The best gigs and club nights in Manchester December 2023

A special guest for Mr Scruff, a true hip hop legend and a Manchester showcase from Factory International

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 16 February 2024

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One of the busiest months for gigs in the calendar, there’s plenty of bands and artists stopping for dates in Manchester before the big man comes down the chimney. 

Mr Scruff Aroop Roy

Mr Scruff and Aroop Roy at Keep It Unreal

Saturday 2 December

Manc (well, Stockport) legend Mr Scruff will be continuing his sonic love affair with Mr Aroop Roy of Vive La Musique, after the pair connected on Scruff’s stage at the We Out Here festival over the summer. This will be a wild ride, with Scruff and Roy heading out on a six-hour back to back journey through everything from soul and Latin to disco, techno, jazz… anything (and possibly everything) good, basically. You’re in safe hands.

25 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ

The Charlatans at O2 Victoria Warehouse

Saturday 2 December

Ever-evolving 90s Manc(ish) heroes The Charlatans return for a string of UK shows. After frontman Tim Burgess was recently awarded a prestigious Fellowship at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, The Only One I Know hitmakers return to town for a date at the O2 Victoria Warehouse. Expect trademark groovy tunes alongside more experimental offerings.

Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 1AB

Ice Cube

Ice Cube and Cypress Hill at AO Arena

Thursday 7 December

NWA’s legendary Ice Cube is rediscovering his flow, after years in the wilderness of Hollywood, with movies like the Jump Street and Ride Along series. Most will know him best for pivotal hip hop moments like It Was A Good Day and Check Yo Self, but you can probably expect a few NWA classics thrown in there too. Support comes from the equally iconic Cypress Hill and G-Unit man The Game.

Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR

Johnny Marr

A Night With Johnny Marr Orchestra at Aviva Studios

Thursday 7 & Friday 8 December

Manchester music icon Johnny Marr will be joined on stage at Aviva Studios by some of the best classical musicians from across Manchester for a career-spanning show for Factory International. The legendary guitarist will play a set of classics and fan favourites from his solo career and time in bands like The Smiths, Modest Mouse and Electronic, alongside a full orchestra. It’s set to be an evening to remember.

Aviva Studios, Water St, Manchester M3 4JQ

Ross From Friends

Ross From Friends at Hidden

Friday 8 December

Brainfeeder’s lo-fi house don Ross From Friends, aka producer and DJ Felix Weatherall, will be back in Manchester for a headline slot at Strangeways spot Hidden. Able assistance will be provided by Meat Free’s very own Aalice and Hanz. 

DownTex Mill, 17 Mary Street, Manchester M3 1DZ

Toy Tonics

Toy Tonics Jam at The Loft

Friday 8 December

Berlin’s house/arts/design/fashion/disco/party collective Toy Tonics is coming to The Loft for one of its globe-trotting jam sessions. Topping the bill will be Sam Ruffillo, bringing some Italo-disco sunshine into this increasingly murky winter, with Gee Lane and Lil’ Minx turning out too.

Unit One New St, Manchester M40 8AW

Co-op Live presale tickets
Nia Archives Hit & Run Manchester

Up Ya Archives at The Warehouse Project

Friday 8 December

Adopted Manc Nia Archives will be curating Up Ya Archives at the WHP, with a stellar line-up. Joining her will be the legendary Shy FX, alongside Special Request back-to-back with Clipz, Yung Singh and D Double E performing live. Fellow Manc Interplanetary Criminal takes on the Concourse room with Skream, while in the Archive it’s Hit & Run, with a 160bpm set from salute, as well as sets from 4am Kru, Breakage and Chimpo.

11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PY


Madness at AO Arena

Saturday 9 December

Ska legends Madness just released their 13th studio album Theatre Of The Absurd Presents C’est La Vie, the band’s first offering since 2016. Suggs and co took an uncharacteristically eerie course with first single and sort-of title track C’est La Vie, which had been teased with a dramatic reading by none other than Helen Mirren. Expect classics like Our House and It Must Be Love thrown in with more modern takes.

Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR

Children of Zeus at Factory International at Aviva Studios

Saturday 9 December

Konny Kon and Tyler Daley’s Children of Zeus will be taking over Aviva Studios’ cavernous warehouse space with a pretty stunning line-up of local and slightly less local talent. East London rapper Ghetts will be joining them, alongside legendary UK soul band Loose Ends. Gyalex, [ K S R ], Akemi Fox and KinKai will be smashing it too.

Aviva Studios, Water St, Manchester M3 4JQ

Georgia Cecile

Georgia Cécile at The Yard

Monday 11 December

You may not have heard of Georgia Cécile, but if you like the sounds of Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, you should get to know. Georgia picked up the titles of UK Jazz Act Of The Year and Vocalist Of The Year at the Jazz FM awards in 2022, and leads the exciting new wave of artists in the genre. With retro influences from the 60s and 70s, she has supported Gregory Porter in the past.

11 Bent St, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 8NF

Django Django

Django Django at New Century

Wednesday 13 December

It’s been over a decade since Django Django released their self-titled debut record, which served as the catalyst for a handful of award nominations and a shout in book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Since then, they’ve gone on to become one of the country’s most-loved art rock outfits, and now return with a headline tour in celebration of their latest LP Off Planet.

34 Hanover St, Manchester M4 4AH


DMAs at Factory International at Aviva Studios

Friday 15 December

Aussie rock favourites DMAs love Manchester, and Manchester loves DMA’s. Heavily inspired by the likes of Oasis and The Stone Roses, the band have previously called the city their second home, and have even supported youngest Gallagher on his solo shows. Now Jonny, Matty and Mason celebrate their fourth studio album How Many Dreams? With a date at Aviva Studios.

Aviva Studios, Water St, Manchester M3 4JQ

The Red Laser DJ Absolutely Shitmas at White Hotel

Saturday 16 December

Celebrate ‘Shitmas’ early with the infamous Red Laser crew, who’ll be getting their novelty antlers in a twist at the White Hotel until, frankly, all hours. DJ Absolutely Shit will be Christmas jumpered up the yin-yang, alongside sets from Kickin Pigeon, Neil Diablo, Pharoah Brunson and Royal Male.

Dickinson St, Salford M3 7LW

Liam Fray at Albert Hall

Sunday 17 December

Liam Fray is the Mancunian mastermind behind Courteeners. Adept at transforming a rowdy crowd into a heartfelt chorus, Liam is swapping huge arenas for a more intimate environment for a special end to the year. The one-off hometown show will see the St Jude lyricist take to the stage at the city’s stunning Albert Hall.