Best Things to do in Manchester this week: 25th – 31st January 2020

Including We Will Rock You, John Simm in Chorlton, Nina Simone, Buddy Holly and more...

By Ben Brown | January 24th '20

DJ Paulette at Pen and Pencil
Saturday 25th January
It’s a biggie this Saturday – with a whole host of events taking over the city. It’s Burns Night, and it’s Chinese New Year, but the only problem is that most people are absolutely skint – reduced to selling blood round the back of the hospital just so they can afford to buy their milk roll and billy bear ham for lunch. Good news for all of you then – you don’t need to sit in your house, shivering with no heating on and staring at some X Factor shite, DJ Paulette is on at The Pen & Pencil and it’s FREE! Just get yourself glammed up and make other people buy you drinks.

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Beat Horizon Festival
Saturday 25th January
It’s Harry Lord’s birthday this Saturday so unfortunately, I’ll be missing out on Beat Horizon over at Victoria Warehouse – and all day and (most of) the night festival featuring a seriously impressive line-up. There’s Yasiin Bey (or Mos Def to his mates), Goldie, Sampa The Great, Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Roni Size, Mala, The Pharcyde, LTJ Bukem DJ, Dub Phizix & DJ Strategy. Phew! That’s a lot. There are still some tickets knocking about – so get yourself involved while I sink some pints in Rawtenstall with Lordy.

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GRUB ExtraVEGANza
Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th January
This ‘ExtraVEGANza’ officially kicks off on Friday but it’s on for the rest of the weekend too so here it is. GRUB take great pride in their support for street food traders, as well as their support of veganism, so much so that at any standard GRUB event traders are required to provide at least one vegan option. Well this super-special weekend is JUST vegan, complete with all the vegan food you can scoff, beers, booze and even a vegan market courtesy of the team at Stall.

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Chinese New Year in Manchester
From Saturday 25th January
As you’d expect from a city with a rather large China Town and an ever-increasing Chinese population – there’s a lot of stuff going on for Chinese New Year in 2020. There’s your usual dragon parades and fireworks, alongside acrobatic performances, workshops, special food menus and decorations. Head on down to town this Sunday – head to China Town and enjoy yourselves.

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Mother’s Ruin @ Hope Mill
Saturday 25th January
Part of Hope Mill’s Turn On Fest, Mother’s Ruin promises to be a night of Queer cabaret and performance – hosted by comic legend Jonathan Mayor. This Saturday will see Joe Sutherland, Barbara Brownskirt, Venus Quasar, Claudia Palazzo and RhyssPieces hit the stage – and you should probably be prepared for anything. Get your tickets below…

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Nina at the NIA @ HOME
Saturday 25th January
Don’t get too confused, this event is called ‘Nina at the NIA’ but is in fact at HOME, so don’t go heading to NIAMOS in Hulme and standing outside in the drizzle for ages. Back in 1991 Nina Simone played a gig at the NIA Centre in Hulme and off the back of their sell-out show NINA: An Orchestral Rendition last year, members of the Untold Orchestra will be taking to the stage for an evening of music and storytelling, alongside clips of the iconic performance from 29 years ago.

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BUDDY – The Buddy Holly Story @ The Lowry
From Monday 27th January
The easiest fancy dress costume of them all, even easier than The Blues Brothers, it’s Buddy Holly. Don a suit, slick your hair back and put on some thick-rimmed black glasses and voila! You’re him! This musical is one of the biggest selling of all time and hits The Lowry this week – featuring all of his iconic hits. It’s a shame he had to get on that plane with the Big Bopper and Richie Valens really.

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We Will Rock You @ Palace Theatre
From Monday 27th January
I’ve just Googled the lyrics for ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen and it’s absolute drivel. “You got mud on your face, you big disgrace, Kicking your can all over the place” – what? What they on about? I doubt even Freddie Mercury knew, just going along with Brian May’s words so he wouldn’t spit his dummy out again and go home to sulk. It’s the name of this Queen ‘rock-opera’ though – and the story is about some future people who are forbidden to play music. A bit like Footloose then.

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One Deck Socials with John Simm @ Electrik
Wednesday 29th January
Where do they get them from eh?! Just before Christmas they had Vicky McClure on the one deck and now John Simm. The Electrik lot seem to be very impressive in the booking department – or perhaps they just know a load of famous people. They’ve also had John Thompson do a one deck in here and he was once bezzie mates with Johnny Depp – so fingers crossed for that one in 2020. I know the geezer who used to play Martin Platt in Coronation Street – he’d be up for it too?! Get in touch if you think you might be interested.

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People’s City at The Refuge
Thursday 30th January
Curated by Paul Wright, this exhibition by the British Culture Archive at The Refuge looks set to give us all a glimpse into the landscapes of northern working class towns and cities in the 80’s and early 90’s. Capturing the very essence of the north’s diverse cultures and divisions – the images also manage to give you a few ideas of what to buy next time you’re out shopping – with some seriously cool fashions on show. The exhibition will launch with a massive party this Thursday with the opportunity to chat with those involved.

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Co-lab Theory by Reform Radio
Thursday 30th January
Reform Radio have partnered with Jägermeister and Arts Council England for Co-Lab Theory – a new project that’s enlisted emerging artists from Manchester and challenged them to create a new original piece of music in just 16 hours. There’ll be a whole host of special guests there and it’ll be a fantastic showcase of the dynamic Manchester music scene at the moment.

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