pm, £14, @charlottechurch


Fat Out’s 10th (9th) birthday Ever reached your tenth birthday, then realised you were actually nine years old? Such a fate has somehow befallen Manchester’s mighty Fat Out collective – but however old they are, you can always rely on 'em for a righteous celebration, and tonight they gather some of the UK’s most muscular sonic brawlers for a royal rumble of epic proportions. Manatees, Gnod, Ghold and Bilge Pump are among those bringing the riffs – you bring the cake. 18 Mar, Islington Mill, Salford, 4pm, £10, @Fat_Out


Events Guide




Charlotte Church

We fell in love with East London five-piece Pumarosa when they closed the Now Wave stage at last year’s Sounds from the Other City festival with brooding, euphoric finesse – thanks in most part to captivating frontwoman Isabel Munoz-Newsome, whose billowing vocals wouldn’t feel out of place alongside those of punk greats like Siouxsie and Patti Smith. Time to catch them again as the Manchester promoters bring them back for round two. 19 Apr, Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 7.30pm, £7, @nowwave


Memory Tapes The Skinny talks to Northern Irish musician Hannah Peel about her album Awake But Always Dreaming, which tackles the emotional subject of her grandmother’s battle with dementia

Interview: Hayley Scott


t’s no secret: women have always been well represented in electronic music. Their involvement can be traced as far back as 1842, to the pioneering work of Ava Lovelace, and it’s been a common theme within popular culture since the 50s thanks to the contributions of Else Marie Pade and Delia Derbyshire (to name but a few). Also incorporating elements of melancholy folk while famously employing hand-crafted music boxes, Hannah Peel is part of a new generation of women taking electronic music into their own hands – and doing something rather brilliant with it.  The Skinny: You’ll be playing at Threshold Festival this spring. Does it feel like something of a homecoming when you play shows in Liverpool now, having studied at uni there? Hannah Peel: I never thought it would feel like that but it does feel good to be playing there again. I love Liverpool and only left because I needed to find more work outside of the city. It has a strong hold on my heart.

“Awake But Always Dreaming relies heavily on confusion, corrosion, falling away” Hannah Peel

You’ve said that your recent album Awake But Always Dreaming became a “life-changing experience”, inspired by your grandmother’s illness. Do you mind telling us a bit about what happened? My grandmother had started to be affected by Alzheimer’s over ten years ago. It’s a very slow, insidious disease and you never know in the beginning quite what will happen or how bad it will get. It was very hard to see her gradually disappear, and also that meant we all did from her mind. I would sometimes only emotionally get through visits to her by imagining where she had

called Static Caravan; they went on to release it as a limited 7”. It opened a door for me to make my own music.

gone – make believe worlds, cityscapes, streets where she could wander inside her mind. It kept me happier to know she was still inside somewhere. Did you know one in three of us will be affected? It’s crazy, and two out of three will be women! Our lives consist of gathering mementos, going on holidays, getting married, having kids, and you want to remember all those things and for it to last a lifetime, until old age. Then for it all to disappear... it’s devastating and there is still no cure. When I learned about how many other people were going through the same, I knew then and there that was what I needed to write about.

There’s something about them that evokes childhood memories... Yes. They can be sometimes seen as creepy; I’ve even had Tainted Love used on American Horror Story, but I do love the innocence to the box and the fact it’s hard to keep in time. The creaks and crackles of the paper as it runs over the metal bars inside are unique every time. Are you inspired by any writers in particular when it comes to songwriting? Awake But Always Dreaming relied heavily on things not being quite what they are: confusion, corrosion, falling away mentally but not falling down physically. Lyrically I’m a big fan of The Blue Nile and Paul Buchanan, and artists like Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell – River Man by Nick Drake has more or less influenced every part of my writing.

Music boxes have become a trademark of yours – how did you begin working with them? I was writing music for a theatre show in Liverpool and the performance needed things that could turn or worked in circles – so record players and gramophones – but then I found these programmable music boxes online. I discovered it works best with strict memorable bass lines and melodies, so for a laugh I made Tainted Love – everyone knows that riff. It was fun so I recorded it at home and made a few more. I sent it to a friend who then sent it on to a little label in Birmingham

Would you describe your music as ‘electronic’? Yes I would, but ‘analogue electronic’. I prefer using synths, drum machines and tangible electronic

Stoller Hall opening concert

Yup, that’s another descendant of afrobeat royalty you’ve spotted, in the form of Fela Kuti’s youngest son Seun. The Nigerian musician will take to the stage alongside Fela’s former band, Egypt 80, together blasting out his father’s back catalogue and Seun’s own material. You can also catch him at Manchester’s Band on the Wall the day before – or the day after, as Fiesta Bombarda bring him to Church in Leeds. 20 Mar, Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool, 7.30pm, £19.50, @iwfactory

As part of the programme launching Manchester’s newest concert venue, The Stoller Hall (at Chetham’s School of Music) welcomes a trio of modern musical innovators: pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock, violinist Thomas Gould and local legend Mike Walker. This is a good opportunity to check out the new £8.7m auditorium, which already has a packed itinerary of everything from chamber music, choirs and orchestras to contemporary jazz and spoken word. 21 Apr, The Stoller Hall, Manchester, 8pm, £12-£18,

Tyondai Braxton

Seun Kuti

March/April 2017

Photo: Dustin Condren

Seun Kuti

instruments; I love their nuances. I’m not as creative when I’m using software on the laptop. Things like found sounds, that I use for beats and atmosphere, and traditional piano and strings sound more easily matched. Women working within electronic music are still often termed ‘singer-songwriters’, yet you’d never hear the same said about someone like Brian Eno, for example. Does that sort of thing bother you at all? Yes! I often wonder if streaming and digital downloads adds to this laziness, because you can’t check the credits as easily, but I do think people are starting to take note of what is going on in the background of an album. My favourite female artist that I look up to is Laurie Anderson. If more young female composers/producers like Mica Levi, Anna Meredith and Mira Calix were heralded in the press we would soon change perspectives and younger generations would find their role models quicker. Awake But Always Dreaming is out now via My Own Pleasure. Hannah Peel plays Threshold Festival, Liverpool, 1 Apr

Tyondai Braxton


The former Battles frontman returns to these shores with promises of new material – his first since last year’s sterling Oranged Out EP. Braxton has racked up an impressive list of collaborators over the past decade, including Dirty Projectors, Mouse on Mars, Philip Glass and Drum Corps International to name a few, which should give you an idea of the batshit brilliance you can expect from one of experimental rock’s most restless minds. 23 Mar, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 7.30pm, £13, @nath_brudenell

This London trio’s 2014 debut Weird Little Birthday came doused in a certain Pavementy fuzz, spiked with wry lyrical bon mots (‘I’m wearing Win Butler’s hair / There’s a scalpless singer of a Montreal rock band somewhere’). Their imminent follow-up Write In promises a wider net of influences, ranging from Roxy Music to Randy Newman – will it make you feel like a room without a roof? Don’t bet against it. 20 Apr, Buyers Club, Liverpool, 8pm, £9, @Harvest_Sun


Stoller Hall

Events Guide


Somewhere Out There Because sometimes you just want to get off your nut in another country, here are some of our favourite DJ-led festivals across Europe this year Nuits Sonores (24-28 May, Lyon, France) This French titan is unmissable not only for its relentlessly forward-thinking line-up, but also its educative, inclusive feel. This year, for its 15th edition, enjoy special daytime curation from The Black Madonna, Nina Kraviz and Jon Hopkins, who bring the likes of Actress, Levon Vincent and Derrick Carter to the stages and esplanades between them. (full pass £118)

experimental bent and high-calibre A/V experiences. There’s usually workshops and trading going on and, if nothing else, it’s a wonderful insight into how the Swedes like to get down. (£70) Dekmantel (2-6 Aug, Amsterdam, Netherlands) As usual, an absolutely mindbending line-up from Amsterdam masters Dekmantel, who bring Antal & Hunee, a set from Arca with Jesse Kanda on visuals, live appearances from Andy Stott and Tom Trago and innumerable further highlights to the leafy surroundings of Amsterdamse Bos; plus legends of the stature of Masters At Work and the one and only Omar S. Oh and y’know, just Steve Reich and the Sun Ra Arkestra. Different passes will get you into different parts of the programme, particularly day and night, so read into your options carefully.

Meadows in the Mountains (9-11 Jun, Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria) Nowhere better to bring out the hedonist in you than a misty mountaintop. As well as careful programming, Meadows in the Mountains is all about that otherworldly, ethereal feel; like all the best clubbing moments. There’s even a special spa trip, the Orpheus Pool Party, to book yourself onto for the day afterwards – probably wise. (£110) Into the Valley (29 Jun-1 Jul, Rummu Quarry, Estonia) The Black Madonna, Helena Hauff and Recondite are just a few highlights of Into the Valley, one of three festivals under the ‘Into...’ banner (maybe you want to do the hat-trick and head to Sweden’s Into the Factory and South Africa’s Into the Castle as well). The organisers prize a holistic experience: “taking into consideration all practicalities, impressions and emotions to enable a feeling of togetherness, intimacy and harmony.” Nice of ‘em. (£126)

Festival Forte (24-26 Aug, Montemor-oVelho, Portugal) Incoming bargain alert! Festival Forte brings an always intimate line-up, this time feat. Ron Morelli, Clark, Jeff Mills and Forte favourite Blawan, to the ancient fortress village of Montemor-O-Velho, aiming to create a ‘castle in the sky’. And it’s cheap. The stuff of dreams. (£67) Dimensions (30 Aug-3 Sep, Fort Punta Christo, Croatia) By now very well established but still, we’d argue, the jewel in Croatia’s ever-expanding festival, er, crown, Dimensions just ups its game year after year. This summer they’ve only gone and got Grace Jones (!) and as usual, basically every great name on the circuit: Romare, Daphni, Theo Parrish, Mike Dehnert are among the first announcements, with plenty more still to be added. (£151)

Tauron Nowa Muzyka (6-9 Jul, Katowice, Poland) A nice blend of established artists and up-andcomers creates a comfortable atmosphere at Tauron, considered one of the best small events in Central Europe partly, surely, for its fascinating setting in the postindustrial Strefa Kultury (‘culture zone’) of Katowice. Refamiliarise yourself with the shapeshifting sounds of Gang Gang Dance and Gold Panda; but check out burning hot names Yussef Kamaal and Palms Trax too. (£59) Norbergfestival (27-29 Jul, Norberg, Sweden) A towering industrial column once used for iron ore extraction sets the scene for Norbergfestival, which offers looming, drone-y techno of an

Illustration: Alessandra Genualdo

Unsound (8-15 Oct, Krakow, Poland) Celebrating 15 years this October, Unsound has developed a cult following for its bracing, bruising line-ups and trusted curation – tickets sell quickly even when no names are announced, just the yearly theme. You’ll explore some of the city’s most fascinating spaces, and come away with countless new favourite artists. (SOLD OUT) Find more recommendations online at

Club C.I.T.S. #2: Endgame + LOFT

Drawing from Chicago house, European new wave and a breadth of genres that many artists dare not touch, the hypnotic Lena Willikens is one of the most respected DJs in Europe thanks in part to her residency at Düsseldorf ’s Salon des Amateurs. She makes her Leeds debut tonight for On Rotation, with a top sound system brought in especially for the occasion. 24 Mar, Blueberry Hill Studios, Leeds, 11pm, £8,

A new bimonthly club night from the brains behind two of Manchester’s most progressive outfits, Annex Agency and Gesamtkunstwerk, Club C.I.T.S. aims to push the boundaries of club music. They’re programming some fantastic double bills of artists operating at the thrilling fringes of the dancefloor, and their second pairing brings together Endgame, whose layered sound emerges from the cold ashes of grime, and the hallucinogenic LOFT, the latest artist to join the Astral Plane Recordings family. 7 Apr, Texture, Manchester, 10pm, £7,

Lena Willikens


Events Guide

Photo: Phil Struck

Photo: Larissa Araz

On Rotation: Lena Willikens

Yussef Kamaal afterparty

Percolate Liverpool launch

Hotly tipped new Gilles Peterson signees Yussef Kamaal party on down after their gig at Band on the Wall, with band member Henry Wu – already known as an excellent DJ under his own name – on the decks, plus Manchester’s own Irfan Rainy. Expect beats referencing Kamaal’s hybrid sound, taking in hip-hop, broken beat, blues and soul. 24 Mar, Band on the Wall, Manchester, 11pm, £6 or free with gig ticket, @bandonthewall

Mancunians are familiar with the folk behind Percolate, who’re responsible for bringing some of the finest electronic artists to the rainy city. Now they make their Liverpool debut, with two deep-digging selectors offering a night of disco, soul and funk gems: step up, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jeremy Underground. Give ‘em a hale and hearty welcome, won’t you? 21 Apr, Underground, L2, Liverpool, 10pm, £15, @percolate_music



March/April 2017

Events Guide


Spotlight: Tom Lawrinson Combine this comedian’s lush locks and secret political masterplan and you’ve got a force to be reckoned with...


ot short on confidence, Tom Lawrinson has a natural stage presence, imbuing any room with his charisma and beautiful, flowing locks. Thankfully he’s also an insightful and funny gentleman, cleverly turning stock gags on their head to reflect a ‘woke’ view of a world that has slept in for too long. Taking a second stab at comedy after an illfated first gig (see below), he has gone away and honed his trade, learning that comedy is a lot more than confidence alone and showing a knack for writing strong material that’s wrapped in a handsome package. First gig: “I did King Gong in like 2010, I walked on stage to instant heckling, was not expecting it, should have though, I’d encountered haircut jealousy before. I tried to get some jokes out, but just gave up and went home. The worst thing about it wasn’t the heckling but looking out and seeing hundreds of looks of pity and discomfort on the faces of the rest of the audience. Put me off for ages guy.” Best gig: “I recently did a night called Good Grief at The Stand in Newcastle. The place was heaving, I got a beef burrito beforehand and Kevin Bridges was headlining. Drive up with Liam Pickford was dead funny too, he had two dinners that night.” Worst gig: “Definitely ‘The Worst Comedy Night in Salford’.


Events Guide

I’ve been going for over two years and I rarely get any laughs, people don’t even give me eye contact at that place. It’s every other Tuesday at the King’s Arms, nutcases come far and wide to express themselves comedically, all are welcome. So come. It’s a terrible night but if you think you’re better than it, you’re not.”

“It’s a terrible night but if you think you’re better than it, you’re not” Tom Lawrinson

If you could be haunted by anyone, who would it be and why? “Probably Anna Nicole Smith and I think we all know why :p. But if you don’t know I’ll tell you: just to have someone to talk to who has struggled with depression and addiction, knowing that I could vent with her without fear of judgment.” What would you be doing if you weren’t doing stand-up? “I would be the leader of a political group so extreme, so repulsive, so abhorrent, that the mere


Interview: John Stansfield existence of us would unite the right and the left to try and take me down. Essentially solving world peace. You’re welcome sweety.” If you were on death row, what would your last meal be? And why are you on death row? “Would have to be a burger, nothing special, double cheese with bacon with a sesame seed bun, none of that tacky brioche trash that they keep forcing down our necks and a custard doughnut. My crime? Finding the person who key’d my car, keeping them prisoner and not abiding by the rules of the Geneva Convention.” What’s the largest animal you think you could beat in a fight? No weapons. “A dog, any dog. I think about this all the time. With most dogs their bark is worse than their bite, with me it’s the opposite. I would sink my teeth into the scruff of its neck, poisoning it. (Not killing it mind.)” Question from past Spotlighter Adam Staunton: Women in Comedy. Discuss. “Frankly, I’m against it because anytime a Lady is being funny, it’s distracting from the real issues like body shaming, gender wage gap and the lack of women on the circuit.” Tom Lawrinson is at the The Glee, Birmingham, 30 Mar; Grin & Tonic Comedy Club, Rotherham, 31 Mar; The Stand, Newcastle, 4 Apr; Frog and Bucket, Manchester, 20 Apr Find him on Twitter: @tomlawrinson


Lost in La Transición ¡Viva! festival returns with another ambitious programme of Spanish and Latin American theatre, film and visual art. This year’s programme celebrates 40 years since the end of censorship in Spain following the death of General Franco – we find out more

magine political oppression, strict control of the press, repression of the arts. If you think we have it tough now, this was the atmosphere in Spain for 36 years under the rule of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. From 1939 until his lingering death in 1975, millions endured a regime where censorship was the norm. But on the dictator’s demise, the floodgates of self-expression opened, and two years later his censorship was abolished. “It was like all the frustrations and all the repression suddenly exploded,” says Andy Willis, senior visiting curator at HOME, Manchester. This period in which democracy was handed back to the Spanish people was dubbed La Transición, and its burst of uninhibited creativity is celebrated at the heart of this year’s ¡Viva! festival. Its film retrospective marks the 40th anniversary of Spain’s abolition of censorship, while the festival’s dazzlingly eclectic group exhibition celebrates La Movida, the countercultural movement that flourished in Madrid during the era. We wonder, however, if the programmers also had today’s political climate in mind when choosing La Transición as a subject? “Not when we were initially planning it,” admits Sarah Perks, HOME’s artistic director of visual art. “But we did have in mind the idea of change.” Even before Brexit and Trump, the ¡Viva! team had a feeling that something poisonous was in the air. “It felt like, gradually, people were trying to attack the things that we had all fought for, the freedoms that we were used to. Whether it’s the rise of UKIP, or a Tory government that’s pushing austerity, it felt like there was already some kind of reversal in progress. So it felt recently like the idea of transgression was one that doesn’t come up very often.” You’ll find it in spades in this year’s ¡Viva! programme. The most famous artist to emerge during La Movida was Pedro Almodóvar, who became the spiky figurehead of the movement. The celebrated filmmaker’s scrappy provocation Pepi, Luci, Bom, which paints Madrid as a colourful and flamboyant carnival where anything goes, screens – but there are plenty of lesser-spotted films from the era to discover too. We love the sound of Ivan Zulueta‘s Arrebato. “It’s interesting because it’s a film about filmmaking,” says Willis, “so it’s wildly self-reflective, but it’s also often seen as one of the more authentic

My Life as a Courgette

Leeds Young Film Festival Film festivals can be intimidating places, what with their red carpets, canapés and four-hour documentaries about Tibetan goats. In other words, not very inviting for pint-sized cinema buffs. That’s what’s so wonderful about Leeds Young Film Festival: its screenings, events and competitions are all designed with young people in mind. The full programme is still to be announced, but budding animators should be putting the finishing touches to their entries for the annual animation comps – the deadline is 20 March. 10-20 Apr, various venues, Leeds,

March/April 2017

films of that movement.” In a eulogy to Zuluta, who died in 2009, Almodóvar evocatively described his close friend’s style as “pure image, brimful of meanings but freed from the burden of fiction, always cushioned on a rich variety of soundscapes. David Lynch, but less shadowy and more pop.” Another fascinating character from this time was Eloy de la Iglesia, who Willis describes as “one of the most important directors of that period.” Unlike Almodóvar and Zuluta, whose debut feature appeared during La Transición, De la Iglesia was making genre films throughout the Franco years. After Franco’s death, De la Iglesia became increasingly politicised. “His films have lots of characters who are marginalised from society: juvenile delinquents, drug addicts, sex workers,” explains Willis. “But they’re not the kind of titillating sex films like Jesús Franco would make. They’re more kind of... you might describe them as social realist melodramas. I know that’s contradictory, but they’ve got a kind of melodramatic feel in terms of the story, but they’ve also got this explicit representation of the margins of society.” Outside the cinema space, Perks is looking forward to an exhibition that channels the transgressive attitudes of La Movida. The aim isn’t simply to shock, though: “It’s about people understanding where to draw the line and who’s drawing the line for you, and where you might need to join together to kind of explore or express different boundaries.”

on in the film could be now, so he’s sort of struck by that feeling that we’re meeting that time again, just the other side of it.” While making El Futuro, Carrasco came across a pop star from that era, Tesa Arranz, who sang in The Zombies. “She was kind of the Debbie Harry of La Movida if you like,” says Perks. “After the early 80s she quit the band and moved to Valencia to have a baby. Now she almost exclusively paints pictures of aliens, so [Carrasco]’s just wrapped shooting an extended interview with her, which is filmed in Hi8 and features a lot of her painting her work.” There’s also a new performance piece from Liverpudlian artist La JohnJoseph. “He wanted to take the role of the king of Spain, who made a series of speeches related to democracy and La Movida,” explains Perks. The performance piece will open the exhibition, and we’ll see La JohnJoseph deliver elements of what the king was saying. “It’ll be in the style of the king, while dressed as a sort of Liverpudlian housewife!”

Another new commission is Clara Casian’s video piece Savoyard, which looks at the world of publishing and censorship through the history of Savoy books, a Manchester publishing house in the late 70s, and includes archive material from the time, including a rare clip of a young John Cooper Clarke reciting a poem – “he would have definitely been part of La Movida if, er, Manchester was in Madrid,” laughs Perks. The rest of the show is hugely eclectic, with work from artists as varied as Puppies Puppies, Bruce LaBruce, Linder Sterling and Derek Jarman. We think Almodóvar would have approved of the exhibition’s sheer eclecticism and inclusivity. “We weren’t a generation,” he once said. “We weren’t an artistic movement; we weren’t a group with a concrete ideology. We were simply a bunch of people that coincided in one of the most explosive moments in the country.” ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival 2017 runs 31 Mar17 Apr. For full programme details, go to

“All the frustrations and all the repression suddenly exploded” Andy Willis

One of three new commissions comes from Spanish filmmaker Luis López Carrasco, whose debut film, El Futuro, was set during a house party on the eve of the 1982 Spanish election that would bring the Socialists to power and an end to La Movida. Perks tells us that “[Carrasco] talks about how with El Futuro he was recreating something in the 80s but felt like what was going

Pepi, Luci, Bom

Northern Lights Writers’ Conference

Paul Auster: Man of Cinema

Keen writers will want to attend this annual gathering of like minds, where published authors and industry bods share insight and advice. Novelist Sarah Dunant delivers the keynote speech, considering the responsibilities writers assume when telling stories set in historical and future worlds, while specialist sci-fi/fantasy literary agent John Jarrold will dispense wisdom on writing within the genre. Elsewhere, there’s a lively debate asking: why do genres exist at all? 18 Mar, Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, Manchester, 10.30am, £30 (£25),

Paul Auster’s connection to cinema goes way back. “I was always crazy about movies from early childhood,” he said in 2011. That love is evident in this film season to mark the premiere of City of Glass, the play based on Auster’s novella of the same name. The mini-season includes films that inspired the author (The Conversation, Blind Chance) and two of Auster’s own directing efforts, including Blue in the Face, the cast of which includes Harvey Keitel, Lou Reed and Madonna. 5-19 Mar, HOME, Manchester,

Sarah Dunant

Photo: Charlie Hopkinson


Interview: Jamie Dunn

Code Girl

International Women’s Day: Women in Tech If you were using movies as your guide – Steve Jobs, The Social Network – you’d think tech was simply a boys club. It’s a notion Liverpool’s mighty Girl Geeks have been kicking back against with their female coder collective, and to mark International Women’s Day they’re hosting a screening of Code Girl, a doc following a handful of young women taking part in a Technovation competition. Beforehand, there’s a panel discussion inspired by this year’s IWD theme: #BeBoldForChange. 8 Mar, FACT, Liverpool, 6.30pm, £4 (£3),


Paul Auster

Events Guide




Packing It In Why don’t people actually recycle? Try living without packaging, and then you just might Words: Jess Hardiman Illustration: Sonny Ross


espite our arguably improved efforts, human consumption is still pretty fucking nuts. Our endless hunger for cheap meat, mindlessly blasting the heating out when we’re sat in our pants, the payday myth that we should treat ourselves to something we don’t need simply because we can. And, it seems, this sentiment also applies to our weird reliance on food packaging, where it’s become all about the attractiveness and convenience of what we buy – boiling down, pretty simply, to vanity and laziness.  The overuse of food packaging is sinister not only in its impact on the environment, but also in that it’s arguably the most manipulative marketing tool manufacturers have at their disposal. Why buy bog-standard greens like cabbage, broad beans or courgette when you could buy them bagged up as a ‘super green’ medley? Why buy loose potatoes that, God forbid, someone may have touched, when you could buy clean, uncontaminated tatties that also purport to be ‘PERFECT FOR MASHING’?

“If you live without the convenience of packaging, you have to start being seriously creative” In a bid to re-evaluate our own consumption and cut down on waste, while also highlighting the importance of shopping locally and supporting small business, The Skinny office decided to try and go a week without any food packaging. A plan hatched with unbridled confidence while at the pub after work, we decided to go entirely cold turkey without the aid of any store cupboard staples like dried herbs and spices, chopped tomatoes or even olive oil. What about the stuff that comes in recyclable materials? Well, so many people don’t actually recycle it, so fuck it, none of that either. No food packaging whatsoever. Busy putting the world to rights, we were two pints in and feeling ballsy. Sobered by the reality of our extremism, a week of trepidation led to a weekend of hardcore preparation: trudging over to Pollen bakery on a rainy Saturday morning for the week’s bread; stocking up on fruit and veg at McCalls greengrocer on Church Street or Unicorn in Chorlton; asking Butcher’s Quarter in the Northern Quarter to put 300g of chicken thigh meat into our nerdy little lunchbox; even getting on the tram to Prestwich, where Village Greens and its elusive self-serve hoppers of oats, seeds, lentils and rice can be found. Throughout the week, the one thing that became most evident was that if you live without the convenience of packaging, you have to start being seriously creative. Rendering down the fat from a pork chop to cook with throughout the week, blitzing roasted celeriac to make a ‘sauce’ for a

March/April 2017

‘risotto’ made from brown short grain rice, putting potatoes in a stew to thicken it instead of flour... And actually, that creativity was quite refreshing. We’d not quite got our act together in time to investigate a batch of packaging-free ground coffee or any form of dairy (oops), and by mid-week we were seriously missing the refined sugar, cheese and caffeine that we’ve come to base our terrible diets on. We were accidentally #cleaneating. It took us until Thursday morning to crack – thank the bejesus that nowadays it’s easy enough to take your own travel cup or Thermos flask to fill with coffee (we got ours from Fig and Sparrow and Coffee Cranks Co-Op), and on the same day, we also managed to source some blue cheese and olives from Lunya, after which spirits were considerably higher.  While most people were supportive of – or at least intrigued by – the idea, we did face some backlash, ranging from gentle mocking to full-blown criticism: “It’s pretty bourgeois, let’s face it.” Yes, you’re onto something there, opinionated-manin-the-pub – but don’t think we hadn’t noticed ourselves, having been the ones spending the week as the pseudo eco warriors. We spent more on certain ingredients than usual (though perhaps less on the grand scheme, being unable to splurge on a whim), so not great for those on low incomes or for those without time to hop on a tram to Prestwich every time they need brown rice. Also, with an absence of flavour, some of us relied more on meat than perhaps we’re used to, and got through significantly more probably-illegallydeforested avocados – so in that sense we were essentially replacing one environmental problem with another. But there were surprising positives outside of our impact on waste. In speaking to local businesses, we found a common theme: going without packaging helps them, too. Places like Pollen, whose bread comes in a heavy-duty brown bag that’s great for re-using, and Butcher’s Quarter, whose meat comes wrapped and in a paper bag, noted that customers don’t realise the cost that packaging incurs to the business.  It also makes you think hard about what and how much you need, realistically. Without packaging to extend shelf (or cupboard) life, meal planning became imperative, and having trudged around Manchester to source everything, each foodstuff became too precious to throw away. It also made us realise that, while many commodities like grains, meat, fish and cheese are a bit of a ballache to source without packaging, going without it for fruit, veg and bread proved to be an absolute doddle. We seem to have developed an ick-factor around buying something that another person may have come into contact with, which is pretty fucked up when you think about it. The crux, though, was that in giving up all  food packaging and becoming hyper-aware of it, the week made us so much more grateful for the materials we can recycle. It urged us to check what actually does get accepted by recycling processes, as it varies council to council; some places won’t let you recycle yoghurt pots or the brown trays that mushrooms come in, for example. In short? Just DO your recycling – or, try living without it, then you ruddy will – and cut down on what you can’t recycle or reuse. It’s that simple. And, let’s face it, not that fucking hard.




WTF Is Sherry? As the British winter thaws, what better time to look to our sunny Spanish brethren? We look at the beautiful drink that’s so often condemned to being a mere staple of your nan’s liquor cabinet


he straight-up explanation is that sherry is a fortified wine – much like port, Madeira, Marsala and vermouth – made from white grapes. You get your wine and you strengthen it. In short: it’s the bomb diggity. Of course there’s the banal assumption that sherry is a drink reserved solely for maiden aunts and crap trifles, but it goes beyond the kitsch. Sherry’s more than that, so let’s just cut the bullshit, shall we? In the same way that Champagne, Scotch and Cornish pasties are only legit if they’re from a particular region, the most important thing about sherry is that it has to be made in The Sherry

Triangle. That’s right, the motherfudging SHERRY TRIANGLE in the Cádiz province of Spain’s Andalucia, which is made up of Jerez (the main guy), El Puerto de Santa Maria and SanlÚcar de Barrameda. The holy trinity of the fortified grape. Just like wine, styles range from dry to sweet based on sugar content, from drier types like Fino and its lighter iteration Manzanilla, through Amontillado and Oloroso and onto the super-sweet Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel. There are also cream styles, made using a blend of different sherries such as PX and Oloroso – all too often found getting mugged off at the back of the drinks cabinet, sadly. 

How tho? Arguably it’s best to drink sherry neat, either from a 215ml wine tasting glass or a smaller liqueur glass. Some sweeter styles also taste great poured into a rocks glass filled with cubed ice – equally perfect both for lazy summer evenings out on your balcony or in the dead of night sat in a Chesterfield armchair, probs with a cigar. And in cocktails? Oh man, here we go. Thanks to its unrelenting versatility, you could kinda stick sherry in anything, whether that involves using a quick glug of PX to sweeten something up, or a splosh o’ fino in place of vermouth. To pick one undisputed champ, it would have to be the Sherry Cobbler, an old school cocktail from the mid-1800s that traditionally blends a triple hit of sherry, sugar and citrus. Banger.  Note: anyone that puts a shot of sherry in their Bloody Mary is a bloody hero. We heart you. WTF should I eat? Getting intrepid now, eh? Too right. After all, sherry’s true calling is to be paired with food, being a product of Spanish tapas culture that we all like to think we’re continental enough to adopt. Drier styles taste great with roasted,

Words: Jess Hardiman

salted almonds, Padrón peppers, anchovies and the like, or you can use it in cooking as you would with wine; try it in your risotto or, better still, shellfish. Moules-frites? More like moulesthe-shiiiiiit son. Medium sherry also tastes great when you whack it in gravies and sauces. For dessert, either pair the super-sweet Pedro Ximénez with rich, blue cheese or pour over ice cream as an alternative to the Italian classic affogato. Absolute trailblazer. Where’s good? Your best bet is to get down to your nearest Spanish restaurant or somewhere that specialises in small plates, like El Gato Negro and Tapeo in Manchester, Leeds’ Friends of Ham and Iberica, or Lunya, Neon Jamon, Maray and Salt House Tapas in Liverpool. Some other good bars and restaurants, who understand that sherry is classy AF, might also stock some; try Hawksmoor and Mr Cooper’s House and Garden in Manchester – that kinda vibe. Head to, where we’ll be answering this burning question for all the latest food trends and misunderstood staples

New in Food Fed up of going to the same old places? Our monthly online round-ups of local food and drink openings should help you find some tasty new scran. Here are our tip-offs for March and April Words: Jess Hardiman Ham & Friends in Leeds Following a water-testing Christmas pop-up shop called All the Trimmings, Friends of Ham’s new wine bar/deli/restaurant Ham & Friends inches closer to its spring opening. As well as the spread of tasty small plates and ethically produced wines that its parent bar has become locally famous for, you can also expect a walk-in cheese room, charcuterie counter and various wine, beer and food tastings across the two-floor Grand Arcade space. Opening date TBC, Grand Arcade, @hamandfriends And while there’s no confimed launch date for their fellow Grand Arcade dwellers, The Domino Club, it looks like things are coming along nicely for the new cocktail bar, which is the latest venture from the folk behind Call Lane favourite, Rolands, and barman Niall McGloin. Expect gorgeous parquet flooring, live jazz, funk, soul and blues, classic cocktails and exclusive whiskies. Opens soon, Grand Arcade, @dominoclubleeds Swanky seafood in Liverpool High-end seafood restaurant Hudson House has now opened up in the old Heathcotes site on Beetham Plaza, padding out their speciality in lobster, oyster and seasonal seafood dishes with steaks and veggie options. As well as a restaurant space and mezzanine, it also has a garden and terrace with its own separate menu. Open now, Beetham Plaza, @Hudson_Seafood Hoping to open his first city-centre restaurant (joining sister bistros in Hoole, Heswall and Didsbury), chef Gary Usher recently hosted a fiveday pop up to test-drive the potential Ropewalks venue, with all money from the pay-as-you-want



experience going towards the forthcoming permanent restaurant. We went to check it out, and after chowing down on a menu of cauliflower soup, sea bass ceviche, flamed sea bream, spice-rolled venison and chocolate torte with honeycomb, we can confirm that Liverpool’s set to be one lucky lady. As with previous ventures, Usher will be launching a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the new joint, Wreckfish; head to to see how you can get involved. Slater and Seel Street, @WreckfishBistro Meanwhile, moveable restaurant concept Xiringuito (pronounced ‘chi-rin-gito’) has announced it’ll be extending its stay in Liverpool, meaning you’ve now got until May to enjoy innovative modern British cuisine from underneath a unique evolving structure, designed by award-winning architect Asif Khan. Until May, Cain’s Brewery, @xiringuito_rest


Middle Eastern small plates in Manchester The slightly sorrowful former Quill site on King Street is finally being given a fresh lease of life with Suri, a new restaurant inspired by the food of the Mediterranean and Middle East – named after the Persian word for ‘red rose’. Embracing the continental ethos of shareable small plates that we’ve grown to love, the menu promises ingredients from local suppliers, served in a relaxed and informal style that the building’s previous tenants should perhaps have gone for… Opens early March, King Street, @suri_restaurant Find the best new openings across Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester at


Ham & Friends



LOOK Photo Festival


Xu Rui by Yan Preston

Xuan Yihao by Yan Preston

Derek Man

Derek Man




e share billions of photographs of urban life every day via social media. The idea of a specific city, our understanding of how we live in it, its history, people, institutions, icons, challenges and triumphs are all expressed through these photographs we share.” With these words, Open Eye Gallery director Sarah Fisher introduces us to the theme of this year’s Liverpool International Photography Festival (LOOK), which for 2017 takes a new direction based on international exchange. Artists working in Liverpool and Hong Kong have traded places, in order to create work that

March/April 2017

South Ho

South Ho

Wong Wo Bik

Wong Wo Bik

curator Ying Kwok intends will examine aspects of urbanism, social housing, architecture, commerce and colonialism. Viewers are invited to consider how we tell the stories of our cities through photography, and how those experiences and connections are shared, or differ, from place to place. The four new commissions come from Wo Bik Wong, one of Hong Kong’s leading women photographers whose work explores city architecture and documents buildings with cultural and historical significance; Luke Ching, who has turned a room in Liverpool’s Titanic Hotel into a

pinhole camera, capturing the Tobacco Warehouse opposite; Derek Man, who is travelling to China to speak to people about their homes and how they use them (half of Hong Kong’s population lives in public housing); and Yan Preston, whose new commission captures the faces of modern China in Liverpool, the site of the oldest Chinese community in Europe. Further participants include South Ho, whose work Umbrella Salad documents the student-led Hong Kong protests of 2014, when the umbrella became a symbol of resistance against the police, held aloft by tens of thousands of pro-democracy


supporters. His black and white images of streets transformed by activity also capture the quiet moments in between mass action, and in previous exhibitions he has mounted the images with cable ties, which were used during the occupation both by protesters (to connect steel barricades) and by police (to bind the hands of arrested protesters). LOOK/17: Liverpool International Photography Festival, 7 Apr-14 May


Living in Ho Chi Minh City Our living abroad series takes us to Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, where there’s an energy that just gets into your system

Words & Images: Lilly Pugh


ith eight million bikes circulating the cluttered streets, Ho Chi Minh is a city in constant motion; everyone just keeps pushing forward. It can be overwhelming at first but before long you’ll take up the pace. Vietnam is still a communist country but it’s easy to forget it in the Southern hub. The only signs of The Party are the compulsory red and gold star centered flags above each household on national holidays and the government officials dozing in alleyway corners. Ho Chi Minh City is the more liberal and laid-back sibling to Ha Noi and for better or worse, you can do pretty much anything you want. With around 30% of the population under 25, Vietnam is a young country and Saigon is a land of entrepreneurs, opportunity, optimism and experimentation. It has a contagious sensibility which can easily turn a one-month visit into a five-year stay. The neon signs and red/yellow glare of moto lights prevail at night but Ho Chi Minh City isn’t the chaotic megalopolis it may seem passing through. By day, the sun-bleached pink and turquoise painted houses make up a pastel cityscape, and between the busy roads warrens of quiet alleyways are home to communities that feel like villages. It’s a varied landscape: wooden stilt houses on the river, decaying colonial villas on imperial remains and Singapore-style condominiums on recently reclaimed swampland. As the heat seeps into your step, you hang out on street corners for one more cà phê sữa đá (iced coffee with condensed milk). Saigon kisses and motorbike hugs Motorbikes define Saigon life – just crossing a road is a daunting task for any new arrivaI, but you’ll have to brave it because driving is simply the only way to get around. Locals wouldn’t be caught dead walking, favouring the gasoline-fuelled prosthesis to travel the smallest of distances. The pavement is clogged with parked bikes, forcing sunburned pedestrians into the street. I admit, it takes a bit of cultural adjustment to embrace the roads. It’s common to see five helmetless children crammed onto a bike or a couple of guys sandwiching a threemetre pane of glass between their legs, but it’s the only way to do it, so they get it done. However, if you absorb the rhythm of the roads you’ll soon realise there’s an organic logic and a spectrum of unwritten rules which govern driving in Ho Chi Minh City. Sure, every newbie gets a Saigon Kiss (a small circular burn on your inner right leg from the hot exhaust pipe. Always exit left!) but you’ll soon learn to group with other bikes, like schools of fish, to edge your way through a cross section. The first and most important rule: always expect the ridiculous. At least for now, movement is fluid for a city of six million – unlike the congestion in Bangkok or Manila or the Underground in London or New York you can move pretty freely. You can rent a bike for £30 a month but if you have the cash, buy one up front – it’s a good investment as you can usually sell them on for the same price. Spend some time getting to know the traffic with motorbike taxis (adorably named ‘Xe Om’s’, aka motorbike hug) before you take the plunge. Chay, cháy, chay, chay, chai, trai, trái: vegetarian, burn, run, melt, bottle, boy, left Vietnamese is a tonal language, which means ‘Yes’ you’re going to get it wrong and ‘No’ you’re not going to be able to hear how or why. In fact, there are eight vowel sounds and five tones (six in the North), so there is a lot of room for error. Be prepared to be laughed at – the Vietnamese don’t often hear non-native speakers use their language and apparently nothing is funnier – but the shock response when you start getting it right is well worth it.



conut and bamboo shoots to be wrapped up in mustard leaves and dipped in creamy peanut sauce). If you’re new to the city, sidle up to some more experienced expats to show you how to order and what food is what. VN food is pretty varied and you might miss the Western staples like chocolate or cheese – for some reason chocolate tastes like plastic and Dairylea triangles (worryingly impervious to the heat) seem to be the only cheese in regular use – but embrace the local cuisine and you’ll eat affordable, fresh, home-cooked, healthy food for every meal.

Begin with numbers, food and basic conversation and you’ll soon tune in. The trickiest thing for any rookie is to master personal pronouns. Even in the least formal conversation you will be called ‘little sister’, ‘older sister’ or ‘aunty’ to denote your status in a Confucian-style hierarchy. As such, people almost always ask how old you are at the start of a conversation to set things straight. Perpetual summer If you’re from the UK you probably can’t imagine what it’s like to live in hot weather all year round. You may need a few showers a day when you arrive but you’ll quickly learn to be content with being a bit sticky. Women layer themselves head to toe with long skirts, scarves, masks, gloves and even toe socks to shield their skin from the sun, their clothes from the dust and their lungs from the pollution but don’t be fooled, underneath they’re sporting high heels and cocktail dresses. Rainy season is another story. The rain is usually in full force from 3pm right through to rush hour. The downpours can be intense and it’s common to see the roads turn into rivers, sometimes

waist high. You’ll need a full body mac to stand any chance of keeping dry but if you’re brave, there’s no rush like driving over the colossal Saigon Bridge as thunder and lightning rattle the skies.

“The first and most important rule: always expect the ridiculous” Ngon quá – ‘delicious’ Get down low on tiny plastic stools with the locals for the best food. You can find the classics on every corner: Phở (noodle soup), Bánh mì (meat or egg sandwich) or Xôi gà (sticky rice with chicken and quail eggs). If you’re lucky/unlucky you’ll get some impromptu karaoke. There are also some less well known local gems like Bánh Xèo (pancake made with rice flower and turmeric filled with shrimp, co-


Where to live in Ho Chi Minh City Get used to lots of space, balconies and foliage. You can get a nice room in a shared house in Saigon for round £200 or 5,000,000 VND. Houses were once taxed according to their width against the street, so Vietnamese ‘tube houses’ are narrow but tall with five or six stories. Make sure you get a great rooftop for the cool evenings. Areas of the city are mostly named as numbered districts, Hunger Games-style. Most foreigners live in District 1 or District 3 for a cosmopolitan/Vietnamese feel, where people are less likely to be baffled by you wandering down the street in shorts and shades. District 2 is expat suburbia with huge villas with pools and gardens for just a little bit more of your Dong. District 7 is the place for Korean and Japanese expats with modern condominiums Singapore-style, huge shopping malls and wider roads awaiting the arrival of cars. Here you can live a life of comfort and luxury. Working in Ho Chi Minh City Most foreigners in Vietnam are English teachers. The demand for teaching is so high that it is actually a little concerning how easy it is to get a job. You won’t need a degree or a native tongue, a TEFL or even a police check. Teachers get roughly $20 an hour. However, there are opportunities in most industries in Saigon. I know people working in advertising, marketing, production, writing, fashion, construction, architecture, personal training, yoga and much more. There is also a huge start-up scene with plenty of digital nomads hot-desking in cafes and co-working spaces if you’re looking to start your own thing.


March/April 2017



In Praise of Forgetting Your Sexual Tally I’m Kate, I’m almost 24, and right now I don’t know the exact number of people I’ve slept with


mean, I could easily figure it out. Gimme a minute or so to cast my mind over eight years worth of sexual history – the lovely time spent with deserving men, the emotionally traumatic run-ins with sociopathic bastards and the underwhelming chaff between, then sure, I could have my ‘number’ for you right away. But, quite frankly, I’d rather not bother. Sorry Mum, if you’re reading this. ...Although, really Mum, you should be on my side with this one. I’m not even sure why I’m apologising. You’re probably regretting having opened this article, your mouse hovering over Close Tab this very moment. But, as much as that’d be the easy option for both of us, don’t. Just put your Woke Mom hat on for a couple minutes and grit your teeth. You’ll be on my side soon. Back to the point at hand. Sex numerics. Relation calculations. Bonk tallies. Before I explain why they’re useless, arbitrary and fraught with societal pressures, I’d like to do away with one massive preconception. You might be assuming that only someone who’s slept with boatloads of people could possibly ‘forget’ their number. However, losing count (deliberately or otherwise) isn’t a phenomenon limited to frequent shaggers. And I’ve got the personal experience (and juicy psycho-mathematical theory) to prove it. Let’s break it down. The complications of counting The brain counts in a fascinating way. For very small numbers (four and below), it is able to ‘subitize’ – to make a confident, rapid judgement based on some inherent feeling about number of things to be counted. Let’s use a nacho analogy (if there’s one thing that makes maths more bearable, it’s lashings of cheese and guac). Imagine three or four tortilla chips on a plate. Hold that image in your head. As the number of objects to be counted increases beyond four, it becomes harder to judge the number without making a conscious effort to count. Imagine a handful of extra chips being chucked into the mix. Not so fast now, are you? You could tot them up pretty quickly, or even just estimate – but that’s exactly the point. You’re now consciously counting, rather than just... knowing. Intrigued (and definitely not paranoid) about where my tally stood compared to the rest of my



generation, I checked out some recent research in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The average Millennial has had around eight sexual partners (for Generation X-ers the number is 10, and Baby Boomers absolutely slam-dunk it with a total of 11). Now, if we can take anything away from our nacho counting exercise, it’s that keeping track of eight, 10, 11 or more partners probably requires a little more admin beyond an inherent ‘knowledge’ of one’s tally. Ergo, losing count isn’t restricted to the Tribbianis of this world. Convinced? Let’s move on. The benefits of losing count Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not about to launch into some sort of rally cry to run amok, developing sexual amnesia and shagging yourselves into a state of administrative mayhem. Nor am I suggesting you lose track of your entire sexual history, throw caution to the contraceptive wind and land yourself with a tasty cocktail of STIs. Let’s be real. Be careful. Get consent. Use a condom if there’s a penis present. Keep track of your sexual health. That’s all stuff you should be stressing over. If you’ve slept with few enough people to inherently know your number, that’s cool. Likewise, if counting brings you comfort or a sense of control, awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing. But what I mean is this: for some people, when asked about the number of people they’ve slept with, they’d have to count it on their fingers (and for some on their toes, or even with a pen and paper). Now, not only does this process cause some people anxiety due to shitty societal expectations and gender norms, but the expectation that we count and compare leads to all kinds of fights, prejudice, grudges and pressures in relationships. It begs the question: why on Earth do we bother? We don’t count much else in life ...At least not so militantly. Do you, for example, know how many phones you’ve owned in your life without a quick tot-up? Have you kept a detailed history of how many people you’ve been on holiday with, or how many first dates you’ve ever been on? How about the number of people you’ve told you miss, love, hate or need? Do you count the times you’ve been naked in front of strangers, or vomited in public, or had an orgasm? What, exactly is it

about intercourse that makes it so very necessary to count? Could it, just possibly, have anything to do with our historically repressive and moralistic attitudes to sex? Just wondering. It’s restrictive I’ve known people (mostly women) to deliberately deny themselves sexual experiences they’re keen to have, simply because they were worried about adding to their ‘number’ and the subsequent societal punishment. I’ve also known people as young as 15 engage in sexual experiences simply because they felt it necessary to lose their ‘virginity’ and keep up with their pals. WTAF, society. Sort it out. It’s subjective What’s too little according to society is probably far too much for my grandparents. What’s too vanilla to consider covering within this very Deviance section might cause lasting trauma to readers of The Telegraph’s hilariously barren Sex section (at the time of writing there’s a single panic-piece about The Sexting Youth and about fourteen million articles about midlife midriffs). When it comes to sexual behaviours, it seems you can’t do right for doing wrong. So just do whatever the hell you want. The parameters and criteria aren’t even properly defined Even if you did subscribe to the idea that a given number could determine your value as a partner and your morals as a person (ha, get a grip), it’s a pretty rudimentary system. I don’t think we’re even sure what we’re supposed to be counting. Must both a penis and a vagina be present? Are we just gonna ignore oral sex? Is handsy stuff excluded from this definition? If so, see below. It’s heteronormative as fuck Because the patriarchy has determined that the world (quite literally) revolves around the schlongs of mankind, ‘sex’ is often defined a solely penetrative act. a) That’s pretty heteronormative and transexclusionary and b) I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY I’M EXPECTED TO COUNT THE NUMBER OF DICKS I’VE SEEN IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED A VALID AND MORALLY SOUND HUMAN. But mostly a).


Words: Kate Pasola Illustration: Sonny Ross It’s also gendered as fuck One time, back in 2013 I told a guy I wasn’t sure of my number and that I preferred not to count. After his relentless curiosity I acceded, telling him I was certain it was under ten. He was aghast and subtly slut-shamed me for ‘losing track’. He, after all, remembered all four dozen of the encounters he’d racked up by the age of 22. Well, not exactly by name. And he was drunk a lot of the time. But it’s totally fine, because he’d COUNTED them. Yeah?

“I just don’t understand why I’m expected to count the number of dicks I’ve seen to be considered a morally sound human” It’s also pretty SWERF-y SWERF stands for Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist. If we’re making moral judgements based on a person’s sexual history, where does that leave people who sleep with others for their income? Does their number count? Does it make them any less of a person? Might you only count only the unpaid experiences? Why? It’s an unnecessary rabbit hole that’s just not worth following. D’you know what’s a hell of a lot easier? Chilling the fuck out. So there you go. Whether you seriously can’t be arsed with arbitrary sex norms or feel hassled by the thought of counting your experiences and justifying that number to curious, judgemental dickheads, maybe it’s time to stop counting. After all, if I can convince my own mother it’s a good idea, you might get something out of it too.


Photo: Thomas Arran

Welcome to Hull! A world-class programme of art, music and cultural activity of all kinds is unfolding for Hull UK City of Culture 2017. CEO and director Martin Green discusses his vision for a city “in glorious technicolour”


he city of Hull isn’t used to making a fuss. Defined by the down to earth, no nonsense attitude of its people, Hull’s charm has been modestly hidden in its cobbled alleyways, in tales of mirth in one of many local boozers, or in the minds of its elder generation perched on the sea front, nursing memories of times gone by. Although Hull’s rich history is well known among its people, it has never been a city to boast its prospects to the rest of the world, rendering it misunderstood, and even forgotten, in the UK’s catalogue of cultural communities. When Martin Green, CEO and director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, was gifted with the task of bringing Hull’s cultural identity into the limelight, he faced a daunting yet enticing project: how will Hull celebrate its culture while remaining true to the heart of the people who carry its history? If the UK City of Culture status is unfamiliar to some, that’s because it’s so new. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was the first city to receive the accolade in 2013, designed to boost the city and its tourism as well as bring in 3000 jobs. After the success of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture status in 2008, it was decided that similar benefit could be brought to cities across the UK every four years. For Green, the project had to be wanted and rooted in the needs of Hull’s people in order to work. “Although the document was many pages long, its key phrase was ‘we want it and we need it,’ written in that refreshingly Hull way,” he says of the bid. “A lot of people in the city were consulted, so you were safe in the knowledge that that document was fed into by lots and lots of people. So our

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job was to curate that. In all parts of the programme, you can trace that genealogy back to that document. Things may be larger, or have been brought together, but everything sprung from the bid.”

the community, the city; and you spend the year pushing, pushing and pushing the walls back, breaking the walls down, and connecting with the rest of the world.

The four seasons Green, with the city’s residents, has created a 365day festival that sees Hull brought to life through world-renowned art, theatre, literature and music, and the city’s wealth translated into a certified bragging right. Staged in four seasons – Made in Hull, Roots & Routes, Freedom and Tell the World – the phases of the programme are integral to the Hull 2017 vision. Learning from Liverpool and Londonderry, Green says that, while the four themes were originally planned to run concurrently through the year, “we made just a simple decision to assign them all a season. That was down to our research, and through talks with Liverpool and their Capital of Culture bid, and Londonderry. They both said, ‘Don’t try to release a year’s work in one go.’ “What we also realised was that if we assigned each season a theme, it allowed us to build a narrative throughout the year,” he explains. “Now that Made in Hull is over, we move into Roots & Routes – to talk about this city as a port city, its international connections and particularly its historic connections with Reykjavík, Rotterdam and Freetown in Sierra Leone, and its new connection with Aarhus in Denmark, which happens to be European Capital of Culture 2017 and, likewise, a port city, a re-emerging port city. With this, you can see that you start with the individual, the story,

“Everyone will find something they share a connection with” Martin Green

“We then move into Freedom in the summer, which widens the lens again. You know, this is a city that’s built itself on the respective freedoms from William Wilberforce – we annually host the Freedom Festival here, which sees 130,000 attend a great programme of art and street art, all linked to ideas of freedoms.” A vibrant programme The events that are unfolding in the city are constant and unmissable. Whether it’s John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux festival celebrating the links between Hull and Nordic creativity, the work of Hull-bred art collective COUM Transmissions brought back to life in the independent jewel that is Humber Street Gallery, or the birth of Hull Comic Con, the city is delivering both residents


Interview: Jasmine Andersson

and tourists a cocktail of events that understand the balance of timing and local and national communities. There is so much going on, Green says, that the seasons were necessary in order to break down the platter of stories. “What you realise is you’ve got this absolutely unique opportunity – because everywhere else is a two-week festival – to take your time to tell many stories, in many ways, to different audiences,” he says. “Through the year we’ll enjoy those lesser-known stories which are for smaller, more definitive audiences, but over the year you accumulate and collect everyone, and everyone will find something they share a connection with.” While the programme promises to put the city on the map, Green is keen to stress that Hull’s City of Culture status is for life, not just for 2017. “I don’t think it was necessarily the case that people had a negative perception of the city, I think they had no perception of the city,” he says. “And now they do. And that will continue, and hopefully now people know that, through the programme, the city is no longer operating in black and white – it’s now operating in glorious technicolour.” Turn the page to find out more about Hull UK City of Culture 2017


North Sea Sounds From one port city to another, John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux: Sounds from Smoky Bay festival celebrates Hull’s relationship with sister city Reykjavík via innovative electronica and haunting soundscapes – with an extra surprise, too Interview: Katie Hawthorne



Opera North: The Height of the Reeds

One of the major events of Hull 2017 is the reopening of the Ferens Art Gallery. Pop in and see the photorealistic sculptures of Australian artist Ron Mueck, who became notorious in the 90s for his iconic piece, Dead Dad, which featured alongside the work of Hirst and Emin et al at the Royal Academy’s Sensation exhibition. The Ferens welcomes two of Mueck’s 2005 sculptures, Wild Man  and Spooning Couple. 22 Apr-13 Aug, Ferens Art Gallery, various times, free,

Ever wondered what the Humber Bridge sounds like? Well, now you can find out, as Norwegian composer Arve Henriksen teams up with Hull-based sound recordist Jez Riley French and the chorus and orchestra of Opera North to create an original piece of music, which you can hear through headphones as you cross the bridge. Each experience is different, with the sound influenced by weather and traffic. 1-30 Apr, Humber Bridge, all day, free,

“That’s why we’re all here: to get to know Hull, to hear the voice of Hull” John Grant

Photo: Patrick Mateer

It turns out that Grant is perfectly placed to examine the musical flux between the twinned cities: the American born musician, formerly of 90s band the Czars, has called Reykjavík home for over five years. Grant’s two most recent solo records Pale Green Ghosts (2013) and Grey Tickles, Black Pressure (2015) found inspiration and fellow collaborators in his new Icelandic neighbourhood, and he even acted as an ambassador for his adoptive city by co-writing Iceland’s 2014 Eurovision entry – that’s how you know you’re a bonafide local. Grant’s fervent UK fanbase appears equally determined to dub him an honorary Brit, which he describes as “a huge compliment. I’ve been in

a love affair with the UK for decades now – I mean, the humour that comes out of your small island is mind-boggling! “There are three people connected to Hull who I feel really connected to,” he explains. “Cosey Fanni Tutti, Tracey Thorn [of Everything But The Girl, and collaborator on Grant’s single Disappointing] and Lene Lovich, who’s someone I’ve listened to a lot, these past thirty years. Hull is this place that I’ve been to a little, but has inspired some incredible music.” As a result, the “selfish wish list” of innovative electronica that Grant has curated for North Atlantic Flux encompasses artists from Iceland, Norway and the UK, with thin threads binding the line-up to his own musical history and winding back to Hull’s own harbour. Pioneering Icelandic electronica outfit GusGus formed in 1995; they’ve released nine albums and counted even more members. Today the group consists of Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson, Högni Egilsson, and Birgir Þórarinsson – aka Biggi Veira, a close friend of Grant, who co-produced Pale Green Ghosts. “Inviting them was a natural decision for me,” Grant enthuses. “They put on such a great show, and they’re an important part of my history. They had this album, 24/7, and it helped me through a particularly rough time; I listened to it non-stop. One of the things I love about them is that they continue to develop their sound, album to album, becoming better and better sound designers – it’s something I aspire to. “You know, I’ve yet to be disappointed by people I’ve met who have made records that were really important to me,” Grant jokes, and points to Stephen Mallinder as another example of meeting – and working with – an idol. Once a founding member of Sheffield bizarros Cabaret Voltaire, Mallinder’s new band Wrangler (with Tunng’s Phil Winter and powerhouse producer Benge) recently remixed Grant’s track Voodoo Doll, and collaborated with him for Rough Trade Records’ 40th anniversary. Grant recalls first meeting Mallinder after a Brighton show: “He said he could definitely hear where I was coming from – that was huge for me,

because I wanted him to see how much he inspired me through the years. He’s been very gracious, he doesn’t laugh at my love for Cabaret Voltaire!” Grant describes working with Wrangler as “a huge learning experience. I’m sort of a baby when it comes to sound design; you can’t believe how hard it is to get to what you hear in your head. But with people like them around, it’s easier.” Coincidentally, Mallinder provides the connection with Grant’s next choice: Steve Cobby and Russ Litten’s haunting spoken word collaboration. Cobby, once half of Hull duo Fila Brazillia, is a “beat maker at the top of his game” and has teamed with Mallinder in the past. Litten is a Hullensian author and poet who, in a project tailormade for the festival, will narrate the consequences of a tragic Atlantic storm in 1968 when 58 local men drowned as three trawlers were wrecked on course for Iceland. “When I listened to what Cobby and Litten are doing, I got really excited,” Grant explains. “That’s why we’re all here: to get to know Hull, to hear the voice of Hull. And these stories, the way Litten tells them is really quite beautiful.” Completing the first wave of announcements

Sea of Hull

Mark Wigan

Spencer Tunick: Sea of Hull

Make the most of your weekend in Hull by checking out the graphic art of Mark Wigan, who studied locally at Hull School of Art and Design and went on to become highly influential on urban styles in London, New York and Tokyo in the 80s and 90s. You might recognise his distinctive, street culture-informed work from a recent collab with Dr Martens, while this show will reveal 30 years of video, photography, prints and more. 6 Apr-7 May, The Museum of Club Culture, 10.30am-4.30pm, free, whatson/events/transglobal-art-mark-wigan

Last summer, thousands of people gathered in Hull to stand in the buff wearing nothing but blue paint. Emulating the flow of a river, or the mouth of a sea, this ululating mass of bodies was exhilarating, liberating and strangely moving to watch. The ‘installation’, paying tribute to Hull’s maritime history, was the project of photographer Spencer Tunick, whose pictures of the event go on display for the first time in April. 22 Apr-13 Aug, Ferens Art Gallery, various times, free,


Ron Mueck, Spooning Couple, 2005, ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate

Photo: Marcus Leith for Tate

The Transglobal Art of Mark Wigan


is stellar Norwegian producer and musician Lindstrøm: “He’s amazing – whenever something new comes out I just snap it up. I’m over the moon that he’s agreed to come and play.” With North Atlantic Flux featuring his favourite musicians, old and new, from each corner of the North Sea, surely Grant feels tempted to step out from the sidelines? “Well, nobody told me not to say anything about it…” he pauses, before annoucing: “But I’m definitely playing!” What form this will take – collaborative or solo – has yet to be confirmed, but he muses, “It would be good to play Glacier right now, in the midst of everything that’s going on.” His devastating ballad details the everyday struggle for LGBTQ rights and transforms pain into power of mountainous proportions; as ever, John Grant knows exactly what this world needs to hear. He summarises, neatly: “I think you’re going to find some new inspiration for yourself, for sure.” John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux: Sounds from Smoky Bay, 28 Apr-1 May, Hull City Hall / Fruit / Gate No 5, 7pm, £82-£119

Credit: Hull City Council

fter twenty years in the business, John Grant’s rolodex of musical collaborators spans punk rock heroes, pioneering producers and powerful pop queens like Kylie Minogue. He modestly speaks of “holes” in his musical education, but we’re not buying it. When organisers from Hull UK City of Culture 2017 invited him to curate a festival exploring Hull’s Nordic connections, he hesitated – but only for a heartbeat. “I was really flattered, but also worried that [curating] is something that’s difficult to do?” He laughs. “But all I have to do is pick a bunch of great artists that I love, go and hang out, and then watch them play. I mean, the hardest part [of curating] is getting the opportunity to do it! The people in Hull worrying about the logistics are doing all the hard work, so I feel like I would be lying if I said it’s been difficult.”

Opera North - Height of the Reeds


Credit: Tom Arran


Countering the Narrative Provocative collective Neu! Reekie! present Where Are We Now?, a festival of politically minded performance, at Hull UK City of Culture 2017. In this era of global turbulence, The Skinny asks organiser Kevin Williamson: Where is the counterculture now?

Interview: Alan Bett


Credit: James Mulkeen

rom his infamous and invaluable 90s publishing company Rebel Inc. – with its slogan ‘fuck the mainstream!’ – to his current position as one half of Scotland’s favourite avant-garde noisemakers Neu! Reekie!, Kevin Williamson has counterculture pedigree. Here is a man who was among the first to publish Irvine Welsh, reminded the world of cult writers such as Knut Hamsun and Jim Dodge, and now provides a page and a stage for bold and dissenting voices to interact with audiences and communities across the country. With co-conspirator Michael Pedersen, in June he brings a gathering of Neu! Reekie! affiliates to Hull, including rappers and poets, filmmakers, visual artists and musicians – all asking the question: Where Are We Now? The Skinny: In all your incarnations, from Rebel Inc. to Neu! Reekie!, what specifically have you been opposing in the mainstream? Kevin Williamson: I don’t think counterculture starts from an opposition to anything else within culture necessarily. There’s a broader context and the context for Rebel Inc. was very specific. It was the 1990s. And the context for Neu! Reekie! is now. These are very different and this is what really interests me. The 90s will be looked back on as a time of relative social stability in the west, compared to now. There was more hedonism, more drugs, more emphasis on the individual, and art and culture reflected that to a degree… At Rebel Inc., more than anything else we were reacting against the idea of working class people being marginalised and their voices not being heard. We put an emphasis on the legitimacy of our language and our tongues, and that was a big battle of the 90s. That’s not the same as now, this is a very different context we’re operating in.

“I don’t see any other way of changing society except through art”

Does this feed into the idea that specific countercultures have life cycles? There are definite cycles. You look at the art I’m talking about in the 90s; music, visual art, even types of poetry. It was quite personal, quite laconic. A very different type of poetry from what was produced in the 60s and 70s, because they had their own context as well, or the poetry in the 30s, which is a very different context – maybe with more parallels to the period we’re coming into now… We’re

Is it naïve and simplistic to suggest that art reacts strongly to such pressures? I think that art responds to its time and its context. The idea of the artist disconnected from society is a total fallacy. I’m with Pablo Neruda who said that the life of a poet must be reflected in their poetry. That’s a law of art, that’s a law of life. I’m watching poetry and how it’s changing. I’m looking

at the new stars of poetry and how they communicate with their base of followers, and it’s very oral, it’s using technology… Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish, Salena Godden and Luke Wright, these are the pioneers, the ones who are breaking down the barriers. Some of them are getting millions of views on YouTube, they started out almost as YouTube poets but are now getting contracts with Faber and Bloodaxe and so on, because they have something to say.

looking at a period now, post-Brexit, post-Trump, where the global context has changed. We’re hearing people talk about nuclear war and war with China in an open way at the tops of government. So, I think we’re moving into a time of great anxiety. The optimism of the 60s and the hedonism of the 90s are going to seem quite alien to a lot of people now.

But do you see this acceptance and absorption into the mainstream as a positive or a concern? This is an age-old concern. As an old Clash fan, that line, ‘turning rebellion into money’, it goes back 40 years. Part of the modus operandum of being in a counterculture is being aware that corporations will try to take your work and neuter it by turning it into advertising. Taking it mainstream and repackaging it back to the public. You have to be aware of that all the time.

Kevin Williamson

Your programme for Where Are We Now? has a strong focus on poetry and hip-hop. Is this due to their history of protest? I don’t think hip-hop is separate to poetry. We [at Neu! Reekie!] present poetry and music, and nothing presents poetry and music better than hip-hop as far as I’m concerned. It’s the perfect


March/April 2017

Finally, in our current political situation, do artists of the counterculture have a responsibility to react? Artists are the only people who can make a difference. Politicians can’t. All they can do is make institutional changes that artists can operate in. And by artists, I mean everyone. It’s a non-exclusionary term. The idea that someone is not an artist is alien. I’ve worked in prisons, I’ve seen that every single person can express themselves in a cultural and creative way... I don’t see any other way of changing society except through art because that’s what makes life worth living outside your personal domain. Art and culture is primary in a society. Take that away and you’d have nothing left but survival. Where Are We Now?, 2-4 Jun, various venues, Hull

Credit: James Mulkeen

Hollie McNish

Supergroup The Four Owls epitomise the multi-skilled dynamic of UK hip-hop: four emcees in their own right, on mighty underground label High Focus Records. Akala is arguably one of the most important voices in UK rap. Winner of Best Hip Hop Act at the 2006 MOBO Awards, his informed, critical engagement with issues of race, place, identity and inequality is musical, lyrical and incisive. Last year saw genre-blurring singer, songwriter and emcee Eva Lazarus tirelessly smash through the festival circuit, including an epic show at BoomTown with Mungo’s Hi Fi. Her most recent collaborative release Flash Your Lighter features in British movie Brotherhood. Co-founder of underground hip-hop heroes TaskForce, Chester P and his brother Farma G have had a huge impact on the course and content of hip-hop in the UK. The social commentary in Chester’s writing is much more than rhetoric; he is also a community activist. He’s the embodiment of hip-hop culture with a social conscience – authentic, reflecting his locality and continuing the skills of emceeing and freestyling that are hip-hop’s core. 3 Jun, The Welly Club, 6.30pm, £12-£15, [Dave Hook]


Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers

Credit: James Mulkeen

Where Are We Now? #2

Where Are We Now? #1

Young Fathers are one of the most powerful, propulsive, penetrative, pulsing, poignant, evocative and necessary musical forces in the world today: the heartbeat of Trainspotting 2, 2014 Mercury Music Prize winners and a band that disintegrate genres, currently engaging in international tours and releases with Massive Attack. Charlotte Church – a voice of an angel becomes a voice of our generation, politically and socially with unwavering pop credentials. Charlotte can transform some of the best held pop songs into diverse and interesting beasts that will win your love all over again. Speaking of voices of our generation, Hollie McNish has amassed millions of YouTube hits for her poems and her progressive, hilarious and arresting verse tackling major social issues. She’s won formidable spoken word prizes; has fans ranging from American artist Pink to Kate Tempest and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, and was the first poet to record an album in Abbey Road Studios. She can also walk on her hands. 2 Jun, Hull City Hall, 6pm, £17.50-£20, [Michael Pedersen]

marriage. Hip-hop artists can be the most socially aware and tuned into what’s happening on the streets. We’re working with a lot of local artists in Hull, working in the community as part of the bigger project. These are people who can relate to working class and marginalised communities. This is important, it’s not all about the stage, the audience and entertainment.

Jamie Reid’s artwork was the defining aesthetic of the punk revolution of 1976-77. His collages were direct, provocative and stark; connecting with an alternative DIY culture finding its voice and calling out the slick commodified mainstream. This DIY punk attitude, two fingers to what can’t be done, has been been a guiding light for Neu! Reekie! since day one. Jamie Reid has provided the identity for Where Are We Now? and will appear at the festival [Kevin Williamson]


Humber Street Gallery A

t the heart of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a new contemporary art space, Humber Street Gallery. Curated by David Sinclair, this former fruit warehouse provides a home for debate, discussion and delight throughout the year. Highlights include the first ever exhibition of materials drawn from the archives of COUM Transmissions – a subversive Hull-based music and art collective led by Cosey Fanni Tutti and Genesis P-Orridge in the late 60s, whose influence on experimental aesthetics and sounds cannot be underestimated. At the same time, Sarah Lucas presents a series of casts of the female form in the downstairs gallery. In late March, arts festival ReROOTed takes over the gallery with performances, installations and conversations, paying homage to the former commissioning agency Hull Time Based Arts.

More than 25 international artists will descend on the space to present time-based and durational work, from film to new media via mask-making and, wait for it, drystone walling using redundant electronic equipment. Then in June, Rotterdam’s avant-garde venue WORM – ‘born under the stars of punk, Dada, Fluxus and hacktivism’ – takes up residence in Humber Street for a weekend of workshops and events showcasing the talent that’s driving Hull’s underground. Expect alternative club nights, theatre and multimedia from WORM’s crack team of filmmakers, musicians, DJs and performers. Humber Street Gallery, 64 Humber Street, Hull Mon-Sun 10am-8pm (during exhibitions), free

Credit: Larissa Monteiro

Credit: Coum Transmissions

Sarah Lucas, Margot, 2015


Flood Theatre company Slung Low present their most ambitious project yet, a story told throughout the year in four compelling parts. The tale begins online, unfolding in a digital prologue, before an audience gathers on Hull’s Victoria Dock for part two, Abundance: one day it starts to rain, and no-one knows why. Watch live on the shore as, far out on the North Sea, a fisherman raises a girl from the deep. The experience continues on TV, then back to the Dock for the finale. Various dates until 1 Oct, free-£12.50,


Credit: Perry Curties


Richard III

Contains Strong Language

Respected Yorkshire stalwarts Hull Truck Theatre team up with Halifax-based company Northern Broadsides for a visceral telling of Shakespeare’s classic history play. King, lover, murderer: Richard, Duke of Gloucester, sees a chance for the crown in the midst of the Wars of the Roses and stops at nothing to remove all other contenders to the throne. Neatly, this show marks 25 years since Northern Broadsides’ first ever production – a staging of Richard III, in Hull. 4-27 May, Hull Truck Theatre, 7.30pm (2pm matinees), £10-£22.50,

As part of BBC Radio 3’s commitment to being “unashamedly Hull-centric in 2017,” they’re supporting a new national spoken word and poetry festival, Contains Strong Language, produced in association with Hull Humber Mouth literary festival. The four-day event will open on National Poetry Day itself, offering a celebration of poetry new and old with voices both contemporary and familiar, including a series of programmes led by Ian McMillan of The Verb. 28 Sep-1 Oct,


Depart Gravity defying Australian acrobatics group Circa have stunned audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe with their intimate and lyrical shows Beyond and Closer, and for Hull 2017 they’re presenting a collaboration with emotive electronic artist Lapalux, video artists and choral singers billed as ‘a playground for the soulful, an art gallery without walls, a circus in search of transcendence’. Sounds like a match made in heaven to us. 18-21 May, General Cemetery, £9-£12,


Contains Strong Language



Great Apes


Explosively loud sludge merchants Part Chimp return this spring with their first album in eight years – here frontman Tim Cedar tells us about Japanese slug myths and the importance of events like Salford’s Fat Out Fest


hen The Skinny speaks with Tim Cedar, vocalist and guitarist of noise rock titans Part Chimp, he’s out and about in London on his bike. Midway through our chat, the nearby traffic sounds become excessive and he takes a moment to find a quiet spot in a nearby public garden. We can’t help but notice the irony. The band formed at the turn of the century and soon established a reputation for being loud. Really loud. Influenced by the likes of Loop, yet understandably compared to the similarly deafening Jesus and Mary Chain, they developed a strong fan base, including the late John Peel, who brought the band in for a live session before they’d released their debut album, Chart Pimp. Originally members of London noisemakers Ligament, Cedar and Jon Hamilton (drums) were joined by bassist Nick Prior shortly before that band called it a day, and the trio subsequently began playing together as Part Chimp. Iain Hinchliffe (guitar) joined after their first gig to bolster their sound, while Prior was later replaced by Joe McLaughlin in 2004, who himself left in 2006, only to return four years later. The band played together for over a decade, but at the end of 2011 they made an amicable decision to go on hiatus, leaving each member – Cedar, Hamilton, Hinchliffe and McLaughlin – free to pursue other interests. This came after the release of the band’s third album proper, 2009’s knowingly titled Thriller, which included the epic tension-building closer Starpiss. Cedar considered his options, concluding that music was still his vocation, and chose not to venture too far. “I carried on playing drums in Hey Colossus for a couple of years,” he says, “plus a couple of other bands. I run a studio now too. After being in bands and recording studios for so long I finally cottoned on that this was a really good thing for me to do; to not just make music but learn how to record it. It was good doing creative things with some different people after over ten years with Part Chimp. “I didn’t really know what to do after we’d re-

leased Thriller. My creativity wasn’t oozing out like it used to, so it was some weight off my shoulders when we decided to take a break. But they were productive years off, and we got back together because the time away had got my juices flowing again. When I started working on my own music again it was sounding ‘Chimpy’ so it made sense to give them a call.” Newly reformed, Part Chimp retreated to a secluded Norfolk studio to start work on IV, their appropriately titled new record, which (like its predecessors) will be released through Mogwai’s Rock Action label. “Apparently we didn’t really promote the last record when it came out so it was critical that we didn’t do the same thing with this one,” says Cedar, sheepishly. “I’m excited about it and enjoying playing the new songs. The band is up for it. It feels better this time.” Their intensity and volume has thankfully not been diluted over the eight years since Thriller was released, and the band’s songcraft is more prominent on this album than in their earlier work. But with all the talk of the noise they make, there is seldom questioning of their curious song titles and puzzling lyrics. “I do love writing lyrics, but I’m not a natural lyricist. It’s always the most painful part of recording a Part Chimp record – ask any of the producers we’ve worked with in the past!” laughs Cedar. “Historically, lyrics haven’t been a big part of our sonic theme; I’ve always said that the vocals are just another instrument for me. When I’m listening to any music it’s all sound for me and that’s what I try to do with Part Chimp. But I do like a lot of the lyrics on this album, even though they’re pretty nonsensical.” Album opener Namekuji is a case in point. “I’d asked a Japanese friend of mine for the Japanese word for ‘slug’ one day, which is ‘namekuji’, and it resurfaced when we were writing songs,” Cedar says. “It became about a Japanese style myth. We imagined a slug that could invade people’s dreams and it went on from there. It was pretty dark! It’s got some vivid imagery in the lyrics [‘Send Namekuji

to fuck with your dreams’]. I think that I’ll maybe make it into a cartoon one day – it’d be a bit like Freddy Krueger, only a Japanese slug version.” Back in reality, Part Chimp will return to the road in April. This follows some warm-up dates at the end of last year, which included a surprising support slot for the rather more genteel sounds of the Cass McCombs Band at the Scala in London. “Cass is an old friend,” Cedar explains. “We played that show because he insisted we did so. It seemed like a daft idea but we like daft ideas. The first time he came over to the UK he got a band together with me on drums; we’ve been friends ever since. I love his music as well – it’s nice and different from Part Chimp.”

“We imagined a slug that could invade people’s dreams and it went on from there” Tim Cedar

Typically, Part Chimp tend to be billed alongside like-minded noisy types, meaning they often find themselves mixing in the same old circles. “People do say, ‘It’s always the same bands you play with,’ but I don’t know if that necessarily makes it a scene in itself. It could just be lazy promoters and ubiquitous bands that refuse to split up,” laughs Cedar. “A lot of the people in the bands we play with have been doing this circuit for god knows how long now. We’re all pretty much in our 40s so it’s inevitable that those bands are going to carry on playing together, and that’s a great thing. I don’t know if it’s particularly successful for everyone

Interview: Stuart Holmes

involved but it’s certainly good fun for all of us.” Among the dates on the schedule this year is Fat Out Fest in Salford’s Islington Mill, an event which – like Part Chimp themselves – has slowly developed into something bigger, without losing its roots in the DIY aesthetic: this year’s bill also stars Maryland’s post-rock veterans Trans Am and dubtronica producer The Bug’s collaboration with Dylan Carlson of Earth. After much touring across the continent, Cedar acknowledges that the UK has sadly lagged behind other countries in holding festivals of such an adventurous nature, which underlines the importance of venues with this kind of open-minded booking policy. We discuss the difficulties the Mill has encountered, including the threat of a license review earlier this year. “That’s a real shame because that place is great,” he says. “It’s a nice space and the people that run it are really cool. It’d be tragic if it got closed down like so many other places.” With the band also performing at Wrong Festival in Liverpool alongside Bo Ningen and The Wytches, it appears that the UK festival scene is slowly but surely catching up with its European counterparts. “For years and years there weren’t these kinds of festivals in the UK,” Cedar says. “But we saw it in Belgium, Holland and France, where there’s a lot of government support for these kinds of projects. If you’ve got a great idea and a bunch of people who can put it together they’ll give you the cash and support to do it. “Over the years I’ve played at I don’t know how many of these little festivals in Europe, but there was nothing like it in England when we started out. You used to be lucky to get three good bands, so it’s nice to see more people getting support to put strong bills together for these eclectic festivals. All power to it, it’s fucking great.” IV is released on 14 Apr via Rock Action. Part Chimp play Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 14 Apr; Fat Out Fest, Salford, 16 Apr and Wrong Festival, Liverpool, 22 Apr Fat Out Fest takes place 14-16 Apr at Islington Mill, Salford (weekend tickets £65, day tickets £25),

March/April 2017




Utopian Dreams The Skinny caught up with Katie Stelmanis, frontwoman and driving force of Austra, at the end of last year to find out about the inspirations for third album Future Politics and to talk about life in a Utopian world


anadian-born Katie Stelmanis is a classically trained musician who has been performing from a young age, including as a member of the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus at the age of 10. Since then she’s gone on to work with the likes of Fucked Up and Death in Vegas, and in 2009 founded electronic project Austra, which coincidentally is Stelmanis’ middle name. In 2011 Austra released debut album Feel It Break which went on to be shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize – the Canadian equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize in the UK – although it was subsequently won by Arcade Fire for their third effort, The Suburbs. Three albums in now, and six years down the line, we ask how Austra has changed over the years? “I feel like Austra is a constantly evolving thing – It evolves a lot more than other bands do,” explains Stelmanis.  “Future Politics is definitely more similar to how I wrote Feel It Break for sure. I felt like I did give up a lot of creative control with the band’s record [Olympia], which is what happens when you collaborate with people,” Stelmanis tells us. “I guess I was feeling like I wanted to get that back, and so this record was good because I definitely did most of it by myself. I was so involved with every single aspect of it that I feel ready and excited to collaborate again – I feel like I’ll be better at it or I’ll just be more confident in what I can do.” Politics were at the heart of 2016, with Britain deciding to leave the EU and the American presidential race taking centre-stage in newsfeeds around the world. Future Politics was released on 20 Jan 2017, which just happened to coincide with the date Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. “It’s obviously an extremely dark and terrifying time for all of us,” Stelmanis says with a quiver in her voice. “I definitely – when I started writing the record – did not even fathom that we would be in a position of dealing with a Trump presidency and with Brexit, so that really wasn’t what the record was about, it’s just taken on this new meaning. “The original intention with the concept of Future Politics was about encouraging people to constantly be imagining a new future because I think the greatest form of oppression is making people believe there are no other options,” enthuses Stelmanis. “I think as long as people are aware there are other options and are able to think about them and imagine them and spread ideas then I think that these forms of oppression are a lot weaker.” One of the stand-out tracks on the album is the upbeat and uplifting Utopia – ‘I can picture a place where everybody feels it too / It might be fiction but I see it ahead / There’s nothing I wouldn’t do’ – so we ask Stelmanis what her true idea of a utopian world would be? “I don’t really have a specific vision of Utopia because I think it’s something that will constantly evolve and will be different for everybody.” Stelmanis explains, “I think it’s impossible for a Utopia to actually exist, but I constantly think about what it might look like. I imagine a world that’s based on sustainability instead of profit where we value things that as of now capitalism doesn’t. A world without oppression – things that we all sort of hope and wish for.” In a recent press release sent out about Future Politics, one line really stood out: ‘the less you can ignore, the more you have to act.’ So what does Stelmanis think we should be doing with the state of the current political climate? “I think that is something a lot of people are grappling with – trying to figure out the best way to act,” Stelmanis firmly responds. “I was recently reading this book by the guy who started the Occupy Wall



Interview: Tallah Brash

Street movement [Micah White] – The End of Protest – and basically the whole thing in the book is that protest doesn’t work anymore. “It’s obsolete because it’s an expected component of our current society so it’s not subversive. I don’t necessarily agree with that but then he goes on to say that the best way to act is to join the system,” Stelmanis continues. “I think our generation, specifically millennials, is not really involved in government or in those processes and I don’t think ever really consider joining those ranks and that’s maybe something to rethink.” Other inspiration for Future Politics came from “reading a lot about the environment,” Stelmanis explains. “I pretty much realised that capitalism, or our current way of governing is just absolutely impossible to solve our world problems. If we want to decolonise North America, you need a completely different system so when I was thinking of Future Politics I was thinking about creating an entirely new system that doesn’t exist yet, and you know…” She laughs, before concluding that it’s “super easy...” with some sarcasm. “I just think that it’s really liberating to step back and realise just how many of the paradigms we’re guided by are totally fake and not real and not important,” she continues. “Once you start tearing those down the world becomes this endless possibility. Like Buffy Saint-Marie – she’s a Canadian folk artist from the 60s and 70s and she’s still making music now – she’s quoted saying something along the lines of ‘money is just this weird blip in humanity that we’ll look upon in 5000 years and be like, that was weird… when we had that,’ so it’s interesting to think about how many of the things we take for granted that are just fabricated in order to keep people in power.” Aside from politics, what is quite telling from the striking artwork and music videos that have so far accompanied the record is that art was as much a part of Future Politics. Stelmanis excitedly agrees: “I think this record is for me the most heavily conceptualised record I’ve ever done. In the past I’d just make music and then later on try and figure out what it’s about; figure out a theme or how to represent it visually, but this album, all the art, the visuals, the lyrics, the concept, it all was birthed at the same time.

“I think the greatest form of oppression is making people believe there are no other options” Katie Stelmanis

“I was really influenced by a lot of retrofuturism stuff and a lot of really early Technicolor films,” Stelmanis recalls. “I was watching a lot of Stanley Kubrick stuff, and I loved Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. I had thousands of images in this little folder that I’ve been using; everything has been really colourful. Mexico as well was hugely influential – I don’t know if you’ve ever been there? All the buildings are pink and blue and purple, it’s the most colourful, amazing place.” When it came time to make the album art and imagery that would accompany Future Politics, Stelmanis had two years worth of references that she was able to give photographer and cinemato-

grapher, Renata Raksha, who she was eager to work with. “She’s this crazy Russian lady who lives in LA – she’s so good,” Stelmanis enthuses. “We ended up coming up with this concept that felt like it represented the project really well. Art was always not as important to me and with this one [album], it really was.” Stelmanis is set to tour Future Politics for the next couple of years with her band (consisting of Maya Postepski, Doran Wolf and Ryan Wonsiak) and she seems excited about three main objectives: to “rework the songs to make them really work with the band,” to “try and do as much live stuff as possible,” and to make the live show


“really feel like it’s its own thing.” When asked about her thoughts on real life future politics, however, her response isn’t quite as upbeat. “I have absolutely no idea how things are going to fare politics-wise. The distinguishing factor of the situation that we’re in is that we’re just living in a time of complete uncertainty; nobody has any idea what’s happening and that’s why it’s scary. I don’t know. Every day something new and crazy happens, So it’s impossible to guess.” Future Politics is out now Austra plays Summerhall, Edinburgh, 23 Mar



Brothers in Arms Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire assembles big names for smaller scale action, with a film devoted to an extended shootout between all kinds of shady people. Alongside one of his stars, Sharlto Copley, we discuss single-location thrills and spirited scumbags


AS IT LOUD?! If the volume’s up it can be a little intense.” South African actor Sharlto Copley is responding to the news that The Skinny has come to interview him pretty much straight from a press screening of his new film Free Fire, a 1970s Boston-set action movie from British director Ben Wheatley, the other interviewee present. “After one screening,” Copley continues, “I was like, ‘OK, I lived through it once. I could have sat a little further away from the speaker.’ In Free Fire, Copley is but one member of an impressive ensemble (including Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley and Wheatley favourite Michael Smiley) trapped in a deserted warehouse, who are left to fight off everyone else after an arms deal goes wrong. And while many directors would make that just one scene of many, Free Fire’s calling card is that the ensuing shootout takes up the entire rest of the film. About a year ago, when The Skinny chatted to Wheatley about his prior film, High-Rise, we got a sneak peek of his intentions for Free Fire, which was in post-production. Among the influences Wheatley cited during our full conversation at the time was John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, but the director is now keen to establish key differences between that classic siege thriller and his new film. “It was all those kind of spare 70s movies,” Wheatley clarifies. “I suppose Assault is one. But this is a bit fiddlier than Assault is, because ultimately it’s a bit

more austere, and a modernist thing.” Wheatley explains that it’s more the intent that’s austere than it is the look of the film. “It’s shot with all the modern tools, so it’s a lot of technocrane stuff and all the slow motion stuff, and odds and sods like that,” he says. “And it’s shot digitally as well, so there’s no concession to oldie world-y style, particularly. But I just like the way that the Carpenter stuff concentrates people into a space and he’s happy with that. And that makes the drama work.” In that earlier interview, Wheatley also revealed that dissatisfaction with contemporary action filmmaking was a motivator for the project. Specifically his beef was with huge blockbusters, where the human scale of the conflict tends to be overshadowed by an overwhelming focus on computer-generated mass destruction. His fellow interviewee is no stranger to those sorts of CG effectsheavy films, with the likes of Maleficent and The A-Team on his resume, alongside a trio of Neill Blomkamp collaborations (District 9, Elysium, Chappie). On the topic of differences between the two modes of action filmmaking, Copley is effusive. “It was definitely one of the highlights of my career,” the 43-year-old actor says of working with Wheatley. “The process of making the film was just so, so actor-friendly, and I’d heard this from my agent about Ben being somebody actors just truly rave about.” Their first meeting was via Skype. “I was like, ‘Wow, this feels like it would be fun work-

ing with someone who’s very sensitive to what actors like or what actors need,’” he recalls. “You couldn’t ask for a better situation: everyone’s in one place, you’re kind of almost doing it as a play; Ben shoots very fast; it’s shot in order; everything’s real, practical.”

“I’m an actor so you need to be able to be mocked by everyone in order to do the job” Sharlto Copley

This latter point, explains Copley, was particularly congenial to the acting process. If you think the film is loud while watching it, you can imagine the process of making it. “For two thirds of the film you’re just sitting with earplugs in and you’re just having this bombardment of gunfire,” he says. “So it really makes your job easy. It’s a lot harder to go in and do green screen stuff and deliver a good performance. It’s much harder.”

Interview: Josh Slater-Williams

Though Copley’s career since 2009’s District 9, the actor’s feature film debut, has been rife with those aforementioned CG spectacles, there are also smaller, feistier genre movies peppered throughout his filmography. These include Spike Lee’s stylish take on Oldboy and the divisive Hardcore Henry, an action film shot entirely from the first-person POV of its eponymous character. We ask what draws him to these smaller films, like Free Fire. “For me it’s just [that] I like people that are pushing the envelope in some way, I guess. I’m a pretty extreme person, so I just love the fact that people have the balls; that Ben would make a movie like this. A lot of directors would be like, well, I need more narrative things, I need more happening. It’s really a confidence thing.” Whether in the studio pictures or the indie films, there’s a particular characteristic that regularly recurs in Copley’s roles: that of playing figures that enter a narrative and disrupt the bearings of everyone around them. Indeed, that’s an element of his arms dealer character, Vernon, in Free Fire, who inspires the film’s other characters to openly take the piss out of him, even before they want to kill him. The film’s production notes suggest that Wheatley rewrote the part for Copley once he signed on, so in a move that could perhaps have been thought through with more care, we essentially ask Copley if he feels he often plays annoying characters. “I mean... wow, thanks,” he says, which provokes cackling from Wheatley on the sidelines. “Thank you! Well, I’m an actor so you need to be able to be mocked by everyone in order to do the job. So it’s useful! You need a certain degree of thick skin to be able to attempt the job in the first place.” We acknowledge that the question could have been phrased better. “No no no, I love how you phrased the question, because it’s absolutely true. District 9, the first character that I did, essentially has that element too, where people are like, ‘Is this guy ridiculous? Do I like him? Do I not like him? He’s annoying me, but, oh, he’s got some heart.’ “There’s something Dustin Hoffman said once in an interview which really resonates with me,” Copley continues, “which might not be totally obvious in my work because a lot of my work is quite caricatured – I like to do more caricatured performances if an opportunity presents itself. But Hoffman said, ‘I play what we are and I leave what we want to be to other actors and movie stars.’ And so I think that to be mocked or to be laughed at, or to not be cool is, in some ways, the opposite of movie stardom. But it really does require you to be able to put your flaws or your insecurity out there, and try to find a strength in that, because you try to be as honest as you can.” Wheatley chips in to defend these misfits too: “And there’s spirit in those characters, isn’t there? In the same way, there’s Sam Riley’s character. He has a similar issue, doesn’t he? He’s absolutely despicable [and] he disrupts the whole film. He causes all the trouble in it, right up until the end. And I think the spirit of those two characters is really exciting because they’re just tearing the film up, smashing the film, breaking the film as it’s happening in front of you. And it should really be a film about Armie Hammer. In a normal movie the main character would be him and then everything else would be moving around him. But it’s not. It’s all these smaller roles coming to the front and fucking everything up for everybody else.” And with that, the freewheeling nature of Free Fire is succinctly summarised. Free Fire is released 31 Mar by StudioCanal





Credit: Carole Bethuel

Prêt-à-Poltergeist The ever versatile Olivier Assayas returns to genre territory with strange and mysterious ghost story Personal Shopper, which centres on a knockout performance from Kristen Stewart. When we meet the French filmmaker, he’s nothing but praise for his star


sk any director the aspect of filmmaking they enjoy least, and 99 times out of 100 they’ll tell you it’s talking to the press. And who could blame them? Having to hear those same unoriginal questions over and over again. “Where did you get the initial idea?” “Who are your influences?” and then of course the obligatory topical question, which for the next four years will be: “What do you think of Trump?” French filmmaker Olivier Assayas, however, is part of the elusive one percent. “It’s always interesting to discuss your own films because somehow you are reinventing them by talking about them,” Assayas says when we sit down to chat at a London hotel. He explains that while in director mode, he doesn’t have the opportunity to verbalise to his cast and crew his intentions for the film. “I’m not a very theoretical person when I’m on the set, I’m just all about action; I think that’s how movies get made. There I’m making decision after decision after decision every day, and once the film is finished, it’s then that you can try to understand why you made those decisions and understand, basically, what was the subconscious drive to it all.” This is music to our ears, as we’re here to discuss Personal Shopper, a beguiling and unclassifiable film full of mysteries and nuances. It centres on a dissatisfied young American woman called Maureen, played by Kristen Stewart – who became the first American actor to win a César Award (basically the French Oscars) for her performance in Assayas’ previous film Clouds of Sils Maria. By day our hero works as personal shopper and general dogsbody for a bitchy supermodel who’s based in Paris. Maureen’s side gig, however, is far more interesting. She’s a medium, and the film opens with her on the job, but it’s one to which she has a personal

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connection. Maureen’s been commissioned to check out the dark and creaky villa her twin brother Lewis’s girlfriend inherited to see if any unwanted spirits linger there. It turns out, however, that Maureen has her fingers crossed it is haunted, as she’s eager to speak to one spirit in particular: Lewis, who died in the house of a weak heart (a defect his sister shares) a few months back. Maureen insists she must spend a night alone in the house to check it out, and as expected, things do go bump in the dark: a ghostly apparition appears, but it’s benevolent. Lewis, however, does not make his presence known. “It’s difficult to find a portal into the spirit world,” Maureen shrugs, “That’s just the way it is.” While this description might be conjuring up ideas in your mind of a hipster Conjuring, Assayas, as he often does, has wrongfooted us. The rest of his ghost story won’t take place in the usual spaces of haunted attics, creepy basements or spooky cemeteries, but very much in the modern world of boutique hotels, penthouse apartments and, in one of the film’s most thrilling setpieces, the Eurostar. And instead of communicating via ectoplasm stains or creaking door hinges, the ghosts in Personal Shopper use iPhone text messages. What makes the film so unusual and compelling is this tension between the real and the supernatural. “I really wanted a character who is anchored, who is grounded, and who’s very human,” explains Assayas. “That’s what Kristen brought to me. She has this screen presence, she’s this really solid person. It really matters that we relate to that character, because she opens those doors into the unknown.” Much of the joy of Personal Shopper is the opportunity to observe Stewart at her most strip-

ped back, her most raw. She dominates the film, but in a understated way. It’s a performance that feels very alive, full of subtle gestures and tiny character details. It’s a very quiet performance too, with none of the histrionics that characterised the role that made her famous in the Twilight franchise. Like all great actors, her charisma pulls you closer to the screen, like a magnet. “When I was writing [Personal Shopper] I didn’t know I was actually writing for Kristen,” explains Assayas, “but I think if I had not made Clouds of Sils Maria with Kristen, had not spent time with her, then I would not have created a character similar to Maureen. And when I finished writing and I ended up giving Kristen the screenplay she read it and loved it, and all of a sudden there was an inner logic to it all.”

“I think Kristen has an unlimited range” Olivier Assayas

As is the case with many critics, it took Assayas a while to realise just how talented Stewart is. His first experience of her was in Walter Salles’ On the Road. “I liked what I saw on screen,” he recalls, “but I never saw something that I thought was completely accomplished.” It wasn’t until working with her on Clouds of Sils Maria that he realised how good she really is. “She was something else, she was unique. She really has this extraordinary mix of intuition. She’s completely, incredibly natural. She’ll never do the same thing twice. She needs


Interview: Jamie Dunn

to feel things and simultaneously she has so much control over what she does.” Assayas was so impressed, in fact, that he felt his material had let her down. “I was a bit frustrated because the character I wrote for her in Clouds of Sils Maria was one-dimensional,” he laments. “She didn’t have a lot of space to create a character. I was extremely happy with what we did together, but it was a bit frustrating because I felt that we could have gone much further. She’s a very smart actress, and I think that she has an unlimited range that need to be challenged.” With Personal Shopper, they’ve done exactly that. What so impresses is that most of the film plays out focused on Stewart’s character on her own in medium shot, dashing through the Paris streets on errands or simply reacting to the latest – possibly supernatural – text on her phone. So compelling is her performance, however, that you never want to take your eyes off the screen, even when she’s seemingly doing nothing. Assayas thinks, as an actor, she’s innately cinematic: “She moves within the frame like a dancer, you know? She has a way of playing with her body and with the camera, and she has this understanding of the space. For a filmmaker that’s pretty unique.” Perhaps what’s so exciting for film fans is that Assayas reckons Stewart has only just scratched the surface of her talents. “After two movies, I feel that I don’t know her yet,” he says. “I get the sense there’s more space there. I think it’s the first time that it’s happened to me with an actor that I’m not sure where their limit is.” This sounds like the start of a beautiful director-actor partnership. Personal Shopper is released 17 Mar by Icon






Shock and Awesome Paul Verhoeven has been shocking and thrilling audiences for 46 years. He’s back after a ten year absence with Elle, which might be his most daring work yet. We sit down with the Dutch auteur to talk sex, satire and Isabelle Huppert


he translation is false!” Paul Verhoeven is sat in front of a sold-out audience within London’s film-lover Mecca, the BFI Southbank, for an onstage overview of his 46-year film career, but he’s not happy with the subtitles on the first clip of the night. The scene in question comes from his Dutch box-office smash Turkish Delight, which shows the film’s protagonist, sculptor Eric (Rutger Hauer), frantically masturbating over a photograph of his ex, Olga (Monique van de Ven). The Dutch auteur is quick to correct the error: “[Eric] says ‘I’m coming now,’ but in reality he says in Dutch, ‘I’m licking the shit off your asshole.’” If anyone in the audience is offended by Verhoeven’s frankness, they’ve clearly not been watching his films. For five decades he’s been one of cinemas great provocateurs; shocking us is what he does. There are his comic, open-hearted and non-judgemental studies of women making livings off their bodies (Business is Business, which started his career; and Showgirls, which nearly ended it). He’s made outrageously sexed-up film noirs (The Fourth Man, Basic Instinct) that got mainstream audiences hot under the collar. His big budget sci-fis (Total Recall, Starship Troopers) run red with gleefully brutal, often sickening violence. On paper, his latest film, Elle, which is part rape revenge thriller, part bourgeois comedy, might be his most controversial yet. Suffice to say, this mischievous Dutch auteur has never been one to spare our blushes. When we sit down to speak to Verhoeven in a London hotel the following day, the 78-year-old, still trim and roguishly handsome, is as forthright as he was on stage. “When you look nowadays at American movies, sex is expressed in a completely cryptic way,” he laments. “Whenever there is a sex scene, the woman keeps on her bra. In my experience, that is really exceptional.” For all the outlandish, satirical elements of his films, he insists he’s completely earnest when it comes to depicting carnal pleasures. “What I try not to do when I’m making movies is imagine the sex scene, to construct a sex scene out of my imagination,” he explains. “I always feel it should be based on sex that I know, otherwise I think you easily drift off into pornography.”

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We raise an eyebrow at this, thinking back to the notoriously daft scene of swimming pool rumpy pumpy in Showgirls where Elizabeth Berkley’s ambitious stripper flails about in ecstasy while jets from a dolphin fountain almost drown her. But we don’t get a chance to interrupt; Verhoeven is on a roll.

“I represent sex in a real way because it’s something wonderful” Paul Verhoeven

“I like sex, of course. I represent sex in a real way because it’s something wonderful.” He suggests the Dutch culture might be the reason for his more relaxed attitude. “I didn’t invent it. If you look at Dutch paintings, say, in the 17th century, and compare them to paintings in Italy and France and Britain, you see an enormous sense of reality. Rembrandt would sketch his copulations with his wife, for example, or a woman pooping or peeing. You wouldn’t see that in an Italian renaissance painting. We grew up in that atmosphere of reality – yes people are peeing and pooping, and why hide that?” Hollywood’s reluctance to show the realities of sex isn’t necessarily to do with moral objections, however. “It also has to do with making more money,” agrees Verhoeven, “because then the movie is not an R, it’s a PG-13, and everybody can go in. It’s all to do with this generation of the capitalist system.” Verhoeven came up against this immovable force when he tried to make Elle – which is based on Philippe Djian’s French novel Oh... – in the US. “We found that there was really no appetite in the United States to cooperate with this movie – not financially and certainly not artistically. There were five or six actresses that we approached but they didn’t want to do it. It

was a straight no. They didn’t like it at all. After a couple of months I said ‘we’re on the wrong road. Let’s go back to France.’” Does he think the American film would be very different if he’d manage to get it made? “Oh yeah sure, it would have been a failure,” he says with a shrug. “I didn’t think so at that time, but now that I have made this film, and made it with Isabelle Huppert, I think, ‘My God, what did I think? That it was possible in the United States?’” What would have been different? “It would have been so much flatter and so much more banal,” he says confidently. “And so much more irritating and, and even… disturbing, but in a very negative way.” We’re glad he made the switch, because Elle should be filed alongside the other Verhoeven masterpieces like The Fourth Man and RoboCop. And like those films, it’s not without its controversies. It opens with the savage, horrifying rape of Huppert’s character Michelle, the fierce head of a video gaming company, by a masked assailant. Michelle’s reaction to the encounter is hardly conventional. In fact it’s downright startling. She doesn’t call the police, or a friend, she simply cleans up the mess, has a bath, orders some sushi and scolds her cat for not intervening: “You didn’t have to claw his eyes out, but scratch him at least.” She refuses to be a victim, but she’s no vigilante out for revenge either. She does try and discover who the masked attacker was, but her motivations remain clouded in mystery. When Verhoeven premiered the film at Cannes he was prepared for a backlash – “as I’d been showing the movie around before Cannes, people were telling me this will be extremely controversial” – but it never materialised. “I’m surprised it didn’t happen,” he says. “I mean, pleasantly surprised that it didn’t happen, but I thought that based on the warnings of other people that there would be controversy.” In particular he thought that audiences would be unwilling to accept a film with multiple, brutal rape scenes that was, in parts, also laugh-out-loud funny. Does he have any theories as to why the film has been so embraced? “I think, perhaps, it’s the French culture or Isabelle Huppert,” he


Interview: Jamie Dunn

muses. “She protects the movie in some way. These pretty weird moves that Isabelle’s character makes are acceptable to audiences because it’s Isabelle Huppert doing it. You believe her. Even if you don’t understand her, even if you do not sympathise with her, even if you think that you strongly disagree, but you accept the fact that this woman exists this way, and that is the beauty of her performance.” We’d also argue the acceptance might have a lot to do with the critical establishment's changing attitude to Verhoeven, especially with regards to the films he made in Hollywood. As the years go on, their intelligence and artistry seem even more apparent, particularly the two brilliant sci-fi satires he made with Edward Neumeier, RoboCop and Starship Troopers. “When we were making those films, we felt there was a certain movement in American society towards fascism,” he explains. “RoboCop is more urban – fascism in the police – and Starship Troopers is very much about American foreign policy.” Starship Troopers in particular was wildly misunderstood on its release, its combination of soapy teen love story, Leni Reifenstein-style fascist imagery and brutal scenes of intergalactic warfare obscuring the fact to many critics that this was a blisteringly funny and deeply self-aware lampoon of right-wing warmongering. Despite the poor reception, Verhoeven clearly has fond memories of the film’s making. “[Starship Troopers] was really written with pleasure, with fun. We were lighthearted when we wrote these scenes, sitting over coffee and laughing. We weren’t saying this was America: we used elements of reality in both films and extrapolated them in a hyperbolic way.” Looking back, we’re not sure they’re even hyperbolic. Six years after Starship Troopers’ release the people of the USA and the UK would find their nations invading an enemy that were as dehumanised as that 1997 film’s bug civilization. And let’s remember that the antagonist trying to make Detroit great again in RoboCop was a callous property tycoon who was getting into politics to make himself lots of money. Remind you of anyone? Elle is released 10 Mar by Picturehouse Entertainment



Back to the Wild Robert Lee explains how Pulled Apart By Horses rediscovered their youthful spark for new album The Haze

Lee cites bands like At The Drive-In and Refused as early influences on their hyperactive style. Following in the footsteps of cult mid-2000s UK acts like Reuben, Blakfish and Meet Me In St. Louis, the band’s early material was a balance between beefy grooves, light-hearted lyrics and erratic song structures. “Our sound really reflected our personalities at the time,” he says. “It wasn’t necessarily our intention to revive that scene or anything, but we definitely went down that route because we liked the energy and authenticity of it. What I would say is we were a bit scrappier and not so serious. We put a lot of effort into our music and worked hard when we toured, but the actual content was light. It wasn’t all about broken hearts and all that – we had a sense of humour.” The band’s tastes had broadened by the time they made third record Blood, which drew more than a little from the group that inspired their name in the first place (see Radiohead’s Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses). “We were into darker and more atmospheric stuff at the time,” says Lee. “I think it reflected where we were as a band on a personal level. In the first few years you throw yourself headfirst into everything and have too much fun. It can get too much and you need to come down a bit. Day-to-day frustrations kick back in and some of that feeling went into the album.”

“The new album brings back that element of spontaneity and naïveté. The attitude and spirit is back” Robert Lee


ulled Apart By Horses have always been something of an anomaly in the UK rock landscape, ever since emerging at the turn of the decade. At a time when faceless post-punk revivalists ruled the airwaves, the Leeds four-piece carved their own riff-based niche. And unlike many of their underground hardcore peers, their irreverent tunes seemed to resonate with every crowd they played. The band’s chaotic live shows quickly gained notoriety. Venues were rammed, mosh pits were wild and injuries were common, including for band members themselves (onstage accidents included concussions and a near leg amputation for guitarist James Brown). It’s little surprise, then, that by 2014 album Blood the band’s sound had become darker and more nuanced.



After parting with management and finishing a one-album record deal with Sony, however, they found themselves back at square one. Bassist Robert Lee says that this newfound independence was vital when it came to writing new album The Haze: “It was quite refreshing to be back where we’d been at the very start, so we thought, ‘Let’s have fun with this,’” he says. “All that pressure we’d felt over the past few years – some of it from ourselves – was off. While our musicianship has progressed and gone in a different direction since our early days, I think the new album brings back that element of spontaneity and naïveté. The attitude and spirit is back.” It’s impossible to overstate just how important that sense of spirit has been over the years.

For Lee, The Haze refers to “coming out of the fog” they’d been engulfed in and rediscovering their mojo to some extent. There’s certainly a palpable dynamism to new singles like Hotel Motivation that hark back to the band’s sweaty club days. This rejuvenation is all the more impressive given the band parted company with drummer Lee Vincent, arguably their most manic instrumentalist, in 2015. Replacement Tommy Davidson, who was drafted in almost immediately, seems the perfect fit. “He’d always been in the wings saying how much he loved the band and he was there as soon as we needed him,” says Lee. “It was amicable when we lost Lee – he had moved down to London with his family and wanted to do the band thing parttime, whereas we wanted to keep slogging away. “Tommy was local which was useful for us all, being in the same practice space. He was part of that local Brew scene [a post-hardcore record label that closed in 2013] and really understood the ethos of the band. But he also opened up our sound a lot. Stylistically, Lee was really frenetic and had that aggression and uncontrollable energy that’s hard to maintain over the years. Tommy’s a bit more controlled and fits the direction we’ve gone in.”


Interview: Jonathan Rimmer

If the band sound like more of a tight-knit unit on The Haze, it’s partly due to their intense writing and recording process. Despite all finally being based in Leeds with their own practice space, they lived up to an old rock’n’roll cliché and retreated into the wilderness. Renting a cottage on an old dairy farm in rural Wales, the band set about “just making music and having fun again.” “We locked ourselves away for weeks with no distractions from family or internet or anything,” Lee says. “We needed that time. To be honest, when you’ve got four guys in a band on their own in the middle of nowhere, there are a lot of late nights. In the past there was perhaps more collaboration on the writing, but this time Tom [Hudson, guitar/ vocals] wrote most of it. He really grafted this time around. “It could be difficult for him because often we’d be jamming something and there’d be this real pressure on him to write lyrics that really fit the atmosphere of what we were trying to do. I think the words are a lot more open to interpretation this time around – it was all very stream of consciousness. There were also so many days where we woke up and went, ‘Ugh, what are we doing?’ But once we knew we had nothing to do but play, it was the obvious and easy thing to do. We snapped back into it and it was invigorating.” It makes sense for Pulled Apart By Horses to try to revive the essence of what initially galvanised them as artists – sheer exuberance was a huge part of their early appeal – but it remains astonishing that they’ve maintained the same levels of passion nine years on from their first show. Having supported the likes of Muse, Foals and Biffy Clyro after touring their first record, many assumed the band’s rise would be stratospheric. It remains to be seen whether that jump is still to come. “I remember sitting in the Barrowlands dressing room when we supported Biffy many years ago,” says Lee. “We were looking at the famous stars on the walls and the tour manager was telling us that you get to take one of those stars once you’ve headlined there. Well, it’s several years on and we still don’t have that star! When we released Tough Love, our second album, we were playing some huge places and then it dipped and levelled off again. Everything goes in waves so it’s impossible to know where your trajectory is going to be. To be honest, though, we were never in it for that.” It’d be obtuse to suggest Pulled Apart By Horses have travelled entirely full circle, either commercially or artistically. After all, Blood was their first album to break the UK Top 40 and their newer tracks are their most technically accomplished yet. Regardless, The Haze represents a fresh break for the band and after being cooped up making the album, they’re ready for a return to the road. “We’re still not tired of either writing or performing,” says Lee. “Neither part of it is less enjoyable than the other. It’s been a while since we had the opportunity to tour a new record and the physical aspect of being a band is something we’ve always loved. We’re absolutely itching to get out there.” The Haze is released on 17 March via Caroline International. Pulled Apart By Horses play Sound Control, Manchester, 6 Apr, and Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 8 Apr


March/April 2017


Win Free Fire movie merch!


ree Fire hits UK cinemas on 31 March – an all-action tale from the High-Rise team of Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley, with an all-star cast featuring Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson (winner of a Best Actress Academy Award for Room in 2016), Cillian Murphy and more. Funded by the BFI and Film4, with Martin Scorsese serving as executive producer, it's sure to be one of the films of 2017! Book your tickets at To mark the nationwide release of Free Fire, we've teamed up with Studio Canal to give away three bundles of exclusive and limited edition movie merchandise. To be in with the chance of


winning, simply head to with the correct answer to the following question: For which film did Brie Larson win an Academy Award for Best Actress? a) Room b) Carol c) Brooklyn Competition closes midnight Sun 30 Apr. The winner 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


The Passion of the Quiet As Terence Davies’ new film exploring the life of American poet Emily Dickinson reaches cinemas, we consider the innovations in her work – and the limitations of viewing her only as a feminist hero


ome writers’ images are seared into the collective cultural imagination, even if their writing is left to be covered by dust in the classics section of the book shop. It’s easy to recall the familiar photographs of Oscar Wilde with his flowing hair, neck tie and velvet cape, or the picture of a graceful Virginia Woolf looking directly at the camera lens with an engaged stare. Emily Dickinson is one of those writers. Her image is more recognisable to readers than many of her poems. The iconic image of Dickinson is of her teenage self, sitting at a table with a book, holding what appears to be a flower. Her hair is pinned back and her face seems to exhibit both serenity and joy. This monochrome image of Dickinson has fed into the myth-making surrounding the American poet and helped to establish her reputation as a thwarted and reclusive writer. The image is tinged with sadness because we know that the young woman in the photograph is destined to lead a stilted life of repressed confinement. Her fierce intellect and talent for writing will remain a secret, locked away until long after her death. Recognised as an American writer of renown, Dickinson’s work is responsible for creating shivers of despair in high-schoolers across America – a sentiment shared by teenagers this side of the pond forced to decode reams of iambic pentameter in the state-prescribed reading of Shakespeare plays. But aside from her half-hearted teenage audience, her work has been rediscovered and reclaimed as part of the feminist movement. It’s easy to see why. We don’t know the real reason for Dickinson’s solitude in her Massachusetts family home (some have speculated that she had social anxiety or was

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restrained by overbearing parents), but her life remains a powerful example of the suppression of female brilliance. She chose to live a restricted, interior life rather than face an outside world where she would always have to take on the secondary role of an inferior woman. For feminists, Dickinson’s experience has become symbolic of the loss of talent that results from women not being able to fully participate in public life and flourish as members of society. In an act of sisterly solidarity, it was her sister Lavinia who posthumously discovered her poetic scribblings, leading to their eventual publication and the recasting of Dickinson as one of the great American poets. There’s even been an unsuccessful campaign to put Dickinson on a dollar note. The limits of a feminist reading Dickinson once wrote in a letter that “the past is not a package one can lay away.” The feminist recovery of Dickinson as an example of the historic and contemporary issues which suppress female writing talent, and which lead to the struggle for women to find a place among the glittering line-up of famous writers, goes some way towards explaining her unusual life of seclusion. And her rebranding in a feminist light has brought Dickinson’s work to a young female audience who may not have otherwise chosen to read an obscure bunch of poems seemingly about the obstacle of death. But, while neccessary, the feminist analysis of Dickinson’s life has also led to her work being easily and infuriatingly categorised as mere, onedimensional ‘feminist writing’. The context of her inhibited life is often emphasised above and be-

yond the actual poems themselves. In a similar way, Sylvia Plath has become synonymous with her turbulent relationship with Ted Hughes and her spells of mental illness, rather than known for the ways she innovated confessional poetry and her knack for redrawing familiar images. Dickinson’s legacy is in danger of becoming restricted to the marketable slogan of her simply being a feminist hero.

“Reducing Dickinson’s work to a soundbite does her a great disservice” Emily Dickinson: poetic innovator As well as describing the social constraints placed on women, Dickinson’s work takes on the hardy subject of grief and the inevitability of death in original and inventive ways. Her work returns again and again to our fear of mortality, providing a stark emotional contrast to her quiet life. She inhabits the view of the dead in Because I could not stop for Death, and uses the ceremony of death to look at the turmoil of mental anguish in her poem I felt a Funeral, in my Brain. For newcomers to her work, Dickinson’s poems may seem dark, drab and as fun as a trip to the


Words: Holly Rimmer-Tagoe Illustration: Jacky Sheridan

dentist, but her writing keeps a wry semblance of humour, even when she explores the darkest of subject matters. “Hope” is the thing with feathers is a battle call to optimism and is the poem to turn to if you are facing trials and tribulations. Her reputation for focusing on the melancholic moments of life is somewhat misleading; Dickinson’s skill is in weaving the spectrum of human emotion together. Death is explored with humour, hope is intertwined with difficulty. Her poems always sit in that in-between, ungraspable place where feeling can’t be easily or simply expressed. The sheer number of authors that you’re ‘supposed’ to get around to reading, if you want to maintain your crown as literary connoisseur of your drinking buddies, only grows longer and more improbable as you get older. The book industry’s response is to tempt you in any way they can and, in the current climate of female-empowerment bestsellers and a certain ‘Leader of the Free World’, being a feminist hero is a pretty good bet to add to sales. But reducing Dickinson’s work to a soundbite does her a great disservice. Yes, she is a great of example of feminine talent and verve, in choosing to live life according to her own rules despite the opinions of others – but her work is complex and contradictory and not easy to categorise. In a distant book utopia, writers wouldn’t need to be described in pithy, repetitive slogans. But as utopia seems to be very far away, perhaps we can add ‘innovator of poetic form’ and ‘courter of idiosyncrasy’ to Dickinson’s feminist hero tag. A Quiet Passion is in cinemas from 7 Apr



Serial Offenders Comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean tour their very funny, shocking and sometimes moving All Killa No Filla podcast this spring. We asked them to share some of the bizarre stories they’ve uncovered


he podcast landscape is littered with true crime and comedians tackling a subject, so it stands to reason that one should combine the two. That the result is brilliantly funny, informative, shocking and at times even touching is testament to the two comedians behind it. Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean’s All Killa No Filla podcast has slowly developed a cult following since it debuted in October 2014 when the pair bonded over their fascination with serial killers. As Fairburn notes at the opening of every show, “this isn’t hero worship, but if we’re doing this then at least we’re not writing to them in prison.” They put in enormous amounts of research for each (approximately) hour-long episode, because as Pritchard-McLean puts it, “when you’re talking about (usually) women that have been murdered it’s just a sign of respect to get their name right.” They deal with each killer and their victims in a measured and sensitive fashion, with an easygoing conversational style that is very funny and makes you wish for more of the ‘filla’ and less of the ‘killa’. With more than 30 episodes under their belt and now a live tour in the offing, we asked them about some of their ‘favourite’ murderers they have discussed. Fred and Rose West Years active: 1967-1987 | Killings: 12-13+ (Kiri: “Oh there’s way more.”) Kiri and Rachel covered this husband and wife team of sadists, arguably Britain’s most notorious serial killers, over three gruelling hours for their ‘Christmas special’. Rachel admits she’s “had enough of them after the three-parter” even though she’s had a fascination with the Gloucester duo since the news reports emerged from the ‘house of horrors’ at Cromwell Street. “My teacher in top juniors made us write a diary of events from the weekend every Monday –” “While her Berocca kicked in?” asks Kiri. “—and it was all, ‘We went to Blackpool Pleasure Beach’ or ‘We went to my grandma’s for Sunday dinner,’ but this week she chose the Wests for us. The last sentence of my report was ‘they even found one in the chimney,’ and I’d drawn a picture. My mum’s still got the exercise book. And that sparked my interest in serial killers.” With an hour each dedicated to the young lives of Fred and Rose it’s hard not to develop some form of empathy; as Kiri notes, “Poor kids, low IQ, shitty background, not given any support, often abused sexually, mentally, physically. Lack of opportunities. You can throw loads of empathy at the path that’s brought them there, but when you lose empathy is when they make the decision. Loads of people have those shocking lives and don’t murder a bunch of people – and then blame it on women most of the time.”  Ivan Milat Years active: 1989-1993 | Killings: 7+ Anyone who’s seen the film Wolf Creek may be familiar with Ivan Milat, and they’ll certainly have been put off the idea of hitchhiking across the Australian outback. Though Kiri and Rachel have been through innumerable harrowing tales together for the podcast, there’s something about Milat and the ‘backpacker murders’ that really riles them. “The side of the moon is the same size as Australia. What the fuck?!” says Kiri in disbelief. “I find him fascinating because of the vastness of the outback,” says Rachel. “The thought of somebody being on their own and, out of all the people to pick you up hitchhiking, he turns up.



Interview: John Stansfield

at night,” says Kiri. “Years later, when it was being renovated, they pulled up the kitchen floorboards and there were more slaves under there who had been screaming ‘let us out’ and people were just like, ‘it’s ghosts.’ It’s all so sad. It sums up that period, the attitude towards slaves in that area.” Years later Nicolas Cage bought the house, because of course he did. H. H. Holmes Years active: 1888-1894 | Killings: 9-200 The story of American serial killer H. H. Holmes is so ridiculous that it’s a surprise it’s not the plot to some hacky horror film – although, as Kiri points out, “the rights have just been sold to Leonardo DiCaprio!” H. H. Holmes operated in Chicago when the World’s Fair came to town, building a hotel that became known as the ‘Murder Castle’ where, Kiri explains, he would be “constantly sacking builders so no one would know the layout. Dead ends, staircases that went nowhere, doors that opened onto brick walls, rooms with no windows, chutes going down to a furnace.” “It sounds like something Fred West would have built,” suggests Rachel. “It was all about money,’ says Kiri of this pioneering capitalist killer, “and he realised he could sell the organs, sell the skeletons, claim the life insurance. A really detached way of looking at people as just a sum of money. Which is terrifying but fascinating.” Rachel wonders what might have been “if he put his mind to something that wasn’t murderous. He could have done something fantastic because he had a good work ethic, and he was always thinking but he was just greedy and a bit of a bastard.” When it all came tumbling down around him, though, he simply shaved his distinctive moustache and jumped the state’s border before eventually being arrested for horse rustling, “something really twee,” as Rachel points out.

Some of the pictures of him are just ridiculously hilarious. He looks like he’s in a comedy sketch about a gay night club in the 80s.” “He looks like he should be washing cars,” Kiri puts in. “Lying on the bonnet getting all soapy.” It’s the juxtaposition of this bizarre-looking Aussie and the brutality of his crimes that sticks, says Kiri. “He took his time because he was in the middle of bumblefuck nowhere.” Rachel: “It knocks me sick.” Nothing more terrifying than a monster dressed as a clown. Delphine LaLaurie Years active: circa 1834 | Killings: 4+ This episode is a curio for collectors, in that there was a live show on the subject but there were some problems with the recording. Not technical problems, of course: “The live show in Manchester we did on her was so libellous, mainly against [comedian redacted] that we couldn’t put it out.

I just went off on one about super-injunctions,” explains Kiri with a hearty laugh, before asking us to edit the name out – a running joke on the podcast where they are constantly promising to edit out things they’ve said while never seeming to. Always keen to include a female serial killer to highlight the discrepancy between genders in murder, Kiri puts this New Orleans socialite in her top five. “Delphine LaLaurie is one of my absolute faves. Everyone goes on about how beautiful she was.” “Yeah, old-days beautiful. She looked like a spoon with a wig on,” Rachel interjects, eliciting another huge roar of laughter from Kiri. “Oh, them wigs! I can smell them just looking at the picture. They make me itch.” After being outed as a serial torturer and alleged murderer of her slaves, LaLaurie fled to Paris after being chased by an angry mob. “It’s all weird. The thing that really stuck is that everyone looted the house and it was boarded up and people said it was haunted and they could hear screams


Dennis Rader aka BTK Years active: 1974-1991 | Killings: 10 Dubbed ‘The Alan Partridge of Serial Killers’ by Kiri and Rachel for his cringe-inducing self-regard, Dennis Rader spitballed his own nicknames with local newspaper The Wichita Eagle, including ‘The Wichita Strangler’ (“no alliteration,” says Rachel, “he clearly doesn’t get it”), ‘The Asphyxiater’ and ‘The BTK Killer’ (‘bind, torture, kill,’ which the pair point out is a misnomer since he didn’t really ‘torture’ his victims, more “inconvenienced” them before their death). There’s also of course the redundancy of kill and killer in the same title. Ever so Partridge. “He hid in women’s houses, stalking people. Finding everything out about somebody. He’s the creepiest, scariest, and to me so dangerous because he led a normal life,” says Rachel. “He’s married, he’s got kids, he went to church. Which is always a warning sign for me.” In true Partridge style it was Rader’s hubris that was his undoing, when his beloved Eagle ran a story about the dreaded BTK some ten years after his killings had subsided and then posited that the reason he had stopped was because he was either dead or in prison. Rader couldn’t let it lie. He sent in a floppy disk with information on the killings, thinking it couldn’t be traced back to him: “The floppy disk was owned by the church that he was busying himself at. ‘Last updated by Dennis’,” explains Kiri. Oh Alan. All Killa No Filla live: Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 29 Mar; 81 Renshaw, Liverpool, 6 Apr


March/April 2017



The dance music festival to end all dance music festivals? Quite possibly. Once described as a ‘neo-rave utopia’, and now firmly settled at its current home in Southport, the Bangface Weekender has been knocking it out of the park since 2008, and with this year’s line-up starring Squarepusher’s live band Shobaleader One, baron of techno Dave Clarke and the mighty Atari Teenage Riot, it looks like their crown is safe for another year. (£175)

If the demise of ATP meant one of the most disappointing disappearances from your festival calendar, then look no further for your ideal replacement. The headline slots are firmly occupied by Butthole Surfers’ truly psychedelic sludge, folk legend Shirley Collins and the sheer what-thefuckery of The Residents, but a swift glance at the line-up tells you that there are treats a-plenty to be found, from the future-focused to the just-plain-batshit. (£199)

Pontins Holiday Park, Southport, 16-20 Mar

Various Venues, Leeds, 29 Apr

Buy a wristband. Wander round Leeds’ music venues. See a shedload of great shows. Pretty straightforward, no? Rag’n’Bone Man, Slaves and Wild Beasts are all sitting pretty among the bigger names on offer, but as ever with club festivals, Live at Leeds is also a great chance to catch your new favourite band in an intimate space, shortly before they go stratospheric: it’s the ‘ones to watch’ that are the ones to watch. (£32.50)

Will Fitzpatrick & Tallah Brash Bang Face


‘A global hoedown in the hills’ is how the good folks behind Knockengorroch World Ceilidh describe the event, and well they might: a gathering of folk musicians of all disciplines amid the beautiful surroundings of Scotland’s Carsphairn hills. ‘Gyp-step’ champions Molotov Jukebox Self and brass-fuelled hip-hoppers The Mouse Outfit star on this year’s line-up, with more to be announced… how can you possibly refuse? (from £90)



What could possibly beat a delightful summer’s afternoon in London’s Victoria Park? Well, how about if that afternoon also featured the company of techno maverick Aphex Twin, genre-defying turntablist extraordinaire Flying Lotus and gloopy avant-garage rockers Thee Oh Sees? Oh yeah, and then there’s the small matter of some little old rap duo who go by the name of Run The Jewels… yeah, we know. Not too shabby, is it? (£64.50)

Come one, come all to Anglesey, where we shall do naught but dance all night to some of the best sounds around. Not for nothing did we describe Gottwood as ‘the undisputed champ of the small festival circuit’ following last year’s five-star spectacular: this year alone sees them gather the likes of Perlon record label founder Zip, The Black Madonna – Mixmag’s 2016 DJ of the Year – and techno’s favourite rising star Helena Hauff. (£165)

Planning a trip to the Scottish Borders this year? A festival line-up topped by 2manyDJs, Cat Power and Gogol Bordello suggests you probably should – yes, Eden festival returns for another weekend of fun and frolics, with psychedelic tropical dance tents and Indian wedding marquees filled with hammocks among the many bonus attractions outside of the festivities on display. Adam and Eve surely couldn’t have foreseen this magnificent vision of Eden. (from £119)

Knockengorroch World Ceilidh

Anglesey, Wales, 8-11 Jun

Field Day


Eden Festival


Sefton Park, Liverpool, 17-18 Jun

The largest festival celebrating African music in the UK, famously – and all for the princely sum of… oh, that’s right, it’s all for free. This year’s bill has yet to be announced, but with previous years starring the likes of mind-spinners Mbongwana Star and the redoubtable Ibibio Sound Machine, you can bet any amount you like that it’ll be killer. Oh, and did we mention that it’s free? IT’S FREE. (Free)

Don’t worry, rapper, producer, director and visual artist M.I.A. isn’t having a meltdown, but she is curating the 24th edition of Meltdown festival this June in London’s Southbank Centre. With her influences ranging from nu rave and dancehall to electro and hip-hop from around the world, M.I.A. says of the festival, “I plan to bring together music’s best forward thinkers who have contributed to all our lives. When music acts as inspiration, it’s boundary-less.” Past curators include David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker, Patti Smith and Yoko Ono. (£TBC)




Africa Oyé



Scotland’s newest festival TRNSMT takes place across the same July weekend that T in the Park normally would, but instead of having to travel to a field in the middle of nowhere, TRNSMT is conveniently located in the heart of Glasgow, and with no camping you’ll likely have a much cleaner, happier time. The line-up includes Belle & Sebastian, London Grammar, Biffy Clyro and Radiohead, who play Scotland for the first time in nine years. (from £59.50)

...Or ‘World of Music, Arts and Dance’, to use its full name. The brainchild of prog survivor and ‘world music’ champion Peter Gabriel, it’s a multimedia celebration of the arts where genre and geographical origin form no barrier. This year’s line-up has yet to be announced at the time of writing, but with 2016’s edition having featured Akala, Immix Ensemble, George Clinton and Baaba Maal, you’ve probably got a good idea of what to expect. (from £175)

Glasgow Green, Glasgow, 7-9 Jul

Kelburn Castle, North Ayrshire, 30 Jun-3 Jul

Situated in the grounds of the 800 year old Kelburn Castle – home of the unique and internationally renowned Graffiti Project – Kelburn Garden Party is an audacious, thrilling, cultural safari consisting of art installations, carnival entertainment and a multigenre music programme including Mr. Scruff, The Hot 8 Brass Band, Prince Fatty, Flamingods and more making for an amazing three days and nights of music, art and adventure in a fairytale setting. (from £104)

Kelburn Garden Party



The summer festival season’s traditional curtain-closer for more than a decade, End of the Road’s bread and butter tend towards indie rockers of a folk or alt country disposition (albeit with more than a few surprises added into the mix). Father John Misty’s sole UK festival appearance in 2017 is this year’s coup, with Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Lucinda Williams and The Jesus and Mary Chain spicing up a sumptuous sonic banquet. (from £179)

Relocating this year to the much more easily accessible Lulworth Estate in Dorset, from Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight, husband and wife duo Rob and Josie da Bank’s Bestival aims to continue its award winning schtick in style, hoping to inspire peace, love and dancing along the way. The line-up consists of The xx, A Tribe Called Quest, Justice, Dizzee Rascal, Danny Brown, Nadia Rose and Skinny fave Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon. (from £160)

Biffy Clyro



Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, 22-23 Sep More mind-bending music, spell-binding visuals and general exploration of the consciousness from the ever-excellent Psychfest. Now in its sixth year, the festival line-up remains under wraps as we type. Still, bear in mind previous headliners like Clinic, Goat and Spiritualized, plus co-curators such as the Trouble In Mind and Sacred Bones record labels, and you should be up to speed: a unique and wonderful affair. (£TBC)

The xx


Photo: Robert Martin

Photo: Derek Key

Father John Misty's

Charlton Park, Wiltshire, 27-30 Jul

The Lulworth Estate, Dorset, 7-10 Sep

Larmer Tree Gardens, South Wiltshire, 31 Aug-3 Sep



Southbank Centre, London, 9-18 Jun

Look, there are ‘festival headliners’ and there are FESTIVAL HEADLINERS. We really shouldn’t have to go into too much detail to explain which camp the mighty Frank Ocean falls into. Manchester’s Parklife favours a more pop-centric flavour than your average summer festival, with The 1975, A Tribe Called Quest and Fatboy Slim getting the vibes aflowing this year. Still though: Frank Ocean. FRANK. OCEAN. See you down the front. (from £99.50)


Dumfries & Galloway, 8-11 Jun


Heaton Park, Manchester, 10-11 Jun

Wild Beasts


Victoria Park, London, 3 Jun

Dumfries & Galloway, 25-28 May

Anna Meredith



Photo: Stuart Moulding

Festival announcement season proving too much? Staring at your trusty tent with pangs of anticipation, yet feeling defeated by the sheer vastness of available options? Solution: check our guide to some of the best festivals around, both at home and abroad


Pontins Prestatyn Holiday Park, Wales, 21-23 Apr

Photo: Nicolas Joubard

Festivals Guide


Having first taken place in Barcelona back in 1994, Sónar festival has now set its sights further afield, with bonus editions taking place in Reykjavík and Turkey’s largest city. It’s an electronic music festival with a difference, where the focus is squarely on sounds and styles from forward-thinking artists from across the globe: Moderat, Floating Points, Róisín Murphy, Tim Hecker, Nina Kraviz… not shit, basically. Definitely not shit at all. (from £38)



When the line-up for Ceremonia came out we dropped everything and were pretty much already at the airport ready to go, then we realised it wasn’t until April… With artists like Björk, M.I.A., Underworld, Beach House, James Blake and The Black Madonna playing for not that much money, and the opportunity to catch some Mexican artists in the form of hip-hop act Simpson Ahuevo and rockers Rey Pila. Oh, and Mexican food, what’s not to love? (from £55)

Sorry, what were we saying about Sónar setting its sights further afield? Whatever you do, don’t overlook this mighty installment, taking place across six stages in Hong Kong Science Park. Sticking to their remit of mind-bending electronic sounds, an excellent line-up sees grime heroine Lady Leshurr spitting hot fire alongside established technohead Dave Clarke and trip-hop figurehead DJ Shadow. Think we also said something about ‘not shit’ too, didn’t we? (from £80)

Foro Pegaso, Mexico, 1 Apr

Hong Kong Science Park, China, 1 Apr

Sónar Istanbul




Mayrhofen, Austria, 3-8 Apr


Porto, Portugal, 8-10 Jun

The Portuguese offshoot of Barcelona’s Primavera Sound; Primavera NOS enters its sixth year of hosting their festival on the sublime grassy surroundings of the Parque da Cidade, translating quite literally as Porto City Park. When you’re not stuffing your face with piri-piri chicken or Portuguese egg custard tarts, you’ll be revelling to the sounds of Bon Iver, Justice, Aphex Twin, Teenage Fanclub, Run the Jewels or maybe even Michael Gira’s Swans. (from £93)

Snowbombing is unique as far as festivals go; for a start it’s set in the Mayrhofen Ski Resort, 8,497ft above sea level in the Austrian Alps, letting you combine a skiing holiday with a music festival. With live sets from Run the Jewels and De La Soul, plus a jam-packed DJ line-up including Groove Armada, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Koze, Mike Skinner and Roni Size, you can hit the slopes by day and party hard all night. (from £299)


Ballinlough Castle, nr. Dublin, 23-25 Jun

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 11-13 Aug

Every August since 2008 San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has transformed into an otherworldly celebration of music, food, wine, beer, art and comedy. They’re currently keeping their 10th anniversary line-up under wraps, but from looking at past line-ups we can tell it’s probably going to be pretty damn good, with previous performers including Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Nine Inch Nails, Elton John, LCD Soundsystem, Lionel Richie and Kanye West. (£TBC)


Award winning festival Open’er is based on the north coast of Poland in the city of Gdynia. 2016 saw them celebrate 15 years of parties with performances from Red Hot Chili Peppers and LCD Soundsystem – the 16th installment sees them welcome Radiohead, James Blake, Foo Fighters, Mac Miller, The Weeknd and The xx to the festival. With day, weekend and full festival tickets available, pick the days you like or go for the whole damn thing! (from £47)

Electric Castle is another festival in a unique setting, this time on the amazing site of Banffy Castle, near ClujNapoca in Transylvania. It shakes up the way people interact with a festival by combining an eclectic musical lineup with arts, technology and a visually innovative concept. Musical offerings this year include a strong cross-section of dance-heavy acts from deadmau5 to Moderat, Duke Dumont to Sohn and House of Pain to Soom T. (from £75)

Named due to its original location at the base of Mount Fuji, Fuji Rock relocated to the Naeba Ski Resort in 1999, but don’t expect to do any skiing at this festival as there won’t be any snow. The three-day event features over 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan. The line-up so far includes Björk, LCD Soundsystem, Aphex Twin, Bonobo and Father John Misty. If you’re not put off by the price, you should go! (from £120)

Reykjavík, Iceland, 1-5 Nov

We’ve already told you to go to Reykjavík, but winter and summer in Iceland are two very different things. Iceland Airwaves offers off-venue performances by day in bars, launderettes, hostels, cafes, record shops and cinemas while the evening opens up the city’s bigger venues like the Harpa Concert Hall for the official festival. Arab Strap and Be Charlotte are already announced for this year and we guarantee you’ll love the Icelandic music selection on offer. Oh, and it’ll be dark a lot of the time so you might see the Northern Lights too! (from £65)

Iceland Airwaves

Electric Castle



Scotland’s much loved Eden Festival, renowned for being one of the most colourful and laid-back festivals in the UK, is taking its most popular stage, The Lost Disco, to Croatia’s Garden Resort for a festival all of its own with boat parties and DJs aplenty. Enjoy the cooling waters of the Adriatic Sea by day and dance the night away to a packed programme of funk, soul, Balearic house, Italo disco and party beats. (from £99)

Festivals aren’t all about sunshine, which is where we turn to Pitchfork Paris. Usually taking place over the last weekend in October it’s set at the Grand Halle de la Villette in the science park in the north of the city. Two stages face each other and it’s back-to-back hand-picked Pitchfork (the online mag) artists for three days – past line-ups have included The Knife, M83, Animal Collective, Robyn, Grizzly Bear and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. (£TBC)

Garden Tisno, Croatia, 17-20 Aug

Naeba Ski Resort, Japan, 28-30 Jul

Banffy Castle, Cluj, Romania, 12-16 Jul


LCD Soundsystem

Paris, France, Oct TBC

The Lost Disco







Spend two days getting to grips with the latest in tech and media innovation, before Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue becomes a ‘creative oasis’ of art installations. Not enough? How about this: 9-11 June also features a stunning music programme across the streets and clubs of Billyburg, still one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods. No line-up details yet, but they’ve previously hosted Grandmaster Flash, Black Flag, Courtney Barnett and more: yep, it’s gonna be good. (from £60)


Gdynia, Poland, 28 Jun-1 Jul

Appealing to electronic music lovers and nature lovers alike, Body&Soul is an arts and music festival where like-minded people come together for three days to explore and discover new music, secret hideaways and glittering late night discos in the woodlands. Featuring art trails, spoken word, a masquerade ball and steaming hot tubs, Body&Soul celebrates life in all shapes and colours. Metronomy, Vitalic, Anna Meredith and Optimo are already confirmed. (from £140)

Brooklyn, New York City, NY, 7-11 Jun

Primavera NOS

Animal Collective



Utrecht, Netherlands, 9-12 Nov

Rennes, Brittany, France, 6-10 Dec

A club festival that takes place across one of the Netherlands’ prettiest cities, Le Guess Who? takes the multi-venue arts complex of TivoliVredenberg as its centre, providing a stage for indie rock heroes, experimental adventurers and obscure gems alike. It’s a music nerd’s paradise, in fact; not only are there chances to see your heroes up close and personal, but concurrent spinoff festival Le Mini Who places the spotlight on up-and-coming acts from Europe and beyond. A genuine must-attend. (from £78)


A lovely retreat just before Christmas will take you to the picturesque city of Rennes in the northwest of France. Not only are the old streets and architecture breathtaking, but Trans Musicales will blow you away. You may not have heard of anyone who’s playing, but the production and staging of the festival is such that you’ll leave confused as to why you didn’t. And who knows, you might discover the next Nirvana or Björk, because – you guessed it – they both played some of their earliest shows there, a fact the locals are very proud of. (£TBC)

Le Guess Who?

Photo: Jelmar De Hass


March/April 2017

DJ Shadow

Photo: Ryan Johnstone

Istanbul, Turkey, 24-25 Mar

Trans Musicales



Photo: Eric Pamies


Adults Only We speak to north London alt-goth-rockers Desperate Journalist about growing up and their sophomore album, aptly named... Grow Up


an I ask you a question?” Absolutely, we reply. “What music are you into – you know, apart from us?” A pause. Just long enough for Simon Drowner’s bandmates to check that he’s serious before they collapse into incredulous laughter. “You know, apart from us?” mimics singer Jo Bevan, but Drowner is unruffled: “I didn’t mean it like that.” They leave him on the hook for a little longer but he’s in the clear. It’s only fair, after all, to assume that interviewing a band for the third time is indicator enough of something other than duty. Warm, conversational and able to smartly critique their own work, Desperate Journalist are an interviewer’s dream. This time around, it’s the imminent release of second album, the excellent Grow Up, that sees us decamp to the back room of a Derby club – where, later that evening, the band will blitz a sold-out and receptive room – to explore the creative process behind the record. “The first album was really not so considered at all,” begins guitarist Rob Hardy. “We really didn’t know we were making an album until about half way through. It was only as we got to the end of five days of studio time that we realised that it was definitely an album we were recording. We were like: ‘Shit! Better get some more songs!’ Whereas this one was entirely written, conceived and recorded as an album.” And you can tell. That eponymous 2015 debut was an invigorating re-write of classic Brit indie guitar pop; Desperate Journalist’s post-punk spirit and Bevan’s lyrical acuity made for an immersive and powerful experience. But Grow Up is fuller, richer by some distance: more complex arrangements; bigger, brighter hooks; a lyrical endeavour that deftly shifts viewpoint and tone throughout. “I think that came naturally,” says Bevan. “We’ve played together for a while now and so we know what we can do. Like, you come to know what Caz (Helbert, drummer) might come up with on drums and what Simon might come up with on bass.” Hardy agrees: “It’s the natural outcome of having spent more time together and so you do become better musicians, of course. Caz’s drumming is a big thing. She had never really played before we started and so we almost had some limitations with the first album – in a nice way.



Everything had to be simple and straightforward. You couldn’t go, ‘Oh Caz, do this really complex, syncopated thing.’” Which wouldn’t have fitted anyway, perhaps? “No, absolutely. It wouldn’t. But as we started to write for this album, and you know your drummer really can do this stuff now, well that becomes very freeing as a writer. It allows you to push yourself,” concludes Hardy. “Also, in the studio,” adds Drowner, “we don’t get someone in to record us. We make all the decisions ourselves. So this time around, we’d learned how to make it sound better. We listen to the first one and we can tell you what we don’t like about it. The new one was done to a click track so it’s actually broadly in time.” Helbert knots her brow: “Broadly? Perfectly in time, Simon. Perfectly.”

“This was never about being a vehicle for showing off how good any of us are as individuals” Rob Hardy

Two albums in, Desperate Journalist are a deeply connected unit. Not just as a live act, where they perform with a violent energy and an unerring precison, but as a group of individuals, too. As we hunch over afternoon pints, they commit to discussing their music with passion and with great care. As one speaks, the others pause and listen. “We knew we had a deep bond when we first got together,” says Hardy. “In terms of me and Jo, certainly, I can’t now imagine writing with another singer. I can’t imagine someone else singing my songs or someone playing bass on them in such a distinct, aggressive manner, or anyone but Caz playing drums on them.

“When we did the first one, I was obsessed with making it really coherent,” explains Hardy. “So with this one, there was a real intent to recognise bits that we had only touched on and to push them that little bit further. There are more distinct changes in speed and feel, and I was quite keen to do some slower songs. I thought we had the potential to be really good at that but we hadn’t really done it before.” Bevan agrees: “There’s a depth that there perhaps wasn’t on the first. I still really like the first album and I think there’s a charm in how we throw everything screaming at the wall, in a way. But it’s cool to now know that we can do things that have more space, more atmosphere.” Helbert sums up the band’s collective intent when she says: “It’s all about the song. My favourite drummers are all just very, very tight. Take Sean from the Manics. What he does doesn’t sound at all overly complicated but it is very musical and, ultimately, it serves the song.” Bevan adds: “I think that’s the thing for all of us. We all sing or play in a way that brings the best from the song. It’s not the ‘me’ show and when that starts to happen, it all becomes less connected to the message and the intent of the music.” Hardy chimes in: “Yes, that’s true, this was never about being a vehicle for showing off how good any of us are as individuals.” Pause. Everyone’s thinking it. “Apart from me, occasionally...” This time the laughter goes on for perhaps a little too long. “But, seriously, there’s not a guitar solo there because I fancy it but because there should actually be one,” continues Hardy. “Similarly, I imagine Jo doesn’t just go nuts at one bit because she wants to show off the range of her voice.” Aside from its expansive musicality, Grow Up is a showcase once again for Bevan’s lyrics. Her dense narratives and heightened language fashion drama and poetry, and feed much of the album’s connective tissue. There are pointed dialogues, dark reflection and she prods fearlessly at the gauze of memory. When she sings, ‘Oh like a freight train I’m coming for your head / I am the chest pain that pins you to your bed’ (All Over), that’s Grow Up’s untrammelled fury in a nutshell but there are moments of fragility and often harsh self-assessment that are as relatable as they are startling.


Interview: Gary Kaill

“Well I think that is a fair assessment and, obviously, very complimentary, so thank you. I think, on the first album, I was just randomly picking from bits and pieces of things that just occurred to me,” explains Bevan. “With this one, I started writing a few things and realised it was going along a sort of theme of...” She stops for a moment. “It was kind of organic in that I’m at the stage in my life where I’m considering what it is to be, like, a proper person. So that naturally came out in all the stuff I was writing about anyway. So, yeah, it is more consistent, more thematically cohesive, and the general emotions I have around that situation are fury and self-doubt. I think it’s a bit more reflective, this record, lyrically, than the first one, which was a bit more outwardly aggressive. This one is a bit more introspective, which is a bit of a cliché but... I can’t not just write about how I feel about things. I’m not going to make anything up.” The great myth of the shared musical/lyrical experience is that the trade-off always works in both the artist’s and the listener’s favour: a problem shared is a problem halved. And while Bevan confirms that the process is cathartic and unstoppable, it is entirely possible, as a listener, to come away from Grow Up feeling great empathy and very connected while not necessarily feeling any better. Bevan laughs. “Can we have that for the press release?” deadpans Drowner. “Look,” says Bevan, “all of the bands I’ve cared about and connected with, I’ve had the reaction you’ve just described – where it’s felt incredibly personal and that the emotion was real, and also expressed in either such a poetic or identifiable way that it becomes a universal thing and beyond just ‘oh this particular person just did this to me or whatever.’ That’s just very specific and so it doesn’t transfer. You have to broaden. So, that’s a really, really good thing to hear. That’s what I want people to take from it. I want people to have that sort of reaction to it and connection with it, and I want people to find it useful and important.” A final pause. “And enjoyable... hopefully!” Grow Up is released on 24 Mar via Fierce Panda Desperate Journalist play The Leadmill, Sheffield, 30 Mar


March/April 2017





Welcome Back, 2000 Man Eleven years since their last album, The Skinny catch up with Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle to discuss the band’s collapse and resurrection Interview: Finbarr Bermingham


t’s a strange thing, speaking to Jason Lytle via Skype. This was the man who, at the turn of the century, foresaw a digital society that was riddled with anxiety. He wrote songs about building alcoholic robots in his kitchen, about table top devices through which you could dial-up live video streams of any place on earth or the colonised planets beyond, and about time-travelling pilots – all of this, at a time when something like Skype was barely conceivable. Yet, here he is: coming through the laptop speakers, loud and clear, beamed digitally from the other side of our planet. It’s all I can do to refrain from asking: “How’s it going, 2000 man?” The Sophtware Slump, released by Grandaddy in the year 2000, captured the mood of uncertainty felt about a swiftly modernising world as it moved into a new millennium. It was widely-cited alongside OK Computer as a work of prescience, one which explored the complex relationship between man and machine, and it was largely the handiwork of Lytle, who got the band together to play the songs he had written in a band in the middle of nowhere. Unlike Radiohead’s offering, it was playful, fun and served with a large dollop of irony. Lytle said at the time that he was sorry that the Y2K bug didn’t hit – perhaps dreaming wistfully of the material such an event would have yielded. But his album kind of inadvertently imagined what the world would have looked like if it had. The Sophtware Slump envisioned the blurring lines between the digital and analogue worlds, often with Orwellian outcomes. Speaking from his home in Modesto, California, he remembers it as a “weird little album,” but one of the most exciting times of his life. “I had stupid, messed up, backwards recording procedures,” he says. “Singing about anything, throwing whatever at the wall and I think that definitely influenced the songs that ended up on the album too. It was a really exciting time for all of us, because I saw a lot of potential for a lot of wild fun and weirdness.”  The band went on to record two further albums, the excellent Sumday and the underwhelming Just Like the Fambly Cat, before splitting up in 2006. Their collapse was largely the result of Lytle’s struggles with the demands of being head of a successful, touring rock band – which made the news of a comeback record and tour a little surprising.  “The travelling with Grandaddy was a big contributor to me having to shut all that down. I’m not good with too much noise, too much chaos. I can handle little stints, my preferred tactic is to get in and get out. I have learned even at this point that somewhere between two and three weeks I have to check the fuses, I have to be worried. I start wearing down, things start going awry somewhere between two and three weeks. I just don’t deal well with, like… mechanical sounds, bustle, stimulation, it’s too much. I have to have a quiet space, preferably something that has no evidence of humans. It’s the chaos, I mean chaos in a manmade way,” he says. Lytle was dealing with these stresses by “pouring booze” into his body, until that turned into a problem of its own. He was the first to arrive at the party, last to leave, drowning his sorrows, finally finding himself on the verge of a breakdown. “It was just the pressure, and the pace and all of it,

March/April 2017

it was on the verge of snuffing out my love for music too, which would have been the biggest crime in my mind.” He got out before a total collapse ensued, and moved to Bozeman, in the Montana mountains. Bozeman was the setting for part of the philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In the book, Phaedrus is a mysterious academic teaching at the local college, who becomes obsessed with his own efforts to define “quality”, escaping to the mountains and eventually, in Chicago, suffering a complete mental breakdown and receiving electroshock therapy. Thankfully, Lytle never reached such depths, but his relationship with “the back country” of Bozeman was a contributing factor to his recovery and plays as crucial a role in his story as it did in Phaedrus’.

“Obviously I need a break here because I’m going fucking nuts” Jason Lytle

“I do feel like I benefitted a lot from that, creatively,” he explains. “I had these incredibly intense work stints and then I was like: ‘Obviously I need a break here because I’m going fucking nuts.’ I would head up to the hills and next thing you know, all these blockages, all these things I am trying to figure out start revealing themselves. Plus I am thinking differently. I am completely out of that controlled electronic, overthinking scenario, into one where I could be all of a sudden very concerned about falling off a cliff, dying of hypothermia or getting eaten by a grizzly.” Having grown up skateboarding around the agricultural community of Modesto (to which he has recently returned), Lytle was made to feel claustrophobic by the harsh, urban schedule of touring. In Montana, he was able to rediscover part of his freedom. He says that the outdoors “wakes up a part of a lot of us that exists, that a lot of people might not be able to find as well.” In this, he echoes the thesis of another book, The Outrun by Amy Liptrot. In this memoir from 2016, the Scottish author returns to Orkney having sunken into alcoholism amid the pressures of city life in London. On the island, she discovers a passion for nature she previously supressed and this, in turn, feeds her creative side. Similarly, Lytle recorded two excellent solo albums in Montana and was, for the most part, happy walking in the hills, cross-country skiing, “just chipping away at music, getting the occasional project, staying afloat.” After producing a record for Band of Horses (Why Are You OK?, 2016), he realised that he needed something to call his own. It was around this time, too, that his marriage collapsed. Having previously resurrected Grandaddy for some Sophtware Slump anniversary gigs in 2012, he had been approached by band members and management to reform and record, advances

he had previously resisted. Now, however, the timing was right. The new album, Last Place, became “a matter of survival”. The first thing to say about the record is that it is seamless: it contains some of the best Grandaddy tracks to date and stylistically, is inseparable from their earlier work (Lytle’s solo albums, too, are sonically consistent). He explains that when he was wondering what direction to take things, he looked to the past for guidance. “I was continually referring back to Grandaddy,” Lytle says. “It was kind of cool, I went back to ‘Grandaddy school’ to make another Grandaddy record. In my mind, it’s a pure place. It’s not much of a stretch, it’s kind of what I have been doing for a while and a lot of it draws of influences that I was growing up with, it’s kind of a natural process to me.” For those unfamiliar with the band, Grandaddy’s sound is somewhere between ELO and Mercury Rev. It’s space-rock, delivered in a trucker cap and a beard. Last Place explores some of the themes that fascinated Lytle back in the day, technology, existentialism, sci-fi, and the human condition. Like previous works, it is emotional, it is funny, it is weird and it is, occasionally, very sad. Despite his qualms about digitalism and society, in music Lytle views technology as “another tool in the toolbox”, he says, “to get the thoughts out of my head in the best sounding and most expeditious way as possible”.  He talks of the turn of the century being a time when he was inspired as much by the latest


recording gear as he was by the world around him. Nowadays, he needs to switch off and unplug regularly, but his obsessive nature means that he comes back and immediately has to clear his inbox. “I feel like continually, the wind is blowing, the leaves are falling and rather than letting it all pile up and dealing with it later, I am out there with my rake, just raking. The wind keeps blowing, the leaves keep falling, I keep raking,” he says, laughing. In his late-40s, his anxieties are not getting any better. He doesn’t have kids, he says, and so ploughs his obsessions into other areas: “I end up obsessing over some pretty weird stuff,” Lytle explains. “I have this one thing right now where if I open the door and the handle isn’t facing towards me… well, I have to figure out the perfect number so that when I open the door the handle is facing me. I have all these strange little OCD things that have always been there and they’re getting worse and worse and worse. It’s like this fussy old man kind of thing that’s partly funny, but is very concerning.” For now, he seems content enough. Grandaddy has a two-record deal with 30th Century Records, Danger Mouse’s label, and he’s about to take the band on the road. Jason Lytle is excited, and rightly so. It’s good to have him back. Last Place is released on 3 Mar via 30th Century Records Grandaddy play Leeds Irish Centre 27 Mar and Albert Hall 28 Mar



Time out of Joint


castle floats, suspended in space, the sky afire with stars. Wolves pursue deer through a lattice of trees, then soar in a storm of white light. If these sound like scenes from your dreams, it’s because their creators traffic in magic. One of the world’s leading companies specialising in video and projection design for live events, 59 Productions have spent the last decade creating immersive, bewitching environments – all the way from the intimate spaces of theatres and opera houses to the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. (It was their work that illuminated Danny Boyle’s ‘largest show on earth’.) This spring sees their wizarding team of artists and technicians bring nearly 15 years of innovation to the world premiere of Paul Auster’s City of Glass – an adaptation for the stage of a novel long thought unadaptable. “The feeling of it has never left me,” says 59’s creative director Leo Warner of Auster’s story, recalling reading it for the first time as a teenager. Considered a landmark work of metafiction on its publication in 1985, City of Glass is a multi-layered mystery in which crime writer Daniel Quinn becomes embroiled in a thriller of his own. After an anonymous phonecall requires him to turn detective in a case of shifting identities, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern who is who, what is real and what is imagined – and Auster himself even enters the text in ineffable forms. As Warner explains, while the novel exhibits some characteristics of genre fiction at first – “you think you’re in a world of hard-bitten detective fiction, of noir thriller” – it has at its core a deep well of emotion. “The main character, whose family have died recently, is looking for some sort of purpose and is given this opportunity; and he gets drawn into this thing that he thinks he understands, but it becomes increasingly apparent that it’s going to turn him inside out.” It’s this richness that appealed to Warner and his team, who were attracted to the idea of a character “switching between different levels of reality.” Their approach has been to create a design that is as convincing yet chameleonic as the dimension Quinn finds himself in, able to shatter and rearrange itself in a split-second.



“One of the technical challenges is using our projectors to incredibly accurately transform what feels like a very solid space,” Warner explains. “We do a lot of transformative work on the outside of buildings – in the case of Edinburgh [International Festival, where 59 Productions are artistic associates] last year we projected on to the castle and the rock, and made that appear to transform and travel through time. It’s doing that degree of transformation but on a very small scale; transforming the inside of a world rather than the outside of an object completely.”

“I’m attracted to mystery, things where everything is not all it seems” Leo Warner

This is a huge technical challenge within the confines of a theatre, and is one of the company’s responses to scriptwriter Duncan Macmillan’s stage directions which often begin with the exclamation: “Impossibly!” (“We’ve kind of encouraged that, really,” Warner laughs.) And it’s not just the built environment that will appear to morph, either. Without giving too much of the magic away, let’s just say you’ll want to keep a close eye on the actors. The ‘impossibility’ of City of Glass has been contested once before, with a graphic novel by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli first published in 1994 – and while the new production does not strongly reference that book, Warner credits it with giving him confidence to tackle the story. “That was when I first decided it was possible,” he says, “because it’s largely seen as being too complex and too literary to ever be rendered into any other form. And the graphic novel actually did an extraordinary job. It’s a really beautiful bit of dramaturgy and an amazing storyboard.” Perhaps the real alchemy, however, lies in

none of this difficulty becoming apparent. “It’s about the technology serving the drama,” Warner emphasises, “and therefore we’re going to great lengths to hide that technology. It’s about this character, it’s about what’s happening live on stage – and the world that we’re conceiving, constructing and transforming around him is part of that living world, really. We’re trying to make the stage a performer in the piece as much as the actors are.” For the man who first got inside Daniel Quinn’s head more than three decades ago, this must all be a bit of a trip. “He’s been absolutely fantastic,” Warner says of Paul Auster, with whom he has worked closely on several visits to New York. “I had to go and meet him in person to persuade him to even give us the option; he was sort of pleasingly incredulous that we wanted to attempt to do this at all, like, ‘Are you sure you don’t just want to make a film, an animated film or something?!’ “He’s been involved in the script process, he’s seen and been very excited by the latest draft. That’s been a real vote of confidence, it’s given us confidence to be bold. “It’s his first ever work of fiction,” Warner reflects on what would become the first instalment in The New York Trilogy, “and you can see how it sets the agenda for 30 years of writing – there are so many themes he establishes in City of Glass which he then explores further in his later writing. It feels like everything’s in there, and that’s one of the other things that drew us to it – it’s such an extraordinary, extraordinarily detailed and exciting piece of writing because you scratch away at the surface and suddenly all of this other stuff bursts out of it.” The distinct urban eeriness of Auster’s tone seems well-suited to the work of 59 Productions, whose portfolio – bar those mass celebratory spectacles like the Olympic ceremony – has often tended towards the dark and complex. For American composer Nico Muhly’s debut opera Two Boys, which was based on a true story of online grooming that led to murder, Warner’s team envisioned a slinking, slithering darkweb that unspooled across the stage. They’re responsible for bringing Susan Hill’s chilling ghost story The Haunting of Hill House to


life at Liverpool Everyman in 2015, using discreet projections to make the wallpapers reveal faces and shadows move through the rooms. And even the eye-popping, candy-coloured – Rufus Norris and Moira Buffini’s take on Alice in Wonderland, commissioned for Manchester International Festival 2015 – had a sinister brightness to it, from the Cheshire Cat’s thousand-yard stare to its always-on platform-game aesthetics. “I’m personally attracted to mystery, things where everything is not all it seems,” Warner says. “That’s partly personal taste and it’s partly about what we’re able to bring to productions, which is often a layer, an augmentation of what appears to be real or solid. Establishing a world which then shifts uncomfortably and imperceptibly is, I suppose, one of our specialities. “That isn’t necessarily true of some of the work that we’ve done for ceremonies or the opening events for Edinburgh, where that is much more a sort of celebration of energy and light. But they’re always narratively driven,” he considers, “and there are very few, very strong narratives that don’t have an element of tragedy, or at least don’t provide emotion through contrast. “Even things like War Horse [for which 59 developed the famous ‘paper strip’ screen], which are ultimately very euphoric, it’s really only in the final closing minutes because the horror that you go through in order to come out the other side has to be so intense and profound.” Bringing together all elements of the studio, from architecture to lighting to sound design and even a specially devised virtual reality experience that runs alongside the play, Warner sees City of Glass as a culmination of everything 59 Productions have learned so far – and the first chapter in a new era of originating their own projects. “It’s all the skills and creative thinking that we’ve been developing for over a decade, focusing in on this one story,” he says. “It’s very exciting for us to both be the originators and the driving force behind this whole thing, but then also work with this amazing network of collaborators.” Naturally enough for them – the future is bright. Paul Auster’s City of Glass, HOME, Manchester, 4-18 Mar |


Photo: Clive Barda

Rehearsals for City of Glass

Interview: Lauren Strain

Photo: Johan Persson

They’ve turned water into stone and 70,000 people into pixels: now, groundbreaking visual design company 59 Productions are bringing Paul Auster’s debut novel to the stage. Master of illusions Leo Warner tells us about working on City of Glass

March/April 2017


Sugar & Spice be Damned Publishing on International Women’s Day, fresh and fierce new publishers 404 Ink’s Nasty Women is an anthology Margaret Atwood describes as ‘an essential window into many of the hazard-strewn worlds younger women are living in right now.’


9 October 2016 in Las Vegas. During the third USA Presidential Debate, Hillary Clinton, answering a question on social security, was interrupted by a finger-pointing Donald Trump: “Such a nasty woman.” Within moments #NastyWoman began trending on Twitter, as women around the world co-opted the term, embracing and celebrating that which made them ‘nasty’ and standing against the misogynistic presidential candidate.Thousands shared their stories, wearing Nasty Woman t-shirts with pride. Sugar and spice be damned – nastiness united a community of women in defiance, solidarity and subversion. And, when the election results became clear, in shared sorrow. In Scotland, freelancers – and co-founders of new publishing house 404 Ink – Laura Jones and Heather McDaid were reeling in the aftershock of the election. “I was on my way home from a show and everyone was so sad,” recalls McDaid. Reflecting on the new president-elect and his remarks, the idea for a Nasty Woman book struck her. An anthology, a space for women to share their stories. She called Laura – at the time enjoying a welldeserved holiday after the duo’s first magazine was published last November – and within days the two had set to work. “The name was the beginning, I could just visualise it,” remembers McDaid. “And in a way it sells itself. The key was in being the first to do it.” Two weeks later the anthology was announced, its tagline ‘keep telling your stories and tell them loudly’. They began by approaching friends in the UK and the USA, then put a call out on social media for submissions. “All of our briefs have been phenomenally brief,” reflects Jones. “But then we’ve

been surprised,” McDaid adds. The two have lost count of how many submissions they received, and the unexpected breadth and diversity of topics covered (Jones notes Alice Tarbuck’s composition on witchcraft and foraging; McDaid the insightful piece on contraception by Jen McGregor). While some contributors are professional writers, others are students, musicians, or come from the fields of teaching or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). “We could have had lots of people writing the same thing but it would have been an echo chamber,” McDaid reflects. Instead, 404 Ink actively sought to engage writers with different backgrounds and perspectives and, keenly aware of their own privilege, neither editor wrote pieces themselves for inclusion in their anthology. “We’d both heard our stories,” says Jones, explaining their mutual desire to give a platform to people whose stories are not so often heard. The result is a beautifully tailored collection of essays and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century – what it is to be a working class woman, to be a queer woman, to be a Latin woman, to be a black woman. What it is to be a woman who has survived sexual assault, what it is to be a woman who doesn’t want children, what it is to be a woman who is mentally ill. “We are imperfect selves with messy lives,” reads Becca Inglis’s Love in a Time of Melancholia. In Go Home, Sim Bajwa writes, ‘Sometimes, it feels like rebellion to claim our place without apology.’ It is a book of our times, forged in the shadow of a Trump presidency and looming Brexit; a book that marks this moment between what has been and what is yet to come. Nasty Women begins:

‘They are calling him my president and I am scared out of my mind. They are calling him my president and there is bile in my throat as they ask me to respect him... They are calling him my president and my future has never seemed so bleak.’ Rallying, powerful and personal, Katie Muriel’s Independence Day might be read aloud in the biting cold to lend resolve to mittened protesters: “I try my best to keep the peace. Sometimes, however, peace has to take a holiday. Sometimes there are battles to be fought.” Jones reflects upon the collection, “You need the anger, you need the backlash – that’s the point of art.”

“We can’t be on the wrong side of history... if you sit on the fence, you’re sitting on the wrong side” Heather McDaid

Angry, reflective, sober and hopeful in turns, Nasty Women is not always comfortable reading. Why should it be? In The Nastiness of Survival Mel Reeve confronts society’s destructive narratives around the ‘perfect’ and the ‘bad’ survivor of rape in a painful yet affirming essay that connects

Interview: Ceris Aston

them with all of the roles which women are expected to fit neatly, nicely and uncomplainingly into. “I know it is impolite,” she writes, “to talk about the time my humanity was stripped from me and I was treated like an object to be used.” She ends on the nastiness of being a survivor: “ceasing to be nice and choosing to be a little nasty instead, does not mean I cease to exist and I think that is a victory of some kind.” “Nobody is perfect,” writes Becca Inglis, a borrowed line lends added poignancy her aforementioned Love in a Time of Melancholia, an essay on heroes and mental health, on Courtney Love and being given permission to get things wrong sometimes. Inglis – “Starved of female icons” – felt a flash of recognition when she first saw Love: “There was a woman I could follow. That was who I could be.” And despite Love’s “relentless appetite for self-destruction”, Inglis pays homage to “her resolve to keep living, even when she is walking through hell.” Leave the YouTube comment threads behind – this loving, nuanced reflection on celebrity is all you need. “I have looked to a woman with flaws and many enemies.” It’s hard to single out pieces for praise in a collection where each essay is stellar. We read Claire L. Heuchan’s reflections on race and the digital revolution: “Writing online built a path I wasn’t sure existed.” Laura Waddell’s vivid evocation of teenage years and the absence of working class stories ‘as though art and education is for one class, and gravy and labour the other’. Sim Bajwa’s tribute to immigrants and especially her parents: ‘It’s beautiful. It’s a triumph’. Rowan C. Clarke facing her mother’s homophobia: “How dare I be abnormal and happy at the same time?” Even before its publication, the book is making waves on social media. A Kickstarter campaign, expected to cover the costs of publication and the payment of writers, reached over three times its original target, with a total of £22,156 pledged by 1,336 people. Having grown up backing things on Patreon, it seemed a natural step for 404 Ink to crowdfund the anthology. Pledges for Nasty Women rocketed when Margaret Atwood, author of the alarmingly prescient The Handmaid’s Tale, tweeted her support, introducing the book to her many fans. She’s since described the essay collection as “an essential window into many of the hazard-strewn worlds younger women are living in right now.” Many are keenly anticipating the arrival of the book their pledges helped make a reality, and it's unlikely they’ll be disappointed. In Nasty Women, 404 Ink have created something special – øa book that will continue to resonate long after the first aftershocks of the new presidency have subsided, and a valuable guide to empathy and resistance in troubled times. “The next few years are going to be atrocious – we can’t be on the wrong side of history,” McDaid asserts. “Someone once said that if you sit on the fence, you’re sitting on the wrong side.” The women at 404 Ink are Nasty Women with integrity. They also have ideas, drive and organisational finesse that would put many a more established publishing company to shame. It’s easy to forget that this is their first book – but how are they feeling? Laura Jones: “This is our first book. Total legitimate fear.” Heather McDaid: “I hope they like the book.” Laura: “They better fucking like the book.” We laugh. But I suspect they will. Nasty Women is out on International Women’s Day (8 Mar), published by 404 Ink, RRP £8.99 404 Ink literary magazine publishes bi-annually, RRP £7.99





Sex, Art & Urban Planning As her hypnotic debut novel Everyone is Watching publishes in paperback, Megan Bradbury discusses telling the story of New York. A city whose narrative arc she imagines as a gallery of moments; stills taken from the lives of four famous men


uckfest’ is written on the notepad. The word ‘fuckfest’. Then, the recollection. This, unfortunately, is not weekend plans, but a reminder of the term coined by The Guardian to celebrate Megan Bradbury’s haunting debut novel, Everyone is Watching. So, a line of questioning for the conversation between The Skinny and Bradbury currently underway in an Edinburgh hotel lounge. The author had earlier tweeted the corresponding Guardian review in delight, highlighting this adjective. She obviously liked it. And this lack of pretentiousness around what is essentially a very serious novel makes it easy to like her. While the description is certainly apt – parts of the novel are saturated in sex of all types and flavours – this theme is balanced against an overarching strand on urban planning. Everyone is Watching is a story of New York, told through the lives of four famous historical figures. “It just came down to art, sex and urban planning,” laughs Bradbury, “which is a very bizarre collection of interests!” Somehow they connect to form a narrative of the great city. Its most infamous planner has snapshots of his life shuffled among those of an artist infamous for images of self-gratification. Master-builder meets masturbator. The artist is Robert Mapplethorpe: Robert meets Patti Smith, he creates art. Robert leaves his suburban home but never the edge. His photographs capture guns and dicks and snakes and leather. His father’s friend visits his exhibition: “Harry, I’m no expert, but there’s something seriously wrong with that kid.” Robert lives, he loves, he becomes ill, he dies. The planner is Robert Moses: Moses constructs the world others inhabit. He forms the city’s mould and the people fill it like jelly. He connects them with bridges and divides them with roads. Moses exerts power like a modern-day god. He ignores the red tape that entangles lesser lives. He says “Once you sink that first stake they’ll never make you pull it up.” The quartet are made up by the legendary American writer, Walt Whitman. Walt remembers a younger melting-pot city growing around him. Then Edmund White, author of The Joy of Gay Sex. Back in the city of his awakening, Edmund reminisces over youthful love; memories stained sepia over time. But how to choose just four lives out of New York’s multitude? Why these individual men? Why exclusively men, and predominantly men who loved men? “There’s a lot of men, yeah,” Bradbury agrees [although Patti Smith naturally features next to Mapplethorpe, and the urban activist Jane Jacobs locks horns with Moses]. “I think I’m more interested in men generally. I’ve been writing other things since then and it just seems to be my natural way, to go to the male characters.” The author pauses and ponders. “I don’t know if it’s more of a curiosity... I like writing things I don’t know too much about initially, because I find the kind of language that comes up when you’re stretching to reach this thing is more interesting... I read a lot about Diane Arbus [traveller of an equally creative, radical and ultimately tragic arc to Mapplethorpe]. For a while I was thinking of writing about her but it just didn’t click and the types of themes, to do with the body and sexuality and very specific viewpoints; Mapplethorpe entirely captures that for me.” The book begins: ‘Robert Mapplethorpe rips out a page from the magazine and cuts around the guy’s torso, leg and dick.’ Its author laughs once more. “Yeah! I thought I’d lay it out straight away. What people are in for.” What they are in for is one of the most arresting and inventive debut novels of the past year. You might also describe it as reck-

March/April 2017

Interview: Alan Bett Illustration: Louise French

lessly brave. Bradbury attempts to reflect a city already saturated across art forms. It is, of course, the literary stomping ground of DeLillo and Wolfe, the cinematic canvas of Woody Allen, Scorsese and Spike Lee. But Bradbury has – in the way that New York’s musical offspring, hip-hop, makes new by sampling the work of others – made something very much her own by channelling the lives of others. She has chipped away at this monolith of a city and found the sculpture within the stone. Revealed it through a collage of past moments, drawn from the ether and projected onto the walls of the reader’s mind. Bradbury admits that the theme of photography made her think about writing fiction in a completely different way. “I wanted it to be like walking through an exhibition and looking at individual stills,” she says, “because photography is so tied up with New York history. I just thought that the book, if it was going to work at all, had to reflect the city, and had to reflect photography somehow as well. It just made sense to me.” These moments are presented through fragments of glacial third person, present tense descriptions. It’s a voice which can, with equal validity, be described as lifeless monotone or gloriously effective stylisation. “It’s quite a deliberate thing,” Bradbury argues the positive take. “I wanted the effect to be this, this, this, this,” she chops her hand down onto the table, “… end. There had to be rhythm, because that’s kind of what the city’s like in a way, that’s the experience of it.” And how memory works? “That’s exactly right. I wanted it to be without judgement, without commentary.”

“Themes, to do with the body and sexuality; Mapplethorpe entirely captures that for me” Megan Bradbury

And thematically? Well the book is preceded by a quote from DeLillo’s Underworld: ‘Longing on a large scale is what makes history.’ Bradbury lists the author among her key New York influences, but its inclusion is more than a simple bow to an idol. “I certainly wanted to use something from Underworld,” Bradbury says, “because it had been this symbol for me. It’s all about New York… it’s about longing and desire, however you want to interpret that, whether its Moses’ vision and ambition for the city, the longing to put this city into practice and to get it working… Longing, it’s a wonderful word, slightly more muted than desire and it has more than a shade of what that means.” The novel reflects this, lamenting the unsanitised New York of the late 70s and early 80s. The city that offered the personal freedom for the suburbanite Mapplethorpe to create his uncompromising art. As Bradbury puts it: “this idea of a place allowing you to choose a life that you want to live.” But this city no longer accommodates these artists and outsiders so readily. While the South Bronx remains 80 blocks from Tiffany’s, the cultural gradient from cut diamond to urban wasteland is no longer so steep. We contrast the current day with 80s exploitation movies which reflected a city on the brink of moral and financial bankruptcy. Enzo Castellari unearthed readymade sets for his post-apocalyptic Bronx Warriors

films. “It’s horrific,” admits Bradbury, “… when you look at that and think, they haven’t built that for the film, this is exactly what it looks like.” Manhattan sharpened its own edge during this period. A borough now tamed through a gentrification process seeping out into Brooklyn and beyond. “Manhattan in that period, it’s such an interesting time.” Bradbury says. “I think one of the artists who really represents that is Nan Goldin [who also features in the book] in her photograph collection The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. At that time the city was attracting artists who didn’t have a lot of money, who could find these wonderfully supportive communities and could afford to live together and try things out together. It’s an incredible piece of history which I just don’t know exists in the same way there anymore.” Patti Smith, when questioned some years back on how artists were supposed to afford New York, stated simply; get out. “New York City has been taken away from you… So my advice is: Find a new city,” suggesting Detroit as a replacement. “In terms of art production, it changes the nature of how people can relate,” Bradbury suggests. “When people are living so far apart they’re


not sharing meals together, in the way of Soho in the 70s; everyone living in one big factory building together and squatting or paying very low rent. They came up with projects together… where you have lots of people living very far away where do you have that crossover? Maybe you have that through technology, maybe you get it in a different way.” Patti was sent a copy of the finished book, but has not yet offered an opinion. Edmund White did; his flattery on being included delights Bradbury. The other main players are of course all dead. ‘Entering the city is like getting into a stomach that has swallowed several million people and is grinding and digesting them’. So stated Gorky of New York in his purple prosed 1906 propaganda work, The City of the Yellow Devil. That city may have consumed many of Bradbury’s protagonists, but they leave behind memories in the form of photographs, books and constructs which stand to this day. And they exist still on the pages of Everyone is Watching. As Patti Smith muses on one of those: “We all want souvenirs, we want relics… objects take on the power of moments.” Everyone is Watching publishes in paperback on 9 Mar, from Pan Macmillan



Kelly Reichardt on Certain Women Certain Women, the latest film from American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, is a bittersweet triptych concerned with the lives of several women living in rural Montana. After a guarded start, the director opens up about her singular approach to filmmaking


elly Reichardt makes quiet, contemplative movies about the American West and the quiet, contemplative people who live there. Though she was born in Florida, and her first film, River of Grass (1994), was set in the Everglades, she then became fascinated by the landscapes of Oregon, setting her four subsequent features in its mountainous wilderness. Old Joy (2006) regarded the silences of two old buddies reuniting for a hiking trip; Wendy and Lucy (2008) followed Michelle Williams as a drifter heading up to Alaska, getting sidetracked by circumstances that led her to lose her dog; Meek’s Cutoff (2010) saw Williams return for a harsh 1840s Western of settlers struggling to survive; Night Moves (2013) featured Jesse Eisenberg as an environmental activist looking to blow up a hydroelectric dam. Reichardt is back on mountain time – in Montana, on this occasion – for Certain Women, her masterful new triptych about several women determinedly living their lives despite being faced with roadblocks from other people’s emotional baggage. That’s a simplistic, even slanted, description of the plot, because Certain Women is about so much more than one theme and so much less than dramatic incident – it’s a short story collection of rich, subtle characterisation, with evocative, incisive, complex spaces in between the stage directions, and loose, haunting conclusions to the chapters. These certain women represent one of the best casts Reichardt has yet assembled: Laura Dern plays a lawyer trying to get through daily business and even conduct a semblance of a personal life, while harangued by a former client (Jared Harris) who settled his case but can’t get over his medical problems or the fact he was screwed by

the system. Michelle Williams is a young matriarch, who is made to feel by her daughter and husband, and by a neighbour who’s donating some building materials, that she’s occupying the wrong place in the world. Kristen Stewart is a teacher moonlighting for a night school class, who is doted on by a local farmhand, devastatingly played by relative newcomer Lily Gladstone.

“I wouldn’t even go see a Wonder Woman movie, so I doubt I’d end up making one” Kelly Reichardt

Because Reichardt is a subtle, thoughtful filmmaker, the yammering carousel of the publicity junket might not be the best forum in which to converse with her at ease. The Skinny shouted down the speakerphone to her in a ten-minute segment as she was shunted around by PR handlers; the previous journalist had asked her if she’d consider doing a Wonder Woman movie, to which she replied, “I wouldn’t even go see a Wonder Woman movie, so I doubt I’d end up making one.” And then wryly added, “They’re all wonder women.” In this context, it took a while for Reichardt to open up to us. We asked her about the title of the film, which could mean women who are sure

of their position, or could mean examples of some women among many. “There are different ways to look at the title,” she said guardedly. “I would agree with that.” We asked her about why she was drawn to this material – Certain Women is based on stories by the PEN Award-winning writer Maile Meloy, one from her collection Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, two from her book Half in Love. We remind Reichardt that in a previous interview, she said she liked that these tales evoked the politics of everyday life. “I said that? Oh boy...” she wonders at first. And then adds: “All those women’s issues are relatable to me. The Lily Gladstone character was not a woman in Maile’s stories, so that changed the face of it a little bit. But all those women’s daily struggles – and all their faults – they’re all relatable. So that’s a good place to start, if you can have some empathy for the characters in their shortcomings and their bigger, more generous selves.” Meloy paints character portraits from scraps of personal history and furtive secrets; the stories throb with inner life even though not a lot of incident happens, just like Reichardt’s film. “I think Maile writes these really clear characters. You know, the stories get expanded upon as do added relationships. The middle story, [in the book] it’s a young couple, they’re not necessarily married, and they don’t have a kid or anything, but, you know, [it’s] the stepping off point. All of Maile’s stories are there, and they maybe get a couple of things put on top of it.” We mention the imbalance of happiness in the film – the fact that the main characters carry on through life, while those they encounter are deteriorating. Perhaps we hit a professorial nerve,

Lily Gladstone




Interview: Ian Mantgani

because Reichardt, who teaches film at New York’s Bard College, has a lot to say about the semantics of this: “[Jared Harris’s character] is falling apart, and Albert, age is bringing things to him, but... I don’t want to say anything too large, but, I don’t know. The whole idea that everyone’s supposed to be happy all the time... I mean, I think happiness and connection come in small moments. Happiness is such a strange word, because one can be satisfied in different ways; in large ways and in momentary ways. Completing a chore can be so satisfying. So – you know, I don’t... happiness is such a sort of blanket idea. “I think these women are like anybody, and they have moments in their day where they hit upon something, and there’s some kind of connection... or you have a nice moment alone... and your connection might be with a person, or an animal, or you have the joy of completing a task well done, or you have an exhaustion from that, from your task. Just eating a sandwich after a strenuous morning can bring a satisfaction, or just observing something.” We mention the bittersweetness running through the film, and how the landscape, even the temperature, seem to be characters, intermingled with the human characters’ loneliness. Again, Reichardt examines our choice of detail: “Some things that I see as aloneness, I see very much gets interpreted as loneliness. Even Laura Dern, being alone in her house with her dog, people say, ‘Oh my god, she’s so lonely.’ It’s like, she’s [just] alone! “The person that seems the most lonely to me – the Michelle Williams character – is in the trappings of a family. [Gladstone’s] rancher can go back to a job that can be accomplished at the end of the day, and to animals – and she has loneliness, for sure, but I don’t think that’s all she has. “I think there’s something about women being shown alone that always equals loneliness for people. If you have, like, a dude, living on his own on a ranch, with animals, it would be like, he’s alone, he’s with the land, he’s free! He’d be free! I’m not saying there’s not a bittersweetness to the film, but I also think... it’s not the loudest thing that occurs to me.” As we speak to Reichardt, Certain Women has just become the first of the director’s films to pass the million-dollar mark at the US box office. We congratulate her, and ask what the advantages are of working outside the Hollywood studio system. “I can only speak for myself,” she notes. “I would like to have more money, to have more time to shoot. I would like to not be always making films where there’s just no room to breathe. But on the other hand, I’m simultaneously amazed that these films even get made and get out. There are obviously people who want a quieter, more reflective kind of filmmaking, but you’re up against a big machine. People like loudness and things in big strokes. “I have budgetary constraints, which equals creative restraints, but I don’t have creative limitations in the sense that there’s no agenda handed to me. I have final cut. I go off and make these films, and no one even knows we’re making them. It’s very, sort of... private filmmaking.” Private and delicate, and personal and considered. Like the films themselves, Reichardt hasn’t made any sudden movements in our conversation, but she’s revealed a personality that’s meticulous and engrossing. Certain Women is released 3 Mar by Park Circus


SFTOC Top Trumps Sounds from the Other City festival is famed for its mind-bending atmosphere, and this year things get distinctly occult with its ‘Sound of the New Dawn’ theme. We got our ouija boards out to assess the supernatural superpowers of its line-up


ulti-venue arts and music festival Sounds from the Other City brings together some of the North’s most exciting local promoters to curate individual stages along Salford’s Chapel Street and beyond. Find your way around this year’s event with our guide to the various stages, and their peculiar unearthly qualities... NOW WAVE Habitat: Unit 5, Regent Trading Estate Strengths: Predicting the stars of the future. Promoters Now Wave have put on early gigs for the likes of The xx, Sleigh Bells and Wild Beasts, and in the past they’ve brought hot names including Pumarosa and PINS to Sounds from the Other City. Of this year’s line-up, then, you can fully expect Happy Meal LTD, Goat Girl, Shame and Plastic Mermaids to be tipped for greatness. Special powers: Time travel. Now Wave have been conjuring ‘the sounds of the near future’ for several years now, and we still don’t understand how they do it.

GREY LANTERN Habitat: Unit 2, Regent Trading Estate Strengths: Ferocity. Specialising in bracing, experimental rock and genre-bending but always melodic and accessible contemporary music, Grey Lantern present artists who feel urgent, exciting and determined. Flamingods and Vanishing Twin are their first acts announced for this year’s festival. Special powers: Freaky voodoo. More than one third eye has been known to open at a Grey Lantern gig. BAD UNCLE Habitat: The Egerton Arms Strengths: Volume. Whoever you see at a Bad Uncle show, expect them to be loud. One of our favourite local bands is on their stage this year – don’t miss high-energy, all-action indie rockers Patty Hearst, or Leeds’ spectrally minimal post-punkas Drahla for that matter. Special powers: Levitation. Which is to say, this line-up’ll have you walking on air. HEY! MANCHESTER Habitat: St Philip’s Church Strengths: Cockle-warming. Having led the way on Manchester’s folk scene for years, putting on spellbinding acoustic and Americana artists and encouraging audiences to snuggle up in some of the city’s most intimate venues, Hey! Manchester gigs are known for their inclusive atmosphere. Hannah Peel, The Lovely Eggs, Fazerdaze and The Proper Ornaments lead the line-up for 2017. Special powers: Hygge. Hey! Manchester mastered the art of creating warm, fuzzy feelings long before bloody hygge came along. GOOD AFTERNOON PRESENT THE LOVE CAVE Habitat: The New Oxford Strengths: Seduction. The Good Afternoon crew promise a love-in of gigantic proportions for this year’s SFTOC, with appropriately named guests Kiss Me Again and Slag Heap Disco. Special powers: Hypnosis. Last year’s pink balloon-festooned Good Afternoon party had its attendees under a spell, dressed head to toe in sequins and gyrating repetitively for hours. Nobody seemed to leave all day. Definitely something weird going on there. THE WONDERFUL SOUND OF AFICIONADO Habitat: Islington Mill Strengths: Bringing the vibes. Longtime party

March/April 2017

promoters in Manchester, Aficionado know how to work a room and join the SFTOC line-up for the first time this year. They’ve booked Horsebeach (Manchester’s answer to Wild Nothing), Coralguitarist-turned-solo-artist Lee Southall, ambient post-rock outfit July Skies and former Proud Mary man Nev Cottee for the Mill’s main room so far. Special powers: ‘Jazz-donk’. Listen to releases on Aficionado Recordings to experience it for yourself. HEAVENLY RECORDS Habitat: The Old Pint Pot (upstairs) Strengths: Topping the charts. Heavenly Records are responsible for key early releases from big-hitters like Manic Street Preachers and Doves, not to mention home to rising Wirralian wonders Hooton Tennis Club, and if the lush shoegaze-y sound of recent signings The Orielles isn’t made to fill rooms and hearts then we don’t know what is. Catch this young trio plus Utrecht’s equally fine Amber Arcades on Heavenly’s stage this year, with more yet to be announced. Special powers: Transcendence. The clue’s in the name. SHAM BODIE & PING PONG CLUB Habitat: The Salford Arms Strengths: Bringing the LOLs, obviously. Comedy club Sham Bodie are well-loved for their variety show-style line-ups, matching the best emerging comic talent with musicians and, of course, free hot dogs. They kick off their bill with the man, the legend, Birthday Bread Man, plus delightful duo Sam & Tom and the even more delightful Delightful Sausage. Special powers: The ability to bend logic into strange new forms – as Black Sabbath would have it, Sham Bodie are true masters of reality. FAMILY TREE Habitat: The Angel Centre Strengths: Friendliness. As you might have guessed from the name, it always feels like a family affair at a Family Tree gig. If you want to find some new chums as well as some new favourite artists, pop by their stage and get pally with the sounds of electro-kraut noisemaker Sammartino, and surfpop maestros Katie Pham & the Moonbathers.

Special powers: Preternatural levels of empathy. Family Tree know just what you need, even before you do.

compile the autobiography of Prestwich post-punk hero Mark E Smith. Given The Fall’s labyrinthine history, that’s a herculean undertaking in itself.

THE BEAUTY WITCH Habitat: The Crescent Strengths: Fury. Expect frantic fuzz, speeding psychedelia and excoriating walls of sound from these noiseniks, who’ve previously brought out-there explorers like The Cosmic Dead, MiSTOA POLTSA and Shit and Shine to Manchester. Bookings including Bruxa, Casual Nun and Stupid Cosmonaut set the pace for a visceral ride at this year’s festival. Special powers: Extraterrestrial intelligence. The Beauty Witch seek their sounds somewhere beyond this dimension.

SAMARBETA Habitat: Salford Cathedral Strengths: Wizardry. For the last few years at Sounds from the Other City, programmers Samarbeta have encouraged truly magical collaborations, bringing together members of the BBC Philharmonic Ensemble with mesmeric minimal Liverpool outfit Ex-Easter Island Head. Special powers: Persuasion. This year they’ve convinced wondrous dark folk musician Laura Cannell to join the Phil and Ex-Easter Island Head, for a special show in Salford’s beautiful cathedral.

TRU LUV Habitat: Bexley Square tent Strengths: Community. A still-growing collective of music lovers, Tru Luv’s activities are spread across their fine work as blog, digital label and gig promoters, dedicated in each instance to providing a platform for new music. Here they’ve gathered a high quality line-up including urban jazz artist IAMDDB and trap-centric rapper Sleazy F Baby; such philanthropic displays of public spirit surely cannot count for nothing. Special powers: Divine intervention. As the occupants of Sounds from the Other City’s only outdoor stage, Tru Luv will have the sole responsibility of making sure it doesn’t rain. But we reckon they can manage it. THE WHITE HOTEL PRESENTS: 2000AD Habitat: The King’s Arms Strengths: Secrecy. The White Hotel may sound fairly self-explanatory as a concept, but the nightclub’s usual base is tucked away on an industrial estate, 20 minutes’ walk away from SFTOC’s main hub, where they’ve previously hosted acts like Factory Floor and Demdike Stare. Their King’s Arms outpost, however, plays host to live performances from ambient pop types Jupiter-C, dubbed-out scientists Space Afrika and Argentinian partystarters The Rebel. Special powers: Meticulousness. A published author, White Hotel’s Austin Collings also helped


COMFORTABLE ON A TIGHTROPE Habitat: United Reformed Church Strengths: Balance. Comfortable on a Tightrope have managed to toe that line for many years now, bringing a pleasing mixture of local and international talent to enchanting spaces across Manchester, including two Omaha cult heroes: spine-tingling craftsman Simon Joyner (an inspiration to both Beck and Bright Eyes) and songwriting genius/lo-fi aesthete David Nance. Special powers: Mind-reading. How did these guys know how much we’d love to see Simon Joyner at Sounds from the Other City? Further stages and activities come from Night Fantasy, hosting the Old Pint Pot’s upstairs afterparty with a very special guest; spoken word collective Young Identity, who’ll be popping up around the festival site with impromptu performances, and NTS Radio, who’re manning the gallery space at Islington Mill with only the edgiest sounds. Hebden Bridge lot Ink Folk are holding the fort for the Islington Mill afterparty; Sacred Tapes are occupying the Mill’s Engine House and T’OPP Collective will be doing weird and wonderful things with the downstairs of the Pint Pot. Oh, and there’s gonna be a pizza party. A pizza party. All in the spirit of Sounds... Sounds from the Other City 2017, Salford, 30 Apr, 3pm-4am




The Amazons

Haley Bonar

Jagwar Ma

Cherry Glazerr

Josefin Ă–hrn & The Liberation

She Drew The Gun

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

We put on the fresh music talent in libraries across the country. See dates and full line-up on our website





Album of the Month Grandaddy

Last Place [30th Century Records, 3 Mar]


rrrrr Shite rrrrr Boring rrrrr Solid

Eleven years ago, Jason Lytle pulled the plug on Grandaddy after four albums of intriguing and often wonderful indie rock music. They fused the archetypal 90s scuzz of Pavement with the more psychedelic wanderings of The Flaming Lips and even ELO to create something utterly individual. Last Place sounds as though they’ve never been away: it’s an album loaded with ideas and melodies, on occasion hitting the dizzy heights of their stellar first albums, Under the Western Freeway and The Sophtware Slump. Grandaddy were a band that always sounded nostalgic, even when they were singing about the future, robots and time-traveling. Last Place is as melancholic as anything we’ve ever heard from the band, understandably so given that much of it is inspired by the breakup of Jason Lytle’s marriage. You can read elsewhere in this issue about how the reunion of Grandaddy was a crutch for Lytle as he looked to rebuild his life. ‘Nothing lasts forever,’ he sings on opening track Evermore, a song dominated by a scuzzy riff that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Yes, Last Place is sad, but it’s so melodious, so warm and so peculiar that it’s difficult to feel anything

rrrrr Brilliant rrrrr Life-changing

but love for it. From the gasp of relish that opens proceedings (‘Aaaaaaaahhhh’), to the cartoonish intro that follows it, this is fresh and fun – a record that sounds as though it was as fun to make as it is to listen to. Lytle has spoken about using previous Grandaddy records as a reference point for this one, and this self-reflection provides some of the album’s loveliest moments. On Jed the 4th, he resurrects the humanoid character from The Sophtware Slump, using a reprise to Jed’s Poem from that record to tell us that Jed the robot ‘was a metaphor’ for his own boozing at the time. Similarly, Lost Machine – the grandest track here – revisits the story of Broken Household Appliance National Forest, whereby nature coexists with dumped ‘audio surveillance equipment’ and toasters. This is clearly a metaphor for his own lost love. ‘Everything about us is a lost machine,’ he sings over swirling strings and synths, on surely the saddest song about white goods you’ll ever hear. It’s sentimental, it’s oddball and it’s beautiful. In other words, it’s Grandaddy at their finest. [Finbarr Bermingham] Grandaddy

Listen to: Way We Won’t, Evermore

Charlotte OC

Careless People [Polydor, 31 Mar]


The Shins

Real Estate

Ibibio Sound Machine




Heartworms [Aural Apothecary/Columbia, 10 Mar]

In Mind [Domino, 17 Mar]

‘It’s the means to a terrible end,’ James Mercer sings about halfway through Name For You, the first track on the new album by The Shins – and he might as well be talking about the terrible things he has done to a oncegreat band. There isn’t a song on Heartworms that doesn’t have you pining for older, better Shins songs; the voice is way too high in the mix and the lyrics are charmlessly self-conscious. Aimless and fussy, it sounds like the kind of album a person with slightly too much money, their own studio and a massive ego would make. Crushingly disappointing, this is, alas, no return to form. [Pete Wild]

Very little seems to have changed in the world of Real Estate’s jangly indie rock. Martin Courtney still knows his way around a delicately picked piece of dreampop, and on opener Darling he produces another classic of the genre to join previous favourites like Talking Backwards and It’s Real. From then on it’s pretty much as you were, with Real Estate getting into a comfortable groove of their own making as each beautifully crafted piece of chiming six-string supineness washes over you like a warming bath. In Mind shows that Real Estate are a band you can rely on in uncertain times, and that’s as good a reason as any to stick around. [Jamie Bowman]

Listen to: Name for You, Mildenhall

Listen to: Darling, Serve the Song, White Light

March/April 2017

Uyai [Merge, 3 Mar]

Ibibio Sound Machine up the ante on all fronts for Uyai with racing percussion and busier, more ambitious arrangements than 2014’s self-titled debut. Give Me a Reason opens the album like a firecracker, propelled ever forward by synths and Williams’ ecstatic shouts. One by one, it introduces the sounds that comprise the record’s brimming sonic palette, like the spunky highlife guitar, the horns that hit like bursting piñatas and the infectious layered percussion; a cybernetic mixture of acoustic and programmed drums that brings to mind the likes of Caribou and LCD Soundsystem. Let’s hope Williams can forgive our bad pronunciation, because we’ll still be singing along with Ibibio for months to come. [Andrew Gordon] Listen to: Give Me a Reason

In Charlotte OC’s world, every line has a shadow; ‘We keep on running like a river! Riveeeer.’ The popminded theatricality of her debut album Careless People pays homage to the boldest voices in the business, but loses OC’s individuality in the mix. The Lancashire-born musician’s been preparing for this moment for years. She grew up attending weekend classes at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and subsequently released three EPs between 2013-2016. Astute fans have already noticed that favourite songs from those records haven’t been re-recorded for Careless People: this debut is no retrospective, it’s a mission statement.

Desperate Journalist Grow Up [Fierce Panda, 24 Mar]


In a garden, a teenage Jo Bevan faces the camera. The dappled sunlight and party dress are immediately at odds with her band-to-be’s brooding aesthetic. And yet, the second Desperate Journalist album is packaged not for laughs but with sombre recognition that, even as a child, you can see the trials of life rolling your way. Bevan is almost expressionless, staring into the future. Grow Up. You should always judge an album by its cover. This time around, the London-based four-piece


Glossy and calculating, Careless People rarely pulls back. OC has a formidable voice but she throws all her tools at every track. Each of Careless People’s 11 radio-friendly numbers are scaffolded so securely by echoing, metallic hand-claps and perfectly timed backing vocals that her songwriting starts to feel synthetic. The warm, earthy bass which grounded her earlier EPs has been replaced by a technically perfect chill. The album’s few intimate moments offer welcome shelter, but songs like Running Back To You and Medicine Man are belters built for public spaces, and it’s easy to imagine how OC’s carefully structured singles will leak through the airwaves and embed themselves within your psyche. When you wake up humming Darkest Hour, blame it on the time you accidentally walked through Topshop. [Katie Hawthorne] Listen to: Shell, Running Back To You stretch and strive, and mould legacy materials with adroit artistry. Underpinned by the stark poetry of Bevan’s lyrics and guitarist Rob Hardy’s melodic enterprise, the likes of All Over (‘I wandered through battlements of birthday cards’) and I Try Not To (‘Happily I’ve lost my nerve / To give myself the kicking I probably deserve’) twitch and spark. Elsewhere, potent anthems (Lacking In Your Love) and tender balladry (Radiating) confirm an expanding palette and a deepening song craft. Throughout, Grow Up is a bracing and vital antidote to genre norms, and shares a worldview that nourishes both heart and head. A huge undertaking, a staggering achievement. You need this. [Gary Kaill] Listen to: All Over, Why Are you So Boring?



Pulled Apart by Horses

The Haze [Caroline International , 17 Mar] Pulled Apart By Horses’ fourth album does not mess about. It’s taken them three years, a switch of drummer (founder member Lee Vincent jumped ship without any drama back in 2015 but was kind enough to introduce his replacement Tommy Davidson to fans via a Tweet that read, “Their new drummer is gonna kick your dicks in”), and time spent miles away from anywhere, recording in a cottage on a dairy farm in Wales; the aim being to “just go with our guts and fuck everyone else,” according to frontman Tom Hudson. But it’s all been worthwhile: The Haze rocks! From the eponymous opener (imagine Perry Farrell fronting Sabbath), there’s hardly a moment where these guys draw breath. ‘We’ve never been here before,’ Hudson yells melodically on The Big What If and you hear it like a statement of intent. A dozen songs, the majority of which hardly loiter longer than the three-minute mark, PABH get in, do the business and get out again. This is the sound people with something to prove make and the album is solid, delivering on their early promise and then some. My Evil Twin has the best guitar-comingfrom-leftfield intro since Nirvana’s Sliver, on its own making this an essential purchase, but then you also have to factor in the deliciousness of Neighbourhood Witch with it’s chorus of ‘You’re never going to take my soul!’ and the rampant, reckless rampage that is the 1m 51s of Brass Castles. If you’re a fan, rest easy knowing that PABH have done good. The Haze is their best yet. For the rest of you, make a bonfire of your Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro and Bring Me the Horizon records. You’ve got no need for them anymore. PABH are it. Consider your dicks kicked in. [Pete Wild] Listen to: The Haze, Neighbourhood Witch, Evil Twin, Dumb Fun


Manuela [Lost Map, 31 Mar]


Blanck Mass

Blanck Mass

World Eater [Sacred Bones, 3 Mar]


The third album from Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power is as dark and brilliant as we’ve come to expect. In an interview with The Skinny last year, FB bandmate Andrew Hung announced that if he was “the buttons,” then Power must surely be “the fuck.” He was speaking specifically about their musical stylings: Hung’s solo offerings at that point had mainly been playful 8-bit recordings made on

an old Game Boy. Power’s solo work, on the other hand, sounds altogether more sinister. The Blanck Mass project has enthralled from the start, delivering two delightful courses of dark, dense electronica. It’s a pattern that continues on World Eater, Blanck Mass’ third outing, and arguably his best yet. Everything about this record, from the macabre title to the snarling big cat on the cover, and the horror movie stylings of the opening track John Doe’s Carnival of Error, screams aggression. The title is a reference to the destructive nature of human beings, both collectively and individually. The ‘world eater’ is both the beast inside of each of us and the beast we combine to create as a society, a cancer eating away at the planet we inhabit. That thesis in mind, the album feels like something

Photo: Harrison Reid


that has been unleashed from deep within Power: a furious outburst at the state of the world. Each of the seven tracks are heavy and layered. The sonorous bass and thundering drums are peppered with snippets of melody that feel like sharp gasps of breath, such as the searchlight of a synth wail that pans across the top of the asphyxiating Rhesus Negative, the clipped, soulful vocals on Silent Treatment, or the ripple of water and pop outro that fracture the nigh-on opaque Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked. World Eater is ferocious and intense, but it’s also thrilling and bristling with life – and it’s these contrasts that make it such a blast to listen to. [Finbarr Bermingham] Listen to: John Doe’s Carnival of Error, Silent Treatment

Laura Marling

Semper Femina [More Alarming via Kobalt Music Recordings, 10 Mar]

rrrrr By the time the second chorus rolls around on Everything Goes, the gauzy, unassuming opener to Manuela’s self-titled debut record, you know you’re in good hands. In a subtle display of pop magic, everything is slyly shifted up a third, Manuela Gernedel’s winsome voice now floating at cloud level while Nick McCarthy’s prickly guitar provides the current. The effect is twofold; the extra levity sweetens Gernedel’s invitation to take a walk on the brighter side while also gently kneading the melody into your brain, where it will soon be joined by a shoal of other little moments and phrases from across this album. McCarthy’s minor pentatonic lick here is unmistakably Franz Ferdinand, and fans of his former outfit will find plenty to like on Manuela – the peppy angular saunter of Cracks in the Concrete is a prime example, but as the title suggests, this is primarily Gernedel’s record, and it’s her thoughtful poetry and wry charm that set the tone and give shape to McCarthy’s knowingly cheesy but clever, eclectic arrangements. Gernedel conveys a range of moods and experiences, from the joys of parenthood to the profound, almost meditative dullness of supermarket shopping. Her delivery throughout is almost like mumblecore movie dialogue but in a way that comes across as honest and endearing. An eccentric listen? Definitely. But great fun too. [Andrew Gordon] Listen to: Supermarket, Farewell, Invincible



The bulk of Semper Femina, Laura Marling’s sixth album, mines the territory that she is a master of manipulating: femininity, heartbreak, nature. The title alone reaffirms Marling’s feminist beliefs, with a militant nod in case the message wasn’t getting across. Many of her songs showcase her fearlessness in defying a society that expects her to be a passive spectator in her own life (Always This Way and Nothing, Not Nearly). It is this overt agency that threads together all of her music, from older cuts like Ghosts to All My Rage, through I Was an Eagle and now into this album. A few tracks have a variety and playfulness that keeps the album from feeling monotonous. Nothing, Not Nearly picks up the pace and adds some honky-tonk guitar blasts; Wild Once straddles the border between singing and spoken word, while Soothing hints at Marling’s torch singer ambitions. However, it’s with a simple melody, an acoustic guitar and some swooping strings that Marling really shines. Semper Femina continues Marling’s decadelong hot streak with another collection of finely wrought vignettes on love, loss, and the empowerment that can be found in both. She hasn’t reinvented the wheel, nor has she needed to, but there will always be a place in the musical landscape for sincere, well written songs that attempt to make sense of the world. [Lewis Wade] Listen to: Soothing, Wild Once

Diet Cig

Swear I’m Good At This [Frenchkiss Records, 7 Apr]


New York pair Diet Cig’s debut album Swear I’m Good At This lives up to the hype, with the record successfully transferring all the eagerness of their energetic live shows to portray punk with unusual tenderness. As vocalist Alex Luciano yelps about feeling lonely in the big city on Bite Back, the compatibility of a crush’s horoscope sign (Leo) and eating ice-cream on her birthday until she feels sick (Barf Day), backed up by Noah Bowman’s explosive drums, Diet Cig make being young, unsure and messy sound like a triumph. The best thing about Diet Cig: they give us hope that we can be better, kinder people ourselves. [Chris Ogden] Listen to: Sixteen, Blob Zombie, Tummy Ache


The New Pornographers Whiteout Conditions [Collected Works / Caroline, 7 Apr]


With no less than five songwriters among their number (including Destroyer’s Dan Bejar and the formidable Neko Case), it’s understandable that The New Pornographers have often been considered slightly too eclectic for their own good. Enter Whiteout Conditions: the Vancouver octet’s seventh album is their most coherent statement yet. Here the loose threads of their 70s-informed powerpop are collectively tightened by krautrock pulses, adding an identifiable sense of drive to the whole album and illustrating their knack for articulating both melancholy and hope within the same breath. Dive in wholeheartedly; you’ll be happy to float in the outrageously catchy Whiteout Conditions for a long time to come. [Will Fitzpatrick] Listen to: Whiteout Conditions

Part Chimp

IV [Rock Action, 14 Apr]


For most artists, a first studio album in seven years is as much cause for apprehension as excitement. However, so granite tough were Part Chimp’s previous endeavours, so unflinchingly slaying were their three full LPs, that there’s little threat of diminishing returns here. The introductory piano on opener Namekuji lasts a few seconds before it settles into the sort of uncanny hookery amid crushing dynamics that the London noise-rock behemoths have always executed brilliantly, while the likes of Bouncer’s Dream are akin to trying not to throw up overboard in their lurching uneasiness. Ultimately IV is Part Chimp 101 – a righteous addition to their canon whether a newcomer or long-time devotee. [Simon Jay Catling] Listen to: Bouncer’s Dream, Namekuji


Stranger Things Dreamy new album Stranger is another fine addition to the Former Bullies canon – here singer Nick Ainsworth talks longevity, Evan Dando and the universality of sadness Interview: Jamie Bowman


f, as the old saying goes, slow and steady wins the race, Manchester’s Former Bullies should be easing their way to the finishing line by now. Since coalescing around singer Nick Ainsworth 14 years ago, the band have been a regular presence on Manchester’s pop underground, becoming spiritual godfathers to artists such as Kiran Leonard, Irma Vep and PINS. Though prolific performers, the pace of their recorded output has been somewhat slower, with new release Stranger being just their fourth long-player in all that time. “It’s taken us a long time to get it sorted,” Ainsworth admits. “The recording started about three or four years ago, but because of life happening to us and organisational issues it’s taken to this point to reach the listening public. But now it’s here I’m chuffed.” Harnessing this joyous feeling is key for a band keen on keeping things simple. Sparse arrangements allow Stranger’s jangle-pop tunes to spring into life, with the listener left wondering if they’re listening to the demos of some classic 60s garage band rather than the home-recorded dabblings of three college friends from Manchester. “We recorded it in Matt (Taylor) the bass player’s basement,” says Ainsworth. “It feels like we did exactly what we wanted to do and there was no pressure. The influences are worn like a heart on a sleeve on this record – I hope people can tell there’s loads of Byrds in it, and Velvet Underground. The Bachs’ Out of the Bachs [the 1968 debut album by the Chicago garage outfit] was probably the one record that we really wanted it to sound like – pop songs with a haunting backdrop to them. I think you can pick out the influences on each song.” If this all sounds rather happy-go-lucky, a quick scan of Ainsworth’s lyrics suggests not everything was hunky dory in the 33-year-old’s personal life. “I didn’t know if it was abundantly clear but there is definitely a bit of heartbreak about the recordings,” he laughs. “In a lot of the music that was influential on this album there is that poignancy; a knife edge between joy and sadness. I find that irresistible. I wouldn’t want people to listen to it thinking this is dark – I want them to be uplifted. They are natural human emotions and everyone understands them so I wanted to invite people in.”

March/April 2017

Mention the band’s longevity and the members’ ages and the frontman gets understandably defensive, especially when we question their ambitions. “If you asked me ten years ago if I would still be playing in a band now I’d have probably said no, but until that feeling of being ‘on the outside, looking in’ creeps in, I feel it would be stupid not to do it,” he argues.

“I want people to be uplifted” Nick Ainsworth

“Everyone’s growing older but the idea of being creative doesn’t get old. If a visual artist was making art at 33, people would be like ‘he’s a young pup’ and it’s the same for a writer or a filmmaker, but being in a band is often seen as a young man’s game. People are getting married when they’re older and now they’re staying in bands when they’re older. Besides, I feel like I’ve only just got my head screwed on.” Touring, however, is rejected – Ainsworth’s job as a secondary school teacher makes such fripperies rather tricky, especially when you’ve already had the sainted experience of touring Europe alongside the Lemonheads “I went to see Evan Dando at Manchester University,” Ainsworth remembers. “I was having a few beers and was just knocking about. I took a demo with me just in case and I bumped into him in the toilet! A few months later his wife emailed me – she said they’d both listened to it and loved it, and then he took me on tour for three months. We were playing huge venues we hadn’t played before and haven’t since – I paid my rent for about four months when I got back. “There’s a lot of industry pushing and shoving, but for everyone who acts like that you hope there’s someone acting and behaving in the way their heart tells them.” Stranger is out now on Towed By The Ghost. Former Bullies play Gullivers, Manchester with Irma Vep and Toucans, 10 Mar







In Cinemas A Quiet Passion

All This Panic

Director: Terence Davies Starring: Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, Keith Carradine, Duncan Duff, Jodhi May, Joanna Bacon, Catherine Bailey, Emma Bell, Annette Badland, Benjamin Wainwright, Rose Williams Released: 7 Apr Certificate: 12

Director: Jenny Gage Starring: Lena M., Ginger Leigh Ryan, Dusty Rose Ryan, Olivia Cucinotta, Sage Adams, Delia Cunningham, Ivy Blackshire, Nichole R. Thompson-Adams Released: 24 Mar Certificate: 12A

After a decade of difficulties with projects stuck in development hell, that British director Terence Davies now brings us his third feature in six years is a blessing not to be taken lightly. Arriving swiftly after his 2015 adaptation of Sunset Song, A Quiet Passion sees him back in literary mode, albeit with a biopic of a writer icon, rather than an adaptation. This also marks the filmmaker’s first foray into narrative territory across the pond since 2000’s The House of Mirth, as this long-gestating, uh, passion project concerns American poet Emily Dickinson. As opposed to the back-and-forth chronology devices of efforts like The Deep Blue Sea, A Quiet Passion operates in a largely linear fashion, following Dickinson from her teens through to her disease-rooted death at 55. For the vast majority of the film, Dickinson is played by Cynthia Nixon in a nuanced turn that remains a vital anchor, as Davies’ stylistic mode switches up quite considerably as the film progresses. In a somewhat surprising development, much of A Quiet Passion’s first half is heavily comedic in the vein of the dry wit of Whit Stillman – that

The closing credits of documentary All This Panic commence with “A Film by Jenny Gage and Thomas Betterton,” an unusual credit in that Betterton is otherwise not listed as a director for the film, but as cinematographer and also one of the producers. The attribution feels appropriate, though, as the combination of Betterton and Gage (who herself has a background in art photography) both went about documenting the subjects of their movie over the course of three years, primarily in intimate, small group set-ups and with camera lenses more commonly used in narrative filmmaking. Gage’s film follows seven very different girls from Brooklyn across the three years, some a few years apart in age and a few connected by blood or years-long friendships. What ties them all together outside of area codes is articulate introspection on their hopes and worries for how their lives are going, from issues of feminism and sexuality to the concern they’re growing up too fast and the uncertainty that comes with losing support systems. Regarding the latter, ostensible ‘lead’ of the doc, Lena M., has her parents’ divorce to contend with alongside a move to college education, but when it comes to the other players, the doc is particularly astute in examining the familial tensions that arise with anyone in the stirred up ‘panic’ years of late adolescence. The overall result is a tender, kaleidoscopic portrait that captures the dreamy haze of a particular point in youth, in all its freneticism and fragility. Though a far shorter project, it is worthy of comparison to the likes of Michael Apted’s Up series, in offering a considerably more complex, compassionate depiction of the transition into adulthood than is provided in most films, whether fiction or documentary. [Josh Slater-Williams]



A Quiet Passion

writer-director’s own recent period effort, Love & Friendship, certainly comes to mind when watching. Consequently, when the tone goes sourer as the various tragedies of Dickinson’s life pile on, it’s an understandable change-up, but there’s something missing to make the transition feel smoother. Perhaps it’s the repetitive nature to many of the scenes included, where too much fidelity to the subject’s life hammers home points already made clear. Maybe it’s that there’s more a feeling of static staginess to many sequences, as

The Age of Shadows

Director: Kim Jee-woon Starring: Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo, Han Ji-min Released: 24 Mar Certificate: 15

opposed to the hypnotising, uniquely cinematic quality so key to Davies’ previous life-spanning works like The Long Day Closes. This is a fine film that may well reap rewards with repeat viewings, but upon first impression, the switch from epigram-heavy social satire to Dreyer-esque death crawl is more endurance test than evocative. Despite Nixon’s ability to externalise Dickinson’s inner demons as though forcibly torn from within the pit of her stomach, the film around her doesn’t burn with quite so much fire. [Josh Slater-Williams]

Heal the Living


Director: Katell Quillévéré Starring: Tahar Rahim, Emmanuelle Seigner, Anne Dorval, Kool Shen, Monia Chokri, Finnegan Oldfield Released: 28 Apr Certificate: 12

Early on in The Age of Shadows, Kim Woo-jin, a Korean Resistance fighter posing as an antiques dealer, meets the police officer who’s on his tail – Lee Jung-chool, a turncoat Korean working for the colonial Japanese regime. Both recognise what’s happening, but they’re willing to humour the charade. Woo-jin pushes two seemingly identical vases towards Jung-chool and asks with a smirk, “Which is genuine?” It’s a telling moment in a film full of carefully crafted duplicity and it’s the encounter that launches Jung-chool headlong into the world of deep cover, a place where pragmatic allegiance butts heads with patriotic duty and spies switch sides at the drop of a fake moustache. After the taper is lit on a firecracker opening set piece, The Age of Shadows barrels through its opaque web of double-deceptions and quadruple-crosses like a steam train – in fact, it’s got one of those too, and it’s laden with explosives. Things run out of puff a little in the struggle to settle on an ending, but it’s an easy indulgence to forgive in a film that’s always reaching for one last trick up its sleeve. [Phil Kennedy]

Heal the Living is the story of one heart that touches many lives. When a teenage surfer (Gabin Verdet) is killed in a car accident, his grieving parents (Emmanuelle Seigner and Kool Shen) have to make the decision to donate his healthy organs to those in need. Writer-director Katell Quillévéré divides her film into two halves: first focusing on the family’s emotional shock and ethical dilemmas before introducing us to the woman (Anne Dorval) who will receive the heart in question. This is Quillévéré’s third feature, and it is both her most ambitious to date and her most accomplished. She weaves a rich emotional tapestry through multiple characters – family members, doctors, paramedics – and while it’s easy to imagine this material feeling contrived or soapy in the wrong hands, she pulls it off with unerring elegance and lightness of touch. With the assistance of Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful score, Quillévéré also crafts a number of exhilarating cinematic coups, from the entrancing opening sequence to a rousing flashback that displays the strength of the young man’s heart, in both a physical and romantic sense. [Philip Concannon]



Director: Pablo Larraín Starring: Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Alfredo Castro, Pablo Derqui, Mercedes Morán, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba Released: 7 Apr Certificate: 15


Neruda, Pablo Larraín’s third film in the space of two years, is in some ways a blending of the modes of his prior Chilean filmography and his ostensibly different American debut Jackie. While Jackie’s break from political biopic convention was largely to do with a fractured structure, Neruda does so by establishing a fictional figure and narrative to intertwine with the story of revolutionary poet Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco)’s life after the Chilean government outlawed Communism in 1948. It’s an approach that is sadly unsuccessful. Up to a specific point, it’s not necessarily the fault of the fictional flourishes. Gael García Bernal’s meta-textual narrative as a hardboiled detective chasing Neruda, complete with noirinfluenced imagery and dialogue, has a playfulness in aesthetic lacking from the main biopic plot. But a third act twist regarding the stylistic device, in which the two storylines converge in a bold but deflating way, only serves to demonstrate that Neruda himself is obscured by Larraín’s vision’s level of investment in specificity – too much of myth than of a man. [Josh Slater-Williams]

March/April 2017


Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho Starring: Sonia Braga, Maeve Jinkings, Irhandir Santos Released: 24 Mar Certificate: 15


In his critically acclaimed debut, Neighbouring Sounds, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho presented audiences with a multifaceted portrait of a middle-class community in Recife. His follow-up, Aquarius, shares the same location, but centers on the struggle of one woman, Clara (Sonia Braga), a 65-year-old music critic fighting to save her home from the clutches of a property developer. The focus might have narrowed, but both films share the same obsession with class and memory, with Filho once again using intelligent sound design to allude to the world outside the frame – one teeming with anxiety and political anger. The film is constructed entirely around Braga’s performance. A sensuous blend of anger and stubbornness, Clara shows only the faintest signs of weakness, yet the fragility that seeps through elevates this tale of individual resistance into a wider contemplation on inherited guilt and the distinction between house and home. Combining formal inventiveness with a flair for storytelling, Aquarius is a triumph of socially conscious filmmaking; a bold and electrifying film that’s grand in scope, but intimate in its execution. [Patrick Gamble]


All This Panic



An Audience with the Pope (of Trash) John Waters’ little-seen sophomore feature Multiple Maniacs is getting a revival. Despite its new polish, it’s as outrageously grotesque as ever. The filmmaker takes us back to its making at the tail end of the 60s


ohn Waters has been transgressing ever since he was in short trousers. His original sin, appropriately enough, happened in a house of God. “My mother told me the first thing she remembers me rebelling against is that I refused to take the Legion of Decency pledge in church,” the 70-year-old filmmaker tells us proudly down the phone from San Francisco. The pledge was an initiative of the Catholic Church to identify and combat objectionable content in motion pictures. The young John Waters’ beef was that these were exactly the films he loved. “I wanted to see condemned movies! It inspired me to see condemned movies! And I wanted to make them!” The pint-sized revolutionary wouldn’t know it at the time, but two decades later he would make a movie so outrageously filthy that it would be described by those same Bible-thumpers as “the most disgusting film ever.” While there’s nothing explicit in the Good Book about transvestites eating dog poop, Pink Flamingos – Waters’ riotous third feature, which would give him international notoriety and see him crowned the “Pope of Trash” – went straight to the top of the Legion of Decency’s shit list. We can only presume they hadn’t seen Waters’ sophomore effort, Multiple Maniacs, for it contains a sex scene so uproariously blasphemous that it makes the antics in Pink Flamingo look rather quaint. “Even I look at that now and think what my father used to always say to me, ‘What were you thinking about?’” admits Waters. Picture the scene. Lady Divine (played by drag queen Divine, Waters’ larger-than-life muse), a fierce freak show impresario who makes a living by robbing her patrons at gunpoint, has just been



assaulted by a man in drag and has stumbled into a church for sanctuary. Inside, she’s hit on by Mink (played by Mink Stole, another Waters regular), a prostitute wearing a nun’s habit, and they begin to make love in the pews. In their fits of passion, Mink puts her rosary beads somewhere unmentionable. Or, as Divine describes it in her breathless inner monologue, “It was then that I realised she was using her rosary as a tool of erotic pleasure!” Just as we think this “rosary job” scene can’t get more sacrilegious, Waters cross-cuts it with a reenactment of the Stations of the Cross. How did he get away with that in 1970?

“I’ve lived through liar Nixon, AIDS, killer Reagan, dumbbell Bush, I’ll get through this idiot” John Waters

“Easy,” Waters says nonchalantly. “There was no law, religious or otherwise, against a rosary job yet because who would ever want to do it? I mean, nobody has ever tried to give me a rosary job.” Multiple Maniacs, along with Waters’ other

early films, has a delightfully freewheeling quality. It feels out of control, dangerous even. Anarchy was his ethos back then. “Maybe I didn’t know it at the time,” he says, “but [Multiple Maniacs] was a punk rock movie before there was punk rock.” At first glance you might assume the film was a retaliation against his middle-class, Catholic upbringing, but Waters and his friends found the late 60s counterculture to be just as square. “It was a movie made to horrify hippies, but the hippies that came to see it wanted to be horrified and probably turned into punks, you know, five to eight years later.” How did Waters and his friends self-identify back then? “Oh I was a yippie, not a hippie. We went to riots for fun. Political demonstrations were our social life. We were like a cell and what we were doing was a terrorist attack on the tyranny of good taste.” How things have changed in 45 years. A lovingly restored version of Multiple Maniacs has just been unleashed across the UK by Park Circus, a distributor that usually specialises in refined classics. Waters himself, meanwhile, is positively mainstream. “People looked at my early pictures and called them the most disgusting things ever,” he once lamented, “and now Hairspray is being done at every school in Britain and America.” The Baltimore-born filmmaker is as confused by the current critical ardour for Multiple Maniacs as he is by his own national treasure status. “The most shocking thing about the revival was that Criterion and Janus films even wanted to release it because they were known as the fanciest art distributors of Bergman and Godard and stuff. But they approached me with a great sense of humour


Interview: Jamie Dunn

about it too and that’s why I think the release has been received very well, certainly way better than when it came out. On Rotten Tomatoes we now have 100% favourable reviews, which even I think is ridiculous.” This is a first for us, a filmmaker talking down his own movie. “Well, you know, I mean, it has its flaws, god knows. I should be in jail for zoom-lens abuse for one thing.” While it’s great to see another John Waters film in theatres, it’s a pity fans can’t be celebrating a new feature. And the sad truth is, we may never get one. “I don’t think I even make movies any more,” he says. “I haven’t made one for ten years.” We urge him to get back in the saddle. In Trump’s America, we need disobedient filmmakers like him more than ever. When we bring up his nation’s new overlord, Waters is surprisingly laid-back. “I’ve lived through liar Nixon, AIDS, killer Reagan, dumbbell Bush, I’ll get through this idiot,” he says. While the chances of a new John Waters film in the near future are slim, we can take heart that his influence is everywhere. Filmmakers as diverse as Pedro Almodóvar, Todd Solondz and Harmony Korine all owe him a debt for smashing down cinema’s barriers of respectability. Waters reluctantly agrees to his legacy. “Let’s say I made bad taste 1% more respectable. Even that fancy Tom Ford movie [Nocturnal Animals], which I liked, when you see one of the killers taking a shit... I don’t know, without me maybe it wouldn’t have gone quite as far,” he says, cackling with delight. “I realise that’s a dubious thing to take credit for.” Multiple Maniacs is released 20 Mar on Blu-ray & DVD by the Criterion Collection


The Sad Part Was

Exit West



By Prabda Yoon

By Mohsin Hamid

Due to their condensed nature, short stories often rely on novelty to hold attention; whether that be a quirky cast, unusual perspectives or unlikely scenarios. The Sad Part Was, a short collection of tales from celebrated Thai author Prabda Yoon, employs all three to excellent effect. The very fact that Yoon is bringing a contemporary South East Asian consciousness to a wider audience with this collection (superbly translated by Mui Poopoksakul) contributes to this novelty, but to say it overly depends upon this for its attraction would be hugely unfair. Yoon is never one to shy away from invention, with his stories a playful mixture of pop culture references, abstract concepts and metaphysical self-awareness. Indeed, in perhaps the most memorable tale from the collection ‘Marut by the Sea’, Yoon calls into question the sagacity of supposedly omniscient authors and their validity in society as a whole. This derisive stance on his own career is an interesting and original exploration of the relevance of writers in a modern world, challenging us to think above and beyond the words on the page. For a refreshing, engaging respite from the exhaustion of the daily grind, The Sad Part Was is an accomplished balancing act between sadness and silliness, wit and whimsy, wry insight and incisive rhyme. Well worth the few hours it takes to knock the stories out, not least for the fresh perspective they may provide for your own life. [Jonny Sweet]

Nadia and Saeed meet at an evening class and fall in love while the city around them swells with refugees and slides towards crisis. When they can no longer ignore and endure the situation around them – the bombs, the shootings, the blackouts – they’re forced to leave Saeed’s father and step through one of the black doors that are appearing all over the city: doors to Greece, London, San Francisco. It’s a powerful story beautifully told. Hamid’s prose is casually vivid: sentences unspool with just enough off-hand detail to make the life they describe seem real. The simplicity of his technique amplifies the emotional intensity of the situation, as ties to family, tradition, and society begin at first to fray, and then to fail, and then to disappear. Exit West is a book full of beginnings: falling in love; leaving the city; surviving the camps; surviving the West. This novel’s extraordinary feat is to humanise and localise the crises of a changing world. It records the moments and pressures that push Nadia and Saeed from first love to duty, then from exhaustion to irritation and finally to the moment when they are no longer in love at all. Hamid does not dramatise any of this. He doesn’t need to sculpt a story arc, and this is no sanitised survival tale. He’s found a simple voice for a complex mess of fear and desire, and it rings true. [Galen O’Hanlon]

Out 3 Mar, published by Tilted Axis Press, RRP £8.99

Out 2 Mar, published by Hamish Hamilton, RRP £14.99

Lincoln in the Bardo

The Patriots



“Vain, weak, puerile, hypocritical, without manners, without social grace…” As America’s literary voices steel themselves to document the shockwaves of Donald Trump’s improbable ascendancy, Saunders makes his long-form debut with a vivid account of a day in the life of a leader of less questionable stature. However, the text book references that form, in part, the novel’s audacious construction, reveal a president not entirely as conscientious as history would have you believe. A dizzying chronicle of the unexpected death of Lincoln’s young son Willie, Saunders inverts traditional musings on mortality. Take life seriously he insists, and death, perhaps less so. Lincoln in the Bardo is deeply moving and very, very funny. The narrative is fleshed out by the disembodied voices of those who shepherd Willie through the ‘bardo’ (an intermediate state between this life and the next) and keep solemn watch over his grieving father. Those voices – a deeply characterised array of madcap provocateurs and wry commentators – fire a story (ostensibly) about death into uproarious life. The darkly comic pairing of Roger Bevins III and Hans Volmann, who track events with wry detachment, and the Reverend Everley Thomas (who inadvertently discovers the true nature of their plight and that his actions in “that previous realm” will have unexpected consequences), lead a deftly drawn supporting cast. Throughout, Saunders’ elegant, forceful prose elevates his surreal tragedy. It is a unique and uncommonly powerful re-staging of across-the-great-divide norms. [Gary Kaill]

A 538-page debut novel set across continents and over 74 years of personal and political turmoil certainly shows intent. Largely living up to it, Krasikov’s sweeping epic – likened to Dr. Zhivago by Yann Martel – is at its lesser moments a Soviet-era soap opera, and at its best, a believable and astonishingly accomplished tapestry of lives caught between the turning cogs of history. In 1934, Florence Fein travels from the US to become part of the Soviet dream, only to have her idealism eroded by repression then terror. Her son Julien returns to Moscow in 2008, to retrieve his son Lenny, mired in the gangster capitalism of the modern state; a neat inversion of the dangers of the past. There feels a sepia filtered romanticism to Florence’s early third person passages, possibly an intentional creative flourish to demonstrate the passage of time. Julien’s first person narrative offers the most clear and effective voice; a cynic with a foot in both the past and present. One who condemns his mother’s naïve idealism, yet also his son’s life choices; Julien’s hide was toughened by Soviet realities while the US-raised Lenny (at times an underused plot device) is flabby in both constitution and character. There are many fine non-fiction accounts of suffering under the Bolsheviks, but fewer novels. Here is one echoing the consequences of idealism and nationalism down the generations, from the vantage point of history. A tragic, poetic and intimate epic. [Alan Bett]

Out 9 Mar, published by Bloomsbury, RRP £18.99

Out 2 Mar, published by Granta Books, RRP £12.99

By George Saunders

March/April 2017

By Sana Krasikov

Win tickets to Field Day 2017!


ast year's Field Day was yet another triumphant celebration of music and more, with the main stage brought to a close via a stellar turn from headlining post-dubstep songwriter James Blake. Now in its 11th year, the 2017 edition looks set to surpass expectations once again with one of the most exciting line-ups of the summer, not to mention London’s finest street food traders and a huge variety of local breweries. Fancy catching Run The Jewels, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Slowdive and many more at this year's bash on Saturday 3 June? We're giving away a pair of day passes with travel included for you and a friend. To be in with a chance of winning, all you

need to do is head to and correctly answer to the following question: Who closed the main stage at Field Day 2016? a) Jamie xx b) Quentin Blake c ) James Blake Competition closes midnight Sun 16 Apr. Entrants must be 18 or over. The winner 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

Win tickets to ¡Viva! Spanish & Latin American Festival! F

or its 23rd edition, ¡Viva! Festival returns to HOME for its annual celebration of film, theatre and visual art from across the Spanishspeaking world. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the abolition of censorship in Spain, this year HOME is drawing inspiration from La Transición – the era of cultural revolution sparked by the transition to democracy. For your chance to win two tickets to a ¡Viva! film or theatre production of your choice, simply head to and correctly answer the following question:


Which of the following is a popular Spanish dish? a) Paella b) Spaghetti Bolognese c) Coq au vin Competition closes midnight Sun 26 Mar. The winner 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. The prize will be redeemable through phoning or visiting the HOME box office in person / on 0161 2000 1500. Show tickets are subject to availability. The Skinny's Ts&Cs can be found at



Leeds Music Wed 01 Mar PINEGROVE

BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £9.50

American indie group from New Jersey, whose debut LP, Cardinal, was released last year. BONOBO

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–22:00, £25

Brighton’s Bonobo (aka Simon Green) shows his face to follow up the January release of sixth LP, Migration. NOVELLA

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £6.50

UK quartet hit stages with new album Change of State.


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

Perth trio straddling 2016 and 2017 with a mammoth world tour - and their first batch of new material in 18 months. STRAND OF OAKS

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

Stage moniker of Timothy Showalter, a singer/songwriter hailing from Philadelphia, weaving true stories into his indie folk sounds.


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

Stockholm psychniks peddling hypnotic, dark stoner pop. ARISTOPHANES

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £6

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


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

Bombay Bicycle Club bassist, aka Ed Nash. DUTCH UNCLES

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £12

Manchester’s idiosyncratic art-popologists return to Electric Circus to perform their new studio album Big Balloon expect atypical time signatures and androgynous vocal.


Twee indie punk-rock lot, touring with their first album Bus Route to Your Heart, which is now 20 years old. ACORN TAPES

HIFI, FROM 23:00, £8 - £12

Hip-hop extravaganza (Wun Two, Beat Pete and Klaus Layer).


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

The Falmouth-born and Brightonbased math-rockers are built on honed indie-art-rock compositions with explorative arrangements and understated production. OLIVER PINDER (DOM ROBINSON + VANESSA MARIA)

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

Fresh-faced teenage singersongwriter from Queensbury, Yorkshire.



Ninja Tune’s high-intensity percussive maestro plays a live set.


Anarchic punk group, performing in Leeds for the first time in four years.


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

Alternative indie-folk band hailing from Oxford, built on the crystalline vocals of Brian Briggs and Jon Quin’s delicate arrangements, now bowing out with a farewell tour. POWERSOLO

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

Danish blues/rockabilly duo.



Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.


WHARF CHAMBERS, 20:00–23:00, £10

Newly-formed jazztronica group from Leeds. £3 for Leeds College of Music students.

Wed 08 Mar



Hugely influential reggae and dub producer who was behind Bob Marley’s early studio output. LAURA MARLING

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20.50

The Hampshire-born nu-folkster moves from slow-burning tales of forbidden love to building barnstormers, as is her merry way.



The rhythm and blues party band of a Japanese punk, a French punk, a Spanish punk and, er, a Caribbean tennis teacher. THE WAILERS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £21

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

FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 18:00–22:00, £29.50 - £55

The fresh-faced X-Factor almostwas (as in, he lost), proves that winning the thing means nothing (so long as you join up with a super powerful management and label team regardless).

The longtime British folk-rockers draw on classic songs old and new, on the go now for an impressive 50 years. KAISER CHIEFS - SEATED

FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 18:00–22:00, £19.50 - £38.50

We’re not going to insult your intelligence with ‘Predict a Riot jokes’. You’re better than that. And we don’t predict one anyway.




TEMPLE OF BOOM, 17:00–23:00, £15

UK exclusive for the NYC band, who reformed back in 2010 for another round of hardcore punk and grindcore.

Sun 12 Mar


Spritely indie quartet from Leeds.


THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £5

Alt indie rockers from Leeds. SUNDAY JOINT (SHANTY)


Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.


TEMPLE OF BOOM, 15:00–21:00, £15

UK exclusive for the NYC band, who reformed back in 2010 for another round of hardcore punk and grindcore.

Mon 13 Mar


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

Philadephia-based musician who cut his chops as a roadie before becoming a performer proper. LOWER THAN ATLANTIS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £16

Hard-rockin’ foursome hailing from Hertfordshire.

Tue 14 Mar


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £27.50

Vintage reworks of contemporary pop hits courtesy of pianist and arranger Scott Bradlee. THE WEEKND

FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £30 - £40

Ethiopian-Canadian recording artist and record producer, known to his mammy as Abel Tesfaye, who started off releasing songs via YouTube in late 2010.

Wed 15 Mar

Electro-popping seven-piece from San Francisco Bay, led by singer/ lyricist Lalin St. Juste and bassist/ producer Akiyoshi Ehara. SEAFRET

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £10

Hailing from the small town of Bridlington, Jack Sedman and Harry Draper serve up acoustic soul-food that’s easy on the ears. TONGA



LEFT BANK, 19:00–22:30, £7.50

Sat 11 Mar


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

‘Shadowy ne’er do wells’ hailing from London, led by Norwegian born songwriter and frontman Paul-Ronney Angel. GLASS ANIMALS


Baroque folk trio with distinct pop(ish) influences, returning with new album, How to be a Human Being. Sold out.

Expect soul, funk, disco and house with a convivial, comradely atmosphere gently lubricated by £2 pints of bitter. THE ZIPHEADS (X RAY CAT TRIO)

The chirpy American punkpopsters, all fast-paced and fizzy with hooks, hit town.

Thu 16 Mar


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

Bluesy rock’n’rollers from Birmingham. GOJIRA

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £23

French heavy/prog metal band. CLARE KELLY (ME REX + JOSEPH MOORE)

WHARF CHAMBERS, 20:00–23:00, £4

An intimate evening of music from Clare Kelly and others.


THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £15

MOBO Award-winning rappersaxophonist, MC and composer. THE STRANGLERS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

The long-standing punk-rockers take to the road once more, marking some 40+ years and still standing. JONWAYNE

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £10

Rapper and producer signed to Stones Throw Records.

Fri 24 Mar


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


Step into the laboratory of dub. From the team that bring you SubSub and Outlook Festival (Disrupt Live).

Sat 18 Mar


O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £23.50

Former New Order and Joy Division bloke reliving his glory years, performing Factory Records compilation Substance live and in its entirety.


The Yesayer and Caribou collaborator heads our way to showcase his Sudanese brand of motorik and funk.


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


HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £6

Afrobeat forefather and original member of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70, Tony Allen’s trademark continues to blaze the trail for dub, drunk, electronica and rap.


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

Dylan Baldi’s DIY project – which started life as lo-fi pop recordings done in his parents’ basement – now a fully-fledged live band. SUNDAY JOINT (AGBEKO)


Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.

Mon 20 Mar


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

Singer, songwriter and banjo player Alynda Lee Segarra brings her country folk outfit Hurray for the Riff Raff our way, for a live show that’s awash with her New Orleans vibing sound. CHALI 2NA & KRAFTY KUTS

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £15

SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80 (SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80) CHURCH, 22:00–00:00, £16.50 - £22.50

Fiesta Bombarda welcomes the youngest son of the legendary Fela Kuti joined by his father’s 16-piece funk fuelled orchestra Egypt 80.


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

More high octane instrumental contemporary folk from the Isle of Skye crew. EMILE SANDE

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

The Scottish singer-songwriter plays an unsurprisingly sold-out set, still riding high on second studio album, Long Live the Angels. MURMERATION CLOUD

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, 19:30–23:00, £5

An immersive performance of a sound-reactive collaborative installation, complete with live music curated and led by avantimprov trio John Frisco.

Thu 23 Mar


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

American composer and electronic musician Tyondai Braxton is joined by Brooklyn-based acoustic ensemble Dawn of Midi. STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £19

70s punk-pop foursome par excellence, on the go now for a ridiculous amount of years.



Raggle taggle folk ensemble blending a unique mixture of rock, pop, gypsy jazz and bluegrass into their mix.

Finnish country group, continuing to put a bluegrass twist on wellknown hard rock and metal tunes with their second album.

Billing itself as a ‘stoner/doomy night’.

Sun 09 Apr


The Indian superstar performs a collection of songs from Bollywood blockbusters including Lift Karaa De, Kabhi To Nazar Milao and Bhar Do Jholi Meri.

THE FENTON, 19:00–01:00, £4 - £5

Set across two stages at Canal Mills, Ritual Festival returns following last year’s riotous debut.

Fri 31 Mar

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, 20:00–23:00, £6

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



HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £7.50

CANAL MILLS, 12:30–23:00, £30

Scruff of the Neck welcome Hull indie rockers The Hubbards, among others.


London-based duo out touring Berlin-produced debut album Hit the Light.


O2 ACADEMY, 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.

Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.

FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £90


More humorous, romantic and string-laden guitar-based pop from the lovably twee Swedish singer/songwriter.


Cambria Instruments head-honcho, who’s been at the forefront of British electronic music for a good decade or so.


Aspirant south London electronic pop types.

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


Musicians from Leeds College of Music perform.

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £9.50

St Albans outfit playing rock n roll infused with ska, punk, surf, swing, soul, reggae and Irish influences.

Tue 21 Mar



Leeds five-piece perform political and spiritual disdain with Americana/blues overtones.

A bunch of St Louis musicians peddling post-rock sounds.

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


WHARF CHAMBERS, 20:00–23:00, £6

Part of the legendary Jurassic 5, Chali 2Na and his rich baritone vocals are backed by the typical cut and paste style of Krafty Kuts.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £28.50


Americana-inspired contemporary folk.


O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £16 - £24

The latest incarnation of Thin Lizzy – made up of Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Darren Wharton, Ricky Warwick, Damon Johnson and Marco Mendoza – take their new project on the road.

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

O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £20

CITY VARIETIES MUSIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25.10 - £28.10


Songwriter with a unique turn of phrase and melody and razor-sharp alt-pop production.

Mike Skinner and Murkage Dave hit Headrow House with Tonga.

Danish ghetto-pop group with Lukas Graham Forchhammer at the helm.

THE FENTON, 20:00–22:00, £TBC

Fri 10 Mar

Soul Rebels’ DJ Lubi curates a line-up of rising stars of the last 12 months, mixing up Afrobeat, Prince-inspired funk and jazzinfluenced hip hop. LUKAS GRAHAM



THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £22


O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

The 2012 X-Factor winner now tumbling down the rungs of the pop world. THE KOOKS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Tousled-haired Brighton scamps with a kit-bag of guitar-based pop offerings, if anyone’s still listening?


WHARF CHAMBERS, 14:00–23:00, £5 - £7

An evening with folky acoustic punk rock act Andrew Cream, Scandi-infused indie poppers Finnmark! and many more.



American indie rock band from Virginia, now based in Seattle with latest album, Teens of Denial. DOC BROWN

THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £15

Rapper turned comedian turned rapper Doc Brown returns with new album Stemma. SUNDAY JOINT (RAY HARRIS)


Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.


THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £12


FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 18:00–22:00, £27 - £38

Mr David is making music and touring again – you know the drill, look busy.

Sat 01 Apr


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

LA noisemakers back with new album, Command Your Weather. BLAENAVON

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

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

Manchester-based, Californiaborn songstress rich with layered harmonies, cavernous production and slow, sombre seduction. SOEUR

WHARF CHAMBERS, 19:45–23:15, £4 - £5

More acts TBC.


CITY VARIETIES MUSIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £19.50 - £46

An evening of live music capturing and celebrating the origins of Celtic music.

Thu 30 Mar


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

Lo-fi emo types from Purchase, New York.

THE FENTON, 20:00–00:00, £6

A night of metal.


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

Detroit underdogs with enough joyful hooks, mischievous wordplay and unexpected pathos to worm their way into your heart. SUNDAY JOINT (AFRO CLUSTER)


Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.

World superbike champ James Toseland dips his toe into the music pool, as ya do.

Wed 26 Apr

Wed 12 Apr

Co-headline show from stateside metal band Sumac and San Francisco’s Oxbow.


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

Icelandic singer and actress who first made her name as part of electronic group GusGus.


THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £16


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


FIRSTDIRECT ARENA, 20:00–23:00, £45 - £75

Frankie Valli and his touring mainstays, The Four Seasons, play the hits.

Sun 02 Apr

Fri 14 Apr


Young Newcastle-based folk-indie outfit, drawing their influences from such luminaries as Woody Guthrie and Joni Mitchell.


Fri 28 Apr




O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £16.50

London-based trio led by folkster Andrew Davie (formerly of Cherbourg). SUNDAY JOINT (INEXPLICABLE)


Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.


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

Eclectic melodic rock from Bradford.

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

Former Fence Records mogul Johnny Lynch. PART CHIMP

WHARF CHAMBERS, 19:30–23:00, £8 - £10

Dublin singer/songwriter, stepping out of the shadow of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran support slots with his debut album.

Noise-rock four-piece.

Wed 05 Apr

More hazy shoegaze from the Dallas-based trio, playing tracks offa their new album, Avvolgere.


HIFI, FROM 19:00, £TBC

Enjoy a selection of acoustic sets at HiFi. STEVE GUNN

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, 20:00–23:00, £12

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

Fri 07 Apr


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



THE WARDROBE, 19:30–22:30, £10


Thu 27 Apr

LEEDS IRISH CENTRE, 19:30–22:30, £24.50

Tue 28 Mar

Tue 11 Apr


HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £8

Australia, New Zealand and UKstraddling alternative dreamers.

New Orleans-based brass band playing authentic New Orleans jazz mixed with various world styles.

Warm-up for Saturday’s Ritual Festival.

American indie rock band featuring Jason Lytle, Kevin Garcia, Aaron Burtch, Jim Fairchild and Tim Dryden, out trailing new album, Last Place.

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

Byron Bay hardcore metal quintet.

Storytelling country-rockin’ bluesman, whos tunes are rich with his raspy vocals and personalised guitar.

Fledgling Hampshire trio built on soaring choruses and the manic energy of yoof.


Mon 10 Apr

SEASICK STEVE O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £27 - £42


Sat 15 Apr


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


O2 ACADEMY, 18:00–22:00, £25

The Irish collective of songwriters celebrate their country of origin through song, as is their way. HARK + OHHMS (OLD MAN LIZARD + UNDERDARK + HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN + GROAK + HOOF GLOVE)

TEMPLE OF BOOM, 15:30–23:30, £8

Hark and Ohhms co-headline an alldayer at Temple of Boom.

Sun 16 Apr



Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.


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


The mighty Maryland outfit do their badass new-wave pop thing, with funk-inflected lead singer Sam Herring likely growling his way through the set. LIVE AT LEEDS OPENING PARTY: FUTURE ISLANDS


The mighty Maryland outfit do their badass new-wave pop thing, with funk-inflected lead singer Sam Herring likely growling his way through the set. NUBIYAN TWIST


Soul Rebels throw a Live at Leeds warm-up party with soul, funk, jazz, hip hop, reggae, Afrobeat and dub-loving Nubiyan Twist.

Sat 29 Apr


WHARF CHAMBERS, 19:30–23:00, £TBC


San Franciscan duo (aka Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada) built on lazily advancing solos and eccentric organ meanderings of loveliness.

Mon 17 Apr The cult krautrock-indebted trio return.

The annual venue trek-about returns with another gamut of hot new young things, established stars and cult curios.

WHARF CHAMBERS, 19:30–23:30, £5

Tue 18 Apr

Sun 30 Apr

HEADROW HOUSE, 20:00–23:00, £9

O2 ACADEMY, FROM 17:00, £20 - £42.50


Jaded Eyes, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaind and Fawn Spots all perform.

Sat 08 Apr


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

Leeds-based band of lunatics running to a tight check list of torturous vocals, distortion, serious riffage, and hardcore clatter. All in the name of some pretty bloody awesome balls-to-the-wall rock, y’understand. MY BABY

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

Delta blues dub trio, who supported Seasick Steve on his UK tour.


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


Locally-cherished Mancunian quartet currently living out their love of the C86 sound.


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

Composed of Seattle-based country musician Cahalen Morrison, Donna the Buffalo co-founder Jim Miller, bluegrass/punk-rock songwriter Ethan Lawton, pedal steel supremo Rusty Blake and bassist Dan Lowinger.

VARIOUS VENUES, FROM 12:00, £32.50


North Eastern indie lot Maximo Park are joined by Little Comets, Spector, High Tyde and more to close this year’s Live at Leeds. SUNDAY JOINT (REGIME)


Free live music every Sunday at HiFi.


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

Post-black metal success stories continue their unexpected ascent following a line-up change back in 2013.


Liverpool Music

Wed 08 Mar

Wed 01 Mar



THE ATKINSON, FROM 19:30, £9 - £11

Canadian indie folk singer songwriter.


EPSTEIN THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £11 - £15

Liverpudlian singer/songwriter mixing folk, rock and country into one merry musical whole. RHAPSODY (ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA)

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

Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody is performed alongside Ravel’s Piano Concerto and more. TAUPE

THE KAZIMIER GARDEN, 19:30–23:00, £2 - £3

Tyneside punk/jazz/chaos maestros now splitting their time between Newcastle, Manchester and Edinburgh. Support comes from Rory Ballantyne and Michael Paul Metcalfe of Dead Hedge.


The folk songstress-cum-actor performs songs from her back catalogue. HOWL AT THE MOON VOL 14: POWERSOLO


Brilliantly bizarre Danish blues/ rockabilly/garage duo, who’ve been releasing records for almost two decades direct from their own alternate universe.


Veteran hip hop head. Also featuring an exclusive beatbox set from Renegrade and music from DJ Joey Espo. JIM CAUSLEY


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–00:30, £4

Jim Causley celebrates over a decade as an acclaimed solo artist and performer with a brand new studio album




Surf-rock and dreamy pop from Liverpool. O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £22.50

Former New Order and Joy Division bloke reliving his glory years, performing Factory Records compilation Substance live and in its entirety. MARCONI UNION

THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £11.50

Ambient trio who’ve worked with the Marina Abramovic Institute, Jah Wobble and others, back with new album Ghost Stations. VEYU & SPQR (FARLANE DJ SET)

LEAF, 20:00–23:00, £5

Liverpudlian five-piece VEYU are joined by SPQR.

Sat 04 Mar

THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, FROM 19:30, £6 - £7.50

Making their Liverpool debut. THE SONIC REVOLVERS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £7

Runcorn rockers, celebrated for matching the melody and emotion of their music with a big stage presence. GRIEG PIANO CONCERTO (ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA)


Along with Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite and others.

Sun 05 Mar


O2 ACADEMY, 19:30–23:00, £16

The original member of Brooklynbased fusion group Snarky Puppy returns with a brand new album, packed with deep world grooves and his signature genre-straddling sounds.

Mon 06 Mar


The Swedish rockers return, treating Bannermans to a live set. THE AMAZONS BUYERS CLUB, 19:30–23:30, £8

Born and raised Reading locals, Matt, Joe, Elliot and Chris take the aggression of grunge and punk and attempt to splice it with melody and harmony.

Tue 07 Mar


THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, FREE

Ensemble of St Luke’s was formed back in 1992 when a group of friends from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra got together to raise money for St Luke’s Church in Crosby. Still going strong today, tonight performing a quartet of quartets. COVEN


The joint efforts of three of the British folk scene’s finest female acts, with O’Hooley & Tidow, Lady Maisery and Grace Petrie, performing together in celebration of International Women’s Day.



Featuring Anne Freitag on transverse flute and Jean-Christophe Dijoux on harpsichord. ST GEORGE’S HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25

The Brodsky Quartet are joined by pianist Martin Roscoe for pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Elgar. LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES

ST GEORGE’S HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25

The sounds of Bach, Beethoven, Elgar and more. MAN AND THE ECHO

BUYERS CLUB, 18:00–23:00, £7

Warrington pop outfit fronted by Gaz Roberts.

Thu 09 Mar


THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, FREE


Clarinettist Emma Haughton takes the audience on a journey to explore issues of ‘progressivism’ in the clarinet repertoire during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. MARTIN HARLEY AND DANIEL KIMBRO


The acoustic guitar singer/songwriter taking in ageless blues and roots soundscapes is joined by bassist Kimbro.

Sat 11 Mar


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:00–21:30, £4.50

The Zanzibar’s local band showcase continues. THE WAILERS

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT


EPSTEIN THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £15

Elfin Bow brings pastoral psychfolk to the Epstein Theatre with the launch of her stunning debut album. CRAIG DAVID

ECHO ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £30.50 £42.50

Mr David is making music and touring again – you know the drill, look busy. COURTNEY PINE FEATURING OMAR

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 20:00–23:00, £19.50 - £25.50

One of the first black British jazz artists to rise to the top returns to tenor sax for the first time in a decade, joined by vocalist Omar.

Fri 10 Mar

Oklahoma guitar picker.

Sun 19 Mar

THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–00:30, £4

The Zanzibar’s local band showcase continues. AGAINST THE CURRENT

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £17

Pop rock trio from Poughkeepsie, NY. Pop rock trio from Poughkeepsie, NY, on tour following last year’s release of their debut LP, In Our Bones. SHE’KOYOKH

THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, FREE

Klezmer ensemble, whose name is a Yiddish word that roughly translates as ‘nice one’.

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

One of romantic music’s most thrillingly sinful treats, Berlioz’s groundbreaking The Damnation of Faust is performed here by an all-star cast. THE FUREYS


The longstanding folk-based outfit play a selection of classics spanning their 35+ year career. GENTLEMAN’S DUB CLUB

INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY, 20:00–03:00, £12 - £18

Suited and booted dub collective who also take in elements of ska and roots reggae.

Sun 12 Mar


Vintage reworks of contemporary pop hits courtesy of pianist and arranger Scott Bradlee. LINDISFARNE


Tyneside acoustic rock group from the 70s.

Wed 15 Mar


THE BRINDLEY, 19:30–21:30, £16.50 - £18

Founded in 2006 in Cologne, Germany, The Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra engages over 60 of the most talented young musicians from 18 European nations. OYSTERS3


John Jones, Alan Prosser and Ian Telder from folk-rockers Oysterband play it acoustic, up close and personal.

Thu 16 Mar


CAMP AND FURNACE, 19:30–23:30, £2 - £3

The third installment of Rebel, Rebel welcomes four new exciting bands including local psychrockers The Holograms and more.


LEAF, 20:00–23:30, £6 - £10

The singer-songwriter drops in for a full band set.

Fri 17 Mar


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–00:30, £4

The Zanzibar’s local band showcase continues. BLOSSOMS (CABBAGE + RORY WYNNE)

OLYMPIA, 18:30–23:00, £TBC

Psyche-pop riffs, vocal melodies, a film noir meets 60s aesthetic, a range of audible references from Arctic Monkeys via Abba to The Doors.

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24 KITCHEN STREET, 19:30–22:30, £11.50 - £13.50

Rapper turned comedian turned rapper Doc Brown returns with new album Stemma. CIRCA WAVES


Liverpool garage-pop quartet taking their cue from the early-00s indie scene. THUNDERCAT

INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY, 19:00–22:30, £18


BOLD STREET COFFEE, 19:00–22:00, £5 - £6


Dirty Hit Records showcase a roster of their finest upcoming acts from both sides of the Atlantic.


The chirpy American punkpopsters, all fast-paced and fizzy with hooks, hit town.



ARTS CLUB, 18:00–22:00, £10

Flying Lotus protegee/Brainfeeder affiliated bassist, singer and producer Thundercat brings his soulful, jazz-inflected style of hip-hop our way.


The reggae legends perform their legendary album, erm, Legend in its entirety. DYLAN GOLDEN AYCOCK (JON COLLIN)



Soprano Radu Marian and pianist Svetlana Pekarskaya explore a number of romances by great Russian composers, among other pieces.

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £65

March/April 2017

Sat 18 Mar

Contemporary blues singer/songwriter rich with passionate guitar playing and soul-infused vocals. 80S INVASION

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £24.50 - £42.50


Respected Aussie blues troubadour, playing catchy originals and gutsy solo arrangements of the likes of James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Ben Harper. MANCHESTER COLLECTIVE: INTIMATE LETTERS

BUYERS CLUB, 20:00–23:00, £12


Janácek’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”, is performed alongside the world premiere of Belling’s Inside Mr Enderby, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Anthony Burgess.


Sat 25 Mar

Four of the 1980s’ most memorable acts come together for an evening at the Phil.

An evening of Irish folk from leading names.


INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY, 19:30–23:00, £19.50

The youngest son of the legendary Fela Kuti is joined by his father’s 16-piece funk fuelled orchestra Egypt 80. ANDERSON AND ROE


Piano duo shake up Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, among others.



THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–00:30, £4

The Zanzibar’s local band showcase continues. ROOPA PANESAR


Sitar player and disciple of renowned tutor and performer, Dharambir Singh.


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £5 - £24

Performing Mendelssohn’s majestic Elijah. LIVERPOOL MOZART ORCHESTRA: GRIEG’S PIANO CONCERTO

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £35

LIVERPOOL HOPE UNIVERSITY, 19:30–22:30, £5 - £15

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

Pianist Slava Sidorenko plays through Grieg, Lennox Berkeley and Beethoven.

Wed 22 Mar



THE ATKINSON, 19:30–22:30, £23

The synth-pop master draws on his back catalogue, including renowned albums Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action. ALEXIS TAYLOR


The Hot Chip frontman pares it back with a solo piano show in support of his latest album, composed entirely of piano and vocals.


LIVERPOOL EMPIRE THEATRE , 19:30–22:30, £29.50

The X Factor 2013 champion desperately clutches onto her relevancy with a new UK tour. THE POWER OF TWO (ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA)

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

Piano duo Anderson and Roe perform tunes by Stravinsky, Poulenc and Sibelius. SKINNER’S LANE (NATIVE KINGS + BLACK PULP)

BUYERS CLUB, 19:30–22:30, £3 - £4

Liverpudlian heavy indie rock band.

Fri 24 Mar



Bristol-based four-piece The Evil Usses pour out some more psychedelic jazz with second album Amateur Pro Wrestling. THE MOONLANDINGZ

INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY, 19:30–23:00, £12

An unholy and potentially calamitous union between members of the Fat White Family and the Eccentronic Research Council. CLIVE CARROLL


Acoustic guitar afficianoado, drawing on a range of influences, from traditional Irish to fusion jazz.

Sun 26 Mar



Playing through the sounds of Beethoven, Elgar and Stravinsky, under the conduction of Simon Emery.


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £22.50 - £55

Grammy award-winning global superstar, who shot to fame after his performance at Live Aid in 1985 reached an estimated 1.9 billion people.

THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–00:00, £5

Tue 28 Mar



Out touring their debut album. LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £24.50 - £34.50

The UK and US chart topper celebrates 50 years in the biz.


Drummer, composer and bandleader Johnny Hunter - of Blind Monk Trio, Dub Jazz Soundsystem, Nat Birchall Quintet and Marley Chingus - brings his quartet to the Kaz Gardens.


THE CAPSTONE, 19:30–22:30, £15

The composer, musician and record producer revisits 1985’s British post-minimalist classic The Beating of Wings. LUKE DANIELS


Singer and multi-instrumentalist coming from a background of folk and traditional music.

Thu 30 Mar IDLES

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £7

Bristol’s savage post-punk lot take debut album Brutalism onto the road, socially-aware and politically-potent lyrics setting the pace for thunderous drums and growling guitars. Expect equal measures of swears and sweats. GOAN DOGS (LITTLE TRIGGERS)

THE SHIPPING FORECAST, 19:30–22:30, £6 - £7

Bristol based alt-rock band hitting out on their first UK tour.


A dazzling display of contemporary fare, from Turkish panache to English pastoralism, played on nylon string, steel string, electric, 12 string, fretless, slide, guitarsynth, glissentar guitars and more.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

The long-standing punk-rockers take to the road once more, marking some 40+ years and still standing. SCOTT MATTHEWS

LEAF, 19:00–23:00, £13

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


The Baltic Triangle’s festival of music and arts returns, with the likes of Tiz McNamara, Hardcore Hornography, Wild Fruit Art Collective and many more. EYRE LLEW

HUS, 19:30–22:30, £4

The three piece ambient band from Nottingham, who produce a leftfield ambient extravaganza of the highest quality, perform material from their forthcoming debut album. Support comes from rising Liverpudlian acts Luke Cusato and Hicari.

Sat 01 Apr


Liverpudlian folky pop-rock group, whose debut album, Oubliette, is out now on Skinny Dog Records.


Pop-meets-rock quintet named after Juliette Lewis’ psychopathic character in Natural Born Killers, in case you were wondering. 10CC

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £32 - £41

The 70s hit-makers celebrate 40 years in the business with a set of greatest hits. THRESHOLD FESTIVAL


The Baltic Triangle’s festival of music and arts returns, with the likes of Tiz McNamara, Hardcore Hornography, Wild Fruit Art Collective and many more.



The Baltic Triangle’s festival of music and arts returns, with the likes of Tiz McNamara, Hardcore Hornography, Wild Fruit Art Collective and many more.


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, FROM 19:30, £4 - £5

Surf-rock and dreamy pop from Liverpool. THE WHO

ECHO ARENA, 18:30–22:00, £60 - £70

The famous 1960s rocker tour for what could be their final time, so expect all o’ the hits.



Wed 05 Apr MELANIE C

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £24

She who shall always be known as Sporty Spice does her solo thing, accompanied by her live band. WOODY PINES

THE ATKINSON, FROM 19:30, £9 - £11

North Carolina trio playing Americana tunes.

Fri 07 Apr


An evening of live metal at the Zanzibar. HOT 8 BRASS BAND

INVISIBLE WIND FACTORY, 19:30–23:00, £16.50

New Orleans-based brass band playing authentic New Orleans jazz mixed with various world styles.

Sat 08 Apr


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 20:00–00:15, £10

Join Bob, Bob, Bob and Bob for a left-wing rant - and their final gig. DEREK RYAN

ST GEORGE’S HALL, 20:00–23:00, £21

Country singer Derek Ryan warbles through old favourites, classic country and his own original material. AMY MACDONALD (NEWTON FAULKNER)

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £22.50 - £42.50

The Bishopbriggs lass hits the road for her first UK tour in four years.

Sun 09 Apr



Family concert exploring the magic from Tales of Narnia, Robin Hood, Beauty and The Beast and more.

Tue 11 Apr DAN OWEN

STUDIO 2, 19:30–23:00, £8

After Dan Owen’s dreams of becoming a guitar maker were tragically interrupted due to an accident in his workshop he became a singer-songwriter and prolific performer. Catch his melodic, bluesy and lyrically insightful music this April.

Wed 12 Apr


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

Conductor John Rutter leads the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the first Liverpool performance of The Gift of Life, among others.

Fri 14 Apr THE DEAD 60S

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20

The eclectic Liverpool band regroup for a handful of UK shows, bringing their potent mix of punk, dub and horrorcore ska to the stages once more.



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


Featuring Vaughan Williams’ Fifth and Sixth Symphony, and more. HAPPYNESS

BUYERS CLUB, 20:00–23:00, £9

London-based trio still enjoying the benefits of debut album Weird Little Birthday, and 2016’s more recent EP Tunnel Vision on Your Part, via Moshi Moshi.



Eclectic seven piece fusing country, pop, folk and bluegrass using nowt but a fiddle, mandolin, drums, guitars and four-part harmonies.

Sat 22 Apr


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–00:30, £4 - £6

Three-piece rock group from Liverpool signed to Truly Independent Records. SHOWHAWK DUO ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £15.50

Instrumental acoustic duo made up of guitarists Mikhail Asanovic and Jake Wright, who span a wide stylistic spectrum, from 70s pop to operatic overtures.


New noise rock festival taking over Liverpool’s Invisible Wind Factory, North Shore Troubadour and Drop the Dumbulls. DALLAHAN

THE ATKINSON, FROM 19:30, £12 - £14

Edinburgh-based ensemble bringing a fresh new sound to the world of Celtic music. THE ROBIN NOLAN TRIO


Gypsy jazz guitarist Robin Nolan and his band head up the second in the Phil’s series of Django’s Legacy conerts.


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £45 - £60

The insufferable crooner simply refuses to stop. When he can charge over £40 a pop who can blame him.


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:00–22:00, £22.50 - £47.50

Dutch singer/songwriter specialising in lyrical tales of romance set over a blend of Samba, jazz, bossa nova, mambo and crackling vinyl.


ST GEORGE’S HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25

Sat 15 Apr

An evening with soprano Kitty Whately (winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award and a former BBC New Generation artist), her mother and actress Madelaine Newton and pianist Joseph Middleton.

THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 12:00–16:30, £10

Wed 26 Apr


LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £25 - £40


Ste, Richie and Eoghan head out on their spring tour. Alt/indie lot heavily inspired by the musical stylings of Frank Zappa. THE ATKINSON, FROM 20:00, £11 - £13

Thu 27 Apr


Sari, who trained as an opera singer, mixes blues, rock, and soul with concrete melodies and poetic lyrics to striking effect.


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, 19:30–23:30, £7

London-based act with four albums to his name. KEYWEST

O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £15

Multi-platinum Irish band, hitting the UK with the second wave of their first major headline UK tour.

Manchester Music



Showcasing a range of brass music, from symphonic classics to rousing brass band tunes.


O2 ACADEMY, 19:00–00:00, £22.75

Cockney duo formed back in’t 1972, playing what they term ‘rockney’ and we just call annoying. JOURNEY THROUGH ITALY (ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA)

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

A musical Italian adventure featuring Berlioz’s Harold in Italy and more. SHALAMAR

OLYMPIA, 21:00–02:00, £27.50

70s and 80s-hailing disco-driven American ensemble, out riding the wave of their twilight years.

Sat 29 Apr


THE ZANZIBAR CLUB, FROM 13:00, £5 - £6

An all-dayer at the Zanzibar.



THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:30–23:00, £12

Stage moniker of Timothy Showalter, a singer/songwriter hailing from Philadelphia, weaving true stories into his indie folk sounds.


SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £7.50

Stockholm psychniks peddling hypnotic, dark stoner pop. VANT

GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £11

Parlophone signed four-piece doing their indie rock thing. SO BELOW

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–23:00, £5

New Zealand’s reigning queen of goth pop. CLOCK OPERA (EMBERS + DIVING STATION)

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £8

London experimentalist Guy Connelley brings his eclectic avant-pop ensemble our way. DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS (EYELIDS OR)

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £22

Alabama Ass-Whuppin’ southern rockers, traversing the line between juke joint stompers and soulful ballads. WITH CONFIDENCE (MILESTONES)


SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–23:00, £11

O2 ACADEMY, 19:30–22:30, £23

The mighty Maryland outfit do their badass new-wave pop thing, with funk-inflected lead singer Sam Herring likely growling his way through the set. THE SYD LAWRENCE ORCHESTRA

THE ATKINSON, FROM 19:30, £18 - £24

In 1967 Syd Lawrence formed what was to become the UK’s most successful and longest running Big Band; join them to celebrate 50 glorious years of swing! THE KOOKS

OLYMPIA, 19:00–23:00, £TBC

Tousled-haired Brighton scamps with a kit-bag of guitar-based pop offerings, if anyone’s still listening?

Sun 30 Apr

Australian band performing their first ever UK headline tour. FAITH ELIOTT


The dynamic Japanese drum crew take to the road for another world tour, myriad sized Wadaiko drums most definitely in tow. ROBERT CRAY BAND

LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC HALL, 19:30–22:30, £29.50 - £39



Promoters EVOL return for the annual FestEVOL, with headliners this year including Wild Beasts, Pulled Apart by Horses, The Parrots, The Sundowners, The Big Moon, InHeaven, Cabbage, Dream Wife, Ulrika Spacek, Pink Kink, The Orielles, Peaness and more.


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £10 - £14

Using Coltrane’s legacy as a springboard for experimentation, Nat Birchall lead the quintet through some expansive improvisations. Danish ghetto-pop group with Lukas Graham Forchhammer at the helm. NATIVE DANCER (PLUME)

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:15, £10

SUBMIT welcome Native Dancer for a night of neo-soul, jazz, groove and electronica. O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £25

Shimmering rock lot hailing from Texas. BONOBO

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £23.50

Brighton’s Bonobo (aka Simon Green) shows his face to follow up the January release of sixth LP, Migration. NOVELLA

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £8

UK quartet hit stages with new album Change of State.

ARTS CLUB, 19:00–23:00, £14.50

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


Manchester-based alt rock band combining melodic riffs with building, anthemic choruses. THE SESHEN

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £6

Electro-popping seven-piece from San Francisco Bay, led by singer/ lyricist Lalin St. Juste and bassist/ producer Akiyoshi Ehara. COSMO CALLING

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £5

Single launch for debut single On the Wire. KEHLANI (NOODLES)

O2 RITZ, 18:30–22:00, £16.50

American singer, songwriter and dancer, out trailing debut studio album, SweetSexySavage. UNDO

FALLOW CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £6

Glaswegian indie-punks releasing their debut album with support from poppy emo band Terrafraid. SCOTT BRADLEE’S POSTMODERN JUKEBOX

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £20.50 - £66





EAGLE INN, 19:30–23:00, £6

Solo guitarist, singer and songwriter influenced by alt-country, folk rock and grunge.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:30–23:00, £16

Alternative indie-folk band hailing from Oxford, built on the crystalline vocals of Brian Briggs and Jon Quin’s delicate arrangements, now bowing out with a farewell tour.


SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £7

Cerebral pop with sherbetty vocals and electronic production. FACTORY + SEEGULLS + VIOLENT DISGUISE + CHARLIE

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £6

Scruff of the Neck Records welcome Liverpool’s Factory, dreamy alt-rockers Violet Disguise and others to the stage.


Little Lucy Spraggan, of X Factor fame, now a fully fledged touring musician making ‘flop’ - that’s folk meets hip-hop for the uninitiated.




SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £10

Former lead vocalist of Wolfsbane and Bruce Dickinson’s replacement in Iron Maiden after he departed in 1993. RNCM SESSION ORCHESTRA WITH BILL LAURANCE (RNCM SESSION ORCHESTRA + BILL LAURANCE)


The RNCM Session Orchestra’s Spring show features guest director, Snarky Puppy’s Bill Laurance, kicking off with a set by The Bill Laurance Band, followed by a set by the Session Orchestra.


Scruff of the Neck Records present Manc psychniks Control of the Going, post-punk/grunge band Carpets and the Interpol/Pulpinspired Divine Youth.




The Falmouth-born and Brightonbased math-rockers are built on honed indie-art-rock compositions with explorative arrangements and understated production.

Have a jig to the punky folk and ska beats of Ferocious Dog.

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £10

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


Actual good indie pop. Hooky as fuck, upbeat and airy, with lyrics that read like a Californian’s Tumblr feed. (Seriously, their 2016 EP was called ‘kinda’ and featured a songs called ‘yea, babe, no way’ and ‘WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS’.) JULY TALK

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £10

THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:30–23:00, £13.50


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £21


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:00, £12.50

The Portland-based side-projectturned-main-project Grails tour their latest musical offering, Chalice Hymnal. KING SALAMI AND THE CUMBERLAND THREE

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £8

ALBERT HALL, 19:30–22:30, £24

With their sleek yet gritty brand of alt-bluesy garage rock, Torontobased five-piece July Talk create rock’n’roll that’s both boldly intimate and wildly confrontational.

The rhythm and blues party band of a Japanese punk, a French punk, a Spanish punk and, er, a Caribbean tennis teacher.


SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–23:00, £13

Former lead singer of American rock units The Recoys and The Walkmen, out and touring his solo material.


Huey Lewis and his NYC hip-hop/ rock ensemble head our way, hopefully minus the mug-smashing. MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £4


Manchester-based neo-soul band.

NYC rock trio, out trailing new album, The Boy Who Died Wolf.

DULCIMER BAR, 19:30–22:30, £TBC

Wed 08 Mar


THE KING’S ARMS, 19:00–22:00, £10

A many-pronged line-up is headlined by Mancunian alt rockers Killjoys.

6 hours of back to back Optimo magic, with a live performance by MR TC thrown in to make it a real tropical party.



O2 RITZ, 18:00–22:00, £14.50



ISLINGTON MILL, 22:00–05:00, £12


Anthemic pop-rockers hailing from North Yorkshire.

Mancunian post-punk vets of the late 70s and early 80s, who reformed with two original members - vocalist Mike Finney and drummer Alex Sidebottom back in 2015.




We’re not going to insult your intelligence with ‘Predict a Riot jokes’. You’re better than that. And we don’t predict one anyway.

Local trio who’ve just released debut album, B.R.A.V.E.




THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £7

RETRO BAR, 19:00–23:00, £6

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


Irish rock outfit out trailing new LP Solas.



A musical Italian adventure featuring Berlioz’s Harold in Italy and more.


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–22:00, £13 - £17

Thu 02 Mar


The American blues guitarist and singer returns to the UK with full band in tow, celebrating track after track of good-time blues.

Fri 03 Mar

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £19.50 - £38.50


LIVERPOOL EMPIRE THEATRE , 19:30–22:30, £23.75 - £32.75

American hip-hop trio hailing from Long Island, New York, crafting their own genre-bending blend of alternative jazz rap since 1987.

Vintage reworks of contemporary pop hits courtesy of pianist and arranger Scott Bradlee.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20


ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

With a new EP, Insects, out now on Song by Toad Records, Minneapolisborn, Edinburgh-based Faith Eliott stop by Manchester with support from Tekla and KITS.


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


Southport’s own superb trumpet star forsakes the big band stand and brings his newly formed pianoless sextet to the party.



GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £14

The American rapper and producer, know to his mammy as Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, is joined by Good Compny fr his Beneath the Surface tour.

Canadian neo-classic rock singersongwriter.

Thu 09 Mar

Sun 05 Mar



BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £20

Piano trio jazz troupe. THE ORWELLS

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £12

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

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:00, £7.50

The somewhat slick looking pop rock four-piece hit the road. THE XX

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

London-based trio returning with third album, I See You. THE WEEKND

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £35 - £40

Ethiopian-Canadian recording artist and record producer, known to his mammy as Abel Tesfaye, who started off releasing songs via YouTube in late 2010.


THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £6

LA-based soul singer signed to Fat Possum Records.

Tue 07 Mar


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £24 - £28

Hugely influential reggae and dub producer who was behind Bob Marley’s early studio output.


Japan-born, New York-based singer-songwriter, touring in support of new album, Puberty 2. MARTIN HARLEY & DANIEL KIMBRO

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £12 - £16

The acoustic guitar singer/songwriter taking in ageless blues and roots soundscapes is joined by bassist Kimbro. TARJA

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

Finnish composer, songwriter and soprano who originally found came fronting Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish. MARK EITZEL

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £16

Live set from the respected American underground musician, best known as the lead singer of American Music Club. SEAFRET

SOUND CONTROL, 18:30–22:30, £10

Hailing from the small town of Bridlington, Jack Sedman and Harry Draper serve up acoustic soul-food that’s easy on the ears. THE HALLÉ: ELGAR

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £41

Back in December 1908 The Hallé gave the world premiere of Elgar’s First Symphony and ever since it’s retained a special place in their repertoire. Here they perform it once again, along with the composer’s Overture to Froissart and much more. DOM MAJOR + TOM KAY

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £TBC

Alt Americana artist Dom Major is joined by Tom Kay, whose new album Wither and Bloom is out now.


GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £15


THE CASTLE HOTEL, 20:00–23:00, £TBC

New Mancunian band formed by Graham McCusker and Amy Webber in February 2016, shortly after Graham was diagnosed with Leukaemia. DEAD PRETTIES (THE LIGHTNING YEAR + PANZER CHOCOLATE + QUEEN ZEE AND THE SASSTONES)


Nice Swan Records launch their label with headliners Dead Pretties. AGNIESZKA CHYLISKA

O2 RITZ, 18:30–22:00, £SOLD OUT

Polish singer-songwriter. TÄPP


Newly-formed dynamic strong loop pedal duo, whose music incorporates elements of classical, jazz, trad, folk, electronic dance, funk and world.



This year’s RNCM Chamber Music Festival takes a journey through Hungary’s rich musical heritage, exploring works from 1800 to the present day. Guests include Gábor Takács-Nagy, the Keller and Talich Quartets and many more. DR FEELGOOD

WATERSIDE ARTS CENTRE, 19:30–23:00, £16.50 - £18.50

The longstanding, no-holds-barred Essex rock’n’rollers continue to do what they do best – tour. BANKS

ALBERT HALL, 18:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

Los Angeles born’n’raised singer/ songwriter and self-taught pianist (aka Jillian Banks) touring with her new album, The Altar, in tow. JESS KEMP

SACRED TRINITY CHURCH, 19:30–23:00, £6

Acoustic singer-songwriter hailing from Manchester.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £7

The singer and guitarist is joined by his band for a headline show.


CUT & SPLICE 2017 HALLÉ ST PETER’S, FROM 19:00, £8 - £12

Sound and Music’s sonic arts festival Cut & Splice takes place outside of London for the first time this spring, as Manchester welcomes a programme of UK Premieres, special commissions and installations.

Sat 11 Mar


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–22:00, £10 - £14

A heady cocktail of old school soul and authentic, gritty R’n’B delivered straight from the hip with a whole lot of style and attitude. LOWER THAN ATLANTIS

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £16

Hard-rockin’ foursome hailing from Hertfordshire. WILD CHILD

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £12.50

Folk-meets-pop Texans with Alexander Beggins and Kelsey Wilson sharing lead vocal duties. THE PIGEON DETECTIVES

GORILLA, 18:30–22:00, £SOLD OUT

By the numbers indie-rock, chockfull of staccato and jangly guitar riffs intermixed with unassuming bass lines and hip-swaying beats. STATE CHAMPS (AS IT IS + NORTHBOUND)

O2 RITZ, 18:30–22:00, £14

The pop punk revivalists – a chilling phrase if ever there was – head out on another major headline tour. PSYENCE (DAIV + SUKH + BEDSIDE MANNERS)

FACTORY 251, 19:00–22:30, £6

Riff-heavy psych/rock and roll lot from Stoke-on-Trent. CHILDREN OF BODOM

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £19.50

Finnish heavy metal ensemble, formed in Espoo in ‘93.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:00–21:00, £13 - £37

The Hallé presents Beyond The Score, a fascinating multimedia celebration of Elgar’s Enigma Variations that sees music, actors, singers and big-screen visuals tell the story behind this iconic score, followed by a full performance of the piece itself. JAMES ARTHUR

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

The 2012 X-Factor winner now tumbling down the rungs of the pop world. THE QUIREBOYS


Another intimate show from UK rock legends. CANTER SEMPER

EAGLE INN, 19:30–23:00, £5 - £6

Soulful folk four-piece Canter Semper play an acoustic set, with support from Sphelm. CUT & SPLICE 2017

HALLÉ ST PETER’S, FROM 19:00, £8 - £12

Sound and Music’s sonic arts festival Cut & Splice takes place outside of London for the first time this spring, as Manchester welcomes a programme of UK Premieres, special commissions and installations.

Sun 12 Mar


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £13 - £17

Part of the legendary Jurassic 5, Chali 2Na and his rich baritone vocals are backed by the typical cut and paste style of Krafty Kuts. TORBEN UNIT

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–23:00, £8 - £12

Formerly known as the Max Graef Band, the funk, soul and classic jazz-loving outfit Torben Unit ease into their new phase with a new LP. BONFIRE NIGHTS (CRIMSONS + DUSST)

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–23:00, £5.50

Combining raw, abrasive guitars, layered drones and hypnotic beats, Bonfire Nights emit a fierce wall of noise on stage. BLACK STAR RIDERS (BACKYARD BABIES + GUN)

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £24

The latest incarnation of Thin Lizzy – made up of Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Darren Wharton, Ricky Warwick, Damon Johnson and Marco Mendoza – take their new project on the road. THE HALLÉ: ELGAR, THE DREAM OF GERONTIUS

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 18:30–20:15, £13.50 - £41

A setting of a poem by John Henry Newman, The Dream of Gerontius tells the story of a soul’s journey through death into purgatory with the promise of a final reawakening to glory. LAURA MARLING

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

The Hampshire-born nu-folkster moves from slow-burning tales of forbidden love to building barnstormers, as is her merry way.



GORILLA, 19:30–22:30, £13


Philadephia-based musician who cut his chops as a roadie before becoming a performer proper.

Wed 15 Mar

Singer-songwriter of the YouTube stable, with a channel called ‘doddleoddle’ and a side channel called ‘doddlevloggle’. Eh?

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £18.50

Sat 18 Mar


Swedish dirty pop musician.


New event series dedicated to championing new and compelling music from emerging composers and electronic music producers. MIKE AND THE MECHANICS


Genesis founding member Mike Rutherford and his new generation of ‘The Mechanics’ take to the road to play the hits. DUTCH UNCLES

THE DANCEHOUSE THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £12.50

Manchester’s idiosyncratic art-popologists return to Electric Circus to perform their new studio album Big Balloon expect atypical time signatures and androgynous vocal.

Thu 16 Mar MOON DUO

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £13.50

San Franciscan duo (aka Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada) built on lazily advancing solos and eccentric organ meanderings of loveliness. SLY ANTICS PEUR + SYLVETTER

SOUP KITCHEN, 18:30–22:00, £7

Scruff of the Neck welcome Manchester’s own Sly Antics and others.


THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:00–22:00, £13.50

The Cheshire singer/songwriter reunites with his group Amsterdam after a stretch solo. HONEYFEET (PLUME + REBECCA MULHERN)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £8 - £12

The Manchester-based six-piece, making raucous and rowdy folkhop, led by the distinct vocals of Rioghnach Connolly. CLOUD NOTHINGS

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £11

Dylan Baldi’s DIY project – which started life as lo-fi pop recordings done in his parents’ basement – now a fully-fledged live band.


In *thinking* they’d reached their 10th birthday, Salford DIY promoters Fat Out throw a sick all dayer and party - the party goes ahead regardless with nine candles instead of ten... BEN HAENOW

GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £12.50

Another from the X Factor stable, who was dropped from Simon Cowell’s label less than two years after being signed. *Awkward* JAGWAR MA (KLANGSTOF)

O2 RITZ, 18:30–22:00, £15

Canadian musician and producer Devin Townsend takes to the road with his live band of players.

American rockers from LA, inspired by the blues of John Lee Hooker and early punk bands.

Australian trio Jagwar Ma tour the release of their second album Every Now & Then, bringing their unique brand of hazy neopsychedelia fusing post-screamedelia/Madchester-era dance sound through a hypnotic prism of Oz-matic electronic sounds.

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £7

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £7

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–23:00, £7

Mon 13 Mar


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £22.50


Kilwinning experimental rockers headed by the rather magnificent (at screaming) Janine Shilstone. HUMM (TEQUILA MOCKINGBYRD)

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £6

West Midlands outfit peddling heavy-laced rock.

Tue 14 Mar


THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:30–22:30, £18

Funk rock guitarist par excellence, Dan Reed, takes to the road with his live band Network. AMP FIDDLER (DJ ANDREA TROUT)

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £13 - £17

Detroit’s Amp Fiddler – known for his role as the Keyboardist for George Clinton’s P Funk – returns to UK shores.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £22.50

French heavy/prog metal band. FOXING

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £14

A bunch of St Louis musicians peddling post-rock sounds.

Fri 17 Mar


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 18:00–22:00, £10



London-based duo out touring Berlin-produced debut album Hit the Light.

Hertfordshire four-piece serving up a fusion of pop, funk and rock.

GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £15

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £32.50


Suited and booted dub collective who also take in elements of ska and roots reggae. SMOKED EARS WILL NOT GROW BACK

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £3

A anarchic and obscure blend of spoken word, traditional tunes with a sideways glance and electronic punk. FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES


Hardcore punk band formed by former Gallows and Pure Love frontman Frank Carter. THUNDER

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £28.50

Hard rock/heavy metal outfit formed in the late 80s.


GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £8

Mancunian post-punk vets of the late 70s and early 80s, who reformed with two original members - vocalist Mike Finney and drummer Alex Sidebottom back in 2015. THE DOMINIC J MARSHALL TRIO

WATERSIDE ARTS CENTRE, 19:30–22:30, £12 - £14

The Amsterdam-based trio present an intriguing mix of jazz, classical, hip-hop, soul and folk influences. HORSEBEACH


Manchester’s Horsebeach execute reverb-drenched, chorus-heavy chiming guitars and brooding melodies with all the class of Wild Nothing or The Cure.


The raspy, husky-voiced soulstress hits the road nearly two decades on from the release of her debut album, now rolling forward with her 10th, Stripped. THE HALLÉ: OSCARS FOR ORCHESTRA

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £43

The real star of the movie world gets its chance to shine on The Bridgewater Hall stage as The Hallé showcase the role of the orchestra in Oscar-winning films. ELBOW

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

The Mancunian songsmiths make a - by their standards - intimate return to their home town, with a four-night residency on Stockport Road. GLASS ANIMALS

ALBERT HALL, 18:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

Baroque folk trio with distinct pop(ish) influences, returning with new album, How to be a Human Being. Sold out. MONSTER TRUCK


Canadian rock outfit, following up their debut with second album Sittin’ Heavy.

Sun 19 Mar


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £17.50 - £22

The youngest son of the legendary Fela Kuti is joined by his father’s 16-piece funk fuelled orchestra Egypt 80. SURFER BLOOD

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £8.50

American alternative rock unit.

March/April 2017

THE VIRGINMARYS GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £12.50


Macclesfield-born rock trio with their sights set on America, drawing on influences including Nirvana, Mudhoney and Screaming Trees.

MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY, 18:30–23:00, £22.50

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–23:00, £14

Thu 23 Mar


New Jersey rock ensemble formed way back in 1999, back at it for The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path 10th anniversary. ELBOW

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

Finnish power metal band known for their fast-paced, melodic and keyboard-heavy music. BATTLE BEAST (MAJESTY)

THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:00–22:00, £13.50

Finnish metal group formed back in 2008. DOC BROWN

The Mancunian songsmiths make a - by their standards - intimate return to their home town, with a four-night residency on Stockport Road.

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £13 - £17.50

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:00–22:30, £15

Liverpool garage-pop quartet taking their cue from the early-00s indie scene.


Sludge metal trio hailing from New Orleans, crafting a slow and brooding sorta sound interspersed with fast hardcore punk influences. LITTLE COMETS


Kitchen sink-styled indie-rock quartet led by the dynamic Robert Coles.

Mon 20 Mar


GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £13.50

Sargent House stalwarts Russian Circles head our way following the release of post-pock record Guidance. ELBOW

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

The Mancunian songsmiths make a - by their standards - intimate return to their home town, with a four-night residency on Stockport Road. SUICIDE SILENCE


American deathcore band formed in California.

Tue 21 Mar


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £5 - £6

Two of the UK’s finest youth jazz orchestras come together in concert at Manchester’s iconic jazz venue. HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF

GORILLA, 19:00–22:15, £10

Singer, songwriter and banjo player Alynda Lee Segarra brings her country folk outfit Hurray for the Riff Raff our way, for a live show that’s awash with her New Orleans vibing sound. AMERICAN AQUARIUM

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £14

Alt-country outfit from Raliegh, North Carolina. ELBOW

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

The Mancunian songsmiths make a - by their standards - intimate return to their home town, with a four-night residency on Stockport Road. ANDRÉ RIEU

MANCHESTER ARENA, 20:00–23:00, £45 - £95

Famous Dutch violinist and conductor.


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–23:00, £10

Texas-born singer-songwriter of the folksy variety. THE ELLIOT GALVIN TRIO


2014 winners of the European Young Jazz Artist of the Year Award in Germany, with Galvin on piano, Tom McCredie on double bass and Simon Roth on drums. IRA

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £25

Polish rock band who formed in 1987.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 14:15–16:15, £13 - £41

Prodigiously gifted young Israeli conductor Lahav Shani makes his Hallé debut alongside a Hallé favourite, Sofya Gulyak.

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Rapper turned comedian turned rapper Doc Brown returns with new album Stemma.

FRIDAY 26 MAY £20/£16*


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £15


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £12

Raggle taggle folk ensemble blending a unique mixture of rock, pop, gypsy jazz and bluegrass into their mix. THUNDERCAT GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £18



As one of Handel’s greatest masterpieces, this rarely staged dramatic work contains some of Handel’s most beautiful arias, duets and choruses, promising to be a profoundly moving theatrical experience.

Flying Lotus protegee/Brainfeeder affiliated bassist, singer and producer Thundercat brings his soulful, jazz-inflected style of hip-hop our way.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £15

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13 - £41



Prodigiously gifted young Israeli conductor Lahav Shani makes his Hallé debut alongside a Hallé favourite, Sofya Gulyak. ALL TIME LOW

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–23:00, £28.50

The chirpy American punkpopsters, all fast-paced and fizzy with hooks, hit town. VICTORIA

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £6

DHP welcome the London-based electronic-pop five-piece.

Fri 24 Mar


Bluesy rock’n’rollers from Birmingham, Broken Witt are joined by Norfolk five-piece Bad Touch for a co-headline UK tour. YUSSEF KAMAAL

BAND ON THE WALL, 20:00–23:00, £10 - £14.50

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

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

Polish grunge outfit whose, erm, heydey was in the mid 1990s. AUSTRA

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £12

Austra is an electronic music project from Toronto, Ontario, founded by Katie Stelmanis in 2009. TOTAL FICTION (PAUL CLIPSON + SHINYA SUGIMOTO + JEREMY YOUNG)

ISLINGTON MILL, 19:00–22:00, £TBC

A 16mm film projection event with live improvised score, taking it’s name from Shinya Sugimoto & Jeremy Young’s forthcoming LP, which will respond to the properties of the space. JACQUES GREENE

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £8

The enigmatic Canadian producer plays a live show ahead of the release of debut album LuckyMe. CAR SEAT HEADREST

GORILLA, 19:30–22:30, £12

American indie rock band from Virginia, now based in Seattle with latest album, Teens of Denial. FORMATION

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £8

Aspirant south London electronic pop types.


London progressive metal types bringing the heavy to their expansive song structures.

MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

The American metalheads perform Revolution Revolucion in full in support of its 15th anniversary. DELLA LUPA (INDIGO ROSE + BLAYLOCK + ASH MOUNTAIN)

EAGLE INN, 19:30–23:00, £7

Brightonian pop singer.

Sat 25 Mar


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £27.50

Riotous, adrenalin-soaked Scottish alternative rock unit in the fuzzy, scuzzy flesh. MANCHESTER COLLECTIVE: INTIMATE LETTERS

ISLINGTON MILL, 20:00–23:00, £12


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £20 - £25

Afrobeat forefather and original member of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70, Tony Allen’s trademark continues to blaze the trail for dub, drunk, electronica and rap.


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

American composer and electronic musician Tyondai Braxton is joined by Brooklyn-based acoustic ensemble Dawn of Midi. JOHNNY FLYNN AND THE SUSSEX WIT

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £16

After a three-year hiatus, folkrock singer/songwriter Johnny Flynn dusts off his guitar for a tour with his The Sussex Wit cohorts in celebration of new album, Sillion. MANCHESTER COLLECTIVE: INTIMATE LETTERS


Janácek’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”, is performed alongside the world premiere of Belling’s Inside Mr Enderby, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Anthony Burgess. LEWIS WATSON

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £12.50

Fledgling young Oxford singer/ songwriter, best known for his stripped-down YouTube take on Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car.

Janá?ek’s String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”, is performed alongside the world premiere of Belling’s Inside Mr Enderby, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Anthony Burgess.

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13 - £41

AATMA, 14:00–22:00, £7

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £35 - £100


Metal and hardcore all-dayer. THE HIDDEN CAMERAS (ROYAL WOOD)

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £10

Canadian indie-pop troupe fronted by the mercurial Joel Gibb. STIFF LITTLE FINGERS

O2 RITZ, 18:30–22:00, £18.50

70s punk-pop foursome par excellence, on the go now for a ridiculous amount of years.



Featuring Bodysnatchers (Fred’s re-working of a Radiohead tune), his arrangements of Astor Piazzola’s Libertango and excerpts from Bodacious Cowboys (his arrangements of the music of Steely Dan). CREEPER

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:00–23:00, £13.50

The former Funeral For A Friend supports play a solo set in support of debut album Eternity, In Your Arms. YES FT. ANDERSON, RABIN AND WAKEMAN


Prodigiously gifted young Israeli conductor Lahav Shani makes his Hallé debut alongside a Hallé favourite, Sofya Gulyak. A.R. RAHMAN

Internationally renowned composer, musician, singer and record producer, celebrated for chart-topping and award-winning film soundtracks including Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. JAMES MASLOW

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £15

Billed on his Facebook page as ‘Actor, Musician, Creator’. You can do better hun.

Mon 27 Mar SINKANE

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–22:30, £9.50

The Yesayer and Caribou collaborator heads our way to showcase his Sudanese brand of motorik and funk.


THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:30–22:30, £8

Great British songwriting with a band that has real character and charm, fronted by the unique vocals of Izzy Baxter. Tipped for big things.

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £51 - £76

Vocalist Jon Anderson, guitarist Trevor Rabin and keyboardist Rick Wakeman return.






BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £12 - £16

SOUND CONTROL, 19:30–23:00, £11

ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £SOLD OUT

Mixing west-African funky seventies grooves with highlife guitar licks and deep synth electronica, Ibibio create a soulful gumbo that feels instantly familiar and yet also new and fresh. TOMMY CASH

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £10

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

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £11

Pop rock fresh from the shores of Long Island, NYC. MIST

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £12.50

Slovenian doom metal unit with occult leanings. ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ TRIO


Mentored by none other than Quincy Jones, the prodigiously talented young Cuban pianist is rapidly amassing international plaudits, heading our way with his trio for their first UK tour, playing the music from his most recent recording, Tocororo. TEMPLES

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £12

Neo psych bunch hailing from the midlands/the early 80s, built on frontman James Bagshaw’s impressively polished vocals. GRANDADDY

ALBERT HALL, 19:30–22:30, £24.50

American indie rock band featuring Jason Lytle, Kevin Garcia, Aaron Burtch, Jim Fairchild and Tim Dryden, out trailing new album, Last Place.



A live performance from the young musicians of Sing City, BOTW’s songwriting group for under 18s. DAVE


Nope, not the contractor overseeing your Mum’s one-storey extension, but an 18 year old rapper and producer from Streatham. FRANCOIS AND THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £10

Saintes-born Francois Marry does his airy and understated thing under his François and the Atlas Mountains’ banner, all afro-beat sway and sweet indie-pop melodies. HALEY BONAR

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £10

Alternative Minneapolis singer discovered during an open mic event in Duluth by one of her musical heroes, Alan Sparhawk of Low. THE SWINGLES + TWELFTH DAY


Seven young singers make up today’s London-based group, driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the group since they first made waves in the 1960s. NE-YO (DIAMOND PLATNUMZ)

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £49

LA-based R’n’B artist, producer, actor and dancer who’s so sick of love songs; so tired of tears. Poor tyke. NEW CARNIVAL (GURR)

American post hardcore rock group from Sacramento, California. LOUIS BERRY

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £11

Young local singer-songwriter, whose lyrics cut through politics and crime, love and loss. JOEY JORDISON’S VIMIC

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

American heavy metal lot fronted by former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £41

A fascinating meeting of old world and new as Carlos Miguel Prieto conducts work from his native Mexico, the United States and Spain with works by Mexican composer Revueltas, Copland’s, Gershwin and Falla. BEAR’S DEN

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–23:00, £18.50

London-based trio led by folkster Andrew Davie (formerly of Cherbourg). ACOUSTIC AMNESTY


Embrace the natural acoustics of Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church, while helping raise money for a good cause. Acts performing TBC.

Norwegian black metal band from Oslo, still thundering on after forming in the mid-80s. HOWARD JONES (RACHAEL SAGE)


The synth-pop master draws on his back catalogue, including renowned albums Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action.


GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £12

An unholy and potentially calamitous union between members of the Fat White Family and the Eccentronic Research Council. SAMANTHA CRAIN

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £9

The Oklahoma-residing singer/ songwriter navigates her American roots through song.




THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £10

Foot stompin’ gypsy jazz. NATHAN FAKE

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–23:00, £10

Cambria Instruments head-honcho, who’s been at the forefront of British electronic music for a good decade or so.


SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:00, £8

Touring their brand new studio album, Temple of Artifice. WEAL (SOLDATO + BRAVADO CARTEL)

FACTORY 251, 19:00–22:30, £6


The long-standing punk-rockers take to the road once more, marking some 40+ years and still standing. CRAIG DAVID

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:30–22:30, £27 - £38

Mr David is making music and touring again – you know the drill, look busy.

Fri 31 Mar

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–22:00, £15

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £18 - £22


More humorous, romantic and string-laden guitar-based pop from the lovably twee Swedish singer/songwriter. BLACKBERRY SMOKE

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £20

Georgia-based rockers who have been together for more than a decade. BLAENAVON

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:15, £8

Fledgling Hampshire trio built on soaring choruses and the manic energy of yoof. GAVIN JAMES

GORILLA, 19:30–22:30, £10

Dublin singer/songwriter, stepping out of the shadow of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran support slots with his debut album. ACID REIGN

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £15

Thrash metal outfit from the 80s, now reformed after disbanding in the early 90s. RNCM SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


Mahler’s Ninth Symphony has divided opinion for decades. The piece is full of contrast - life/death, lyricism/pathos, stillness/storm yet while it is dark, grotesque and disturbing, there is a painful beauty running through this symphony.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

Nashville-based rock quintet signed to NYC label What’s Your Rapture?

THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:00–22:00, £10

The female twisted rock outfit return with their unique sound and show.

Sun 02 Apr

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £12 - £16



O2 APOLLO, 19:00–23:00, £25

Manchester-based indie-punk band.

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £8

Sat 01 Apr


Thu 30 Mar

Upright bassist, vocalist, producer, composer and arranger Miles Mosley heads our way, full band in tow, to celebrate new LP Uprising.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £8

Unsigned indie/rock band from Manchester.





Northwest trio merging classic rock with blues, funk and punk.

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £6

Rising Bristolian DIY four-piece.

Killer Mike and El-P – aka Run The Jewels – showcase tracks from their third album, which blends big-time bravado with some truly eye-opening takes on modern life.

FACTORY 251, 19:00–22:30, £6


Swedish punk and funk-influenced four-piece, who specialise in making a big ol’ racket. RICK ASTLEY


Multi-million-selling singer, who once promised never to give you up (or let you down, run around and desert you, make you cry, say good bye or tell a lie and hurt you, while we’re on the subject), out touring his new album. LLOYD COLE

WATERSIDE ARTS CENTRE, 19:30–23:00, £20 - £23

Performing a live set of vintage material from 1983 to 1996.


The revered Arkestra return with more of their unsurpassed avant-garde jazz, with 91 year old alto saxophonist Marshall Allen at the helm. YOU ME AT SIX

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 18:30–22:30, £28.50



29 year old pianist, whose fluent improvisation fuses rich folkloric music and the poetry of his native Armenia with dubstep, thrash metal and electronica. COLD IN BERLIN

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £6

Covering a doomgaze, dream punk dance element to captivating effect. THE WHO

MANCHESTER ARENA, 18:00–22:00, £60 - £70

The famous 1960s rocker tour for what could be their final time, so expect all o’ the hits.



Born and raised Reading locals, Matt, Joe, Elliot and Chris take the aggression of grunge and punk and attempt to splice it with melody and harmony. JESCA HOOP

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £11

Manchester-based, Californiaborn songstress rich with layered harmonies, cavernous production and slow, sombre seduction. MELANIE C

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £23.50

She who shall always be known as Sporty Spice does her solo thing, accompanied by her live band. PULLED APART BY HORSES

SOUND CONTROL, 18:30–22:00, £12

Leeds-based band of lunatics running to a tight check list of torturous vocals, distortion, serious riffage, and hardcore clatter. All in the name of some pretty bloody awesome balls-to-the-wall rock, y’understand. ATTILA (THE WORD ALIVE)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £12

Atlanta party metal behemoths hit the road again. COLIN HAY

THE DANCEHOUSE THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £20 - £24

The Grammy Award-winning frontman of Men At Work gives his forthcoming solo release a live airing. REAL FRIENDS

Angst rock of the mosh-bynumbers emo variety, touring their new LP Night People.


GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

Fri 07 Apr


Johannesburg-born indie-meetsfolk singer-songwriter more at home on the road that not. 10CC GREATEST HITS & MORE BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–22:30, £32 - £35

The 70s hit-makers celebrate 40 years in the business with a set of greatest hits.


SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £12.50

American pop punkers from Illinois signed to Fearless Records. SOUL TUBES

MATT AND PHRED’S JAZZ CLUB, 21:30–01:00, £5

Performing soul and funk from Franklin to Wonder. JORJA SMITH

GORILLA, 18:30–22:00, £10.50

19 year old singer from Walsall, drawing on influences including Mos Def, The Streets and Lauryn Hill. ELLE EXXE

FACTORY 251, 19:00–22:30, £7

Sat 08 Apr


THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £6

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–22:00, £12 - £16


Nottingham singer-songwriter pops in for an inevitably rousing set of country-esque tunes. THE NEAL MORSE BAND

O2 RITZ, 18:00–22:00, £25

The American prog-rocker is joined by his latest band collab.


Showcasing music that pushes the limits of both the clarinet and piano, through world premieres and new music across the classical and contemporary genres from 21st-century composers. TAKEN

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:00, £10

Ste, Richie and Eoghan head out on their spring tour.



World superbike champ James Toseland dips his toe into the music pool, as ya do.

Sun 09 Apr


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–23:00, £16

Texan singer/songwriter, and onetime member of alternative punk group The Nuns, presents another slice of solid rock. SOULWAX

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

Alt rock/electronic band from Ghent, Belgium. CHRIS BOURNE

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £10

James from Busted’s wee bro.

Mon 10 Apr PALACE

THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:30–22:30, £12

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

Tue 11 Apr PWR BTTM

THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:00–22:00, £10

American queer punk duo, with Ben Hopkins on guitar and vocals and Liv Bruce on drums and vocals. BRITISH SEA POWER

After Dan Owen’s dreams of becoming a guitar maker were tragically interrupted due to an accident in his workshop he became a singersongwriter and prolific performer. Catch his melodic, bluesy and lyrically insightful music this April.

Tue 04 Apr


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £10 - £14

Manu Delago shot to fame after uploading a video of himself playing the hang, a UFO-like hand-played sound sculpture, to YouTube. His latest project sees him joined by producer Matt Robertson (Bjork, The Prodigy). TORY LANEZ (VEECEE)

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

Canadian hip hop artist, aka Daystar Peterson.


O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £SOLD OUT

The musician-cum-activist heads out on his 57th and 9th tour. ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES + ASH COOPER DUO

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £7.50

Birmingham’s Ash Cooper Duo serve up a spread of country rock alongside Angels With Dirty Faces. HOLLY MACVE

SACRED TRINITY CHURCH, 19:30–22:30, £9

Yorkshire artist signed to Bella Union. YUNGEN

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:00–23:00, £9

Frseh-faced South London hip hop MC. HELLYEAH

MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

American heavy metal supergroup featuring members of Mudvatne, Nothingface, Pantera and Damageplan, heading to UK shores after releasing album Unden!able last year.

ISLINGTON MILL, 15:00–04:00, £25 - £65

A three-day glitter-coated celebration of independent art and music brought to you by Salford’s experimental DIY promoters, Fat Out Til You Pass Out. BLACK SONIC REVOLVER (THE BRAZEN)

AATMA, 19:00–02:00, £TBC

The indie rockers play a hometown show. WEYES BLOOD (DRUGDEALER)

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £10

Solo project of New York-based musician Natalie Mering, aka ex-Jackie-O Motherfucker member and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti associate. SLAUGHTER

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £14

The influential Manc lot, Slaughter & The Dogs, under a new guise. LEAH MCFALL

THE KING’S ARMS, 19:30–22:30, £10

Northern Irish singer-songwriter who was a runner up on The Voice, out on her first UK tour.

Sat 15 Apr



The Nottingham seven-piece psych/70s prog-rock supergroup, whose debut album Is Satan Real? was released last September, play their first Manchester show. KID INK

MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £25

The young LA-based rapper, producer and songwriter brings his much-tattooed self to our shores. FAT OUT FEST (IRMA VEP + MOOR MOTHER + JAM WEAVER + SWAGGERJACK + MORE)

ISLINGTON MILL, 15:00–04:00, £25 - £65

A three-day glitter-coated celebration of independent art and music brought to you by Salford’s experimental DIY promoters, Fat Out Til You Pass Out.


O2 RITZ, 18:00–22:00, £16


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

Singer, songwriter, rapper and producer from Long Island, New York, out touring debut studio album The Human Condition.

The singer-songwriter (and model, ‘cos they all are these days, right?) tours her debut album.



BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:00–22:00, £22.50 - £47.50

The Brighton indie-rockers do their romantic, pastoral longing thing to suitably fine effect.

THE DANCEHOUSE THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £15 - £17

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £8

Belgian five-piece band mixing electronic, jazz and future funk.

The Portsmouth/Southampton hailing five-piece bring the rallying metalcore sounds, as per.

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £12

English folk guitarist and singer from Devon, doing his one man with a guitar thing to suitably fine effect.


O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £16

Wed 12 Apr

Critics Choice Award nominee Frances brings her silky vocals to our way after a stint of songwriting with Disclosure in his garden studio.

THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:00–22:00, £16

Industrial electronic musical project created by the LA-based Daniel Graves back in 2000.

London-based, Scottish dirty pop singer-songwriter.



Mexican shoegaze/krautrock outfit, hitting UK shores fresh from the release of new album Balance.

Psychedlic rock from Joshua Tree, California.


Fri 14 Apr


O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £16

Thu 13 Apr


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £14.50 - £16.50

Composer, saxophonist and bandleader Chris Potter performs with an evolving group of the UK’s most promising emerging professional musicians, selected through an open call application process. CHARLOTTE CHURCH’S LATE NIGHT POP DUNGEON GORILLA, 18:30–22:00, £14

The classically-trained Welsh songstress returns to the spotlight under her latter-day pop guise. PAPERHEAD

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £8

The Nasvhille-based fuzz pop group come hotly tipped having been signed by psych label Trouble In Mind.


Dutch singer/songwriter specialising in lyrical tales of romance set over a blend of Samba, jazz, bossa nova, mambo and crackling vinyl. M1 MUSIC (SELWYN SMITH)

THE KING’S ARMS, 20:00–23:00, £TBC

M1 Music is very much a label of free speech, specialising in hip hop, R’n’B, reggae and jazzy funk, often with lyrics of a political nature.

Sun 16 Apr


THE RUBY LOUNGE, 16:00–03:00, £10

Easter Sunday special playing homage to the greatest Seattle grunge bands. THE WATCH

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £13 - £17

The Italian prog-rock favourites perform the classic 1972 Genesis album, Foxtrot.


ISLINGTON MILL, 15:00–04:00, £25 - £65

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:00–22:00, £22.50 - £47.50




French label Brotherhood takes over the Soup Kitchen basement, welcoming Manchester’s own Easy Kill and others.

THE LOWRY: LYRIC THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £22.50 - £28

O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £20

Dutch singer/songwriter specialising in lyrical tales of romance set over a blend of Samba, jazz, bossa nova, mambo and crackling vinyl.

The Welsh singer/songwriter embarks on his biggest ever UK tour in support of 12th studio album, Echoes of Our Times.

Mon 17 Apr


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 13:00–23:00, £26

All day heavy metal festival, with organisers Impericon bringing a mixed bag of metal acts to the stage. CHELSEA WOLFE (TRUE WIDOW + KING WOMAN)

GORILLA, 19:00–23:00, £15

The Californian songstress brings the richly layered and darkly haunting stylings as per.

SOUP KITCHEN, 20:00–23:00, £5 - £7


Bristolian synth-poppers.


Returning for another thwack of punk rock sounds from across the globe.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £15

Four-piece punk/indie band from Philly.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £41

English rapper (aka Nathaniel Thomson), now on his fourth studio album.

Feauturing Sunwook Kim performing Brahms’ majestic Second Concerto, the world premiere of a symphony by a leading light of today’s British Music scene, Huw Watkins, and more.

THE LOWRY: LYRIC THEATRE, 19:00–22:00, £22.50 - £45

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £12


O2 RITZ, 19:00–23:00, £15.50



Grammy award-winning global superstar, who shot to fame after his performance at Live Aid in 1985 reached an estimated 1.9 billion people.

Post punk purveyors Patent Pending stop by as part of their mammoth UK tour.

Tue 18 Apr

BAND ON THE WALL, 19:00–22:00, £14 - £18


One half of seminal post-rockers Stereolab, Laetitia Sadier steps out with a new project. CIGARETTES AFTER SEX

GORILLA, 19:30–22:30, £12

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


Kent-hailing, toe-tapping, indiefolk five-piece – favourites on BBC 6 Music and winners of the Rebel Playlist. SEASICK STEVE

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £26 - £33.50

Storytelling country-rockin’ bluesman, whos tunes are rich with his raspy vocals and personalised guitar.


THE DEAF INSTITUTE, 19:30–23:00, £9

London-based singer/songwriter of the acoustic noise soul variety. PUMAROSA

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:30–23:00, £7

Now Wave welcome London-based Pumarosa back to the North for their first headline show in Manchester, following a mesmerising set that closed the Now Wave Stage at last year’s Sounds From the Other City festival. THE UNTHANKS: HOW WILD THE WIND BLOWS


Following their acclaimed reinterpretations of the works of Robert Wyatt and Antony and The Johnsons, the mavericks of British folk music The Unthanks perform the extraordinary songs of Molly Drake, mother of Nick Drake. DREAM THEATER

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £15 - £33.50

Progressive metallers riding along on John Petrucci’s guitar wizardry. JACK CHESHIRE (STEAL + JAMES M CARSON)

GULLIVERS, 19:30–23:00, £7

London-based act with four albums to his name.


Combining dub, electronica, reggae, folk, rock and many other genres. Eclectic AF. THE KOOKS


Tousled-haired Brighton scamps with a kit-bag of guitar-based pop offerings, if anyone’s still listening? THE SHIMMER BAND

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £7

The Bristolian five-piece bring their self-combusting psychedelic rock sound on tour. JAKE ISAAC

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £11

Ascendant South London singersongwriter. KEYWEST

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £15

Multi-platinum Irish band, hitting the UK with the second wave of their first major headline UK tour. BBC IN TUNE


BBC Radio 3’s In Tune broadcasts live from The Stoller Hall - the venue’s very first public event - transmitting music live from the stage alongside interviews and conversation with a panel of guests.



Pianist Gwilym Simcock performs alongside violinist Thomas Gould and Manchester legend Mike Walker in The Stoller Hall’s opening concert.


THE RUBY LOUNGE, 19:00–22:00, £12.50

The former Bad Seed and member of Magazine and Buzzcocks plays an intimate show. RAG N BONE MAN


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

A three-day glitter-coated celebration of independent art and music brought to you by Salford’s experimental DIY promoters, Fat Out Til You Pass Out.

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £12


SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £8

Thu 20 Apr THE KOOKS

Returning for another thwack of punk rock sounds from across the globe.


FACTORY 251, 19:00–22:30, £7


Classically-trained pianist and vocalist, carefully treading the no-man’s land between jazz, r’n’b, soul, hip hop and electronica.


Jamie Campbell Bower-fronted punk outfit.

Tousled-haired Brighton scamps with a kit-bag of guitar-based pop offerings, if anyone’s still listening?

VARIOUS VENUES, 14:00–22:00, £30


Critically acclaimed female punk rocker carrying the torch of Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer.




MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £13.50



The official launch of The Stoller Hall, featuring conductors Sir Mark Elder and Stephen Threlfall, soloists Paul Lewis and Kitty Whately plus a host of musicians in two orchestras.

BAND ON THE WALL, 20:00–23:00, £13 - £17

Pianist James Pearson, Artistic Director of the world famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, joins the Hallé and conductor Roderick Dunk for a toe-tapping tribute to 100 years of jazz piano greats.

Mon 24 Apr


PALACE THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £35 - £60

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £7

Irish rapper and record producer known off-stage as Alexander Anyaegbunam.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13.50 - £43


Two-time Emmy Award winning star Megan Mullally (Will & Grace’s booze guzzling gold-digger Karen Walker) makes her first concert appearance outside of London, alongside Stephanie Hunt as brand new band Nancy & Beth.


GORILLA, 19:30–23:00, £16

Post-black metal success stories continue their unexpected ascent following a line-up change back in 2013. BRYDE

Emerging London solo artist, who released her Bill Ryder-Jonesproduced second EP at the end of last year. JOHN PRINE

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:00–22:00, £24.50 - £28.50


American country/folk singersongwriter.

GULLIVERS, 19:00–23:00, £6

Tue 25 Apr


SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £8.50

New Manchester four-piece playing your usual rock ‘n’ roll staples. MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:30–23:00, £12.50

Big-beat bar band returning to Manchester.



Tameside five-piece doing the indie thing. NAVARRA STRING QUARTET SHOSTAKOVICH QUARTET 5


In the lead up to the centenary of Red October, Chetham’s presents all 15 of Shostakovich’s String Quartets; kicking off with his intimate Fifth Quartet. TED ROBBINS & CHETHAM’S BIG BAND


Known for his appearances on Phoenix Nights and Little Britain, Lancashire-based Ted Robbins now takes to the stage to celebrate the opening of The Stoller Hall. FROM THE GROUND UP


A brand new piece by Manchesterbased composer Michael Betteridge, specially written for young musicians from across Greater Manchester. DEBUSSY: THE SONATAS


The three completed works from Debussy’s planned cycle of six sonatas are performed in their entirety, accompanied by new choreography from Melbourne’s Victoria College of Arts and Chester’s Hammond School.


UK headline tour from the former Tribes frontman, who returns with a new EP. SPLASHH

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 20:00–23:00, £8

Australia, New Zealand and UKstraddling alternative dreamers. HAUS

SOUND CONTROL, 19:00–22:30, £6.50

North London five-piece churning up rock with hip-hop and electronic influences. HAPPYNESS

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £9

London-based trio still enjoying the benefits of debut album Weird Little Birthday, and 2016’s more recent EP Tunnel Vision on Your Part, via Moshi Moshi. JAWS


Brummy-born four-piece taking their indie pop tunes on a tour of the UK.

Wed 26 Apr CUPIDS

NIGHT AND DAY CAFE, 19:30–22:30, £7

R’n’B singer four albums into a 15-year career.


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 14:15–16:15, £13 - £41

Featuring Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Weber’s Second Clarinet Concerto and Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings. MARCUS FARNSWORTH


Award-winning baritone performs at The Stoller Hall before leading an afternoon masterclass after.


Thu 27 Apr


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £8 - £10

Cellist Gabriella Swallow presents a performance with her Urban Family, a gathering of dynamic musicians who share her eclecticism, passion and integrity.


BAND ON THE WALL, 19:30–22:30, £13 - £17

Latino big band lead expertly by Sergio Mendoza. VENGABOYS (CHEEKY GIRLS + LOLLY)

O2 RITZ, 20:00–23:00, £20

Sounds like they’ve finally finished partying in Ibiza (or Eat-Pizza, as they like to call it), and are back on the road. THE PONDEROSA ACES (AGS CONNOLLY)

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £9

Californian outlaw country band make their UK debut to launch their new album. EDDI READER (ADAM HOLMES)

THE LOWRY: QUAYS THEATRE, 20:00–23:00, £22.50

Reader weaves her velvety vocal palette around a selection of traditional and contemporary songs.


Seasoned folk singer/songwriter who’s been slowly evolving since his days as a young chorister. BANDANTE

THE CASTLE HOTEL, 19:30–22:30, £8

The new band from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds guitarist, George Vjestica. THE HALLÉ: ELGAR, WEBER AND TCHAIKOVSKY

BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13 - £41

Featuring Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Weber’s Second Clarinet Concerto and Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings. RUSTY SHACKLE

GULLIVERS, 19:30–22:30, £8

Monmouthshire-based rootsy folk rock. FRANKIE VALLI AND THE FOUR SEASONS

MANCHESTER ARENA, 20:00–23:00, £45 - £75

Frankie Valli and his touring mainstays, The Four Seasons, play the hits. HAYSEED DIXIE

MANCHESTER CLUB ACADEMY, 19:30–23:00, £17.50

US novelty metal legends playing a mixture of hard rock cover versions and original compositions.

The reggae singer, who’s worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole and Pet Shop Boys, tours with her band. RETRO BAR, 19:00–23:00, £6

Reverb-drenched, shoegazeinfused psychedelia from Manchester. PHARMAKON

SOUP KITCHEN, 19:00–22:00, £10

The project of NYC born and raised Margaret Chardiet.




SUNKEN MONDAYS, 22:00-04:00, £1-£15


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



A weekly student night playing the very best in house and techno.


GORILLA, 19:00–22:00, £13.50

London-based folk group, fronted by Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas, delivering a reliably foot stomping show. CABBAGE


Manchester-based five-piece serving up discordant post-punk. SHAWN MENDES

MANCHESTER ARENA, 19:00–22:00, £27.50 - £45

Canadian singer-songwriter of Vine fame, apparently. JULIAN CLEF


Kerala-born pianist Julian Clef opens The Stoller Hall’s Rising Stars series with a programme of 20thcentury French music.


MANCHESTER ACADEMY, 19:00–23:00, £27.50

Leeds Clubs Liverpool Clubs O2 Academy SATURDAYS

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

Long-running indie night, serving 28 cities across the UK, Ireland and Australia; expect The Libertines, The Fratellis, Kate Nash and such.


70s and 80s-hailing disco-driven American ensemble, out riding the wave of their twilight years.

A bingo rave with DJs, dance-offs and, of course, bingo.

O2 RITZ, 16:00–22:00, £10



The influential 80s UK post-punk band return with a full choir. WHILE SHE SLEEPS

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2, 19:30–23:00, £15

The Sheffield metalcore troops bring their usual racket. THE SAW DOCTORS

BONGO’S BINGO, 18:00-23:30, £5


MOVEONUP, 23:00-LATE, £3-£4

20 years of weekly soul – and counting – with DJ Matt Bolton. THURSDAYS


Resident DJs drop the biggest hip hop beats and breaks of the last 30 years.

O2 APOLLO, 19:00–22:00, £26 - £36



Residents’ party playing an eclectic mix of sounds from across the dance spectrum.

The Irish collective of songwriters celebrate their country of origin through song, as is their way. ALBERT HALL, 19:00–23:00, £17.50

British soul artist combining soul and roots influences in one deep and husky-voiced whole. BEDNAREK


The latest in what we’d imagine is quite a short line of Polish reggae sensations.

Sun 30 Apr


BRIDGEWATER HALL, 19:30–21:30, £13 - £41

Featuring Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Weber’s Second Clarinet Concerto and Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings. THE HYENA KILL

MANCHESTER ACADEMY 3, 19:00–23:00, £9

Manchester-based hard rock two-piece, comprised of Steven Dobb (vocals and guitars) and Lorna Blundell (drums), who are experts in crafting huge, powerful music with enormous hooks and filthy grooves. DANIEL O’DONNELL (MARY DUFF)

THE LOWRY: LYRIC THEATRE, 19:30–22:30, £37.50 - £42.50

The most successful easylistening-country star tours his back catalogue of hits.



Everyone’s favourite grassroots festival returns for another year with Goat Girl, Flamingods, July Skies, Amber Arcades, The Lovely Eggs and more.



CLARKS, 23:00-LATE, £4

A heady cocktail of dancehall, soca and R'n'B. FRIDAYS (EVERY FIRST OF THE MONTH)

FSN, 23:00-LATE, £TBC

Playing everything from house and disco to global beats, with past guests including Romare, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Onra and Horse Meat Disco. FRIDAYS (EVERY THIRD OF THE MONTH)


Step into the laboratory of dub. From the team that bring you SubSub and Outlook Festival (Disrupt Live). SATURDAYS (EVERY FOURTH OF THE MONTH)

APPLEBUM, 23:00-LATE, £4-£8


MEDICATION, 23:00-04:00, £6

Weekly student dance night, known to regulars and cool kids as ‘Med’.

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.




Every Wednesday LEAF lets you indulge in some of your favourite tracks, old and new, via the most contemporary of all the world’s jukeboxes, Spotify. THURSDAYS


A vinyl-only analog excursion into hip hop, boogie, electronica, funk and disco.



LOVE WEDNESDAYS, 22:00-04:00, £TBC

BONGO’S BINGO, 18:30-23:00, £5

A bingo rave with DJs, dance-offs and, of course, bingo.


MR SCRUFF KEEP IT UNREAL, 22:00-03:00, £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 FRIDAYS

LOVE FRIDAYS, 22:00-03:00, £2-£3

Hark back to the Soul Train and Studio 54 days with chic disco and grooves. SATURDAYS


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


#HASHTAG, 22:00-04:00, £TBC



Three levels of nostalgic pop, dance anthems, r’n’b and hip hop, topped off with stilt walkers, dancers and trapeze artists. SATURDAYS

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.



Sheaf Street Cafeteria

The Attic

Weekly after-work sesh featuring everything from ‘post-Drake’ hip hop, trap and grime to neo soul, Afro/ Latin and future beats.


Party vibes aplenty with Co2 cannons, confetti guns and balloons, all soundtracked by r’n’b, bass and house tunes.

Two floors, three DJs and a whole lotta, er, style – allegedly.


Albert Hall

Billing itself as Liverpool’s biggest weekly student event, with three levels of house, r’n’b, hip hop, party anthems and guilty pleasures.

A celebration of hip hop and R'n'B culture.


Manchester Clubs


4MATION, 22:00-03:00, FREE

4Mation returns with a free night of underground house and tech house.

The Warehouse FRIDAYS

STICKY FEET, 23:00-02:00, £TBC

Leeds’ biggest weekly bass night, powered through monstrous Funktion One dance stacks.


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.



Every Friday and Saturday the well-loved record store becomes an intimate setting for local club nights, record labels, guests and residents.

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

The White Rabbit

Student Friday-nighter, with mashups in room one, indie, funk and Motown in room two, and electro house in room three.

JUICEBOX, 21:00-02:00, FREE



Indie night spanning alt rock, 60s, Northern Soul,



Three rooms of commercial dance, indie and deep house, powered by Funktion One Sound.



An evening of rare vinyl records brought to you by the best local DJs, who’ll take you on an analog excursion into hip hop, boogie, electronica, funk and disco.

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.


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. SATURDAYS (EVERY LAST OF THE MONTH)

THIS FEELING, 20:00-03:00, £5

Indie club night featuring tunes from Arctic Monkeys, Blur, Courteeners, David Bowie, The Smiths and much more.


ANTIX, 23:00-03:00, £3

Cult indie, electronica, psychedelia, retro anthems and more from the Antics residents and guest DJs. SATURDAYS (EVERY LAST OF THE MONTH)

CADILLAC, 23:00-04:00, FREE-£3

DJs spin funk, disco, boogie, soul and groove into the small hours.

O2 Ritz



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


Residents Lee Majors and Bad Osiris spin hip hop, r’n’b, disco, garage and house throughout the night. SATURDAYS


Hip hop, r’n’b, house and ping pong going strong until 4am.

The Deaf Institute TUESDAYS

FINE WINE, 22:00-03:00, £2-£5

Playing treats from the UK’s underground alongside flavours from across the globe, including dancehall, reggaeton, afropop, r’n’b, hip hop and trap, all spread out across Deaf’s two floors. SATURDAYS

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.

The Thirsty Scholar



DJ Rob Gordon spins the best new wave, post-punk, Madchester and Britpop.



With originals and rarities, dubplate and up-to-date.


REMAKE REMODEL, 23:00-03:30, £4

ULTIMATE POWER, 22:30-03:00, £8

A night of alternative rock'n'roll shenanigans.


Ruby Lounge regular, often seen throwing special themed parties.

Club night sweeping the nation, offering up nothing but power ballads. It's like one big communal karaoke night.


DEADBOLT, 23:00-03:00, £5


Projekt, 23:00-03:30, £4-£8 Indoor festival atmosphere with stage entertainment, pyrotechnic displays, Co2 jets, confetti cannons and more, and deep house, future house and big room anthems from the main stage.

Cabaret-themed night of avantgarde and alternative entertainment.


Power ballads and dad rock anthems, from AC/DC to ZZ Top.


REVOLT, 23:00-03:30, £3

A night of rock and metal with beer pong matches all night. FRIDAYS

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.

PEEPSHOW, 23:00-03:00, £12


BREAK STUFF, 23:00-03:00, £3


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.

Sacred Trinity Church


ARA, 21:00-02:00, £5

Clubbing in a church? FOR REALZ? Better believe, honey: ArA is Manchester's alternative club night event in a 17th-century church, with the best in goth/metal/EBM/punk/80s. It’s BYOB, too.

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.


FUZZY LOGIC, 23:00-LATE, £2-£4

Leeds’ favourite indie night, playing dance floor anthems all night long.

March/April 2017

Find full listings at



Theatre Leeds Theatre Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen THE WET SPOT

18 MAR-15 APR, 9:00PM, £15.50 - £18.50

Belgrave Music Hall’s regular burlesque and cabaret night serving up a multi-hitter of comedy, dance, music and performance.

CarriageWorks Theatre FRANKENSTEIN

3-4 MAR, TIMES VARY, £12 - £14

City Varieties Music Hall THE GOOD OLD DAYS

10-18 MAR, TIMES VARY, £15 - £18

Musical tribute to the long-running BBC TV series of the same name, providing a nostalgic throwback to those in the know. CIRCUS OF HORRORS: THE NEVERENDING NIGHTMARE

20 MAR, TIMES VARY, £26 - £59

An amalgamation of bizarre acts woven into some sort of vague narrative.


24 MAR, 2:30PM, £15.75 - £38.50

Taking you on a journey through the career of WW2 icon Vera Lynn. BANG! SAID THE GUN

A new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s gothic horror masterpiece, fusing ensemble storytelling, live music, Bunraku-style puppetry and stunning theatricality.

1 APR, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £15.60 - £38.20

19-22 APR, 8:00PM, £16 - £17



Classic British play about a threeway tryst between two school girls and a married man. NARVIK


A new play by Lizzie Nunnery telling the story of a Liverpudlian man and a Norwegian woman pulled together and torn apart by war. KISS ME KATE

21-25 MAR, TIMES VARY, £8 - £17.50

Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society present a production of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, the romantic drama adapted from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. I CAN DO THIS… I CAN DO THAT!


Poetry night for people who don’t like poetry nights.

FirstDirect Arena 15-16 APR, 6:30PM – 10:00PM, £25 - £35

The British street dance troupe and winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2009 take their show on the road.

Holy Trinity Church THE BEGGAR’S OPERA

18-20 MAR, 7:30PM – 10:00PM, £12

Benjamin Britten’s famed adaptation of John Gay’s 18th-century opera.

Leeds Grand Theatre


17-22 APR, 7:30PM, PRICES VARY

Optimistically-titled display of song and dance from North Leeds’ younguns. Just give ‘em 10 years and they’ll also realise they can do fuck all like the rest of us.

1920s-set musical based on the classic Julie Andrews’ movie, all flapper girls, dashing chaps and singalong merriment. Matinee performances also available.

8 MAR, 7:30PM, £5 - £8



A contemporary dance company in residence at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria comes to Leeds in partnership with the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. THE THING THAT CAME FROM OVER THERE!

10 MAR, 7:30PM, £10.50 - £12.50

Inspired by the horror movies of the 1950s, three daring actors play over 15 roles for an evening of spine-tingling sillies and bloodcurdling terror. BEYOND THE WATER’S EDGE: POETRY FROM OUR WORLD

17 MAR, 7:30PM, £7 - £9

Hear voices from around the world, distilled into poetry in this unique performance.


An award-winning tale centred around eccentric gay couple, Geogres and Albin.



Stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel, about a young boy who is exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. Matinee performances also available. SHIRLEY VALENTINE


Jodie Prenger stars in Willy Russell’s heart-warming tale of a Liverpudlian housewife in a rut and her life-changing trip to Greece. LORD OF THE DANCE

28 MAR-2 APR, 8:00PM, £40.50 - £47.50

Ghost story meets puppet show meets gig from award-winning Paul Mosley.

Michael Flatley’s Irish dance spectacular returns, boasting an inhuman number of taps per performance. Matinee performances also available.

11 MAR, 7:30PM, £10.50 - £12.50

24-29 APR, 7:30PM, £19.50 - £36


11 MAR, 7:45PM, £8.50 - £10.50


A brand new show from multi award-winning writer John Hinton, who performs a song about science for every letter of the alphabet. MEET FRED

16 MAR, 7:30PM, £10.50 - £12.50

A play that features a cloth puppet named Fred as its star as his poor little puppet life begins to spiral out of control. BIG SCREEN LIVE

1-1 APR, TIMES VARY, £13 - £15

Tom Ball Live Academy dance their way through some of the most well-known movie moments. A COMPASS POINTE

7-8 APR, TIMES VARY, £12 - £15

All-singing, all-dancing show themed around the four compass points. AFTER MIDNIGHT - BEFORE THE DAWN + THE ROSE AND CROWN

26-29 APR, 7:30PM, £9 - £12

Double bill penned by Northern writers David Crampton and J.B. Priestley, exploring how people behave when faced with an overwhelming power that’s totally out of their control.




Ruth Rendell’s tale of a housekeeper named Eunice whose deeply held secrets lead her inexorably toward a tale of murder in cold blood – on Valentine’s Day. Matinee performances also available.

Live Art Bistro


20 APR, 6:00PM, FREE

A work in progress show from Lift Off and Transform Award winners and Leeds-based artists, Sasha Foyster and Grace Hargreaves.

Riley Theatre


18 MAR, 7:30PM, £5 - £8

An evening of dance brought to you by community groups from across Leeds and Yorkshire. NORTHERN CONNECTION

27 APR, 7:30PM, £5 - £9

Triple bill showcasing work by emerging choreographers based in the North of England, with pieces by Keira Martin, Daniel Phung Dance and Akeim Toussaint Buck.



19-20 APR, 7:45PM, £10 - £12.50

10-12 MAR, TIMES VARY, £13.50 - £30

Europe’s provocative choreographers Holzinger & Riebeek open this year’s Transform Festival with their own version of Miss and Mister Universe in a surreal training course fitness, psychotherapy, beauty pageants, sex and yoga.



20-21 APR, 7:00PM, £10 - £12.50

Writer and theatre maker Javaad Alipoor spent time in this digital realm, exploring the blurry and complex world of extremists, spies, journalists and fantasists. This bold one-man show weaves together their stories.

Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre A MATTER OF IMPRESSION

18 APR, 7:30PM, £12.50

Two separate dance pieces are intertwined, as a new work by internationally-acclaimed Luca Silvestrini and a reworking of Sardoville’s The Dancing Plague are blended together with choreographed set and costume changes. ENCORE DANCE COMPANY

24 APR, 7:30PM, £10 - £12

Encore Dance Company tour England and Wales with diverse dance works performed by a 17-strong cast. I CAN DO THIS… I CAN DO THAT!


Optimistically-titled display of song and dance from North Leeds’ younguns. Just give ‘em 10 years and they’ll also realise they can do fuck all like the rest of us. BALLET CENTRAL 2017

28 APR, 7:30PM, £10 - £12.50

Ballet Central’s diverse range of dance and theatre returns under the auspices of its new artistic director Christopher Marney.



20-22 APR, 9:00PM, £10 - £12.50

Billing itself as a communal celebration, a visceral reclamation of the city, a fearsome and triumphant outcry into the night, RashDash’s The Darkest Corners is an outdoor performance in a secret Holbeck location.

West Indian Community Centre



A work in progress show from Selina Thompson, who, over the next three years, will be working with teenage girls across two continents – trying to imagine what the world will look like for femmes after the revolution.

West Yorkshire Playhouse PINK MIST


Telling the tale of a young man deployed to Afghanistan, inspired by 30 interviews with returned servicemen.


30-31 MAR, 8:00PM, £12.50

The Futureheads’ Ross Millard teams tender storytelling with a riotous gig. ROMEO & JULIET

3-25 MAR, 7:30PM, £13.50 - £22

Shakespeare’s classic tale of teenage feels gets a new Northern backdrop in a vibrant new production. Matinee performances available. CYRANO


A brand new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s comedy Cyrano de Bergerac by Deborah McAndrew. Matinee performances also available.

Learning disability theatre company Mind the Gap present this vibrant, compelling and personal production, interweaving nine true stories about family, friendships, love, loss, the everyday and the extraordinary. A PASSIONATE WOMAN

4-8 APR, 7:30PM, £13.50 - £30

Liz Goddard stars as Betty, a passionate, doting mother who finds it hard to accept that her son is leaving home. Matinee performances available. A GIRL IN SCHOOL UNIFORM (WALKS INTO A BAR)

12-15 APR, TIMES VARY, £12.50

Apocalyptic play following a schoolgirl and a barmaid as they search for their missing friends in a world of mysterious blackouts. LA STRADA

24-29 APR, 7:30PM, £13.50 - £30

A new musical adaptation inspired by Federico Fellini’s iconic tale of love and loss. THE GRADUATE

28 APR-27 MAY, 7:45PM, £13.50 - £22

Charles Webb’s seminal comingof-age novel - most famous for its 1967 film adaptation starring a wee Dustin Hoffman - is brought to life in a new black comedy. Matinees available. TRANSFORM FESTIVAL: LESSONS OF LEAKING

19-22 APR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12.50

The latest participatory adventure from Berlin-based machina eX, a group of young media and theatre artists designing immersive experiences somewhere between computer game, theatre and installation. TRANSFORM FESTIVAL: GUERRILLA

21-22 APR, 7:45PM, £10 - £12.50

An epic, visceral performance from El Conde de Torrefiel, where the action is made up of three distinct parts (a rave, Tai Chi class, and conference) and unfolds in a dystopian future in three different cities.


Everyman Theatre



24-30 MAR, 7:30PM, PRICES VARY

11 MAR, 5:00PM, FREE

UNTIL 11 MAR, 7:30PM, £10 - £30

Puccini’s romantic opera is brought to the stage under the direction of Ellen Kent, telling the tale of the doomed Mimi, dying of consumption while falling in love.


21 MAR, 7:30PM, £20.50 - £28.50


Jerry Bock’s treasured musical, set in early 1900s Russia. Matinee performances also available.


A gang of disillusioned friends plan to conquer the South Pole, right among the laundry and pigeons of their very own attic, in Manfred Karge’s 1984 play.

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.

13-29 APR, 7:00PM, £10 - £30

19-23 APR, TIMES VARY, £13 - £24.50

24 MAR-8 APR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £30


An adventure into the magic of storytelling, adapted by Lindsay Rodden from the book by Brian Patten. Matinee performances available.

Liverpool Empire Theatre GREASE


Frothy musical favourite featuring leather clad limbs and hopelessly devoted highschoolers. RENT

UNTIL 4 MAR, 7:30PM, £11.25 - £44.75

Gritty, perennial NYC musical based on Puccini’s opera, La Bohème, which follows a group of creative types living in the East Village, in the shadows of the late1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic. Matinee performances also available. MOTOWN’S GREATEST HITS: HOW SWEET IT IS


Live show taking you through all of the favourite Motown hits, including tunes from Lionel Richie, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five and more. ELLEN KENT’S AIDA

25 MAR, 7:30PM, £12 - £40

Verdi’s classic love story of war, jealousy and revenge is brought to the stage by a cast of international soloists under the direction of Ellen Kent.


David Walliams’ theatrical adaptation of his 2011 children’s book Gangsta Granny. Matinees available. BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY


A feel-good West End show featuring two hours of Buddy Holly bangers, charting his rise to fame and legendary final performance in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Liverpool Guild of Students SPRING AWAKENING

9-11 MAR, 7:30PM – 9:45PM, £4.50 - £9

Classical musical, this time set to a contemporary rock soundtrack, following a group of teens as they revolt against the status quo. Matinee performances also available.

Liverpool Hope University EDUCATING RITA

7 MAR, 5:00PM, FREE

A heartwarming comedy by Willy Russell, famous for its depiction of Liverpudlian working class life and the subsequent film adaptation starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine. VERVE

9 MAR, 5:00PM, FREE

A double bill of work by exciting international choreographers including James Cousins, Carlos Pons Guerra, Leila McMillan and Matthias Sperling.

Finalist play of the 2015 Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, following young Scouse lad Robbie as is life is thrown into disarray when a reincarnation of Elvis takes over.

Liverpool Playhouse PYGMALION


Reworking of one of George Bernard Shaw’s most famous comedies, the play of which the musical My Fair Lady is based. CYRANO


A brand new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s comedy Cyrano de Bergerac by Deborah McAndrew. Matinee performances also available. MATTHEW BOURNE’S EARLY ADVENTURES

28 MAR-1 APR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £30

Renowned choreographer Matthew Bourne returns to his roots with a programme of his pieces that launched him, celebrating the 30th anniversary of his company, New Adventures. Matinees available. GABRIEL

4-8 APR, 7:30PM, £10 - £30

A drama set in 1940s’ Nazioccupied Guernsey starring Paul McGann. Matinee performances also available.


11-22 APR, 7:30PM, PRICES VARY

A new performance based on interviews the National Theatre carried out in the days after the EU referendum, in a collaboration by Rufus Norris and Carol Ann Duffy. Matinees available.


1-2 MAR, 7:30PM, £14 - £16


Celebrating 25 years of Leap dance festival, with a diverse programme of new work by invited groups past and present. LEAP FESTIVAL: VITAL!

7 MAR, 3:00PM, £6 - £8

Celebrating the notion that you’re never too old yo dance, with workshops and performance for and by people aged over 50. LEAP FESTIVAL: VOODOO

11 MAR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12

Project O pour libations, draw out their demons, stamp feet, break down barriers, pump iron, sweat, eat and put on a show in a clash of tongues, colours, continents and histories…


12 MAR, 7:30PM, £6 - £8

For the final day of Leap, the venue is handed over to local artists for an evening of innovative new performance work. LEAP FESTIVAL: AMERICAN MAN

9 MAR, 7:30PM, £10 - £12

Visual artist and performance maker Hetain Patel presents his fifth solo show for the stage, which imagines a not-too-distant future where celebrity power and political correctness have reached new heights. LEAP FESTIVAL: WHITEOUT

4 MAR, 7:30PM, £14 - £16

A heartfelt contemporary dance theatre piece from Barrowland Ballet, which gives resonance to the complexities of bi-racial relationships. LEAP FESTIVAL: FOMO, MOFOS!

8 MAR, 7:30PM, £10 - £12

Mary Pearson gives a solo performance that’s sinister, achingly vulnerable and laced with deliciously surreal comedy.

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.

21 APR, 6:00PM, £10 - £12.50

An uplifting and powerful choreographic work in two parts, reflecting on relationships between parent and child.

Liverpool Theatre Echo Arena THAT’S SHOWBIZ

11 MAR, 10:30AM, £20 - £30

Grand final of the largest group dance competition in the UK, with over 500 routines.


7-23 APR, TIMES VARY, £16.50 - £18.50

TV stars Adam Rickett and Tina Malone offer a new spin on the old Sleeping Beauty yarn in this Easter panto. TWIST AND SHOUT


50s and 60s themed evening – vintage variants of rock’n’roll, pop and soul at the ready. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

25-29 APR, TIMES VARY, £13 - £20

Daniel Taylor Productions provide their spin on Shakespeare’s classic comedy tale of unrequited and unwanted love. HAIRSPRAY

24-25 MAR, TIMES VARY, £13 - £15

Toe-tapping musical based on the film by John Waters, following the tale of a girl with big hair and an even bigger heart. WEST END STORY


A musical journey along the West End, featuring hits from Les Mis, Mamam Mia, Miss Saigon, Grease and Rock of Ages. PAUL CARROLL’S MUSIC HALL TAVERN

15 MAR, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £20 - £22

Comedy drag variety show packed with laughs, costumes and spangle.




16-17 MAR, 9:00PM, £5 - £12

FRI 10 MAR, 13:00-17:00, FREE

Theatre maker Ogutu Muraya reimagines James Baldwin’s Princes and Powers, an essay describing a congress of Afro-intellectuals.


18 MAR, 9:00PM, £5 - £12

A lecture performance from Lucas De Man about the upcoming generation visionaries of Europe. SICK! FESTIVAL: IF THESE SPASMS COULD SPEAK

22-23 MAR, 9:00PM, £5 - £12

24 MAR, 9:00PM, £5 - £12



The Little She Girls present an evening of music, spoken word, poetry and dance with guests Triangle Cuts, Adrian Slatcher and David Gaffney.

25 MAR, 7:30PM, £5 - £18


21 APR-20 MAY, 8:00PM, £13 - £22

A black comedy by Martin McDonagh, the writer and director of the deeply darkly funny film In Bruges. Matinee performances also available. LOST SOUL

10 MAR-8 APR, 8:00PM, £13

Dave Kirkby’s comedy, set to an uplifting Motown-era soundtrack. Matinee performances also available.


12-13 APR, TIMES VARY, £3

Liverpool’s Royal Court Youth Theatre return with their fourth annual show.


16 MAR, 7:30PM, £13.20

A night featuring two plays: A Dream of Wilfred Owen and The Belfry.


17 MAR, 7:30PM, £13.20

An evening featuring two performances, If Only and Nora and Jim, as part of The Write Event. IRISH LIVERPOOL

18 MAR, 8:00PM, £16.50

With St Patrick’s day upon us, LoveHistory, producers of the popular Catacomb Tours of Liverpool’s darkest history, present this thought provoking and compelling play.

St Helens Theatre Royal THAT’LL BE THE DAY

10 MAR, 7:30PM, £24.50

Rock’n’roll variety show crammed with musical favourites from the 50s, 60s and 70s (i.e. you WILL singalong to Buddy Holly). CINDERELLA


Vienna Festival Ballet is proud to present the classic tale of Cinderella, one of the best-known rags-to-riches fairy tales of all time. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

1-23 APR, TIMES VARY, £13.50 - £54

St Helen’s ‘start-studded’ Easter panto with Big Brother’s Nikki Grahame and others.


18 MAR, 7:30PM, £18 - £19

This review of the life of Cilla Black soars its way through the 60s.

The Arts Centre at Edge Hill University GAUDETE


OBRA Theatre Company’s stage version of Ted Hughes’ poetic novel, performed by an international ensemble of 8 performers.


25 MAR, 7:30PM, £10 - £14

Award-winning comedy duo LipService celebrate Jane Austen’s life 200 years on.

March/April 2017


WOMEN BEWARE WOMEN 30 MAR-1 APR, 7:30PM, £4.50 - £9

When a soldier returns from the Great War he expects to pick up his life from where he left off. Unfortunately everything has changed… Price includes a two-course buffet and a glass of wine on arrival. CHIP SHOP CHIPS

14 APR, 7:30PM, £15

Focusing on love at different ages while celebrating the nation’s favourite food, Chip Shop Chips is an immersive love story set in a chippy, where tickets include a fish and chip supper!


25-29 APR, TIMES VARY, £6 - £8

Brand new interactive show from award-winning theatre maker Sarah Punshon, inspired by the latest educational neuroscience into how amazing and utterly rubbish our brains can be at maths.

The Bluecoat NARVIK


A new play by Lizzie Nunnery telling the story of a Liverpudlian man and a Norwegian woman pulled together and torn apart by war.

The Capstone


6 MAR, 7:30PM, FREE

Reckless Sleepers built a roomsized wooden frame and lined it with plasterboard, before smashing it up, smashing it down and piecing together the fragments of their destruction back together. The result is this show. ?FINMALTA DANCE ENSEMBLE 2 MAR, 7:30PM, £8 - £10

Malta’s national contemporary dance company present a double bill of works.


8 MAR, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, FREE

A ‘dance gallery’ taking on the previous works of the Vargas & Brûlé repertoire, while also including new material. MOBY DICK

11 MAR, 7:30PM, FREE

Melville’s classic, pitting man against the forces of nature, is brought to life in a fast-moving stage adaptation.

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts URINETOWN: THE MUSICAL

16-18 MAR, 7:30PM, £4.50 - £9

One of the most uproariously funny musicals in recent years, Urinetown is a hilarious, satirical tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. THE TRIAL OF JOSEF K

23-25 MAR, 7:30PM, £4.50 - £9

Adapted from The Trial by Franz Kafka, this absurdist German classic tale of social turmoil and bureaucratic horror is brought to life in a brand new adaptation from writer and director Robert Farquhar. Matinees available.

Thomas Middleton’s savage and visceral play is reimagined in a new version by Will Hammond, performed by third-year Acting students at LIPA.


27-29 APR, 7:30PM, £4.50 - £9

A musical based on the 2010 BAFTA nominated film and set in the 60s amidst the Ford Dagenham strike. Matinee performances also available.

Manchester Theatre Band On The Wall


27 MAR, 6:00PM, £3 - £4

Students showcase their second year work to the public.

Central Library


16 MAR, 5:00PM – 6:00PM, £3

Prof. Michael Brady (University of Glasgow) chairs a panel discussion exploring why we, as modern humans, tend to see ourselves as a cut above other creatures. SICK! FESTIVAL: TALKING ABOUT YOU FOR HOURS

WED 15 MAR, 13:00-17:00, FREE

Live-streamed performance from Noah Voelker, which is part chat show, part podcast and part intimate conversation, asking 'What makes you you?'


15 MAR, 7:00PM – 8:20PM, £7 - £13

Ireland’s Theatreclub present an exploration into the act of buying sex and the subculture of prostitution, where five men will volunteer to take part in ‘The Game’. SICK! FESTIVAL: TRAUMBOY

15 MAR, 9:00PM – 10:00PM, £7 - £13

A solo performance that sees Daniel Hellmann report on his experiences as a male prostitute to question the double standards of our capitalistic and hypersexualised society. SICK! FESTIVAL: AMERICAN MAN

16-17 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:30PM, £7 - £13

Visual artist and performance maker Hetain Patel presents his fifth solo show for the stage, which imagines a not-too-distant future where celebrity power and political correctness have reached new heights. SICK! FESTIVAL: MICHAEL ESSIEN I WANT TO PLAY AS YOU

24 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:30PM, £7 - £13

Powerful football-dance-theatre performance, which sees six West African footballers invite an audience into their world of training, politics, visas and contracts.


Manifesto-lecture from Thomas F. DeFrantz (Chair of African and African American Studies and Professor of Dance and Theater Studies at Duke University, Washington, US), exploring how the discourse of race in contemporary performance falls apart when white people try to understand black performance. Followed by a Q&A session hosted by Dr. Shirley Tate of University of Leeds. SICK! FESTIVAL: ON THE COUCH BADGES CHOSEN/LABELS GIVEN

8 MAR, 5:00PM – 6:00PM, £3

Panel discussion exploring how much we are defined by our labels, with Taa Asare (University of Brighton), poet Reece Williams, Meg John Barker (Open University) and broadcaster Ngunan Adamu as chair. SICK! FESTIVAL: ON THE COUCH ILLNESS AND IDENTITY

10 MAR, 5:00PM – 6:00PM, £3

Live discussion chaired by Prof. Jackie Stacey (University of Manchester), exploring how we build new stories around ourselves to accommodate our mental illness and mortality. YOUNG IDENTITY: ONE MIC STAND

3 MAR, 7:00PM, £5 - £8

A night of poetry, music and visual art from Young Identity Manchester, featuring a line-up of the city’s young spoken word elite. SICK! FESTIVAL: THERE IS A LIGHT

8 MAR, 7:30PM, £7 - £13

An original performance presenting young patients’ perspectives on specialist cancer care in England. Developed in collaboration with Brian Lobel, BRIGHTLIGHT’s researchers, youth board & young people with personal experience of cancer. OFFSIDE


It is 1881. It is 1921. It is 2017. Four women from across the centuries live, breathe, and play football. While each face different obstacles, the possibility that the beautiful game will change their future is close.



11-22 APR, 7:30PM, PRICES VARY

A new performance based on interviews the National Theatre carried out in the days after the EU referendum, in a collaboration by Rufus Norris and Carol Ann Duffy. Matinees available. PAUL AUSTER’S CITY OF GLASS

4-18 MAR, 7:30PM, £5 - £26.50

Tony Award-winning 59 Productions and award-winning writer Duncan Macmillan bring this seminal American novel to life in an original stage adaptation. Matinees available. SICK! FESTIVAL: LOLLING AND ROLLING

16-17 MAR, 7:00PM, £5 - £12

Examining South Korea’s tragic social phenomenon of lingual frenectomy, where children were given tongue surgery to achieve better English pronunciantion.



Theatre maker Anoek Nuyens ponders what good work and charity means in the 21st Century.

18 MAR, 7:30PM, £19.50

International Anthony Burgess Foundation

A humorous and interactive live art performance about disabled people by Robert Softley, who exposes a truth behind bodies that differ from the norm. SICK! FESTIVAL: HELP

Royal Court Theatre

Live-streamed performance from Noah Voelker, which is part chat show, part podcast and part intimate conversation, asking 'What makes you you?'

Exploring how children can understand the significance of narrative, empathy, loss, subjection, old age and the horrors sometimes inflicted on them by adults. ¡VIVA!: REPUBLICA

31 MAR-1 APR, TIMES VARY, £5 - £12.50

A timely examination of the last time a government dared to take power from the super-rich to distribute it equally among the poor, in a fusion of anarchic theatre and dance. ¡VIVA!: ONE-HIT WONDERS 1 APR, 7:30PM, £5 - £19

Sol Picó marks the 20th anniversary of her company with a brief review of highlights of her career. ¡VIVA!: BIRDIE

6-7 APR, 9:00PM, £5 - £12.50

The UK premiere of Agrupación Señor Serrano’s multimedia performance featuring live video, objects, Hitchcock’s The Birds revisited, scale models, 2000 mini animals, wars, smugglers and more. LETTERS TO WINDSOR HOUSE

19-21 APR, TIMES VARY, £5 - £12.50

Multi award-winning dup Show and Tell follow up their smash hit show Women’s House with their Fringe award-winning Letters to Windsor House, packed with songs, politics, dodgy landlords and detective work. CONNECTIONS 2017

26-29 APR, 7:00PM, £5

Greater Manchester’s youth theatres, schools and colleges perform a programme of new plays in celebration of access to the arts.

Hope Mill Theatre WEST END STORY


A musical journey along the West End, featuring hits from Les Mis, Mamam Mia, Miss Saigon, Grease and Rock of Ages. YANK! THE MUSICAL

4 MAR-2 APR, TIMES VARY, £18 - £22

The UK premiere of a WWII love story, exploring what it is to fall in love at a time when the odds are stacked against you. Matinees available. MOTH

13-22 APR, 7:30PM, £5 - £10

Manchester’s Ransack Theatre are joining forces with music producer Mark Harris to stage and score the Northern premiere of Moth, written by acclaimed Australian playwright Declan Greene. WONDER WOMEN FESTIVAL: ANGEL OF THE HOUSE

1-2 MAR, TIMES VARY, £8 - £9

Telling the story of three generations of women to explore the impact of inequality, class, gender and self acceptance across 100 years, through dark, warm and, at times, funny monologues.

Hulme Library


8 MAR, 1:00PM – 5:00PM, FREE

A chance to meet people with unique, challenging stories and those who work with them, with visitors given a 15 minute window for frank, open conversation and to ask questions and reflect.

Find full listings at

Collaborative production showcasing the work of women across generations and art forms, from instrumental and electro-acoustic music to poetry, dance and art. 3 MAR, 8:30PM, £5


1 MAR, 7:30PM, FREE

Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore hosts a reading of poetry from his book, Stereo Sanctity: Lyrics and Poems, as part of his Samarbeta residency.

Longsight Library


22 MAR, 1:00PM – 5:00PM, FREE

A chance to meet people with unique, challenging stories and those who work with them, with visitors given a 15 minute window for frank, open conversation and to ask questions and reflect. SICK! FESTIVAL: ON THE COUCH - A SENSE OF BELONGING

22 MAR, 4:30PM – 5:30PM, £3

Panel discussion exploring how human relationships are changing fast, what it means to lose our sense of belonging and how we might allow more people to feel at home. SICK! FESTIVAL: TALKING ABOUT YOU FOR HOURS

THU 9 MAR, 13:00-17:00, FREE

Live-streamed performance from Noah Voelker, which is part chat show, part podcast and part intimate conversation, asking 'What makes you you?'

Manchester Academy LOVESONG

11-13 MAR, 7:30PM, £TBC

Lovesong, intertwines a young couple with their older selves in a story that beautifully charts the beginning and the end. Written by Abi Morgan, directed by Bradley White.

Manchester Arena DIVERSITY

15-16 APR, 6:30PM – 10:00PM, £25 - £35

The British street dance troupe and winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2009 take their show on the road.

Manchester Maccabi Community & Sports Club SICK! FESTIVAL: GUIDE GODS

15 MAR, 17:00 & 20:00, £10-£12


Anne Bronte’s 1948 novel about a woman’s fight for independence is brought to life by award-winning playwright Deborah McAndrew. Matinee performances also available. I CAPTURE THE CASTLE

26 APR-6 MAY, 7:30PM, £11 - £27.50

A brand new musical based on the coming-of-age novel by Dodie Smith, following 17-year-old Cassandra and her eccentric family. Matinee performances also available.


UNTIL 8 APR, 7:30PM, £17.50 - £39.50

Rock n roll musical based on the influential albums of Jim Steinman’s storied collaborations with singer Meatloaf.


4 MAR, 7:30PM, £17.90 - £38

60s-set musical singalong which finds two young musicians competing for the love of a certain lady. Matinee performances also available. GREASE


Frothy musical favourite featuring leather clad limbs and hopelessly devoted highschoolers. THE COMMITMENTS


Based on the BAFTA awardwinning film, following a young working class music fan produce the finest soul band Dublin’s ever seen. Matinees available. THE LORD OF THE DANCE: DANGEROUS GAMES


10 MAR-1 APR, 7:30PM, £5 - £16.50

One of the world’s oldest plays (written 2,500 years ago), this play is part play, part ritual and part theatrical archaeology, offering an electric connection to the deepest and most mysterious ideas of humanity. Matinees available.

Royal Northern College of Music RNCM SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

27-29 APR, 7:30PM – 9:30PM, £12

With its brilliant choreography and iconic songs, Singin’ in the Rain is the perfect showcase for RNCM Young Company, featuring some of the best-loved comedy routines, dance numbers and love songs ever written.

The Dancehouse Theatre LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

30 APR-1 MAY, 7:30PM – 10:00PM, £10 - £15

Exploring the perennial classics and contemporary narratives of cinema, the wonder of celluloid comes to life. Through dance, drama and song, Lights, Camera, Action captures the charm, colour and mystique found in front and behind the lens.

19 APR, 7:30PM, £25 - £27

10 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:30PM, £12.00


A full cast of dancers, singers and musicians perform tunes from some of the most iconic movies of all time.

Rainbow Rooms Community Centre SICK! FESTIVAL: GUIDE GODS

15 MAR, 17:00 & 20:00, £10-£12

Using dance, live music, humour and interviews with religious leaders, academics, deaf and disabled people, Claire Cunningham explores how major faiths view deafness and disability.

Rethink Building Society SICK! FESTIVAL: HIRETH

8-8 MAR, TIMES VARY, £7 - £13

A three-performance event exploring themes of home, family history and loss, with Afreena Islam’s Daughters of the Curry Revolution, Toni-Dee Paul’s My Father’s Kitchen and Asteroid RK1 from Jamil E-R Keating.

Royal Exchange Studio COCK AND BULL

16-18 MAR, 7:30PM, £10 - £12

A trio of female scratch performers use words garnered from Conservative Party conference speeches, this time in response to issues of climate change. CAROL ANN DUFFY AND FRIENDS

Octagon Theatre Bolton


With dark humour and stark realism, this play by David Rudkin follows Anne and Colin, who desperately want a child and are trying everything to achieve this dream. Matinees available.

Shakespeare’s rowdy comedy tackles questions of gender, identity, love and loneliness. Matinee performances also available.

The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre

20 MAR, 7:00PM, £10 - £12

1-11 MAR, TIMES VARY, £11 - £27.50


13 APR-20 MAY, 7:30PM, £5 - £16.50

Directed by Michael Flatley and featuring forty premium dancers, so says they. Matinees available.

11-15 APR, 8:00PM, £41.25 - £44.75

Using dance, live music, humour and interviews with religious leaders, academics, deaf and disabled people, Claire Cunningham explores how major faiths view deafness and disability.


Royal Exchange Theatre

Following the unprecedented success of the past seasons, Carol Ann Duffy returns to host the Royal Exchange’s hugely successful poetry readings, this time with Adam O’Riordan. 6-8 APR, 7:30PM, £10 - £12

Brand new play developed by award-winning playwright Lizzie Nunnery and Ukranian director Tamara Trunova, who makes her UK debut. Matinees available. HOW MY LIGHT IS SPENT

24 APR-13 MAY, 7:30PM, £10 - £12

Winner of the Judges’ Award in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, How My Light is Spent is a funny, hopeful play about loneliness, longing and being left behind. Matinees also available.


Spend an evening with raconteur Luke Wright, as he spits out visceral, inventive verse that sweats, bleeds and sings.


1-4 APR, 7:30PM, £13

Jason Robert Brown’s intimate window into a couple’s doomed marriage. IN A LAND MUCH LIKE OURS

6-7 APR, 7:30PM – 9:30PM, £TBC

Following a tragedy, a couple are slowly torn apart by the corrosive need to understand why. THE BOOK

6-7 APR, 7:30PM – 9:30PM, £TBC

An absurdist take on the meaning of life and freedom of choice from the playwright who gave us Consequences. TRAPPED

9-10 APR, 9:00PM, £TBC

A comedy that follows a girl who gets trapped inside a play, accidentally kills the main character and must find a replacement lead or face being stuck in the play forever. HOW EVA VON SCHNIPPISCH SINGLE-HANDEDLY WON WW2

13 APR, 7:30PM – 9:00PM, £10

The official secrecy act is over – and Eva is ready to set the record straight. Germany’s greatest underground cabaret star is transformed into Britain’s no.1 spy. GHOST FROM A PERFECT PLACE

18-20 APR, 7:00PM – 9:00PM, £8

East End Kingpin Travis Flood used to rule the streets back in the swinging sixties. Once a giant amongst London men he left suddenly one day and was not heard from again. Until now. NEW WRITING SHOWCASE

26-28 APR, 7:30PM – 10:00PM, £TBC

Students from University of Manchester Drama Society get the opportunity to put on short plays that they have written in a safe and constructive environment. DAVID GILES & LEWIS FIELDHOUSE


Musicians David Giles and Lewis Fieldhouse head out on a paywhat-you-want tour. MARINA AND THE CLONE

15-18 MAR, 7:30PM, £8 - £10

Frankenstein meets Dynasty in a new comedy from RP Douglas writer of the outrageous Barbara the Zoo Keeper.





20 MAR, 7:30PM, £8 - £10

25-29 APR, 7:30PM, £18.50 - £36.50

Follow the tale of Alice and Italian ice cream seller Jim, who fall in love strolling along the beach in a 1950s whirlwind romance BLUEBIRD

6 APR, 7:30PM, £8

Sensitive and melancholy play, composed of brief conversations and lifelong sorrow. SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS

1-3 MAR, 7:30PM, £TBC

When swingers enter a seemingly ordinary caravan park, the residents are forced to reconsider everything they think they know about relationships. New writing by Elis Shotton, directed by Hana Jarrah. NO GOD DOWN HERE

8-10 MAR, 7:30PM, £TBC

While on an expedition to the Mariana Trench, a catastrophic engine failure forces the crew into a life-threatening moral dilemma. The only way out is a slow descent to the surface, but is there enough oxygen for all of them to make it?

The Lowry Studio KILLING TIME

15-18 MAR, 8:00PM, £10 - £12

A new comedy mixing live cello, projection and soundscape, proposing the question of if you could leave the world with your very last words, what will you say? HOME


A tale of unexpected friendship from Frozen Light Theatre, immersing audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities in a multisensory story of discovery. SICK! FESTIVAL: SLAP AND TICKLE

9 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:30PM, £12

A dark and ribald physical commentary on cultural mores, forays and sexual taboos from Liz Aggiss, who sets out to decode mythologies, platitudes, refrains and old wives’ tales. SICK! FESTIVAL: TALKING ABOUT YOU FOR HOURS

SUN 12 MAR, 15:30-19:30, FREE

Live-streamed performance from Noah Voelker, which is part chat show, part podcast and part intimate conversation, asking 'What makes you you?' SICK! FESTIVAL: GIVE ME YOUR LOVE

11 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:30PM, £12

Ridiculusmus’ Jon Haynes and David Woods return with a funny, fragile and profound fable based on groundbreaking medical research and real-life war testimonials. FROM IBIZA TO THE NORFOLK BROADS

2-2 APR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12

Adrian Berry’s acclaimed sell-out production returns in this tale of a young David Bowie obsessive. A MACHINE THEY’RE SECRETLY BUILDING

1 MAR, 8:00PM, £TBC

Proto-type Theater chart a course from the secrets of WWI intelligence through to 9/11, the erosion of privacy, Edward Snowden and the terror of a future that might already be upon us. DE NADA & SARDOVILLE THEATRE

29 MAR, 8:00PM, £10 - £12

DeNada Dance Theatre present a gender-bending evening of seductive and provocative dance choreographed by Carlos Pons Guerra. NOT TODAY’S YESTERDAYS

19 APR, 8:00PM, £10 - £12

Acclaimed dancer Seeta Patel joins forces with Australian choreographer Lina Limosani is this poignant work. BUBBLE SCHMEISIS

20 APR, 8:00PM, £10 - £12

Writer and street performer Nick Cassenbaum and his klezmer musicians share intimate and personal true stories about identity, home and getting schmeised (washed) by old men.

The Lowry: Lyric Theatre THE WOMAN IN BLACK

20-25 MAR, 7:30PM, £17 - £22

Stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s bestselling novel, combining the intensity of live theatre with a cinematic tension inspired by the world of film noir. Matinee performances also available. EVITA

14-18 MAR, 7:30PM, £32 - £45

The creative lovechild of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber which tells the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron.



The world premiere of a new musical comedy based on the Hanks-Ryan classic, Sleepless in Seattle. Matinees available. BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET: CINDERELLA

1-4 MAR, 7:30PM, £24 - £43

Birmingham Royal Ballet perform their majestic take on the classic fairytale, telling the story of Cinders, her ugly step sisters, wicked stepmother and a run in with a dashing prince. OPERA NORTH: HANSEL AND GRETEL

8-10 MAR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £39

Opera North provide an operatic twist on the Grimm bros classic, backed by Engelbert Humperdinck’s moving score. OPERA NORTH: CINDERELLA

9-11 MAR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £39

University of Manchester Students’ Union HELPING HANNAH

4-6 MAR, 7:30PM, £TBC

Hated by her doctor and loved by her friends, Jen tries to pull things together while Hannah tries not to fall apart. Who needs help? Written and directed by Cait O’Sullivan. BLATTODEA

16-18 MAR, 7:30PM, £TBC

How does an English seaside town react when they are suddenly thrust into the eye of the media? In a postBrexit climate what happens when we divide and collide?

Waterside Arts Centre MACBETH

Opera North take on the classic fairytale, centred on floor-scrubber Cinderella as she dreams of a better life.

17-17 MAR, TIMES VARY, £10 - £12

10 MAR, 7:00PM – 10:00PM, £10 - £39



Opera North’s staging of RimskyKorsakov’s folk-inspired Russian opera, telling the tale of The Snow Maiden as she yearns to experience life with humans. THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON

1-2 APR, 8:00PM, £18.50 - £24.50

Stunning one-man show telling the story of two estranged brothers, who have been brought together by their mother’s death.

The Lowry: Quays Theatre BALLETBOYZ: LIFE

28 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:50PM, £13 - £15

A powerful exploration of life and death, performed by ten talented ballet dancers to an original score. BUCKET LIST

26-27 APR, 8:00PM, £12 - £14

Theatre Ad Infinitum tell the powerful story of one Mexican woman’s fight for justice. SICK! FESTIVAL: TO BELONG

18 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:20PM, £12 - £14

A dance performance from Koen De Preter and Theater Stap about what it means to be part of a group. SICK! FESTIVAL: ZVIZDAL

22-23 MAR, 7:30PM – 8:45PM, £12 - £14

Documentary-installation portraying the solutitude, survival, poetry, hope and love between Pétro and Nadia, the last inhabitants in an exclusion zone around Chernobyl. WIREDO

2 APR, 8:00PM, £13.50

A mesmerising tale of stepping out into the unknown, told through body, a tightwire and a physical composition that draws on the Japanese rope art of Shibari. NELL GWYNN

1-4 MAR, 8:00PM, £23 - £28

Jessica Swale’s amusing 2016 Olivier Award winner for Best New Comedy, set in 1660s London with an unlikely heroine. Matinee performances also available. ESCAPED ALONE

7-11 MAR, 1:00PM – 1:50PM, £18 - £22

Caryl Churchill’s story of three old friends and a neighbour, enjoying a summer of afternoons in the back yard with equal doses of tea and catastrophe. GAUDETE


OBRA Theatre Company’s stage version of Ted Hughes’ poetic novel, performed by an international ensemble of 8 performers. U DANCE NW 2017

25-26 MAR, 7:45PM, £6 - £9

NorthWestDance host the regional young people’s dance festival. SILVER LINING

4-8 APR, 7:30PM, £25.50 - £27.50

A new comedy by Sandi Toksvig, where five women come together to recreate The Great Escape. Matinees available. BABE, THE PIG SHEEP

11-15 APR, 7:00PM, £14 - £18

Open up those nostalgia valves with a the story of a widdle pig with huge aspirations, which you’ll remember either from Dick King Smith’s original 1983 novel or the slightly creepy animatronic-heavy 1995 film. HOAX OUR RIGHT TO HOPE

30 APR-1 MAY, 7:00PM, £16

Musical exploring love and self-sabotage, directed by multi award-winning Benji Reid. Matinee performance available.


Leeds Comedy Attic

20 APR, 7:30PM, £10 - £12

Four top comedians come together for one night of solid laughs.


2 MAR, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £12 - £14

A play inspired by the life of Nina Simone, following a successful jazz singer and activist following the untimely death of her father. THE EMPTY NESTER’S CLUB

7 MAR, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £11 - £13

The Empty Nester’s Club is the 60th and most recent play from the pen of Yorkshire-born Godber and marks 40 years since his second – Bouncers – first brought him to national prominence. BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: A BEGGAR’S OPERA

10 MAR, 7:30PM – 10:30PM, £8 - £10

Part cabaret, part lecture and part participatory experiment that’s a good old-fashioned music hall experience for the cash-strapped proles and the accidental gentrifiers. NOEL AND GERTIE

26 APR, 7:30PM, £13 - £15

A warm and witty musical comedy based on the legendary friendship and professional collaboration of actor, playwright and songwriter Noel and the alluring and charismatic actress Gertie.

Whitworth Art Gallery


11 MAR, 1:30PM – 2:30PM, FREE

Family-friendly session with Bernadette Russell, who urges people to join her and try out ideas from her children’s activity book, Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy. SICK! FESTIVAL: MAKE ME HAPPY!!!

11 MAR, 3:00PM – 3:45PM, FREE

Visual artist Stuart Semple talks to writer and performer Bernadette Russell about the possibilities - and limits - of art.



JONGLEURS, 20:00-22:00, £15.50-£16.50


JONGLEURS, 20:00-22:00, £16.50-£17.50

Four top comedians come together for one night of solid laughs.



The North’s favourite comedy night, always bringing stellar guests from the national and international circuits.



COMEDY SESSIONS, 20:00-23:00, £10-£12

The HiFi’s weekly evening of funny stuff.

The Fenton



An evening of 100% raw improvisation comedy, taking inspiration from the weird and wonderful minds of its audience.

The Wardrobe


THE NOT SO LATE SHOW, 19:30-23:00, £6-£7

The UK’s finest alternative comedy TV-style chat show, with special guests, sketches, short films, music and all-round fun.



Serving well at doing exactly what it says on the tin, with weekly free comedy to ease you into the week.

Liverpool Comedy

SAT 11 MAR, 13:00-17:00, FREE

Live-streamed performance from Noah Voelker, which is part chat show, part podcast and part intimate conversation, asking 'What makes you you?'

Z Arts


18 MAR, 9:00PM – 10:10PM, £7 - £10

Jaamil Olawale Kosoke examines the erotic fear associated with the black male body in this confessional identity-mashup where visual and performance aesthetics collide in a face-off of self-revelation, ecstatic theatricality, and discomfort. SICK! FESTIVAL: ON THE COUCH FRACTURED IDENTITIES

24 MAR, 5:00PM – 6:00PM, £3

Dr Dawn Edge brings together a panel to reflect on how a sense of threatened identity presents huge challenges to people’s mental wellbeing.

KING GONG, 19:30-22:30, £4-£6

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 theskinny.

Splendid Productions present their first stab at Shakespeare with an hour-long creative adaptation of Macbeth. 2Magpies Theatre restage Lance Armstrong anad Marco Pantani’s drug-fuelled 2000 race.





BARREL OF LAUGHS, 19:00-23:00, £13-£19

The Jacaranda

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.


BARREL OF LAUGHS, 19:00-23:00, £15-£22

Showcase night for up-and-comers and undiscovered stars, offering a great value night out if you don't mind being a comedy guinea pig. 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

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.



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


New and established comics take to the stage, for an evening of chuckles with their resident compere leading the way.

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. SUNDAYS (EVERY THIRD OF THE MONTH)


100% raw and unscripted improvisation is on the menu, as weird and wonderful suggestions are taken from the audience.



LAUGHTERHOUSE, 20:00-23:00, £10-£15


Triple headline show with a delightfully hilarious line-up of circuit funny-folk. SATURDAYS

LAUGHTERHOUSE, 20:00-23:00, £17.50

Triple headline show with a delightfully hilarious line-up of circuit funny-folk.

Manchester Comedy Ape and Apple


MURDER INC. IMPROV, 20:00-22:30, £5

Improvised murder mystery comedy show that the audience helps solve. With free pizza!

Frog and Bucket Comedy Club MONDAYS

BEAT THE FROG, 19:00-23:00, FREE-£3

Baby Blue


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! TUESDAYS (EVERY LAST OF THE MONTH)

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.


Watch four top class comics, sat comfortably at a table while enjoying your comedy with food and drinks.

Alex Boardman's New Comedians series continues.

The Dancehouse


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.


TRAPDOOR COMEDY, 19:30, £3-£5

One of the North’s favourite comedy clubs.


XS MALARKEY, 19:00-22:00, £3-£5

The rather ace comedy night continues with its usual Tuesday night shenanigans.

The Railway



Big acts, small price, tiny room. Bosh.

BEST OF BUZZ COMEDY, 20:00-00:00, £10-£12

Manchester’s much-loved monthly comedy club, known for bringing in the big guns of the national and international circuit.




The Delightful Sausage brings together the finest names in alternative comedy for an evening of silly, surreal fun. Already building a cult following.


The Waterside's regular comedy night, featuring one of the UK comedy circuit's up and coming stars. SATURDAYS (EVERY LAST OF THE MONTH)

COMEDYSPORTZ, 19:30, £5-£7

Comedy improv show with two teams battling it out for the biggest laughs, serving up sketches, songs and scenes with audience participation playing a k


Leeds Art

Soup Kitchen

Abbey House Museum



Literal underground comedy night with stellar line-ups. THURSDAYS (EVERY FIRST OR SECOND OF THE MONTH)

SHAM BODIE, 19:30-22:00, £5

The Comedy Store

THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE, 19:00-23:00, £7-£13


NEW COMEDIANS, 19:30-22:30, £2-£4

GROUP THERAPY COMEDY CLUB, 19:0022:00, £10-£12



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.

MC Toby Hadoke presents a showcase of new, never seen before material from established acts of the circuit.


A-grade gags from the Sham Bodie crew and local and touring comedians, bound together by live music and hotdogs.

WORK IN PROGRESS, 20:30-23:00, £3-£5


NEW STUFF, 19:30-22:30, £2-£4

Waterside Arts Centre

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.

A night of standup from some fresh-faced comics trying to break on to the circuit – be nice.


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. 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.



An immersive world of magic and mystery, showcasing some familiar fairy tales including Aladdin, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, as well as traditional fables from around the world.

Art Hostel



Featuring work by Pip Hibbert, Gev Barton, Georgia Miller, Zoe Buckberry and Suki Penrose Britton, who explore the harsher and louder anti-feminist ideas that crop up as gender politics become more divided.

Art Colours May Vary OUT OF ORDER


An exhibition of printed imagery created by third year BA (Hons) Illustration students from Leeds College of Art. They’ll also be throwing a lunch do on 10 Mar, complete with free refreshments and original art, publications and prints available to buy.

Gallery at Munro House #WEXMONDAYS


Wex Photographic is the biggest indie online photographic retailer in the UK, which each year runs an photographic exhibition showcasing the winners from their online competition, #WexMondays. PLAY IT LOUD: GIG POSTER GOODNESS FROM NEW ANALOG


Featuring everything from Gil Scott-Heron to Bonobo, this exhibition celebrates the longstanding, heavenly union of music and art through hand-screenprinted works by New Analog, an illustrator and printer based in Manchester.

Henry Moore Institute



Showcasing the innovative work of pioneering British artist Roy Ascott – who throughout his career has worked with cybernetics, telematics and communication theories – in the narrative of British sculpture.

Leeds City Museum FOR ALL SEASONS


An exploration into how the world around us changes with the seasons, from storing food away for a long winter to packing clothes to keep you cool while on your summer jollies. DYING MATTERS


A community display featuring objects related to death from a range of cultures, as part of the national Dying Matters initiative, which promotes public awareness of dying, death and bereavement.

Leeds College of Art: Blenheim Walk Gallery RE/WESTERN: FELICE HOUSE

UNTIL 24 MAR, 10:00AM – 4:00PM, FREE

A selection of works by American artist Felice House, whose paintings see famous Western actors such as Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Gary Cooper and James Dean reimagined as female cowboys for a feminist view of the Wild West. ROAM! ROAM! ROAM!

UNTIL 28 APR, 10:00AM – 4:00PM, FREE

Roam! Roam! Roam! Movement II is a rolling programme curated by Dr Kai Syng Tan exploring movement, mapmaking and memory via collaborative practice-led research, drawing on materials and conversations gathered since Movement I, a walk along River Aire that took place during the National Museums and Wellbeing Week in February 2016.

Leeds Industrial Museum WOMEN, WORK AND WAR

UNTIL 24 SEP, 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.




UNTIL 1 JUN, TIMES VARY, £3 - £3.80

UNTIL 30 SEP, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Co-curated by the people of Leeds, Flood Response marks a year on from one of Leeds’ most significant and devastating floods since records began, re-told through photographs, stories and artistic responses.


17 MAR-31 DEC, 10:00AM – 4:00PM, £4.40 - £5.50

Explore the history of fashion through the clothes and personal stories of a selection of Yorkshire women, from an art student of the 1970s to a rich merchant’s daughter in the 1600s. POTS AND PEOPLE

17 MAR-31 DEC, 10:00AM – 4:00PM, £4.40 - £5.50

Discover how Yorkshire ceramics have changed and adapted to serve different uses, tastes and parts of society, with historic examples displayed along contemporary equivalents from the likes of Rebecca Appleby, Loretta Braganza and James Oughtibridge.

Royal Armouries Museum IN MEMORIAM

UNTIL 30 APR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

An exhibition inspired by the family history research executed by museum staff, who have been busy delving into the lives of members of their families who served in WWI.

The Hepworth Wakefield


UNTIL 19 MAR, 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.

March/April 2017

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. DISOBEDIENT BODIES: JW ANDERSON CURATES THE HEPWORTH WAKEFIELD

18 MAR-18 JUN, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A major exhibition curated by one of the world’s most innovative contemporary fashion designers, exploring the human form in art, fashion and design, and how it has been reconceived by artists and designers across the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery



A selection of works by Kenneth Armitage, one of Britain’s most important post-war sculptors, taken from the centenary retrospective at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath in 2016.

The Tetley



An exhibition showcasing performance works and artist books by the Barcelona-based artist Dora García.


UNTIL 5 MAR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Giving a platform to those who can’t physically visit the Park – due to political situations and immigration conditions – and celebrating the notion that ideas and art can travel even if people cannot.


New sculptures, drawings and works drawn from nearly five decades of Cragg’s practice will survey and demonstrate the artist’s pioneering and continued mastery of materials. ANNE PURKISS: SCULPTORS

4 MAR-4 JUN, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Anne Purkiss is a photographer whose portfolio includes portraits of artists, scientists and personalities as well as landscape photography. This exhibition presents portrait photographs of sculptors in their studios, with particular emphasis on those who have worked with YSP over the last 40 years. KALEIDOSCOPE: SEQUENCE AND COLOUR IN 1960S BRITISH ART

1 APR-18 JUN, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Bringing together exceptional examples of painting and sculpture from the Arts Council Collection, and augmented with major loans from important UK collections, Kaleidoscope examines the art of the 1960s through a fresh and surprising lens, one bringing into direct view the relationship between colour and form, rationality and irrationality, order and waywardness. [RE]CONSTRUCT: A NATIONAL PARTNERS PROGRAMME EXHIBITION FROM THE ARTS COUNCIL COLLECTION 1 APR-25 JUN, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

This exhibition explores ways in which artists have incorporated architecture into their work using a process of deconstruction and reconstruction in order to interrogate and manipulate its forms. AYESHA TAN JONES: VISITING ARTIST

3-26 MAR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Ayesha Tan Jones, recipient of the 2016 Central Saint Martin’s YSP graduate award, works with issues concerning the energy, form and identity of female spirituality.

Liverpool Art FACT



In a world increasingly goverened by ‘post-truth’ politics, a group of politically-inspired media artists explore the radical shift in the boundary between fiction and reality through work involving the direct use of deception, tricks, hoaxes and hacks...

Huyton Central Library CHERIE GRIST: PEOPLE


Exhibition from Liverpool-based artist and co-founder of 104 Duke Street Studios Cherie Grist, who’s focused her interest on people and their behaviour, and how situations in life change people for the better and for worse.

International Slavery Museum CONTINUING THE JOURNEY

UNTIL 31 MAR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A multi media collection of oral histories, photography and film, exploring issues which affect people of African heritage, born, raised or living in Liverpool’s locality.


A collection of over 30 posters produced by the Organisation in Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL), revealing the idealistic spirit of the Cuban Revolution intent on fighting imperialism, globalisation and defending human rights.



Exploring the life and work of popular children’s illustrator Nick Sharratt, well known for illustrating stories by Jacqueline Wilson, Jeremy Strong and others, along with his own books.

Lady Lever Art Gallery


UNTIL 1 MAY, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

A selection of paintings, 3D works, textiles and digital images by GCSE and A-level students from South Wirral High School, St John Plessington Catholic College, Prenton High School for Girls and Weatherhead High School.

Liverpool Hope University MICHAEL STUBBS: PAINTINGS

6 MAR, 5:00PM, FREE

Stubbs’ paintings operate at the interface of abstraction and pop, constructed by combining poured, abstract configurations of transparent varnishes (still with us?) and opaque household paints with ready-made graphic stencils.

Merseyside Maritime Museum


UNTIL TBC, 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 TBC, 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.


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.

Museum of Liverpool


UNTIL 3 SEP, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

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 MAR, 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.

Open Eye Gallery


UNTIL 19 MAR, 10:30AM – 5:30PM, FREE

Co-curated by Lou Stoppard and Adam Murray, North explores the way the North of England is depicted, constructed and celebrated in select photographs, artworks and fashion collections. CULTURE SHIFTS GLOBAL

6 APR-18 JUN, 10:30AM – 5:30PM, FREE

In collaboration with the University of Salford, Open Eye invite Hong Kong photographers Luke Ching and Wong Wo Bik to make work in Liverpool, while also supporting British Hong Kong-born photographer Derek Man to revisit Hong Kong, together exploring the city and urbanism seen through outsiders’ eyes. Part of LOOK/17: Liverpool International Photography Festival, titled ‘Cities of Exchange: Liverpool/Hong Kong’.


UNTIL 26 MAR, 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.


3 APR-29 MAY, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Exhibition of works by the pioneering American artist, who died in 2015, where newly bequeathed pieces will be displayed alongside 20 paintings, prints and reliefs from the Tate collection.


UNTIL 3 SEP, 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. YVES KLEIN

UNTIL 5 MAR, 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 KRASINSKI

UNTIL 5 MAR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, £8 - £10

The first UK retrospective of Edward Krasinski (1925–2004), one of the most significant Eastern European artists of the 20th Century, featuring works from across his career.


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.



Highlights from a collection of Roman portraits, classical subjects and funerary sculptures that local landowner Henry Blundell of Ince Blundell Hall amassed in the late 18th Century. MAY THE TOYS BE WITH YOU


A Star Wars collections of memorabilia, toys and posters owned by collector Matt Fox. THE LANDING: COLOURFIELDS


Exhibition from Southport-based Frank Barnes, who uses acrylic and oil paints, dichlorotriazine dyes and fragments of sea shells on a base of un-primed canvas and canvas paper to create his works. SEFTON OPEN


A vibrant exhibition showcasing talent from across Sefton, welcoming back groups who have previously exhibited alongside new artists.



Exploring the central role of art at Bluecoat through key personalities, exhibitions and organisations that found a home there, contributing to the unique history of the UK’s oldest arts centre.




Bringing together works by 100 artists who have previously exhibited at Bluecoat, including the likes of John Akomfrah, Sonia Boyce, Jeremy Deller, John Latham, Mark Leckey, Elizabeth Magill, Yoko Ono and Yinka Shonibare. ART AT THE HEART OF BLUECOAT


Exploring the central role of art at Bluecoat through key personalities, exhibitions and organisations that found a home there, contributing to the unique history of the UK’s oldest arts centre. LIVERPOOL PRINT FAIR

8 APR, 10:30AM, FREE

A joint venture from The Print Social and Bluecoat Print Studio, gathering the very best in printmaking and design to provide Liverpool with accessible and affordable art.


10 MAR-31 OCT, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

The first major retrospective of the work of Liverpool-born artist John Higgins, who found global success as a comic book artist and writer for 2000AD, DC and Marvel.


UNTIL 7 MAY, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Exploring the work of leading 19th-century classical artists such as Frederic Lord Leighton, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Edward John Poynter, as well as pioneering Pre-Raphaelite artists including John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, to show how the Victorian period marked an important change in the way people used and viewed art. FASHION ICONS: CELEBRATING GAY DESIGNERS

UNTIL 1 JUL 18, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Celebrating the work of some of the best-known fashion designers including Christian Dior, Yves St Laurent, John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld and Dolce & Gabbana, some of whom were forced to hide their sexuality in order to protect their careers.

Manchester Art Central Library MANCHESTER PRINT FAIR

8 APR, 10:45AM – 4:45PM, FREE

The Manchester Print Fair returns, with dozens of stalls from local and national print artists, as well as workshops in origami and letterpress, among others. CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE


An ambitious visual arts project from British painter Sarah Kogan, who takes a profoundly personal and deeply poignant dive into the physical, emotional and psychological destruction of the First World War, after journeying to France to trace the footsteps of her great uncle Barney Griew, a map maker and scout who died in the Battle of the Somme - and whose extraordinary archive of letters, drawings, and photographic postcards are the inspiration behind the project.

Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art SUKI CHAN: LUCIDA & LUCIDA II

UNTIL 30 APR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Exposing the curious and complex relationship between the human eye, the brain and vision, by weaving together extraordinary images, bio-medical research and individual testimonies.

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.



10 MAR, 7:00PM – 10:00PM, FREE

Artist Brian J Morrison presents a series of new works which tread a line between painting, sculpture and performance. He is concerned with the role of the body in relation to the production and consumption of art works.



27 JAN, 11:00AM – 8:00PM, FREE

A new project and exhibition investigating connections between gender and geographical place, featuring photographic works by Victoria Lucas. PUSH FESTIVAL 2017: LAY OF THE LAND (AND OTHER SUCH MYTHS)


A new project and exhibition from Victoria Lucas, investigating connections between gender and geographical place. ROCK ART


New solo exhibition from artist, musician, scientist and irrepressible explorer John Hyatt, who peels back the layers of his identity, through a set of unique collaborations involving his own objects, narratives and live performance.

Imperial War Museum North


UNTIL 1 MAY, 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.



International Manchester Anthony Burgess Museum EXTINCTION OR SURVIVAL? Foundation UNTIL 20 APR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE TIME FOR A TIGER: ANTHONY BURGESS IN MALAYA

1 MAR, 10:00AM – 4:00PM, FREE

Examining Anthony Burgess’s experiences in Malaya in the 1950s, where he worked as a teacher at the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar and at the Malayan Teachers’ Training College at Kota Bharu in the district of Kelantan.

Islington Mill


3 MAR, 7:30PM, £18

Samarbeta welcome Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore for a residency, which will examine a sound of the city using field recordings and art. The residency will culminate with a live performance and exhibition opening on 3 Mar.

MMU: Special Collections


An exhibition of practice-based research by Clinton Cahill, Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Art, in which notational drawing has been used to record personal visual impressions in the moment of reading James Joyce’s extraordinary text.

Macclesfield Silk Museum INHABIT

11 FEB, 10:00AM – 3:00PM, FREE

Artist Yvette Hawkins has created a bio structural installation using silk woven by a colony of silkworms, using this to explore the idea of migration and cultural identity through her UK and South Korean heritage.

Manchester Art Gallery 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. STRANGE AND FAMILIAR: BRITAIN AS REVEALED BY INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS


Curated by iconic British photographer Martin Parr, this exhibition celebrates work from the likes of Henri Cartier Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Rineke Dijkstra, Bruce Gilden and Evelyn Hofer to consider how international photographers from the 1930s onwards have captured the social, cultural and political identity of the UK. MARY QUANT: FASHION ICON


Featuring 22 outfits dating from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, illustrating how Quant’s designs exemplified a shift in fashion’s focus and inspiration to a younger consumer through bold mini dresses, PVC, patterned tights and more. WYNFORD DEWHURST: MANCHESTER’S MONET


The first retrospective of the controversial English impressionist painter and art theorist Wynford Dewhurst since his death in 1941.


UNTIL 20 MAY, 10:00AM – 5:30PM, FREE

Joshua Till puts a contemporary twist on a traditional craft with his nature-inspired steam bent furniture.

The Crown and Kettle


Focusing on examples where humans are known to have influenced the survival of animal and plant species, including iconic species such as the dodo, along with lesser-known stories such as the giant earwig.


UNTIL 1 JUL, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE



A series of artworks exploring a poignant narrative of loss, responding to Einstein’s chilling words: ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.’ SICK! FESTIVAL: HAPPY CLOUD


Public artwork by acclaimed British artist Stuart Semple, who’ll flood the skyline with thousands of smiley faced clouds made from soap helium and vegetable dye.

Museum of Science and Industry


UNTIL 25 JUN, 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.

PS Mirabel

A series of photographs by Steve Hunt on display in the relaxed environs of Ancoats pub, The Crown and Kettle.

The Holden Gallery 1-3 MAR, TIMES VARY, FREE

Featuring work by Viktoria Binschtok, James Bridle, Esther Hovers, James Richards and Thomson & Craighead, who explore our relationship to the image, and the way in which information is captured has changed substantially in recent years. RUSE: THE ARTFULNESS OF DECEIT


As the television and the media increasingly become saturated with their own constructed take on ‘reality’, RUSE explores the grey areas between reality and illusion.



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.

The Lowry



Residency from London-based artist Paddy Hartley, whose works revolve around themes of remembrance and make use of bio-tissue assembly, digital embroidery, photography, ceramics, installation and sculpture.

The Portico Library



An exhibition of new work from artists Holly Rowan Hesson and Rowan Eastwood, exploring and expanding their shared interests in materials, intuitive process and responding to site.

Castlefield’s Saul Hay Gallery brings a roster of UK-based artists to The Portico for a month-long showcase, featuring work by Omid Asadi, Paul Bennett, Catherine Harrison, Josie Jenkins, Enzo Marra, Melinda Matyas, Mandy Payne and Jo Taylor.

Paper Gallery

Various Venues




Solo exhibition from Tracey Eastham, who has created a new body of work based on the ancient Tower of Babel fable, and the subsequent story of the ‘confusion of tongues’ that led mankind to be separated and scattered across the world. PAPER #36: SHARON LEAHY-CLARK

8 APR-13 MAY, 11:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Solo exhibition from Sharon LeahyClark, who allows her work to grow organically without editing so that the poetic qualities of the materials used is shown and all working processes and natural accidents are left visible; nothing is erased.


UNTIL 3 SEP, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

Curated by members of the local LGBT+ community, detailing the development of an LGBT+ movement, showing the internal and external struggles, the different party political approaches to equality and the social and historical context of the last 60 years of activism. PARALLEL REPUBLIC: THE ART OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

UNTIL 2 APR, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, FREE

An exhibition of painting, illustration, photography, film, animation and music born of the Syrian uprising by some of the most active and acclaimed Syrian artists.


17 MAR, 9:00AM – 6:00PM, FREE

A public art installation where a group of ephemeral human-like sculptures, apparently formed of detritus, hang out on benches and seats within urban settings, generating an interference in the public space – the sculptures are visual obstacles threatening our own significance within the public realm.


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. DEANNA PETHERBRIDGE


A solo show of pen and ink drawings from across the 45-year career of Deanna Petherbridge, who pioneered critical thinking on drawing and its place in art and architecture. NEW SCULPTURE


Presenting a dynamic selection of contemporary sculpture recently acquired by the Whitworth, including works by leading contemporary artists such as Sara Barker, Brian Griffiths, Roger Hiorns, Michael Landy and Helen Marten. LUCIENNE DAY


An exhibition celebrating Lucienne Day, who was an enthusiastic gardener, whose textile designs were heavily inspired by plant forms. The show is part of the Whitworth’s GROW project, which promotes the benefits of engaging in horticultural activities to improve mental wellbeing. SICK! FESTIVAL: AFTERLIFE


Sound installation from French & Mottershead, who transport the listener via intimate stories to the body’s decomposition after death - with two pieces including Woodland, experienced via a smartphone app outside in Whitworth Park. BARBARA BROWN


In partnership with Design Manchester, Manchester Modernist Society and the Friends of the Whitworth, the Whitworth welcomes the first major solo exhibition of the work of Barbara Brown, deemed the ‘golden girl’ of Heal Fabrics in the 1960s and early 70s. SICK! FESTIVAL: HAPPY CLOUD


Public artwork by acclaimed British artist Stuart Semple, who’ll flood the skyline with thousands of smiley faced clouds made from soap helium and vegetable dye.

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.



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.

Find full listings at


The Book That Changed Me Spring is book-ended by two celebrations of reading: World Book Day on 2 March and World Book Night on 23 April. We asked The Skinny team to name the books that changed their minds, views and even lives

Trout Fishing In America by Richard Brautigan Not many books have truly blown my mind. Trout Fishing In America is an exception. A friend gave me a copy when I was 18, and it taught me so many things about writing – that it can be nonsensical, fractured, experimental and yet comical, satirical and completely game-changing. Richard Brautigan’s creativity clearly owes a lot to drugs, but he also proved that a book can be a novel, a character, a narrator, a verb, a noun... and whatever else you interpret it to be. [Claire Francis]  Wild Swans  by Jung Chang I finished reading Jung Chang’s Wild Swans when I was in Beijing aged 17. I found it really astonishing to be reading this account of these incredibly brutal acts of such relatively recent history, I think at that stage maybe 25 years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, in a place where they had occurred. It seemed like such a contradiction to be talking to people who had presumably largely had their lives ripped apart or indeed been the people to rip those lives apart, and for them to be getting on with things and not making this the focal point of their existence. I’d read half the book at home in Glasgow where it had seemed like this dramatic Other, a different world entirely where things like that happen, not like where we are. And then to be there later and realise that actually everywhere is just filled with people, most of whom are alright and just wanting to move forwards in their lives – work, be with their families, go to the cinema. It represented a sort of psychological shift, which in itself ignited this huge fascination with travel and with reading about life in different cultures. [Rosamund West]  Eunoia  by Christian Bök This is a collection of five mini-stories, each limited to one vowel (e.g. chapter A begins, “Awkward grammar appals a craftsman”). It’s an absurd display of formalism but it blew my mind when I first read it; I had no idea something like that was even possible, let alone readable. It opened me up to structuralist and experimental literature; stuff that plays with rules and constraints and yet still comes out with a story to tell. [George Sully]  Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I bought Purple Hibiscus as reading material for a course at university. Unfortunately and predictably, it ended up on the ‘books that I failed to read before the seminar’ pile. It was only a few months into the post-graduation haze that I decided to give it a go. Purple Hibiscus was essentially my do-or-die to get me back into the habit of continual reading, after failing numerous times to connect with a book. I remember so starkly how refreshing and modern the writing felt. After years of reading dry Medieval verse and doorstop Victorian novels, I immediately responded to Adichie’s talent for characterisation and dialogue and the book remains my key to a realm of new writing. It’s also a kickass tale of female survival that reminds you, when you’re on the verge of giving up: don’t. [Holly Rimmer-Tagoe]

March/April 2017

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer This was the first beautifully written non-fiction book I’d ever read and it confirmed that I didn’t have to write fiction to feel like a creative writer. Also, it covers the science, philosophy, economics and social history of eating meat, and therefore armed me with lots of lovely things to say about vegetarianism for when I’m being patronised by discourse bros at dinner parties. [Kate Pasola]  A Little Princess  by Frances Hodgson Burnett On an emotional level, it’s A Little Princess. I read it when I was 9ish and it was the first time a novel took over everything. I lived and died for Sara Crewe, I was on a cycle of A Little Princess, eat, sleep, repeat. It basically made me realise that reading is the best thing ever. On a more intelligent level, I got into magical realism stuff at uni and read Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie a lot; think I did it four times in my final year. It was totally different to anything I’d read before: hilarious at times, frustrating at times, exploring how history is linked into our lives, plus lots of metaphors about chutney. [Issy Patience]  

“Pure storytelling remains the most dazzling and natural gift” A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond Paddington repays re-reading as an adult. While the stories remain the marmalade-laden missteps of a friendly bear in London, there’s an undeniable sadness going on beneath the surface. The 2014 film adaptation made immigration a central theme and arguably offered a fresh and modern perspective. In Bond’s original stories it is a little more subtle. To a child, Paddington’s friendship with antiques dealer Mr Gruber could be read as an eccentric pairing of opposites. To an adult, it is clearly the mutual experience of disasters in their home countries that binds them. It’s mostly off the page, but if the stories overall riotously celebrate the welcoming new life Paddington experiences in London, it is this friendship which reminds us and respects the extent of what both characters have lost. [Ben Venables] Rip It Up And Start Again  by Simon Reynolds As a slightly too obsessive music hack/fan/nerd, I’ve read an awful lot of books about various artists, bands and scenes, and it’s tempting to nominate various tomes by Kristin Hersh, Stevie Chick and Michael Azerrad as some of the most vital pieces of biography or criticism out there. The one I’m most grateful for having read, however, is Simon Reynolds’ Rip It Up And Start Again; a finely detailed, lovingly researched and absolutely fascinating exploration of punk’s evolution into post-punk and then again into the vivid colours of 1980s ‘new pop’.

It’s music journalism as sociological study on one hand, but told with the capacity to intrigue, excite and often even dazzle. You’ll be guaranteed to come away from each chapter with at least ten new records to track down or revisit with curiosity renewed and perspectives realigned, and not just about the music either. [Will Fitzpatrick] On The Road by Jack Kerouac While trying to come up with something more original, I have to answer truthfully and embrace the male hipster cliche that I am and say On the Road by Jack Kerouac. What he saw in life when it was beautiful and people when they inspired him is what I look for now, and all of my best, unwisest decisions have come from that. [Ross McIndoe] The Harlem Cycle by Chester Himes While I’ve always valued Scottish writers whose work speaks with a voice that resembles mine (Welsh/Fagan/Kelman), to truly experience the life of others, far from your own, is what makes reading magical. Payback Press was an imprint of Canongate, which in the late 90s reprinted black American crime fiction. Their list reacquainted me with rebels like Iceberg Slim and Gil Scott Heron, but more importantly introduced overlooked artists such as Herbert Simmons. The jewel in this crown was Chester Himes. Infamous for If He Hollers Let Him Go, a novel deemed ‘too black and too strong’ for the America of the 40s, Himes converted to crime writing in later life (understanding, before William McIlvanney’s famous maxim, that to introduce the reading public to such themes you must ‘go where the readers are then colonise the genre’). His Harlem Cycle novels taught me that, as with the best genre movies, lurid pulp fiction can balance its weight against furious social commentary; that no matter how well trained and technically masterful a writer may be, pure story-telling remains the most dazzling and natural gift. [Alan Bett]  La vie devant soi (The Life Before Us) by Romain Gary I must have read this when I was 12-13; a bit too early to understand all of it, but old enough to get it. It’s a book that appeals a lot to your senses and your memories of lights, smells and emotions from childhood, while being very grown up and having an almost philosophical perspective on life. I also really enjoyed the intimacy, and reading about things that happen behind closed doors in a cultural and social home that was so different from my background. [Caroline Harleaux] 

existence of Ted Hughes and how his male oppression had contributed both to her suicide and that of his subsequent partner. Reading his intimate snapshots of their relationship, published after 35 years of silence since her death, hit me quite hard as he attempted to preserve her memory with uncharacteristically sensitive, self-searching and honest poetry. By allowing his work to be presented in such a vulnerable and raw state after carrying the burden of her death for so many years, he has made me question my own thought processes and judgements of others in adult life. [Sarah Donley]  1984  by George Orwell The whole way through you feel totally impoverished and powerless. The trust Winston places in a few people with hope for a better future is abused and crushed because Big Brother always wins. A society desensitised to a perpetual state of war and warped by tribal nationalism; a state of hysteria reinforced by images of traitors, enemies of the state and other folk devils; unquestioned leaders and hierarchy... Frighteningly familiar! [James Taylor]  The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt  It was the chance discovery of a slim novel by a name I’d never heard of, in a weird, vast holiday apartment that had no books on its huge shelves apart from titles by this one author, that reaffirmed reading as the central activity of my life after a few years of disinterest post-Uni. I’ve not come across another voice like Siri Hustvedt: her keyhole explorations of the shackled heart – to relationships, to art, to the past – operate somewhere inside a membrane between body and mind, between physical reality and philosophy. There’s this unlocatable eeriness to all of her work that stays with you. She’s also an absolutely badass example of a woman who’s managed to pursue an intellectual life at the centre of everything, and I hope I’m as smart, self-possessed and interested in the world as her when I’m 60. [Lauren Strain] What was the book that changed you? Join the conversation at

Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes Ted Hughes’ intimate sequence of poems Birthday Letters drummed a dose of compassion into me at an impressionable age. As an angsty pre-teen I was already completely obsessed with the writings of Sylvia Plath and absolutely loathed the very


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Profile for The Skinny

The Skinny North March/April 2017  

The Skinny North is Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester's leading entertainment and listings magazine

The Skinny North March/April 2017  

The Skinny North is Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester's leading entertainment and listings magazine

Profile for theskinny