The optimistic return of live music listings is just about our favourite post-lockdown development yet, and it’s pretty evident from the kind of artists announcing global tours that the musicians are equally thrilled to pieces to be able to contemplate life back on the road. In celebration of getting those tour bus wheels turning again, here’s our top five gigs for 2021 so far that you can’t afford to miss out on a ticket for.

Nubya Garcia | Gorilla | Mon 15 Feb | 7.30pm | £17 Adv

She’s the poster girl for the London jazz scene and already multi award-winning, as well as a regular NTS radio DJ, and now Nubya Garcua has finally released her debut album – Source – which gloriously shows off her virtuoso reputation.
She heads to Manchester just after Valentine’s Day – performing at Gorilla, now under new management with the team behind Factory nightclub and Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess in charge.

Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 5WW, Tel: 0161 826 2998
SIlverbacks | The Castle Hotel | Tue 16 Mar | 7.30pm | £7 Adv

Indie heads need to get into the Castle Hotel in March for Silverbacks – as hot on the heels of their debut album Fad as it has been possible to be, and surely their last truly intimate gig in this city. A record stuffed with the itchiest indie since The Stokes released Is This It, and well indebted to indie’s peak witty and wise stage in the early-1990s, Fad is one of those seven-out-of-tenners albums that, come 2030, critics will be lining up among the top releases of the decade.

The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LE, Tel: 0161 237 9485
Everything Everything | Manchester Academy | Sun 21 Mar | 7.30pm | £27.50

Manchester’s finest four piece, Everything Everything, are coming back with a whole new vibe. “It points to a new phase for our band,” they say of latest release Re-Animator. “We were inspired by bigger, warmer, more human and universal ideas than ever before.” And they’re not kidding; the record promises a live experience that’ll whip you around the galaxy and back; if this is your reintroduction to live music, prepare for it to go down as one of your favourite gigs ever.

Manchester Academy, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PQ, Tel: 0161 275 2930
Dream Wife | Manchester Academy 2 | Sat 17 Apr | 7.30pm | £15 Adv

Dream Wife can do no wrong. Two albums in now and they’re still kicking up the loudest, smartest, most switched on grrrl riot you’re ever likely to experience – in the music they make and the choices they take about who to work with and what to stand up for. Live on the road is where you’ll also experience them at their most visceral and untamed.

Manchester Academy 2, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PQ, Tel: 0161 275 2930
Nick Cave | AO Arena Manchester | Wed 21 Apr | 7.30pm | From £30.50 Adv

Top of the virtual-live music events that have moved us most from a safe distance this year is Nick Cave performing Idiot Prayer alone at Alexandra Palace in July. A dip into a vast catalogue that, across 17 solo albums, proved Cave to be one of the most compelling and passionate songwriters of his generation, the gig also reinforced Cave’s particular gift for bringing you in close and making you feel like you’re the only person he’s singing for. His songs swallow you whole – in mind and spirit; take tissues.

AO Arena Manchester, Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR, Tel: 0844 847 8000
Wed 16 Sep
Sarah Walters
Published on:
Wed 16 Sep 2020