Michael Kiwanuka Right now there is a buzz around Michael Kiwanuka. A North Londoner in his late twenties he is promoting his second album released in the summer to critical acclaim. Twice nominated for the Mercury prize, life should be looking up for this accomplished guitarist and soulful singer-songwriter. Manchester Ritz, with a 1500 hundred capacity, is the final show of the UK leg. It is a sell-out and it is buzzing.


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Brian Fallon & The Crowes Tonight sees the return of the charismatic and charming Brian Fallon who is known from his time as the frontman of New Jersey’s finest, The Gaslight Anthem. The UK tour is hot off the release of his brand new debut solo album, ‘Painkillers’ which sees Brian Fallon also brings his band The Crowes, featuring fellow Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes guitarist Ian Perkins.


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Fightstar

It's Saturday Night and The Ritz in Manchester is heaving. It's uncomfortably warm and a sense of anticipation hums through the air; post-hardcore band Fightstar are the cause. In town to promote their latest album 'Behind The Devil's Back', just released this month, it's clear from the size of the crowd that the band have lost few fans during their 2010 - 2014 hiatus, especially not in Manchester.



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Metric

Ever since they emerged from Toronto back in 1998, Metric have undergone something of an evolution. Their first album, Old World Underground Where Are You was full of fast and furious new wave indie rock, a sound perfected in 2005's superb single Monster Hospital. Since then though, they've gradually introduced more electronica aspects to their sound, to the point where this year's record Pagans In Vegas could be described as full on synth pop.



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Unknown Mortal Orchestra On Friday 25th September, New Zealand-American band Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO) showcased their unique sound to a packed-out venue at The Ritz, Manchester, with support from talented Jaakko Eino Kalevi.


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British Sea Power On the strength of both bands’ reputations for live performances, this evening’s British Sea Power and Bo Ningen gig at Manchester’s Ritz should be a dream pairing. Tonight BSP are performing one of only three UK gigs to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the release (and now the re-issue) of their debut album, ‘The Decline of British Sea Power’. A strange pairing it may be, but the uniquely British BSP are supported tonight by London-based Japanese acid-punk four-piece noiseniks Bo Ningen. However, although on the face of it the line up is chalk and cheese, both bands share a belief in experimentation and pushing forward the boundaries of their music.


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Wolf Alice Wolf Alice have been on our radar for a while. They’ve been gaining momentum for the past couple of years, often tipped on people’s ones-to-watch list. It feels like they are one big record away from really making it into a wider stream of consciousness. It was a treat to hear they were touring early this year; the chance to see them before they really set the world alight was one which we could not turn down.


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The Unthanks Two memories of The Unthanks' show will stick with me. The first was the affinity between siblings Rachel and Becky Unthank (just the way that they looked at each other and held hands at the close of the show was a moment to savour). The second was the majesty of the music, particularly the arrangements and the prominence of the trumpet. Talk about folk as a springboard into a sea of possibilities...


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Taking Back Sunday The Manchester Ritz is the hosting place for tonights gig and due to a club night happening afterwards we have a ridiculously early curfew. Last time I saw tonight's headline act Taking Back Sunday the supports were very different. This shows just how far they have come and how they have adapted themselves to keep themselves relevant over the past decade.


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In Flames Despite most of their setlist tonight coming from their latest albums 'Siren Charms' and 'Sounds Of A Playground Fading' , which are considered by both fans and critics to be two of their less heavy but more melodic albums, In Flames still manage to pack one hell of a punch live. Appearing against what is a surprisingly good stage set up they launched themselves into the explosive opener, 'In Plain View'. The crowd are definitely up for it as they bounce to every beat and are clearly enjoying themselves.


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Adam Ant The opening for Adam Ant's UK tour begins tonight in Manchester, and it's not a good start to say the least. Scheduled to appear on stage at an early 8.30, there are whispers around the auditorium that he is running a little late and will be appearing at 8.45. By 9.25 the restless crowd of white stripe painted faces flood the baking hot room with boo's and angry jeers aimed at the 80's Nu romantic star. An hour after he's scheduled to start, the stage manager comes to the front and flashes his torch, indicating that the show is finally about to begin.


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Metronomy Manchester’s Ritz is sold out tonight for the much anticipated gig by arty electro-popsters Metronomy, in the early stages of their UK tour and eager to promote their acclaimed new album, ‘Love Letters’.


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Bill Callahan I had never heard of Bill Callahan until shortly before Christmas. That’s when the January issue of Mojo magazine dropped through the letter box and hailed Callahan’s Dream River as album of the year. Well if it surpassed the 2013 offerings of Bowie, Daft Punk and Nick Cave then surely this was a singer worthy of further investigation.


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Beth Hart Spot on 9pm Beth Hart takes centre stage. She has to be one of the hardest working acts around, touring furiously; recording frequently (five albums in the past four years). A fabulous collaboration with fellow American Joe Bonamassa (‘Don’t Explain’) was followed up by the equally good ‘Bang Bang Boom Boom’ which won her a slot on Jools Holland’s show in 2012. Bigger in Europe than in the USA her career can’t have been hurt by her performance at the Kennedy Centre Honours twelve months ago in front of the Obamas.


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