Sunday, 8 January 2012

Arts, Music & Events Preview, January 2012

As mentioned in a previous post, the Midwinter supplement of Lass Fest is ongoing at Lass O’Gowrie with an array of comedy and drama productions until Sunday 29th, but there is plenty more to shelter you from the gales.

We’ll start with a relaxed event on Wednesday 11th; down in Didsbury there’s a Manchester Friends of the Earth endorsed film night, screening ‘No Impact Man’, in which New Yorker Colin Beavan decides to eliminate his personal environmental impact for one year.

Onwards to Thursday 12th, which is when the top shout on the Song, By Toad label / blog’s tips for 2012 list, Easter, will be headlining a show at Dulcimer with fellow reverb-friendly post-rockers Outer Dark (three quarters of To Sophia) and Cyril Snear. Before you head along, you will have had ample time to discover and download (legally; ie paying the music maker) the new Borland EP, Romantic Animals, which is organised via local label Gulf Records and sits in the early Nathan Fake-esque cosmic soundscapes corner of electronica.

If you were playing a magical version of Monopoly and encountered a Community Chest card that says you could be a giant for one day then Saturday 14th might be the day to opt for, so that you could leapfrog through town and sample a bit of each of the following. Mellowed out ambient duo A Winged Victory For The Sullen pop into Academy 3 to emit some peaceful tones, the Underachievers clubnight continues its Roadhouse stint by welcoming local indie favourites Brown Brogues and Great Waves and Kraak welcomes the justifiably hotly tipped Trailer Trash Tracys. Given the lack of such a card, you’re going to have to take a chance and choose.

Take a deep breath for a few days after that one.

The first Now Then Manchester show for this year of supposedly imminent oblivion will play host to Dan Haywood’s New Hawks, Samson & Delilah and Ottersgear. Haywood himself has been likened to Nick Drake and Mark Kozelek by critics who were running out of superlatives to describe his self-titled debut album, released late in 2010. That LP documents the ornithologist Haywood’s five years of bird-and-people-watching during travels around Highland Scotland. Combined with the New Hawks, a band comprising talented musicians such as Paddy Steer, Mikey Kenney and Mia Bleach, Dan emits a crazed stage presence, which can be sampled on Thursday 19th at Dulcimer.

If your disco feet are getting itchy by now, then never fear! Casiokids are here. I remember when ‘Fot I Hose’ planted itself in my subconscious back in the day and it hasn’t left since, such was the rhythmic infection bestowed. The Scandinavians’ sophomore LP is due out this year to coincide with a tour that stops at Deaf Institute on Friday 20th.

Humble Soul, believe it or not (you'll have to believe it because it's the truth), will have been promoting some of the area’s finest music for five years this month and have assembled a typically stellar bill for the occasion. Denis Jones, Paddy Steer, Table, Aidan Smith and GladEyes all jostle for attention at Band On The Wall on Saturday 21st. Then as an after party option the Spektrum attic club at Sankeys hosts another edition of Continue through the early hours, this time roping in a recently arrived Manchester resident in the shape of R&S and Magic Wire signee Lone.

Some more folky types will be showcasing some songs at Dulcimer on Sunday 22nd; Imploding Inevitable presents the Manchester leg of Laura J Martin’s album launch mini-tour. As a multi-instrumentalist (flute, piano, mandolin) who favours a looping pedal to build her compositions, Martin brings an off-kilter zaniness to the alt-folk template, leading chirpy melodies through meandering sonic textures. Emily of former Red Deer Club cohorts Stealing Sheep supports in Emily & The Faves guise.

Last year an arts group based at Islington Mill decided that the best way to counter the public sector cuts would be to subject their work to a fiery communal death, very much shaped by its participants, in order to rise again from the ashes with new ideas and outlook. The Artists’ Bonfire returns this year with concern for funding in the arts still ablaze, but interpretations of the event needn’t be as incendiary as the fires, as artists are encouraged to join for reasons both political and personal. This will take place at Islington Mill on Thursday 26th but be aware that the deadline for submissions is Friday 20th.

Warehouse Project may be cocooned for hibernation again pending an announcement of their new lodgings – supposedly in, around or nearby Manchester – but that won’t stop them from treading a nomadic path along with Drop The Mustard in pursuit of some of the best international electronic musicians. Nicolas Jaar is scheduled for Saturday 28th with the likes of Scuba and Damu at the ever impressive Sound Control, which is entering its third year in the dubiously named Southern Quarter.

Also on 28th will be Air Cav's first show of 2012 across the Irwell at the Kings Arms

And if neither of those are striking the right chord then there's the grand reopening of Antwerp Mansion, Rusholme’s answer to Islington Mill. No concrete details as yet, but they don’t tend to operate on anything less than full-speed so it’ll be worth a look. And while your eyes are on the Mansion, have a glance down to the Now Then Manchester monthly there; 4th Thursday of the month from February. More info soon...

On the subject of self-promotion, our monthly Sunday Soirée slot at Dulcimer recommences on Sunday 29th. That one opts for an acoustic feel featuring Dr Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band and Aidan Smith, with support from James Munro and Shen. Future Sundays will assemble some of the best local comedy (February) and electronica (March), all maintaining an earlier start of 5pm.

Neko Neko has a new single ('Trouble In The Streets' / 'Ya Playin'') lined up for vinyl release via My First Moth on Monday 30th, so I suggest you dust off your record player in preparation. Also scheduled for that day, the home of the aforementioned Samson & Delilah, Little Red Rabbit Records have a taster for Last Harbour's forthcoming album in the form of a single entitled 'Never'.

To finish the month off, Grey Lantern are teaming up with dependable shoegaze selectors Sonic Cathedral, whose signings of a few years back, The Early Years, have reformed and are back on the gig trail, calling at Kraak on Tuesday 31st.

A quick peek into February illuminates an enticing double promoted by Hey! Manchester. Saturday 4th sees a Jesca Hoop show at The Annexe room in The Cornerhouse and then on Monday 6th they bring back the folk / electronica crossover collaboration King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, this time at Central Methodist Hall.

Then a little further along is a special tour for Now Then interview alumnus The Electronic Exchange, who are set to treble in numbers for a full band performance at Kraak on Friday 10th. Also on that bill is Dayse & Aver from the always excellent hip hop collective The Natural Curriculum.

And for the photogenic amongst you, contact The Last Party about appearing in their forthcoming single's video alongside various local celebs from the radio and telly. (The catch is that you'd need to be available over the weekend of Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th February).

I’ll stop there before I chew any further into February...

Words: Ian Pennington

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