Manchester is undeniably one of the UK hotspots for live music. With many of its most iconic venues based on the Oxford Road Corridor, we can confidently claim that music is part of our DNA and that we are proud of the long-standing musical heritage that continues to inspire future generations and fuel the city’s night time economy.
Oxford Road Corridor’s love affair with live music dates back as far as 1858 when Sir Charles Hallé formed Manchester’s symphony orchestra at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. Fast forward to 1966 and the Free Trade Hall would become part of musical history again when Bob Dylan was famously heckled for going electric. Ten years later the Sex Pistols played the “gig that changed the world”. Punk was born with Joy Division, The Fall, Magazine and The Smiths, not far behind.
Famous venues like the Ritz and the Academy have hosted many legendary acts over the years, whilst smaller venues such as YES, The Deaf Institute, Big Hands and Gorilla ensure the city keeps its finger on the pulse with an unrivalled programme of contemporary bands and DJs. For the traditionalists, the RNCM is one of the leading conservatoires in the world and The Bridgewater Hall is home to three resident orchestras: the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata.
Keep scrolling to find out more about best live music venues as well as upcoming gigs and concerts.
Upcoming Gigs & Concerts
Descend the basement steps of YES to catch three bands you’ll be hearing much more of in 2023, presented by Now Wave.
RNCM Brass Band Festival makes a welcome return featuring eight of the UK’s leading brass bands and top soloists, young and old.
Described as a “merchant of pure gay chaos”, Lynks brings their electro pop party to YES as part of Now Waves ones to see in 2023
Covid Song Cycle Watch Party is a poetic musical celebration of process, connection, growth and creativity following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bands eagerly awaited return has Temples perform live at YES Pink Room as part of independent venue week!
RNCM Day of Percussion returns for its 30th year with a day packed with exciting and informative sessions from internationally recognised performers and practitioners.
One of 2022’s most in-demand rising talents, singer-songwriter DYLAN’s ascent continues with an army of supporters and media tastemakers.
Combining elements of hyper-pop and metal, Lil Mariko brings her unique Soundscapes to YES this February.
Bag of Bones is a bewitching new project for Manchester Collective from award-winning vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer Alice Zawadzki.
An evening of glorious, soaring melodies as The Hallé offer up a treasure trove of operatic gems.
In support of her critically acclaimed album ‘And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow’, Weyes Blood performs at The Ritz.
Jockstrap push the boundaries until the boundaries, barriers and boxes no longer exist- just pure unadulterated sensual pop!
New York-based rock band We Are Scientists play hook-filled indie pop with an angular post-punk edge. Catch them at Gorilla.
One of the sharpest and most prolific British songwriters of his generation, Luke Haines, has partnered with R.E.M guitarist Peter Buck.
Amsterdam-based Luuk van Dijk brings his energy to the Joshua Brook’s basement in support of latest release, First Contact.
Following a triumphant set at Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester’s The Covasettes have announced their biggest headline show to date.
RNCM welcomes The Elias String Quartet, one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation.
Sir Mark Elder conducts Grammy-winning classical violinist Augustin Hadelich in an evening featuring Brahms’ Violin Concerto
Grammy Award winner, Augustin Hadelich joins The Hallé at The Bridgewater Hall for an evening featuring Brahms’s Violin Concerto.
Join She Drew The Gun at Deaf Institute’s new ground-floor venue, The Lodge, for a very intimate and unique evening of music and poetry.
One of the most distinctive artists of his generation, Stephen Hough lines up alongside students for this performance.
M60 return home to Manchester for their biggest headline show to date at Gorilla this March.
After playing last year’s Manchester Psych Fest, Ghost Woman return to the city, bringing their jangly, laid-back hooks to YES.
The Backseat Lovers are back, captivating listeners with their deeply personal lyrics and tight-knit live performances.
British producer and songwriter Irish singer-songwriter and producer Cian Ducrot stops by The Ritz this March.
The Royal Northern College presents the Manchester premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, as part of the College’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
Icelandic electronic dream-pop trio Vök are coming to The Deaf Insitute in support of their recently released self-titled album…Vök!
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tubular Bells, the iconic masterpiece will be performed live with a full band at Palace Theatre, conducted and arranged by Oldfield’s long term collaborator Robin Smith.
Biig Piig brings her instantly-identifiable, bilingual voice and global mix of influences to the stage at Gorilla this March.
Catch Gen-Z icon July Jones in Manchester when they bring their razor-sharp electropop hooks to The Lodge at Deaf Institute.
Dundee’s Queen of house, Hannah Laing, returns to Joshua Brooks as part of her North Headline Tour.
RNCM’s opera students take on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park with musical styles ranging from Philip Glass to Stephen Sondheim with hints of Benjamin Britten along the way.
Local band Déjà Vega return to the live stage with added walls of synths to their already pulsing, rhythmic bass and drums, overlayed with punchy guitars, and at times, hypnotic vocals.
International superstar Kranium is one of Dancehall’s most valuable players with his timeless approach, electrifying stage presence, and infectious charisma.
Brighton quartet Black Honey take a break from supporting Liam Gallagher, The Libertines and IDLES to headline their own tour.
After a sell out success earlier this year, Manchester Punk Festival returns in Easter 2023 to venues across Oxford Road.
Christian Reif, the US-based German conductor, returns to the Hallé, conducting a programme which includes Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
Following their sold-out show at YES, Yorkshire pop band, Heir is back in Manchester this Spring armed with a new EP.
Singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose visits The Deaf Insitute this April in support of her long-awaited record, CAZIMI which was released in November.
Teleman play Gorilla in April in support of Good Time / Hard Time, their most dancefloor-friendly record to date.
Royal Northern College of Music present Made in Manchester, a three day festival celebrating music inspired by the city.
Scottish singer, songwriter, and producer Steve Mason rose to widespread critical acclaim in the late ’90s as a member of indie darlings the Beta Band.
The Golden Dregs spin subtly interweaving narratives about survival, loss and the limitations of community in the face of gentrification.
Los Angeles based singer songwriter, Grammy awarded producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Louis Cole stops by Manchester’s Gorilla
The Wedding Present celebrate the album 24 Songs tour, a collection of singles released by the band every month in 2022.
Royal Northern College of Music celebrates its 50th birthday and half a century of forging incredible careers across the music industry.
Join RNCM vocal students and he Orchestra of Opera North for a fantastic evening of opera’s greatest hits.
Manchester Psych Fest is an all-day celebration of psychedelic music and art, returning to the Oxford Road Corridor in September.