Can’t face another carol concert? Here are three alternative Christmas shows guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

1. All girl choir Gaggle at Islington Mill

Making their debut Manchester/Salford appearance, Gaggle (pictured) are a 26-piece all-girl indie choir from Hackney, with expertise in wild costumes (think 400 balls of wool and geisha-inspired kimonos) and opera singing. Innovator Deborah Coughlin says that “the big idea was to put a different kind of girl on stage’. Times that difference by 26 and you have something game-changing, nodding to Graduale Nobili, the 24-strong Icelandic all-girl choir who accompanied Bjork on her Biophilia tour. Able support comes from the Northern Quarter Boys Choir, and there will be DJs until late. Sat 1 Dec, Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, M3 5HW. Tel: 07757 956555, 7.30pm, £8,

2. Cloud Sounds Christmas Special with Y Niwl, Laura J Martin, Magic Arm & friends

Cold water surf rockers Y Niwl bring to mind big booby tattoos and the sun, sea and sand of… Swansea. Super Furry Gruff Rhys is such a fan that they recently played as his backing band on a world tour. Check out Pedwar. Laura J Martin employs flutes, mandolins, xylophones alongside loop technology to make a Kate Bush-inspired symphony, while Magic Arm’s sumptuously melancholic harmonies (think Beach Boys meets Belle and Sebastian) are on rotation on BBC 6Music. Check out Put Your Collar Up EP  for a sample of his new album out March 2013. A celebration of the sound of the year to come. Fri 14 Dec, Night and Day Café, 26 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, M1 1JN. Tel: 0161 236 4597, 7pm, £4 before 1 Dec,

3. Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler Christmas Special at Deaf Institute

Are they dating or aren’t they? Who knows – but these guys are almost too cute for their own good. For the second year running, the Ash frontman and London’s Emmy (aka queen of alt) combine forces to serve up a live show of 2011’s festive recording, This is Christmas. Yes, it’s slightly knowing and cheesy, but here’s betting we’ll be hugging everyone in sight by half nine. Wed 19 Dec, The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, M1 7HE. Tel: 0161 276 9350, 7pm, £15,

Sat 1 Dec - Wed 19 Dec
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Mon 17 Dec 2012