PREVIEW: Manchester After Hours #MCRAfterHours

On May 12, Manchester’s museums, galleries and libraries will open up after dark for Manchester After Hours, a night of unique experiences celebrating art, culture and heritage.

The event, which is part of the annual nationwide ‘Museums At Night’ celebration, will offer visitors the chance to see places and spaces not usually open to the public.

Here’s what happened last year:

This year, the occasion promises to be a “mixology of odd couplings and unexpected combos”, with a number of the city’s cultural hotspots taking part, joining hundreds of others around the UK.

Check out the map below to see what’s going on where and plan your nocturnal journey through the city!

Where to go if… You’re a little (or very!) hungry

Castlefield Food Festival

Get down to Castlefield Food Festival’s night market (@CastlefieldFood) at Castlefield Bowl to enjoy stalls serving up delicious treats, a farmers market, live music, demos and masterclasses! The market is open until 10 from Thursday to Sunday so there’s no excuse!

12 – 15 May / FREE ADMISSION

Where to go if… Fashion is your thing

Fashion and Freedom

Manchester Art Gallery are giving attendees the chance to see the new ‘Fashion and Freedom’ exhibition before anyone else! Accompanied by music and drinks, the display will feature pieces from the likes of Vivienne Westwood, looking at the impact of the First World War on fashion and the changing roles of women.


Where to go if… You’re a fan of Shakespeare

Neon Sonnets

John Rylands Library and RNCM are joining forces to mark the 400 years since the great writer’s death. The Royal Northern College of Music will perform original compositions inspired by the work of William Shakespeare and the library’s collection, fusing literature and music.

6-9 / FREE ADMISSION (limited capacity)

Sally Stevens, Public Programme Co-Ordinator at The John Rylands Library, said: “I thought I would ask Michelle Castelletti (Artistic Director at the RNCM) if she thought this could be inspiration for the music, and she immediately agreed that it could.”

She added: “There will be performances of music inspired by Shakespeare taking place throughout the Library, plus there will be some excerpts from plays. A rolling programme takes place on the hour from 6-9pm, so people can follow this through, or drop in and out as they wish!”

Join in the conversation with #MCRAfterHours



Tim Burgess on Record Store Day 2016 #RSD16

Tim Burgess, of indie rock band The Charlatans, gave me his thoughts on the day, why he loves vinyl and the recent upsurge in record sales.

“There seems to be an excitement and it doesn’t look like slowing down. New record shops are opening and hopefully fewer will be closing down. The enthusiasm for vinyl is getting stronger than ever.”

The frontman, who’s track ‘Trouble Understanding’ has been remixed for an exclusive 12″ release, offered his support regarding the resurrection of vinyl and the spotlight RSD shines on the stores themselves, “They are a place to spend time – compared to clicking a mouse on an online site.”

He continued by saying that he prefers the vinyl experience, “there’s a ritual to taking a record from the box, then the sleeve – maybe reading the sleevenotes as you listen”.

“There’s nothing wrong with listening to an MP3 on the tube but vinyl is a bit less hectic. “

The Charlatans played a gig on the Isle of Man last night, where there are no shops that sell vinyl.

“I’m hoping Blossoms will bring a copy of their record store 7″ as they are supporting us. I’ll take a copy of the remix that Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) has done of Trouble Understanding and we can maybe do a record store day swap.”

Tim’s Top Picks #RSD16:

Howard Marks reads Dylan Thomas 10″ – OGENESIS

“Sadly, Howard died a few days ago so that record has some real resonance.”

Mercury Rev/Lost Horizons – Life Inside A Paradox/Rainy Day Record 7″ – BELLA UNION

How is vinyl taking off?

(Data: Official Charts Company)

…And Here’s What Happened In Manchester

Thousands of vinyl lovers around the world celebrated Record Store Day 2016 by going down to their favourite independent record shop to get their hands on exclusive and limited edition releases.

In Manchester, Vinyl Exchange, Piccadilly Records, Eastern Bloc and Vinyl Revival joined the other 200 independent music retailers across the country to welcome fans of the music format.

The annual event, which is now in its ninth year, saw queues forming around the Northern Quarter hours before doors opened, with some dedicated and determined customers camping overnight to ensure they would get what they wanted.

I spoke to some of those waiting in line to find out what was on their list and why they love vinyl:


78% of responses agreed that independent record shops are still important.

(Data: Twitter Poll)

What did exclusive releases did you buy? Join in the conversation with #RSD16



I went to cover Cosmosis Festival at Victoria Warehouse last night for Quays News – these were my favourite bits! Sleaford Mods, The Jesus and Mary Chain and the incredible art exhibition!


Punk duo Sleaford Mods took over the Earth stage from 11pm, attracting a big crowd who wrapped round the modest platform for the highly anticipated set. The ‘Mods from Nottingham began their rant infused set with a distinctively rebellious atmosphere, as fans of the band have come to expect since Jason and Andrew joined forces in 2012. The band, who graced the John Peel stage at Glastonbury last year, began their eclectic set with a fusion of bass guitar, lo-fi drums and clever wordplay from vocalist Jason.

The audience, an alcohol infused mixture of ages, genders and aesthetic allegiances, were treated to favourites including ‘No One’s Bothered’ and ‘Faces to Faces’, both taken from their most recent record ‘Key Markets’, which was named after a supermarket in Grantham. Williamson’s aggressive performance fuelled the increasingly energetic crowd, an opportunity to move to some heavier sounds away from the psychedelic nature of the festival.

The critically acclaimed pair, who sight artists including John Cooper Clarke, The Streets and Wu-Tang Clan as influences, enjoyed the reactions of the crowd as they shouted and swore throughout the set, obeying the rage enveloped in their song’s inspirations, which include their views on modern existence and politics.

The set continued to awaken those watching as the band introduced ‘Jolly F***ker’, ‘Tiswas’ and ‘Silly Me’, the fourth song on ‘Key Markets’, which was included in The Guardian’s list of ‘The Best Albums Of 2015’.

Watching Sleaford Mods is a unique experience as their music really comes alive on stage. The band concluded their powerful set at midnight with the crowd demanding more.


Legendary Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain began their headline slot at midnight in front of a packed crowd at the ‘Air’ stage. The adoring crowd welcomed the five piece’s highly anticipated exclusive performance with a cheer, before frontman Jim Reid introduced their first track ‘April Skies’, the first track off their second album released back in 1987, exemplifying the impact and longevity the band’s records have had in the industry.

The post-punk outfit, who reformed in 2007 after 8 years apart, soaked the capacity venue space in their distinctive thrashing guitar sounds as they continued to play ‘Head On’, ‘Far Gone and Out’ and ‘Between Planets’. The band’s impact on musical culture has its roots in The Jesus and Mary Chain’s hugely influential seminal debut record ‘Psychocandy’, the 30th anniversary of which was celebrated last year by a 5 date UK tour.

The crowd danced through the set, with some enjoying re-living their youth through records ‘Snakedriver’, ‘Cracking Up’ and ‘Teenage Lust’, before the headliners played more recent material including ‘All Things Must Pass’, featured in the soundtrack of TV series ‘Heroes’. The anthemic ‘Some Candy Talking’ followed, certainly a crowd favourite of the song writing brothers Jim and William Reid, who’s inspiration evolves from artists including The Velvet Underground and The Shangri-La’s.

‘Just Like Honey, the third single from ‘Psychocandy’ was played next, the album which boasts the original drummer Bobby Gillespie, who has since become synonymous with fellow Creation Records rockers Primal Scream. The set finished with ‘Taste Of Cindy’ and ‘It’s So Hard’.


Cosmosis Festival encompassed psychedelic diversity, merging art, music and food perfectly. The first floor art exhibition was a welcome break from the noise of the bands playing downstairs.

The exhibition, which took the running theme of astrology, was the product of twelve different artists and was truly through provoking. The chance to put yourself in the heart of the exhibition through the signs of the zodiac installations was unique and interesting.  The art was coupled with dj sets throughout the night and stalls selling an assortment of art, clothing, records, handmade jewellery and poetry. Although it proved a little difficult to locate the various creative spaces it was an enjoyable experience.




This Sunday is Valentine’s Day.

So, whether you’re spending the day with the person you love or with your Netflix account, here’s the perfect playlist for you! (Kind of)


SINGLE? Why not grab a pot of Ben and Jerrys’ and give these a listen x


Let Ellie & Co make you feel better and cry about your mates.


The seventh track taken from the band’s second album, ‘Currents’, released last year. It has been nominated for ‘Best Music Video’ in the NME awards.



Have a dance.







Alex’s take on John Cooper Clarke’s famous poem


Fall in love with Fray’s voice.

Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles @ Night & Day – 05/02/16

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Last night, ex-Catfish and The Bottlemen lead guitarist Billy Bibby brought his new band, The Wry Smiles, to Manchester’s Night and Day Café. On the launch night of his debut EP, ‘Bide Your Time’, Bibby was joined by support from 21-year-old Ryan Jarvis and Carjack Mallone.

Singer-songwriter Ryan Jarvis welcomed those escaping the rain outside to a charming acoustic set. Jarvis, from Gorton, supported The Courteeners in December during their epic seven nights at the Apollo. The talented musician, who’s debut single ‘Moving Far Too Fast’ was played by Clint Boon on Radio X, treated the intimate venue to his own songs, opening with ‘Busking Tune’, before ‘How Did We Get Here My Dear’ and ‘Never’’. Jarvis continued with a beautiful stripped back version of The Stone Roses’ ‘Waterfall’, before finishing his set with ‘Outside This Town’.

Manchester trio Carjack Mallone made the stage their own, descending into loud guitar riffs and heavy drum beats. The rock band, who sight Nirvana and U2 as major influences, opened their set to a roar from the crowd. The bands formed almost ten years ago, and since then have cemented themselves as one of Manchester’s finest unsigned acts. Animated frontman Daniel Hughes commanded the stage, encouraging the crowd to move to their new single ‘Drinking By Myself’, before playing ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Paolo’s Town’. The lively band finished by dedicating their last track of the night to the late Sir Terry Wogan. They will be supporting Turrentine Jones in April.

After introducing himself to the excited audience, Bibby and The Wry Smiles kicked off the second night of their 19 date UK tour. The band, who haven’t played together in Manchester before, engulfed the cosy venue in a distinct Indie Rock sound. Bibby finished ‘This Kind Of Summer’ with a stunning guitar solo, before playing straight into a sound reminiscent of the swinging 60s, perhaps a nod towards one of his influences, Elvis Presley. Billy, Rob, Matt and Mike continued to enjoy the crowd’s attention from the stage to the bar, before Bibby picked up his electric guitar to introduce his next song. The band took a break as Bibby played ‘Pacifier’, a track taken from ‘The Balcony’, the debut album from his former project Catfish and The Bottlemen, who he spent seven years with. The crowd sang back the lyrics to Bibby’s own take on the record, before he was joined by his band mates for ‘Believe Me’, included on their debut EP, now available on Itunes and Spotify. The lads from Llandudno finished their set with the rockabilly sounding ‘Waitin For You’, released late last year and one of the first songs Bibby wrote post-Catfish. The night finished with the front man dedicating the last song to his sister, an upbeat tune which the venue proceeded to dance along to. The future of this band is very promising.

Radio 1 Big Weekend Announcement

The station’s annual Big Weekend will be held at Powderham Castle in Exeter this May.

Nick Grimshaw announced a handful of acts who will be playing at the festival, which moves to a different location each year.

Coldplay, Bring Me The Horizon and Chase & Status were the first artists to be announced this morning.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin told the BBC of his excitement to headline the festival in his hometown of Exeter.

“Guy, Will, Jonny and I are honoured to be on the bill and we’re looking forward to a very special show”

The breakfast show host and X Factor judge also confirmed that Ellie Goulding and Craig David will join the line up on 28 and 29 May.

The Big Weekend is Europe’s largest free festival and has previously been held in Derry, Maidstone, Bangor and Glasgow.

Last year, the station welcomed Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters and Muse to perform in Norwich.

As usual, the majority of tickets will be allocated to those in the local area.

Radio 1 and BBC Learning will again produce Radio 1’s Academy, which is intends to inspire young people to move forward in their careers.

Special events in April and May in the lead up to the festival will include: radio shows, gigs, masterclasses and Q & A sessions with industry professionals.

More artists are to be announced in the forthcoming weeks, with ticketing details being revealed on 21 March.




Foals, Disclosure and Two Door Cinema Club were just some of the acts to be added to the festivals’ line up.

Rock band Foals and the Disclosure brothers will joint headline Reading and Leeds Festivals, alongside the previously announced Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

The highly anticipated announcement was made on Radio 1 earlier this morning.

This morning’s additions join acts including The 1975, RatBoy and Slaves, who have all been on tour in the past year.

There was some speculation as to whether recent comebacks from the The Strokes and The Last Shadow Puppets would cement them a place on the yellow poster, where there remains spaces to fill.

Past headliners of the world famous festival include: Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, Foo Fighters and Kasabian.

CLICK HERE for the full line up