The best gigs and club nights in Manchester this December

Including High Hoops’ end of year party, Joy Orbison at YES and 16 years of HIT & RUN.

By Emma Davidson | 6 December 2022

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As 2022 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the cosy live gigs we’ve been blessed with across the year. 

Not only has the city witnessed an array of alternative performers ticking Manchester off their bucket list, it’s also birthed a number of new music venues looking to put their own stamp on the scene. 

From Canvas to New Century, Exhibition and Love Factory, these venues are paving the way for Manchester’s future capacity, and 2023 is already putting the city on the map for gigs. The inaugural opening of Co-op Live next year only confirms that.

However, 2022 isn’t over just yet, so here’s our top picks for the rest of December. Keep your eyes peeled for a bumper New Year roundup, too, that will detail the very best parties to usher in 2023.

Shygirl at Albert Hall

Friday 2nd December
Simultaneously asserting her power and freedom and yet still longing for love, Shygirl delivers harmonious verses and catchy hooks telling stories of relationships, sexual desires and romantic frustrations. Over pure production, Shygirl brings us on the journey of what intimacy is like for a woman who’s seen as ‘too hot to handle’, someone sought after and overlooked at the same time.

Image / @eloisechamberlain

Sugarstone at Gullivers

Friday 2nd December
Hot off the release of debut EP ‘Sucker’, Sugarstone offer Gullivers their sweet-take on alt-rock electronica this month. Evolving from their once pop-laden approach, Sugarstone’s latest release is full of chugging guitar riffs and a nod to the likes of Nine Inch Nails. 

Image / @andrewbenge

Loose Articles at Morgan’s Bar

Saturday 3rd December
The patriarchy doesn’t get a look in when Loose Articles are around, with every inch of the chaos transferred beautifully into their melodic post punk music. The band, which consists of four Stella loving lasses, are born and raised Mancunian so this gig at Trafford’s Morgan Bar really is just another day in the office.

Smooch Soundsystem at The White Hotel

Saturday 3rd December
Kicking off at 7pm on the outskirts of Salford this Saturday, LINTD & Porter Brook present: Smooch Soundsystem with a huge line-up of local legends. Expect a live show from Smooch Soundsystem, as well as sets from Porter Brook, DR MYSTERY, Kap-Z and Chandé.

High Hoops End of Year Party at The White Hotel

Saturday 3rd December
Back in their rightful home, High Hoops presents the annual end of year party, this time with Angel D’lite & babyschön storming the decks. Taking over the iconic venue from midnight until 7am, the duo have also announced an after party at the Derby Brewery Arms kicking off from 7am until the very last dance. On this line-up you’ll find Angel D’lite b2b Eoin DJ, Sonice and k.h0lle.

5 Years of Kultura Collective at The Loft

Saturday 3rd December
Kultura Collective and The Loft are teaming up to deliver a massive line-up to ensure the Kultura fifth birthday goes down in style. Joining the residents is Tash LC, the London legend, an absolute master behind the decks and a DJ that brings the vibes in a way like no other. On top of that Tribal Brothers make their 0161 debut, to showcase their esteemed skills.

Tanya Stephens at The Blues Kitchen

Monday 5th December
With a career spanning more than three decades, internationally acclaimed dancehall/reggae icon, Tanya Stephens is landing in Manchester this month. The performer has managed to create an enviable musical legacy across her mammoth career, combining songwriting skills coupled with her rich tone and straight-talking personality.

Image / @xupmusic

Furrowed Brow at 33 Oldham Street

Thursday 8th December
A bunch of new wave Mancunians storming the Northern Quarter this month? Nothing new there then! Furrowed Brow are a band steeped in their own interpretation of new wave, punk, glam, art and folk. The quintet are known for their raucous live performance, never too far away from the original ethos of DIY punk.

Image/ @_jdws

Working Men’s Club at Manchester Academy

Friday 9th December
Manchester-based electronic giants, Working Men’s Club create music in the shadow of fear and loss. The band formed the basis of their back catalogue during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what followed was a bold, two-fingered statement riding the waves of synth-pop, post punk and everything in between. 

Image / @shaunpeckham

Joy Orbison at YES

Saturday 10th December
Now Wave welcomes one of the UK’s most technically brilliant producers and DJ’s, Joy Orbsison who will be bringing his after-dark get together to the intimate surrounds of The Pink Room. His brand of garage-house has been celebrated for finding a sound that marries elements of house, two-step, jungle, techno and dubstep.

Heritage Live Audley End 22
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The Bootleg Beatles at Bridgewater Hall

Tuesday 13th December
The one and only Beatles tribute band established back in 1980, The Bootleg Beatles are probably the closest you’ll ever get to seeing the fab four live. Armed with all of the hits AND the bad hair, The Bootleg Beatles will take you on a journey through The Beatles’ back catalogue. And if you book your seats far enough back you might just trick yourself into thinking they’re the real deal.

Stealing Sheep at Low Four Studios

Thursday 15th December
Art-pop Liverpool three-piece, Stealing Sheep are performing a FREE gig at Low Four Studios on Deansgate Mews this month. The trio will be showcasing brand-new tracks, alongside cult classics from debut ‘Big Wows’ which earned the band the electronic stature they deserve.

16 Years of Hit & Run at Hidden

Friday 16th December
Celebrating an astonishing 16 YEARS of events in the city, HIT & RUN’s annual party returns to Hidden this month, with DJs old and new bringing uninterrupted energy. The December line-up includes; Halogenix, STRATEGY, Commodo, Madam X, Synkro, ALXZNDR aka DJ ADHD, Decibella, Rich Reason and more.

Mad Friday Xmas Party at Love Factory

Friday 16th December
Love Factory’s immersive Christmas show has some of Manchester’s leading creatives and cultural practitioners at its core, including a live show from Manchester’s critically acclaimed contemporary, Ceeow bringing the full GreensKeepers band experience to the venue. Elsewhere, DJs will take to the Love Factory booth, with some of the city’s most esteemed tastemakers primed to deliver a soundtrack that perfectly marries fun with forward-thinking.

YNES at The Peer Hat

Monday 19th December
Having roots both in Canada and the UK, YNES takes equal influence from the North American emo-punk scene (The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball), and the Britpop revival of the late 2000’s (Kate Nash, Jamie T). Sitting messily between the two, YNES splashes tongue-in-cheek lyricism over a high-energy punk canvas.

Jane Weaver at YES

Friday 23rd December
Working as an omnipresent pop figure in her genuinely independent micro-industry for over 20 years, Jane Weaver is a rare example of a passionate and resilient Northern female artist who re-creates, re-invents and refreshes where many others come and go. More recently, her new brand of funk and domestic synth flourishes in playful pop songs.