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Music on the Move: Manchester

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Manchester and music go hand-in-hand. The city’s music scene has roots in everything from jazz, indie and blues to pop, punk and soul, and it brags an influential presence in the music world. With its name firmly on the musical map, Manchester is pumping with every genre of melodic genius.

We want to take you on a musical journey into the city with our first edition of ‘Music on the Move’. We’ll show you where to go to enjoy Manchester gigs, who the up-and-coming bands are, which famous artists hail from Manchester and where the best music venues can be found.

If you’re a music fan on your way to Manchester, listen to our Spotify Playlist: 

Manchester gigs in 2018

Whether you want to catch a show from an emerging act or see a massive arena concert, Manchester is the city to head to. The 2018 Manchester music calendar is jam-packed with gigs by bands from all over the world. In fact, you can already book tickets for shows up to the end of 2018 and you can watch artists play in everything from small basement venues to huge stadiums.

Here are some of the upcoming gigs in Manchester in 2018:

Who: The Hunna                                              Who: Walklate & Fuschi / Charli White

Where: O2 Apollo                                            Where: The Castle Hotel

When: 6th January – 10th January                  When: 17th January


Who: Lady Gaga                                               Who: The Game

Where: Manchester Arena                            Where: Victoria Warehouse

When: 6th February                                         When: 24th March


Who: Evanescence                                          Who: Harry Styles

Where: O2 Apollo                                            Where: Manchester Arena

When: 3rd April                                                 When: 9th April


Roy Orbison, Barenaked Ladies, Plan B, Manic Street Preachers, Iron Maiden, Liam Gallagher, Shania Twain and Cliff Richard are all also set to entertain crowds in the city in 2018.

A crowd of people with their hands in the air watching a band perform on stage with white strobe lights lighting up the stage

Up-and-coming Manchester bands

As well as well-established names, there are always lots of emerging Manchester bands ready to take the UK by storm. With music to suit all tastes, 2018 looks set to welcome a tidal wave of new musical talent.

A hotbed for musical talent, check out our medley of upcoming names to keep your eyes and ears peeled for:

  1. LAY. (pronounced Layfullstop)

This singing, rapping soulstress may originally be from the Midlands but has called Manchester her home for so many years that she is now considered an honorary Mancunian. LAY. is one of the hottest properties in the city and is part of the MC outfit Cul De Sac. She pulls hip-hop, jazz and soul to the forefront of the modern music scene in Manchester and is a name to watch out for.

  1. Cabbage

Cabbage are quickly making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting new bands on the block to look out for. This quintet is comprised of five lads from Mossley, who really get stuck into their wild performances of garage punk. Cabbage is an entertaining sensation who successfully marry hardcore tunes with passionate lyrics, creating hilarious performances that leave audiences cheering for more.

  1. Larkins

Awesome hair and killer lyrics come together to create the Larkins. Take four old college friends, add a little pop music, saturate them in some funky sounds and throw in a splash of dark punk and you’ll enjoy some seriously mind-blowing performances.

  1. The Breath

The unique duo called The Breath are an eclectic pair made up of folk singer Rioghnach Connolly and guitarist Stuart McCallum. This imaginative union combines the smooth sounds of folk and soul to produce a fusion of ambient tracks.

Pop into the smaller venues in the city on a week night and you’ll be sure to find some amazing local line-ups. You can also head to a festival such as Carefully Planned or SFTOC to catch incredible performances from some homegrown talent.

 A man wearing a blue jumper, standing with his back to the camera listening to music on large headphones as a train rushes past

Famous artists from Manchester

Some of the world’s most influential artists hail from Manchester. Its prolific music scene spans decades and has witnessed the birth and global fame of bands and solo singers, from the likes of Oasis to Maurice Gibb.

Check out some of the most famous names in the Manchester music biz:

  • Oasis
  • The Smiths
  • Take That
  • The Charlatans
  • Happy Mondays
  • The Chemical Brothers
  • The Stone Roses
  • The Hollies
  • James

Hundreds of green seats and a single red seat inside a large stadium

Manchester music venues

Whether you love house, hip-hop, garage, indie, funk, pop or punk you can find something to quench your musical thirst in the city’s plethora of bars and clubs.

Popular Venues: Some of the most famous venues in Manchester include the O2 Apollo, the Etihad Stadium, the Manchester Arena and Bridgewater Hall. You can expect to enjoy concerts from some of the biggest names in the music business, along with tens of thousands of screaming fans.

Intimate Venues: If you want to listen to some catchy tunes by lesser-known acts, head to Gorilla, Albert Hall, Castlefield Bowl, The Deaf Institute or Band on the Wall. The Ruby Lounge, Sound Control and Soup Kitchen also boast a highly regarded music ethos and are the perfect venues for listening to up-and-coming resident artists.

Whatever your musical preferences, Manchester’s lyrical legacy is an almighty one. If you are heading to Manchester on one of our trains, sit back and relax while listening to our Spotify playlist above that features some of the city’s most prolific artists.

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