The best gigs and club nights in Manchester this April

Including the annual FAIR PLAY festival, Elkka at YES and Sounds From The Other City 2023.

By Emma Davidson | 17 March 2023

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Image: Interplanetary Criminal / Jason Lawton

April is a biiiiiig month for gigs in Manchester. Not only are some of our favourite indie venues filling up with global names and worldwide stars, there’s also a couple of festivals making their long awaited return to the city, including FAIR PLAY that’ll take over venues in Northern Quarter and Salford’s Sounds From the Other City. 

Aside from this, there are performances from huge names in the alt-rock scene this April – including Paramore and Limp Bizkit – but both of these gigs have already sold out, so keep your eyes on the resale sites for any going spare. Other than that, there are plenty smaller gigs still with tickets left, featuring performances from Black Honey, Human Interest, The Bug Club and more.

Read on for our round-up of the best gigs and club nights in Manchester this April. 

FAIR PLAY returns to some of Northern Quarter’s very best venues. Image: FAIR PLAY

MEMES at Projekts Skatepark

Saturday 1 April
A couple of weeks ago we trotted along to Mars Tapes to chat to the guys behind Manchester-based record label Sour Grapes. As well as adding bands to their impressive label, Sour Grapes have begun putting on gigs at Projekts, the skatepark behind Piccadilly Station. This April, MEMES bring their blend of indie punk to the ramps of Projekts, performing in front of a live skate session with drinks on sale all evening long at the on-site bar.  

FAIR PLAY Festival

Saturday 1 April
Returning for 2023 with its biggest line-up yet, FAIR PLAY will host everything from ‘post gutter skunk-funk’ to alternative folk and more at venues across the Northern Quarter. The festival launched last year with a commitment to providing a level playing field when it comes to all-day line-ups. It will feature live sets from the likes of KEG, Otta, Yossari-Baby and GROVE at venues including SOUP, Night & Day Cafe and The Peer Hat.

Escape to the bleak indie world of Black Honey. Image: Black Honey

Black Honey at Gorilla

Tuesday 4 April
Brighton alt-rock four-piece, Black Honey have risen from small sets at local pubs to performing huge shows at Glastonbury and Leeds festival where crowds disperse into flailing limbs and beer-doused euphoria. Their music is full of rattling riffs, catchy hooks and the unmatched energy of vocalist and front-woman Izzy Bee Phillips.    

Henry Rollins at The Bridgewater Hall

Thursday 6 April
Former frontman of one of punk’s most influential bands, Black Flag, nowadays you’ll find Henry Rollins flying solo as a spoken word artist. The 62-year-old is known for tracks such as Rise Above, Nervous Breakdown and Six Pack that defined an early generation of angsty, anti-authoritarian teens, and his spoken word shows are always though provoking, funny and packed with outrageous stories.

Kabaka’s album The Kalling won a Grammy last year. Image: Kabaka Pyramid

Kabaka Pyramid at The Blues Kitchen

Thursday 6 April
Emerging onto the reggae scene back in 2011, Jamaica-born Kabaka Pyramid isn’t one for mincing his words in music. His songs cover hard hitting themes including the socio-economic state of modern times in tracks peppered with distinctive hip-hop and dancehall influences. The artist was also presented with a Grammy for his 2022 album The Kalling, in which he took the accolade for Best Reggae Album.

Big Thief at The Apollo

Friday 7 April
If you’re looking for music to cry to in your bedroom, Big Thief are an excellent place to start. The American indie quartet sure know how to dance their fingers across a fretboard, taking listeners on a journey of their native home town of Brooklyn complete with the tender vocals of front-woman, Adrianne Lenker. 

Influenced by 90s grunge, Human Interest come to The Castle this month. Image: Human Interest

Human Interest at The Castle Hotel

Friday 7 April
Emulating the dark yet relatable alternative music of 90s New York, with lyrics declaring their longing to be a ‘cool cool cat’ just like Kim Gordon, Human Interest come to The Castle this April. Radio favourites and even a friend of Fred Perry, the band take musical influence from the likes of Hayley Williams and aesthetically Andy Warhol, evident in their artsy alt-rock singles.

Kultura Collective free party at Band On The Wall

Sunday 9 April
Kultura Collective are on their way to becoming one of the city’s most exciting multi-genre party hosts. Returning to Band On The Wall with a free bank holiday get together, the line-up features the collective’s finest selectors including Belk, Lo5ive, Ynigo and Z James, who will bring a mix of the UK’s best club sounds.  

There’s always time in our calendar for a rave at the DBA. Image: Derby Brewery Arms

Tussle and Supteranea at Derby Brewery Arms

Sunday 9 April
You might think the Easter bank holiday weekend is mainly for scoffing as much chocolate as possible, but why not change things up and head over to a boozer rave in Salford? Headlining the DBA is Annie Errez, a DJ with residencies in institutions such as Mint Warehouse, who will supply dancers with an eclectic mix of house, electro and techno. 

The Damned at Albert Hall

Tuesday 11 April
The Damned are more than just a band your dad liked back in the day. The punk four piece fronted by the vampiresque Dave Vanian with overgrown schoolboy Captain Sensible jostling for attention on guitar smashed onto the scene in the late 70s with the influential New Rose. Fifty years later, the band are still on the road with the same ferocious energy of their teenage personas. 

The Bug Club play two dates in Salford this April. Image: The Bug Club

The Bug Club at The White Hotel

Friday 14 & Saturday 15 April
Championed by 6 music’s coveted roster of DJs, The Bug Club are a tight-knit three piece with riffs that were penned over a proper good brew. Their music is full of erratic guitar led sections, with lyrics often poking fun at things in life that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. 

Tarsza at YES

Saturday 15 April
Cementing herself in supporting slots for the likes of Hot Chip, Mr Scruff and Giles Peterson, and at festivals including 6 Music Festival and We Out Here, Tarsza is definitely one to catch this year. Taking to YES’s basement bar, the DJ is a good vibes only kind of selector spanning house, soul, disco and jungle.

DITZ are post-punk perfection. Image: DITZ

Sunbirds at Lion’s Den

Saturday 15 April
David Hemingway was once part of The Beautiful South, pop-rock pioneers that produced seminal tracks such as Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) and A Little Time. Now touring with his new group Sunbirds, he has taken influence from American rock and late 80s Seattle grunge evident in 2020’s Cool To Be Kind, an album that’s also a poetic journey of Englishness. 


Wednesday 19 April
Post-punk noise sits at the front and centre of DITZ’s work. The Brighton-based five piece take influence from the early DIY punk movements, similar to bands such as Amyl and The Sniffers, combining powerful guitar riffs and direct vocals. The band debuted with a ten track album titled The Great Regression, which includes the phenomenal Ded Würst, 2 minutes and 35 seconds of distorted industrial yet harmonious noise. 

Are you a budding DJ looking to hit the stage? Not Bad For a Girl want you. Image: Not Bad For a Girl

Not Bad For a Girl 4th birthday at Band On The Wall

Friday 21 April
Celebrating four years of female, non-binary and trans talent, Not Bad For a Girl head to Band On The Wall for an open deck party this April – offering DJs just starting out an opportunity to perform on stage at one of Manchester’s most legendary venues. The collective of award-winning promoters was established to create a space for female, non-binary and trans DJs, and has grown to put on events in both Manchester and London. 

Elkka at YES

Saturday 22 April
Winner of BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix of the Year back in 2021, Elkka returns to YES for her Pink Room debut following the release of latest single I Just Want to Love You. Using a sample from Scottish singer-songwriter John Martyn’s Small Hours, Elkka once again creates her own soundscape of percussive drums, house-style bass and dreamy vocals. 

He’s the baddest of them all. Image: Interplanetary Criminal

Interplanetary Criminal and friends at Hidden

Saturday 22 April
Baddest Of Them All will undoubtedly go down as the feel good hit of summer 2022, catapulting its creators Interplanetary Criminal and Eliza Rose into the spotlight. Returning to Manchester this April, the DJ is inviting his nearest and dearest for a five hour party at Hidden. Expect sets from Interplanetary Criminal, Girls Don’t Sync, Main Phase, Blutoof, LCY, Dr Dubplate, Tañ, DJ Cosworth and Hanz. 

Pokey Lafarge at Band On The Wall

Monday 24 April
Spending his childhood in Illinois, Pokey Lafarge formed a lot of his sound on the music of 1930s blues musicians that he walked the same path as 50 years later. Incorporating elements of swing and that familiar Elvis snarl, his music sounds both modern and like it was made to be chase stepped around an early 1900s dance hall. 

Cindy have supported the likes of Manchester fave, Jane Weaver. Image: Cindy

Cindy at Gullivers

Thursday 27 April
The multi-talented Katrina Gill who fronts San Francisco five-piece Cindy only began writing music a few years ago after seeing friends ebb and flow through bands that she longed to be part of. Cindy’s music is heartfelt and subtle, the kind of soundtrack that makes you stop still for a moment in your often hectic schedule.  

Little Man Tate at The Ritz

Friday 28 April
Establishing themselves on the early Sheffield indie scene at the same time as those other four local lads (Arctic Monkeys if that reference has flown right over your head), Little Man Tate are one from the landfill indie genre. Almost 20 years later, the band still tour in front of swathes of loyal fans, bashing out hits from 2006’s About What You Know.

Salford’s celebration of art, music and culture is back. Image: Sounds From The Other City

Nightmares On Wax at The Blues Kitchen

Sunday 30 April
George Evelyn, better known as Nightmares On Wax, is a DJ and producer specialising in the sounds of funk, hip-hop and soul. Formed in 1988, Nightmares On Wax have collectively produced music that, across the years, has soundtracked clubbing institutions including Ibiza’s Pikes, which has become their second home. Still doing what he loves today, George returns to Manchester for a bank holiday soiree at The Blues Kitchen. 

Cub Sport at The Deaf Institute

Sunday 30 April
Australia’s Cub Sport are back in the city, this time performing at Grosvenor Street’s three-story bar and music venue, The Deaf Institute. The four piece, fronted by childhood sweethearts Tim Nelson and Sam Netterfield, combine lo-fi self-produced bedroom beats with nods to early noughties indie and hip-hop. 

Sounds From The Other City

Sunday 30 April
One of the UK’s most special festivals, Sounds From The Other City takes over Chapel Street and its surrounding venues again this April. The line-up, as always, features some big names including PVA, Sister Wives, Fatty Acid Cabaret, alongside art events and DJ sets that will take over The Pint Pot, The New Oxford, Porta and fivefourstudios.

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