Live Music

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

Until Jul 2022 RNCM Lunchtime and Spotlight Concerts
Royal Northern College of Music | 20 January – 8 July 2022

RNCM Lunchtime and Spotlight Concerts occur throughout the year and are a great introduction to Manchester’s famous conservatoire.

Jun 2022 RNCM Composers’ Concert
Royal Northern College of Music | 29 June 2022

A free concert from RNCM chamber musicians performing new works from student composers.

Jun 2022 RNCM Big Band
Royal Northern College of Music | 30 June 2022

Guitarist Mike Walker returns alongside pianist and composer Nikki Iles for a jazz-filled soiree with the RNCM Big Band.

Jun 2022 First Street Festival: The Untold Orchestra Friday
HOME | 30 June 2022

The Untold Orchestra are a partner for First Street Festival and will be programming the artists you’ll see 1-3 July.

Part of First Street Festival

Jul 2022 Wilko Johnson (rescheduled date) + special guest John Otway
Royal Northern College of Music | 1 July 2022

Wilko Johnson, the original Dr Feelgood guitarist and all-round national treasure returns to the live music arena at RNCM.

Jul 2022 RNCM Symphony Orchestra with Martyn Brabbins
The Bridgewater Hall | 1 July 2022

Join RNCM as they round off an exceptional year of music making with a celebratory concert at The Bridgewater Hall.

Jul 2022 First Street Festival: The Untold Orchestra Saturday
HOME | 1 July 2022

The Untold Orchestra are a partner for First Street Festival and will be programming the artists you’ll see 1-3 July.

Part of First Street Festival

Jul 2022 First Street Festival: The Untold Orchestra Sunday
HOME | 2 July 2022

The Untold Orchestra are a collaborative orchestra made up of creative freelancers from across Manchester. Their aim is to play their role in supporting the amazing creativity present in communities across the city, through performances, workshops, collaborations and recording projects. Recent projects include Nina @ the NIA (a show remembering the legacy of Nina Simone […]

Part of First Street Festival

Jul 2022 Manchester Camerata with RNCM Students and Robin Wallington
Royal Northern College of Music | 5 July 2022

RNCM welcome Manchester Camerata to work side by side with their students in an exciting evening of music.

Jul 2022 Richard Dawson & Circle
Gorilla | 8 July 2022

Richard Dawson joins forces with Finnish band Circle – described as “the world’s greatest band – in every category” – to bring their collaborative record onto the live stage.

Jul 2022 The 21c Global Orchestra
Royal Northern College of Music | 8 July 2022

Young musicians from leading music conservatoires across the world join RNCM students to explore The 21c Global Orchestra.Young musicians from leading music conservatoires across the world join RNCM students to explore The 21c Global Orchestra.

Jul 2022 Creed Bratton
Gorilla | 9 July 2022

Back by popular demand! Get ready for an evening of music and comedy from star of the US version of The Office, Creed Bratton.

Jul 2022 W.H. Lung
Gorilla | 16 July 2022

The sparkling synth pop and Motorik Krautrock of Manchester-based three-piece W.H. Lung head to Gorilla this summer.

Jul 2022 Trailblazers! Women of Greater Manchester
Manchester Central Library | 18 July 2022

Trailblazers! Women of Greater Manchester is a mini-festival at the Central Library celebrates histories of Greater Manchester women.

Jul 2022 Kamaal Williams and Yazz Ahmed
Manchester Academy | 22 July 2022

An exclusive double-bill at Manchester Academy with two of the most exciting contemporary jazz artists, Kamaal Williams and Yazz Ahmed.

Jul 2022 A Celebration of Bengali Folk Musical Heritage – Curated by Anindita Ghosh
The Whitworth | 23 July 2022

A tribute to, and celebration of Bengali folk music, that has shaped the cultural identity of Bengali communities both in South Asia and the diaspora, including the UK.

Part of South Asian Heritage Month Festival

Jul 2022 Wiki
Yes | 24 July 2022

Carrying the torch for NYC’s master MC’s; representing for the freaks, wierdos and underbelly culture.

Sep 2022 Manchester Psych Festival
YES | 3 September 2022

Manchester Psych Fest is an all-day celebration of psychedelic music and art, returning to the Oxford Road Corridor in September.

Sep 2022 Katy J Pearson
Gorilla | 22 September 2022

Katy J Pearson heads to Gorilla, performing live on 22 September in support of her new album, “Sound Of The Morning”.

Sep 2022 Black Angel: Newvision
Contact | 30 September 2022

Black Angel: NewVision is an exhibition that looks at the present and towards the future representation of LBT Black and Asian women.

Oct 2022 Neighbourhood Festival
Gorilla, YES, The Ritz | 1 October 2022

One of Manchester’s favourite multi-venue festivals is back! Neighbourhood Festival will be taking over Manchester city centre this October.

Oct 2022 Black Angel 25
Contact | 8 October 2022

Late night late 90s pioneering club night Black Angel returns to Contact to celebrate their 25th birthday.

Oct 2022 SOAK
Yes | 9 October 2022

Northern Irish singer-songwriter SOAK comes to Manchester, performing at YES in support of their latest album If I Never Know You Like This Again.

Oct 2022 GZA – 25th Anniversary of Liquid Swords
Manchester Academy | 17 October 2022

Wu-Tang Clan MC and hip hop legend, GZA, heads to Manchester Academy to honour the 25th anniversary of his seminal album, Liquid Swords.

See what’s on