The best gigs and club nights in Manchester September 2023

So many gigs, so little time

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 19 September 2023

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It’s fair to say that this month’s gigs and club nights are a mixed bag. Not in terms of quality – good god, no, these are all right out of the top drawer – but certainly genre-wise. Psych surf rock? Check. Horror-themed drag? Check. Soul icons? Check. Experimental electronica? Check and check.

Here are the very best of the bunch…

Manchester Psych Fest 2023

Manchester Psych Fest across the city

Saturday 2 September

The annual Manchester Psych Fest returns at a host of venues up and down the Oxford Road corridor, with one ticket getting you into all of them. You’ll be able to take in the likes of art pop maven Ezra Furman, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Los Bitchos and Kokoko! at venues from The Ritz and the Albert Hall to YES and the Deaf Institute. It’ll be a blast.

Manchester’s Finest presents: Live From The Grill 2023

Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 September

After the success of last year’s inaugural event, seeing over 4,000 people grab tickets, Live From The Grill is returning for another weekend of free BBQ parties at Deansgate Square with specialist eats cooked on open flames by expert epicures, alongside some of the city’s best live acts and DJs.⁠

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at the Manchester Academy

Saturday 2 September

The insanely prolific King Gizzard will be in town dishing out their garage pysch/surf rock/synth prog/krautrock vibes at the Academy, diving into their bewilderingly vast back catalogue for gems to wig out to. This tour marks the release of their 24th studio album, not to mention all the bootlegs and live recordings – which find them truly in their element. Don’t miss this one.

Monsters of Drag at the Albert Hall

Sunday 3 September

Like Monsters of Rock, but also a lot not like Monsters of Rock, Monsters of Drag sees drag and horror collide at the Albert Hall, with heart-stopping performances from the likes of Dahli, Victoria Elizabeth Black, Koco Caine, Joe Black and Liquorice Black, all overseen by your host for the evening, the diabolical Biqtch Puddin’.

Christine and the Queens at the Manchester Academy

Thursday 7 September

The majestic Christine And The Queens debuted his new, stripped-down stage show during the 6 Music festival earlier this year. Having honed it at festivals around the globe since, they return to Manchester in September, the performance now adapted with tracks from Paranoïa, Angels, True Love, the sprawling ‘operatic gesture’ of a fourth album, roundly dubbed the band’s best yet. It’ll be emotional.

Feist at the Victoria Warehouse

Monday 11 September

Feist fans had to wait an interminable five years between 2017’s Pleasure and her latest album Multitudes, released earlier this year. Thankfully, it was very much worth it. A quiet wonder, a career highlight in a career variously littered with them. She will light up this corner of the city tonight.

Alexander O’Neal at Bridgewater Hall

Thursday 14 September

Soul icon Alexander O’Neal – a former Manchester resident himself – returns to his adopted home for this show at the Bridgewater Hall, on his final farewell tour. Expect absolutely all of the classics, from the iconic Criticize to Fake to If You Were Here Tonight to Saturday Love, and hopefully some anecdotes about getting tanked up at the Briton’s Protection chucked in too.

Repercussion 2023

Repercussion at The Warehouse Project

Saturday 16 September

Repercussion returns to The Warehouse Project with another frankly ludicrous line-up. The might Bicep will be unveiling their new audio-visual set, called Chroma, alongside the likes of Jon Hopkins, Kerri ‘Chaos’ Chandler, who will be playing a live reel-to-reel set, Jayda G, Joy Orbison, Children of Zeus and Luke Unabomber. Meanwhile, on the newly kitted out rooftop space, the iconic Rush Hour will be taking over, celebrating 25 years in underground electronica.

Matthew Halsall at New Century

Saturday 16 September

This will be a special one for Manchester composer and bandleader Matthew Halsall, trumpet-player, producer, founder of Gondwana, which will one day be seen as one of the city’s pivotal record labels. Playing New Century, ahead of a show at the Royal Albert Hall and a tour which will take him the length and breadth of Europe, he’ll be presenting his latest album, An Ever Changing View, to a crowd hanging on every note. No pressure then.

Co-op Live presale tickets

Skinnyman – Council Estate of Mind Live

Thursday 21 September

One of the UK’s most notable Rap legends Skinnyman is performing tracks from his classic album ‘Council Estate of Mind’ in celebration of Hip Hop’s 50 year Anniversary – alongside local rap artists from Manchester in support.

DJ Marcelle at the White Hotel

Friday 22 September

You have to take your hat off to DJ Marcelle (Dutch-born Marcelle van Hoof). There’s not another selector like her on the planet. You can expect anything from thrash punk to dubstep to experimental hip hop to panel beating techno to blistering drum and bass in what will undoubtedly be a thrilling if occasionally baffling Manchester debut at the White Hotel. Support comes from Demdike Stare’s Sean Canty and DJ Bogus.

Riding The Low

Riding The Low at The Deaf Institute

Saturday 23 September

When he’s not being in stuff like Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon and generally being one of the best British actors of his generation, Paddy Considine is fronting rock band Riding The Low, a band he’s been in for over 15 years, forming it with one of his oldest school friends. Go for the music, but maybe also to get a kick out of seeing Viserys Targayren in the flesh too. 

Spiritualized at New Century

Saturday 23 September

The towering Spiritualized will be landing like the mothership at New Century, which somehow feels like just the right venue for J. Spaceman to fill with his vast wall of sound. Ensure that the correct shoes are worn to gaze at. Probably those ones that look like pasties.

Muse at the AO

Friday 29 September

Singular stadium rockers Muse will be packing the AO arena with their own brand of operatic rock, one of only three remaining shows in the UK – with two more in London and another happening in Dublin – on the final leg of their Will Of The People tour, which has taken the Devon trio to more or less every corner of the planet over the past year. Vibes at the ready.

James Holden at YES

Saturday 30 September

Border Community founder and Thom Yorke collaborator James Holden plays an intimate show in the Pink Room at YES. It will likely be an evening of wild, genre-sprawling electronica, following the widely lauded release of Imagine This Is a High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities, his fifth artist album. He’s quite possibly a genius, so don’t miss this.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs at The Ritz

Saturday 30 September

Best said with three pigs at a time, and then an extra pigs at the end, Geordie stoner metal types Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs hit the Ritz to blast us all with a set of absolute howling face melters. Our ears are already ringing just thinking about it.