The Gaslight Anthem The first two words that come to mind when I hear the words ‘The Gaslight Anthem’ are ‘cult following’. Whilst they never seem to be part of the mainstream music consciouness, they have garnered a huge following that has made them one of the most popular rock bands of the past decade. That cult following is definitely evident in Manchester’s Apollo this Monday evening.


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Volbeat It might be a chilly mid-November Sunday night but Manchester's Academy is bursting at the seems. Metal fans, young and old, have gathered eagerly to see Danish band Volbeat on their Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies tour.


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Paolo Nutini By all accounts, 2014 has been a hell of a year for Paolo Nutini. After years in relative obscurity following the release of his second album, he burst back onto the music scene with phenomenal third album 'Caustic Love' which has once again sky-rocketed him to superstardom. It's not hard to understand why every seat in the Phones 4 U Arena in Manchester is filled; the room humming with anticipation for what such a unique artist will bring to the table this evening.


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Jessie Ware It's not that often you get the chance to see gigs at Manchester Cathedral. One of the city's best and most underrated venues, it is always a special occasion when an artist or group chooses to perform there, and tickets are always in high demand. When we got wind that Jessie Ware would be playing the Cathedral on a small pre-album launch tour, we knew we had to be there.


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Kylie From the moment Kylie Minogue rises through a hole in the floor of the stage, draped seductively across a sofa shaped as a pair of lips to the sound of thousands of screams, you know instantly that you're in good hands for the evening. Kylie has got this. As she launches into opening track 'Les Sex' the audience is on Cloud 9. It's Manchester, it's Friday night and Kylie Minogue is here to lead the party.


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The Kooks Hit The Road I very clearly remember the year The Kooks brought out 'Inside In / Inside Out'. It was the summer I went to my very first music festival (Oxegen, Ireland) and I recall them playing the NME stage in frightening detail; a highly rowdy crowd, pints flying everywhere, teenagers pushing and shoving each other around to the point the band had to stop playing to calm everyone down. Boys and girls were all there to bounce along to the ridiculously catchy, summery, pop-rock. They were a completely accessible indie band with boy band good looks. It was cool to like them, and most people actually really did. It was no real wonder that album performed so well, putting them firmly on the map.


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Bastille Bastille have had one hell of a year. They've dominated the music charts, finding success and fans seemingly with ease and can even add winning Best British Breakthrough at The Brit Awards to their list of achievements to date. Given they only formed in 2010 it's been a supersonic rise, mostly thanks to single 'Pompeii' which became a wide reaching hit upon release in early 2013. Can their live show live up to the reputation that precedes them though?


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A Day To Remember Hailing from Ocala, Florida, A Day To Remember have been around for 11 years and have toured far and wide in that time. They’re known for being complete pros at putting on an exuberant and energy filled gig, so it is with a certain level of expectation we turn up at Manchester’s Apollo to catch their latest live performance.  Their reputation says it should be a good show, but what will they bring that is new?


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Arctic Monkeys It started quietly, overnight. One YouTube upload, one tweet, one Facebook post. The Arctic Monkeys unleashed ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ and took over 2013. It continued on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Drum beats and the opening of a guitar riff silencing the critical anticipation and hype. The deal was sealed with the unveiling of ‘AM’; Arctic Monkeys were back and ready to be bigger than ever.


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Goo Goo Dolls Some bands seem to have been around forever. They've been good enough to never really leave the public consciousness but they haven't been setting the world alight for years on end either. They've made their mark, had some classic hits and got on with doing their own thing. They've grown up with their fans and managed to retain them and acquire a group of new ones along the way. It's fair to say American rock band Goo Goo Dolls fall into this category. Formed in 1985, they have stood the test of time and aren't ready to give up or go anywhere yet. They rocked up in Manchester on Wednesday evening to promote their latest record and we were there to check it out.


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Rihanna Is there anybody in the world who hasn’t uttered her name at some point in the last 12 months? Whether it’s to talk about her tumultuous love life, what she’s wearing, what she’s posting online or her “don’t give a shit what the world thinks” attitude; she’s possibly the most overexposed pop artist of the last five years. Miraculously though, she doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon and she’s not getting any less interesting. On Wednesday night the Rihanna Diamonds World Tour rolled into Manchester and we went to check out what the iconic performer had to offer.


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Jake Bugg I’m one of those people who half-watches Later with Jools Holland. I mostly have it on in the background and show a vague passing interest in bands I like when they perform. The only real time I stood up and took notice was when a then relatively little known Jake Bugg was introduced on it. Hearing his voice and how different he was I knew then I wanted to see him live one day. When the opportunity arose to see him in Manchester, I was the first to put my hand up to attend. The Academy is probably the largest small venue in Manchester where you can see an artist before they get really big. It makes many gigs there a special occasion.


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The Courteeners Manchester is famous for being kind to its musical children. The city loves nothing more than to celebrate its own, and when they are musicians this usually leads to their homecoming shows being the hottest ticket in town. We've seen it just recently with the Stone Roses reunion gigs but on Friday night it was the turn of The Courteeners to entertain their home crowd.


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Band of Horses "Manchester! I don't give a shit it's Monday, I force you to party with us!" was not the opening line I was expecting to hear from American group Band of Horses as they walked in to greet an excited Mancunian crowd. But it was certainly an apt introduction for the animated and rocking set which promptly followed. These guys put on quite the show.


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