Adopted as a Manchester band (they’re really from Cheshire) The 1975 have enjoyed a swift and sulky rise over the last year, peaking with their no.1 self-titled debut album in September. They’d be the last to admit their more pop than indie, but that’s not to say that they aren’t producing ear catching, jingly jangly and mostly annoying hit records.
Tickets £16.50 here.
Not your traditional orchestral pomp, instead 'an arena-rock juggernaut' merging rock and metal with classical compositions. Confusingly American, not Russian, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a wild mix of infinite prog-rock instrumentals, heavy metal hair and leather jackets with a helping of Queen.
Tickets £34.50 here.
Kicking off the year with their rescheduled gig are American pop-rockers Maroon 5. Fronted by US The Voice judge and 'Sexiest Man Alive' Adam Levine the band will be cycling through their catalogue of hits from 2002s breakout Harder To Breathe to recent chart successes Moves Like Jagger and Payphone.
Tickets £41.25 here.
X Factor winner, notorious grump and Manchester Christmas lights switcher-on'er James Arthur is returning to the city on his first major tour since releasing his debut album. Despite hammering the Christmas charts last year with Impossible, he was beaten to Christmas Number one by Hillsborough charity-single He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, originally made famous in 1969 by Mancunians The Hollies.
Tickets £32 here.
City and Colour is the recording alias for Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green. Green has mellowed considerably since his days in hardcore band Alexisonfire, instead choosing to go down the acoustic folk approach with an eye for sobering and poetic lyrical output over his four albums.
Tickets £28.95 here.
London Grammar have lit up 2013, be it a haunting dim light in the corner of an abandoned house. The beautifully brilliant lead vocals of Hannah Reid echo over the simple yet extremely atmospheric music, making the trio standout newcomers of the year and a great band to say you were 'listening to aggggges ago'.
Tickets are £15.68.. yes £15.68 exactly here.
John Newman, Manchester Academy, Friday 31 January
The name John Newman may not mean much to most people. But his chart topping single Love Me Again has been impossible to avoid as it rumbled through television, radio and the FIFA14 soundtrack. Newman is the latest in a growing trend of young British songwriters like Plan B and Maverick Sabre inspired by the soulful blues of yesteryear.
Tickets are £16.50 here.
The 1960s folk legend and inspiration to Bob Dylan is playing an intimate gig at Band on the Wall. The original compositor of Scarborough Fair is an underrated and widely unknown musical talent still to this day. Carthy has a fair amount of material to draw on during this tour... just the seventeen albums.
Tickets £15.40 here.
Foals bagged the NME double with their album Holy Fire and single My Number which topped the reader polls for 2013s best album and track. Receiving universal acclaim for their latest album, the most balanced and expansive yet, has made this Oxford lot top billers and the perfect indie package.
Tickets £23 here.
Politically-charged knee-slapping acoustic music has elevated Frank Turner above his peers, even garnering comparisons and praise from the bard of barking, Billy Bragg. Undeterred by criticisms surrounding his formative years at Eton, the former Million Dead frontman has won over critics and audiences with his meaningful lyrics and punchy choruses. He also performed at the London Olympics opening ceremony don't ya know.
Tickets £24.75 here.
Despite being a hugely respected hip-hop veteran, Pharoahe Monch has never become the household name his talent deserves. Quality over quantity has been the mantra of his career, rarely does he miss a beat or verse. Able to thunder venomous vitriol as easily as he can crack a smile with his cartoonish delivery and wordplay make Monch’s rare live appearance a must for fans of hip hop.
Tickets £16.50 here.
New York punk rockers Parquet Courts claimed 2013 album of the year from local music aficionados Piccadilly Records with Light Up Gold. The band are a throwback to the glory days of 70s punk euphoria, filled with energy, humour and uncompromising guitar riffs, their promotion from gigging in Gorilla to the Academy evidence of their growing stock.
Tickets £14.30 here.
Motorhead are a British musical institution, due in no small part to the song Ace of Spades and frontman Lemmy. Moles, mutton chops and matted hair along with ludicrous amounts of sex, drugs, Jack Daniels and rock and roll has made Lemmy a cult hero, one of the last truly riotous musical heroes. After some inevitable health problems Lemmy and the gang are back on stage and ready to incite some suitably raucous behaviour.
Tickets £31.50 here.
Characterised by their easy, free flowing and dream-like Fleetwood Maccy sound, Midlake are an interesting and at times mesmerising band. Hailing from Denton, Texas, the band is a growing commodity with an ever expanding cult following.
Tickets £21.50 here.
This LA based rapper with edgy $$ for Ss (sometimes, sometimes not - he does as he pleases the scallywag) was once tipped as the next big thing in hip-hop with his 2005 mixtape series Bullets Ain't Got No Name. It didn't quite materialize and he remains, in 2014, debut-album-less. On the plus side he’s only 28 and has finally penned an impending EP that harkens back to the glory days of 90s rap.
Tickets are £16.50 here.
London based electronic music quartet Rudimental created one of 2013s most popular dance tracks, Feel The Love, in collaboration with John Newman. Seemingly thundering out of nowhere, the group have taken the charts and the radio by storm.
Tickets £21 here.
Performing his 142nd Manchester show in the last year or so, Jake has put himself about a fair bit since first bursting onto the scene back in late 2012, not least across our site - our interview here. With two albums, a number of hit records and a supermodel girlfriend under his belt, it's hard to believe Jake is still only nineteen years old. Collectively at Confidential we've seen him four times, and every gig has been a corker.
Tickets £22.50 here.
With Johnny Marr going solo and Morrissey unambiguously stating that 'The Smiths are never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever going to reunite – ever,” it seems a reformation is more than unlikely. The next best thing therefore is to get a bit tipsy, squint and watch The Smyths do their best impression.
Tickets £14.06 here.
Country music has never really taken off in England, perhaps for our lack of cowboys, grits and Nascar, but that hasn’t stopped huge country and western star Eric Church from heading to the UK. A massive draw in America, Church is your go to for a night of line dancing and hoedowns straight from Nashville.
Tickets £22.50 here.
The poor man’s Sinatra and housewife fave Michael Bublé is milking a six date event in Manchester. An easy listening Christmas stalwart, the Boob is the next best thing to the bygone era of Rat Packs, tuxedos and martinis.
Tickets from £55.75 here.
This Oz tribute band have carved out their own cult making them the premier tribute act in the world, beating off stiff competition from The Rice Girls, The Beat Les and jABBA (we made all of those up). The group have sold over three million concert tickets in their own right and are much lauded for their near note perfect performances.
Tickets from £31.35 here.
Ever since being announced as the BBC Sound of 2013, this LA sisterly trio have gone from strength to strength, culminating in their delayed but hotly anticipated debut album Days Are Gone, delayed mainly because the girls would not stop touring and get their hipster backsides in the bloody studio.
Tickets are £17.25 here.
Bursting on to the scene with their 2013 debut In A Perfect World, the Dublin-based rockers are something of a schizophrenic act with their poppy Radio1 friendly recordings out-of-sync with their hard-edged and overly loud live performances. Certainly one to see in the flesh.
Tickets are £18.75 here.
Famous for harmoniously referring to himself in the third person, à la Craig David, and, of course, for creating a jingle for Manchester Confidential, the R&B superstar is stopping in Manchester as part of his Tattoos world tour.
Tickets £33 here.
The first big name for the newly renovated Albert Hall since Goldfrapp’s performances for Manchester International Festival back in July, Bombay Bicycle Club are performing two dates by popular demand. The indie group, formed in 2005, are regular sell-outs (the good kind) across Europe making their appearance in the historic Manchester venue a classy coup for fans.
Tickets £20.90 here.
Forged from the punk fury and chaos of Belfast’s troubles in 1977, Stiff Little Fingers are still going strong with two original members in Jake Burns and Ali McMordie. Best known for their raucous single Alternative Ulster, the band are still a tour de punk some 35 years on.
Tickets £20.35 here.
Formed in Glasgow in 2002, these Scottish rockers were right on the bandwagon when the indie train steamed ahead in the early 00s. Named after the Austrian Archduke whose assassination kick started WW1 the band have maintained an influence without the overwhelming media presence that many of their contemporaries thrive under. The indie veterans are right back to their best with latest release Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. Right.
Tickets £24.75 here.
Hailing from the den of inequity that is Guildford, The Stranglers have become an institution. Unfairly lumped in with punk, the group are more like angry pub rockers of the same ilk as Dr Feelgood, raised on pints and nights at the Hope & Anchor. Expect classic Peaches and Walk on By.
Tickets £25.30 here.
Azealia Banks, Manchester Academy, Wednesday 26 March
Foul-mouthed and full of incendiary verses makes the Harlem native one of hip-hop’s premier and most controversial female talents. When she’s not rapping she loves a good scrap. So far Banks has 'beefed' with: T.I., Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, The Stone Roses, Iggy Azalea, Kreayshawn, ASAP Rocky, Rita Ora, Shystie, Sam Sparro, Jim Jones, Lil' Kim, Nicki Minaj, Disclosure, Funkmaster Flex, Lily Allen, Dominique Young Unique and Pharrell - to name but a few.
Tickets £20.35 here.
Cult Welsh alternative-rockers The Manic Street Preachers are one of the finest bands around with their sombre and anthemic output. The group have been consistently delivering for over two decades and continue to impress with two albums in the last two years.
Tickets £34.00 here.
Arguably even weirder than in his Prince Charming heyday, Adam Ant is back on tour, returning to the UK after a successful 44-date US tour. Evidence of his newfound oddness lay in new album title, Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying the Gunner's Daughter. Pick that one apart. He also now resembles Johnny Depp’s geriatric stunt double.
Tickets £26.75 here.
Straight outta hitsville, USA, come two of Motown’s most recognised acts. Reach Out I’ll Be There, I Can't Help Myself and My Girl are just some of the groups most famous hits. Expect a big ole' singalong.
Tickets £47.25 here.
Backstreet Boys, Phones4U Arena, Saturday 5 April
Now too old to be considered boys, the Backstreet blokes are back... alright. The boy band exemplars may not be their polished, boppy youthful selves but their still good enough to give that Take That a run for their money.
Tickets £33.75 here.
Justin Timberlake, Phones4U Arena, Monday 7 - Tuesday 8 April
A man of many reinventions and comebacks, Mr JT has once again rebranded himself, this time as a crooning, tuxedo wearing cool cat. After reassuring the world his eyesight was fine with The 20/20 Experience, Timberlake is back in Manchester for two hotly anticipated and near sold-out shows. Be quick.
Tickets £arm&leg here.
Elbow, Phones4U Arena, Wednesday 9 April
To celebrate the release of their sixth album, Elbow are going back to their hometown roots for a one-off special. Unassuming and wary of the limelight, Elbow have dug out a name for themselves through years of hard graft and dedicated musical offerings making them one of Manchester’s best exports.
Tickets £33 here.
Best remembered for really, really liking red wine, UB40 have amazingly sold over 70 million records with their niche of mainstream reggae. A recent greatest hits release points towards a gig revisiting all of their classic material.
Tickets £31.92 here.
Gary Barlow, Phones4U Arena, Monday 14 April
Another homecoming performance, this time in the form of stubbly, trimmed down and handsome-again ex-Take Thater Gary Barlow. The major creative force behind his former boy band, Barlow has found himself a household name, for better or worse, since taking to the X Factor judging panel. His latest album, Since I Saw You Last, inevitably hit the top spot in the album charts.
Tickets from £38.50 here.
Walk Off The Earth, The Ritz, Friday 25 April
A collective made through Youtube, the group are known for their innovative performances and a cover of Somebody That I Used To Know, performed by five people playing a guitar between them that amassed a staggering 150m views. Walk Off The Earth are probably the most unconventional act you'll see this year.
Tickets £17 here.
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