Full Listings

Dave East

Wednesday 7th December

Academy 3

Pierce The Veil

+ Special Guests

Thursday 8th December

Academy

 

Winter Wonder Night featuring Dougie Poynter

Featuring Dougie Poynter

Thursday 8th December

Club Academy

Working Men's Club

+ SUPPORT

Friday 9th December

Academy

Songs created in the shadow of terror and loss, but that crackle and pop with defiance, wrestled into being over one of the most extra-ordinary years in recent history. Ideas born of pandemic and isolation, but that demand sharing and then celebration. A statement of desperation, but also of intent. Of two-fingers anger, and two-footed celebration.

The complete vision, that top-to-bottom rigour, is what makes the second album from Working Men’s Club such a stunning and totally unique achievement. This is Fear Fear, a record made for agitating and dancing, for heart and soul, for here, now and tomorrow.

But before we get there, a little recent history. In late summer 2020, in the heartbeat between lockdown#1 and lockdown#2, Working Mens Club released the debut album of the year. Critically acclaimed and commercially loved, the album was a surprise and refreshing Pandemic breakthrough.

Working Men’s Club by Working Men’s Club was ‘the Heavenly sound of young Yorkshire’. More specifically, it was the sound of singer and songwriter Syd Minsky-Sargeant processing a teenage life in Todmorden in the Upper Calder Valley.

Writing and demoing in his childhood bedroom, the 18 year old lyricist-lad was armed with a Korg Volca FM digital synthesiser, a 1986-vintage Roland Rhythm Composer TR-505 drum machine and MIDI sequencer, and a battered MacBook Pro laptop. He was aided by ace Sheffield producer-wingman Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, MIA, The Fall) and his bandmates Liam, Mairead and Rob. So bolstered, the frontman channelled synth-rock, Krautpop, Afrobeat, jolting dancefloor energy and the sonics of Cabaret Voltaire.

But as he points, out, he was 16 when he wrote some of those songs. That was him then, there, stuck on the precipitous uplands leading away from the River Calder. Now 20, he had to get up and out of the Valley – at, ironically, a time when none of us could go anywhere much. So his imagination, and his vision, had to do the travelling.

Get ready, then, to embrace ‘Fear Fear’ a record for which Minsky-Sargeant submitted to Heavenly many of the song demos on 2nd October 2020, the very day its predecessor was released.

Get up, get on, get going: from autumn 2020 onwards, for a solid year, Minsky-Sargeant and Orton worked, on and off in week-long chunks, in the producer’s Sheffield studio. The musician finessed the new songs, and wrote yet more – so much so that at one point he contemplated a double album. But he was talked down from the ledge, and mercifully so. Fear Fear is a taut yet expansive, intimate though epic, intense and ultimately elevational 10-song set, we might call Syd Minsky-Sargeant: The Plague Diaries. Any longer, someone might have got hurt.

“The title Fear Fear summarises a mood that’s been around for 18 months – and, in fact, for a lot longer. There’s a miserable kind of war that’s going on. People are scared of things aside from coronavirus. It documents time during lockdown to an extent, but it isn’t just about that” he explains. “The first album was mostly a personal documentation lyrically, this is a blur between personal and a third-person perspective of what was going on’

The pandemic thistle is grasped from the off, in opening track 19. A dirty disco robo-shimmy with an extended instrumental opening, it eventually sees Minsky-Sergeant begin WMC's second album with as sinuous and evocative a turn-of-phrase as he did his first: “A timid dirty whisper / a flicker in the eye / she beckons as he shivers / he lunges as he cries…”

“It’s about lots of juxtapositions between images of being scared.” Yes, it’s “19” as in Covid-19 – although he was also 19 when he wrote it – but it’s more incantation than lamentation. Lyrically, too, “it’s about how the environment came back and reminded humanity that it’s far more powerful than we are.”

Then there’s the track Fear Fear, where acid squelches are prefigured with the shivery thrill of what sounds like an air-raid klaxon.

“With that sound, I wanted to combine the digital element with the more physical, real-life threat element. And I just loved that sound – I’d been fucking around with a Juno 106 synth. I wrote half the record on that.

“The song is about the Zoom world that we all went into – how everyone’s social lives became online,” he expands. “Instead of going to the pub, you’d open up the laptop. All your socialising – and work – became virtual. Me and Ross did it: we made a record over Zoom, and did a load of remixes,” he adds of their work as Minksy Rock. “Or your relationships become completely digital, and your perspective of someone’s house and life becomes what you can see on the screen.”

The first blast from the new album is lead single Widow.

A pumped-up, amped-up electro-choral shout-out with stabs of Peak Depeche, it’s Minsky-Sargeant’s empathetic reach out to those left lost by recent life, literally or metaphorically. In its original form, “it was an old song which was a first album demo. But it was a guitar tune so it didn’t make it. But now we’ve completely reworked and reproduced it – and it’s still completely relevant to the overall idea. It’s not a concept album, but there is a meaning behind the record, in terms of death. There’s been a lot of death over the past two years."

For all that, Widow, like the rest of the album, is no long dark night of the soul. Yes, there is bleakness – how could there not be, given the challenges last two years? – but there is also hope and empathy. And when even those are in short supply, there are banging tunes aplenty.
Case in point: Ploys, a techno-soul masterpiece that Minsky-Sargeant admits is purposefully “unsettling. That’s one of the more personal songs”

Or there’s the sparkling-sounding Cut, where the irresistible melodicism and bounce belie the moody message, meaning it will nonetheless be igniting festival fields this coming summer in the wake of the July release of Fear Fear.

Breaking down its creation, Minksy-Sargeant says: “I had the synth and drum machine backing track done for about a year. It used to have this really long sample on the front of it from a 1979 New York gang documentary – 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s. Then it was an instrumental, Kraftwerk/Kraut-y thing. Then the lyrics just came to me in the shower. I did a lot of talking during lockdown, with Ross in particular, Mairead and my parents. And this monologue came out of my head after thinking about lots of things in society. Then I wrote that guitar part at the same time.

“I like the contrast of it being happy, uplifting music and really dark lyrics. And I was left to do exactly what I wanted to do,” concludes Minksy-Sargeant. “In the studio, it was far more produced this time, and it was just me and Ross mainly. Because we’d done all that Minsky Rock stuff, we knew we worked together really well. There’s no breaking that at this point. I completely trust Ross, and he completely trusts me.

“But also, the mix process was a lot longer. It felt like we really carved stuff out. It’s not a minimal record, this, certainly compared to the first one. That’s because there’s been a lot more going on that needed to be said. That needed to be portrayed. So it needs to come across as busy.”

Making the busy feel finessed and the dreadful feel magical – Fear Fear manages those feats, and then some. Or, as Syd Minksy-Sargeant puts it: “We just set out to make the best-sounding album we could.”

Job done and game on.

 

Bad Manners

Plus support

Friday 9th December

Academy 2

Asake

MR. MONEY WITH THE VIBE

Saturday 10th December

Academy

Dane Road

+ The Demo + Republic

Saturday 10th December

Academy 3

The Showhawk Duo

+ Support

Saturday 10th December

Club Academy

The Sweet

Saturday 10th December

Academy 2

Bad Wolves

+ Hollowstar

Sunday 11th December

Academy 3

Being As An Ocean

+ As Everything Unfolds + Acres

Sunday 11th December

Club Academy

Nohun - Christmas Show

Sunday 11th December

Academy 2

Jordan

Tuesday 13th December

Academy 2

Clutch

Plus Special Guests

Thursday 15th December

Academy

A Tribute To Manchester

The Clone Roses + Oasish + The Smiths Ltd + The James Experience & DJ Clint Boon

Friday 16th December

Academy

What better way to celebrate all things Mancunian this festive season than with the annual return of ‘A Tribute to Manchester’ on Friday 16th December. Returning to the Academy stage is long established tribute to The Stone Roses, ‘The Clone Roses’. The ‘Clones’ have entertained Roses fans for over two decades and have been described by Mani himself as “the second-best Stone Roses in the world”. Joining the Clones will be Oasish, banging out classic Oasis anthem after anthem as well as Manchester based Smiths tribute, the superlative ‘The Smiths Ltd’. The night will also feature the hottest new Manchester Tribute on the scene “The James Experience”

Top Shellaz Alliance - Saji B, Silva, DJ X-Fade & DJ Drizz

Saji B, Silva, DJ X-Fade & DJ Drizz

Friday 16th December

Club Academy

Chameleons - Home is Where the Heart is 2022

Plus Very Special Guests Spear Of Destiny & B-Movie

Saturday 17th December

Academy

Cloudbusting - The Music of Kate Bush

Saturday 17th December

Academy 3

Martin Kemp: Back To The 80's Xmas Party

Saturday 17th December

Academy 2

Chameleons - Official Aftershow

Home Is Where The Heart Is 2020

Saturday 17th December

Club Academy

Lenmania

Sunday 18th December

Academy Venues

JAMIE LENMAN Announces Lenmania III: ‘LenManchester’
18th December 2022 @ Club Academy + Bar 532, Manchester
Feat. Jamie Lenman, Saint Agnes, Sick Joy, James & The Cold Gun, Katie Malco, Rad Pitt, Brigade, Other Half

Legendary alt-rock/indie-pop songwriter Jamie Lenman is delighted to announce the details of ‘Lenmania III: LenManchester’—ten acts across two stages over seven hours of heaven!
Specially curated by Lenman himself, the annual all-day festival is set to return on 18th December 2022 for a very special northern edition at Club Academy + Bar 532, Manchester.
LenManchester is the third iteration of Lenmania, following on from the wildly-popular inaugural event at The Dome/Boston Music Room in London in 2017, and the second smash-hit at ArcTanGent Festival in 2019.


The line-up will feature two appearances from Jamie Lenman along with some of his favourite up-and-coming new artists including Saint Agnes, Sick Joy, James & The Cold Gun, Katie Malco, Rad Pitt, Brigade, and Other Half.
Doors will be from 3pm-10pm, with tickets at £25adv and on sale NOW.


Commenting on the event, Jamie Lenman said: “"Everything I do starts with a bad joke that just never gets replaced, from 'Racecar Is Racecar Backwards' to the entire concept of 'Lenmania', so when somebody said ‘we should do one in Manchester and call it 'LenManchester'’ that pretty much sealed the deal!”
“Genuinely, though, ever since I struck out on my own as a solo act, Manchester has been like a second home. I'm a regular visitor to the city which I love dearly, and the shows always go off, so why not bring the circus up north? It's a great way to express my affection for the bees and to show everyone that the music industry doesn't start and stop with London. I can't f*cking wait!"

Jamie Lenman recently announced his forthcoming fifth album, The Atheist, set for releaseon 25th November 2022 via Big Scary Monsters.

The album’s anthemic lead single ‘Talk Hard’ and recently-released stadium-bothering new single ‘Lena Don’t Leave Me’ are both out now on all good DSPs, with official videos for both tracks, racking up praise from Kerrang! Magazine, Rock Sound, UPSET and more with a hearty, ever-growing list of radio spins and playlist placements at Kerrang! Radio, Amazing Radio, Absolute Radio and many more.

Recorded at The Chapel studios in Chichester over January and February 2022, forthcoming new album The Atheist was engineered, produced and mixed by Mark Roberts (Delta Sleep, Black Peaks, The Physics House Band) with additional engineering by Kieran Heighes, and mastered by Tom Langrish (65DOS, Fontaines D.C., Chubby & The Gang, IDLES).

Nhale (Son of a Legend Tour)

+ Mesa

Thursday 22nd December

Academy 2

Love Noughties - NYE

Saturday 31st December

Club Academy


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