EVER since Lucius Martius penned the Ode of Mamucium: Boobie Hill in 79AD, leading to the formation of the Roman fort of Mamucium - the birthplace of modern Manchester - the city has always loved a good ditty.
So 'ere's some live ones to wrap your lugs around until August (we'll be updating the list as time goes on):
Rifles, The Ritz, Sunday 4 May
Jumping on the early 2000s indie bandwagon, The Rifles had success with their debut, No Love Lost, yet they failed to capitalise on it like their contemporaries The Strokes and Artic Monkeys. After a few stumbles the group are back on song, literally, with January release None the Wiser.
Tickets £17 here
The Kooks, The Ritz, Wednesday 7 May
Much like the Rifles, The Kooks struggled to succeed once the indie tidal wave subsided. For their Manchester show expect a slice of their debut classic Inside In/Inside Out along with new tracks from the September-slated Listen.
Tickets £20 here
McBusted, Phones 4U Arena, Friday 9 - Sunday 11 May
This marketing masterstroke is a merging of musical powerhouses McFly and Busted, creating one of the greatest supergroups the world has ever seen. Forget Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, forget The Traveling Wilburys, even forget Asia, because this is McBusted, ‘the ultimate supergroup’.
Tickets £35 here
Jagwar Ma, Manchester Academy, Saturday 10th May
This Australian trios blend of psychedelic dance sounds like a twenty-first century equivalent to Madchester - sorry I said it - with versatile, melodic, often punchy numbers that nudge towards the dancefloor before tucking you back into bed with a cup of tea and an LSD blotter
Tickets £12.50 here
The Clone Roses + DJ Clint Boon, Manchester Academy, Saturday 10th May
The Clones probably encapsulates the Stone Roses’ heyday form better than the ageing comeback kings do themselves. Cheaper, not in a field and impossible to separate from the real deal after seven pints. You haven't got to walk home from Heaton Park either.
Tickets £12 here
Courtney Love, Manchester Academy, Tuesday 13 May
Often derided as a waste of space and little more than Kurt Cobain’s play thing, Love has finally scrubbed up for some serious musical releases again. Her new single, You Know My Name, is pure punk perfection and an indicator of a raucous Academy performance.
Tickets £26.40 here
Michael Franti & Spearhead, Manchester Academy, Tuesday 13 May
Sometimes confused with Peter Frampton (No? Just me then)... the dreadlocked political activist has had rave reviews wherever he’s played of late, just ask my parents, his unique blend of genre has lit up venues all over the world.
Tickets £22.50 here
Echo and The Bunnymen, The Ritz, Wednesday 14 May
After four years of inactivity, Ian McCulloch and company are back with a new album and a new tour. One of the 1980s best alternative acts, Echo and The Bunnymen will be mixing old and new for their latest gigs, even though all we really want is The Killing Moon.
Tickets £29.15 here
Miley Cyrus, Phones 4U Arena, Wednesday 14 May
Miley, alongside licking stuff, riding stuff, smoking stuff, humping stuff and weeping about stuff, also sings songs. Where does she find the time? Still, the Britney-Lohan hybrid puts on quite a show. Just don't say dog. She'll start balling.
Tickets £53.25 here
The Fall, Manchester Cathedral, Thursday 15 May
Fronted by the most miserable man this side of Sean Penn, The Fall are back on tour pushing their 410th release. If you can’t place who they are then take Mark E Smith’s guidance: “If it’s me and your granny on the bongos, it’s The Fall”. Right. Didn't even know Muriel was in a band.
Tickets £25 here
Neutral Milk Hotel, Albert Hall, Thursday 17 - Friday 18 May
Neutral Milk Hotel, an American indie rock band formed by singer, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Mangum in the late 1980s have shaped more bands into success than they ever did for themselves: Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Beirut, Franz Ferdinand, and The Decemberists, all cite NMH as an influence. After many hiatuses the group are back performing live, their two dates in Manchester a rare treat for a group who once looked dead and buried.
Tickets £22 here
Barry Manilow, Phones 4U Arena, Sunday 18 May
Not only is Manilow still alive and singing, but he’s also failed to age a day - that’s what being vacuum packed in Las Vegas does to you. The one off show is worth the entry fee alone for karaoke classic Copacabana.
Tickets £18.40-£71 here
Katy Perry, Phones 4u Arena, Tuesday 20 & Saturday 24 May
Once the raunchiest bi-curious pop princess around, she now looks rather tame in comparison to 'I'll lick anything me' Miley Cyrus. Unfazed by a whirlwind marriage to 'I'll shag anything me, even Miley' Russell Brand, Kate Perry is still topping the charts, most recently with lion taming chart-stomper Roar.
Tickets £40-£75 here
Benjamin Booker, The Soup Kitchen, Wednesday 21 May
The first UK gig for Rough Trade Record’s latest prospect, Benjamin Booker, a well-mixed musical cocktail of punk, folk, and New Orleans blues means there should be something for everyone. Unless you don't like punk, folk or blues. In which case, you're a wrong'un anyway.
Tickets £8 here
Mac Demarco, The Ritz, Wednesday 21 May
The self-proclaimed pioneer of 'Jizz-Jazz' (er), Mac Demarco is currently promoting his brilliant new album Salad Days. The 'laid back loser' is known for his jangly guitar playing and lewd acts on stage. Mr Jazz-Jizz can keep his jizz, we'll have the jazz.
Tickets £12.65 here
Paolo Nutini, O2 Apollo, Saturday 24 May
By claiming the fastest-selling album of 2014 so far, Caustic Love, the bit Scottish, bit Italian singer has cemented himself as one of the most exciting, rambunctious and soulful acts around. Queen Wailer Adele recently said his recent studio performance of single Ironsky (below) was 'one of the best things I've ever seen'. He’s probably the best thing to come out of Paisley.
Tickets £29.50 here
Gabriella Cilmi, The Deaf Institute, Monday 26 May
At the tender age of fifteen she was topping the charts with Sweet About Me, yet the hyper-sexualised nature of the industry and pressure to conform made her reconsider her career. Back under her own steam and looking a touch Hepburn, she’s back on tour with her new album The Sting.
Ticket £9 here
Flaming Lips, O2 Apollo, Tuesday 27 May
There’s no danger of the Flaming Lips ever running out of concert material, having amassed sixteen albums in just under 30 years. Not content with being psychedelic rock veterans they’ve also scored the longest song title ever with: ‘What Is the Light? (An Untested Hypothesis Suggesting That the Chemical [In Our Brains] by Which We Are Able to Experience the Sensation of Being in Love Is the Same Chemical That Caused the Big Bang That Was the Birth of the Accelerating Universe’. Punchy.
Tickets £38 here
The War On Drugs, Manchester Academy, Wednesday 28 May
Crap name aside, Adam Granduciel’s band are an enticing blend of Springsteen, Dylan (isn't everything?) and BBC Radio 6. Their latest release, Lost in the Dream, is an early contender for album of the year, the single Red Eyes a rousing standout.
Tickets £15.75 here
New Kids on the Block, O2 Apollo, Friday 30 May
New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) sounded cool, just, 20 years ago. New Men on the Block sounds a touch wrong. Ominous even. With Hollywood hardman Mark Wahlberg among their initial line up, NKOTB could have kicked seven shades out of their English peers, even if their music doesn’t quite match up. A nostalgia biscuit.
Tickets £40-£83 here
The Enemy, Manchester Academy, Saturday 31 May
The epitome of 'council estate indie', Tom Clarke leads the above par group The Enemy. Not to be confused with The Pigeon Detectives, The Wombats, The Twang, The Rifles, Milburn, The Courteeners, The Fratellis, Hard Fi, The Fratellis, The Zutons, The Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads. They're different, honest.
Tickets £17.50 here
Schoolboy Q, Manchester Academy, Sunday 1 June
Not yet up there with the JayZs and Kendrick Lamars, however, Schoolboy Q does have one unique selling point - he was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. Beat that Dr Dre. After three albums the rapper is beginning to build a reputation beyond his stereotypical drug dealing roots.
Tickets £18.75 here
Graham Parker & The Rumour, The Ritz, Tuesday 3 June
Despite being a trailblazer for rock’s young incendiaries like Paul Weller and Elvis Costello, poor old Graham has been largely forgotten beyond my Dad’s record collection. While time has been unkind to his noggin, Parker still retains all the energy of his youthful glory days making a show worth seeing.
Tickets £31.25 here
The Phantom Band, The Deaf Institute, Thursday 5 June
Thundering Scottish indie rockers The Phantom Band have gone under a few monikers before settling on their current: NRA, Les Crazy Boyz, Los Crayzee Boyz, Tower of Girls, Wooden Trees, Robert Redford and Robert Louis Stevenson. Now settled, the gang have been playing across the UK with Radio 6 championing their sound. Still... Les Crazy Boyz? Crap.
Tickets £11 here
Bad Manners, The Ritz, Thursday 5 June
Led by big baldy Buster Bloodvessel, the Ska group are a Mod revivalist’s parka'd wet dream. Classic riot inducing songs include Special Brew and Lip Up Fatty, move aside Suggs.
Tickets £20.25 here
Inspiral Carpets, Band on the Wall, Friday 6 June
Another nostalgic favourite of Manchester’s musical past, the Inspiral Carpets are most fondly remembered for happy sad song This Is How It Feels, having a cow as their logo and a drummer easily mistaken for Paul Scholes.
Now sold out but tickets available second hand for £85 here ('ow much?)
Kings Of Leon, Phones 4u Arena, Wednesday 18 June
A band that I've always assumed to come from Milton Keynes, KOL are actually from the rocker-cool Nashville. After conquering the world with Sex on Fire, the band went quiet, married models and probably fell out a bit. Rockers eh? They've toned it down for latest turn Mechanical Bull, let's see if they can reclaim their past popularity.
Tickets £50-75 here
Dolly Parton, Phones 4u Arena, Saturday 21 June
The buxom country megastar (over 100 million records worldwide) arrives in Manchester safe in the irony that she’s unlikely to have worked 9-5 for some time, and that tickets to her show will cost a large part of your 9-5 pay. Still, Jolene is a blinder.
Tickets £57-75 here
Foster the People, The Ritz, Thursday 26 June
The Los Angeles trio (and male version of Haim) became household names with the 2010 summer anthem Pumped Up Kicks, their success cemented by an appearance on the FIFA soundtrack. Well, it's better than a BRIT Award. After revelling in their sales the group are back to promote their new album, Supermodel.
Tickets £20 here
Dandy Warhols, The Ritz, Sunday 29 June
Unfortunately for the Warhols their song Bohemian Like You became the unofficial anthem for Vodafone, not the most rock and roll association. Probably scored a few quid from it, mind. With eight albums under the belt hopefully they’ll be singing something else. Pants gig otherwise.
Tickets £16.50 here
Robbie Williams, Phones 4u Arena, 29, 30 June & 2 July
Robbie Williams has gone through more transitions than Prince at a fancy dress party: first there was the boy band Rob, then the rocker give-a-shit 'please like me Oasis' phase, then everyone's favourite Rob, then the much maligned ‘Rude Box’ period and now the Sinatra style crooner persona. Still, if you can command £95 ticket prices then you've done something right. Or you're Beyonce.
Tickets £55-£95 here
Bam Margera’s FuckFace Unstoppable, Manchester Academy, Wednesday 2 July
A rare acoustic set of love songs from the former sadomasochist Jackass member. Not really, it’s Bam 'Look What I'll Do For Money' Margera giving his most offensive performance yet as a rapper. His big Youtube hit being Bend My Dick. Hmm quite.
Tickets £15 here
Pixies, Castlefield Bowl (Summer in The City), Thursday 10 July
It seems impossible to escape the Pixies in Manchester of late, with Q&As at Albert Hall, Record Store Day releases and a handful of gigs last year. The alternative rockers are back again this summer for Castlefield's Summer in the City. An added bonus for the day is support from promising Brighton duo Royal Blood.
Tickets £40 here
James, Castlefield Bowl (Summer in The City), Friday 11 July
The criminally underrated James are back in their hometown with Tim Booth at the helm. The group are headlining the city's summer festival, unless Morrissey does actually turn up. The fact it’s sold out (the first run of tickets anyway) is a good indicator of James’ continued popularity.
Tickets £40 here
Martin Carthy, Band on the Wall, Thursday 17 July
1960s folk legend and inspiration for Bob Dylan (there he is again), Martin Carthy is to play an intimate gig at cosy venue Band on the Wall. The original compositor of Scarborough Fair is an underrated and widely unknown musical talent despite his influential position. Carthy will draw from seventeen albums for material on his nationwide tour.
Tickets £15.50 here
Booker T Jones, Band on the Wall, Monday 21 July
Not to be confused with the WWE tough guy, the multi-award winning Booker T Jones is the man behind R&B/funk soul trailblazers Booker T. & the M.G.'s. Sound the Alarm will be Mr T's (couldn't resist) tenth studio album. Fans will most likely be hollering for more Green Onions, so named because it's the 'funkiest, nastiest thing we could think of'.
Tickets £29.70 here
Depends on the arse.Read more
As usual mancon make no reference at all to the Irish Festival again .Read more
Double whammy of good markets too - Levenshulme have a food and drink only market on Saturday and…Read more
There are no excuses for arse-kissing.Read more