Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Arts, Music & Events Preview, January 2011 (Part Two)

Like a bleary eyed mid-morning on a lie-in day, 2011 is creaking into action. If you’ve already broken that New Year’s resolution then here’s another: check out more of the many events in and around the city. Here are some pointers...

There’s a discussion this evening (Wednesday 19th) on the relevance of poetry in our society; covering some recent attempts to rebrand the spoken and written verse as well as its appearances in other aspects of popular culture such as film and music. Manchester Salon host it in the Blackwell University Bookshop, inviting along Angelica Michelis and Anthony Rowland to shape the open conversation. If you can’t make it, then feed your thoughts on the intriguing subject with their selected background readings.

A reminder that Mooch N4 will bite the dust in a couple of weeks, so grab the opportunity to browse while it’s still standing.

Remember Dot Dash? It was a popular alt-indie clubnight in the Scubar (RIP) basement a couple of years ago. The only reason I mention it is that the Big Scary Monsters Records playlist at Trof on Saturday 22nd is shaping up with a similar ring to it.

As mentioned earlier this month, The Castle Hotel has been setting out its gigging stall as its New Year's revolution. They continue on Monday 24th with a night of folky balladeers headed by Dana Falconberry and curated by local folk troupe The Travelling Band.

Fast forward to Thursday 27th and Blank Media Collective open the doors to their new BLANKSPACE venue with an introductory exhibition under the banner of BlankExpression. Situated at the former home of student arts group Easa on Hulme Street, BLANKSPACE’s four walls are to be adorned by work from 27 artists. The doors remain open until 9pm on that launch night, at which point you could venture across to New Wakefield Street's Sound Control with ample time to catch one of the triumphs of 2010 in the form of cosmic disco groover Aeroplane, who tops the Drop The Mustard promotion.

But keep in mind the latest organised cycle with Bike Friday the following day; don’t tyre (geddit?) yourself out by staying out drinking too late. But if you can ‘handle bars’ (too much?) then I’m sure it’ll be fine. More info on the when and where is here. Too cold for a pedal around town? Another option on Friday 28th is to warm your cockles next to the proposed Manchester Artists’ Bonfire at Islington Mill, where submitted pieces will be ritualistically burned as a symbolic response to the swingeing arts cuts. Described as ‘an event for artists, by artists’, you’re asked to write 250 words explaining your reaction to the event and its motives in order to take part, and the deadline to do so is Wednesday 26th.

Doing some more burning – this time of the midnight oil – that night will be the mouth-watering results of a tech house promoter merger. Über Disco and Untold Motion become Über Motion for the purposes of staging Sascha Dive at Sound Control. Mind On Fire will also be DJing in the building.

Saturday 29th is one of those where everything is scheduled to happen all at once. Well, not everything, but there’re a few options. First off, a toss-up between two political avenues. Those favouring direct action, say aye – and head out to the latest anti-cuts march, starting at Manchester Museum at 1pm before cruising down to Platt Fields for a rally. Don’t let a one-off fire extinguisher incident, and the subsequent undergrad degree-length jail sentence, put you off. Those who’re naysayers to the question of a stroll down Oxford Road while the temperature’s still a bit iffy may favour the Manchester Trades Union Council Conference at Friends Meeting House, where there’ll be stalls (including Manchester Friends of the Earth), and aims to assist workplace and community cuts and to mobilise ahead of a demonstration on 26th March.

In music that day there’s a Friends of Mine all-dayer packed with should-see local bands, from Jim Noir to Air Cav, via The Janice Graham Band, Lucy & The Caterpillar and Rook & The Ravens. That one’s shared between Jabez Clegg and Kro Bar, and acts as a warm-up to their field-based Friends of Mine Festival in May. And if your eyes are still open after all that then there’s the first in Hoya:Hoya’s Secret Series. They’re at the Roadhouse, but just who ‘they’ are will remain a mystery until you arrive. Expect a night of off-kilter glitch-tronica.

Call the Sunday a day off after all that, but Monday 31st sees one worth venturing out for. Veí (who appeared at our Now Then Manchester event in October) takes his electronic orchestra to Tiger Lounge for the Big Dig showcase that also features Leonard Rossiter; free entry.

Finally, the 31st is also pencilled in for the release of local Idlewild soundalikes City Reign's sophomore single, 'Out In The Cold', on their own Cat Boot Records label.

Words: Ian Pennington
Image 1: Michael Thorp
Image 2: Rebecca Wild
[Images 1 & 2 appearing as part of BlankExpression 2011]

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