The best gigs and club nights in Manchester this March

Including Death Valley Girls at Projekts Skatepark, Chris Difford at The Talleyrand and Franc Moody at New Century.

By Emma Davidson | Last updated 21 February 2023

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Image: Alice Backham / Channel Tres

There’s no better time to get out and support your favourite independent music venue. It’s been a difficult few years for them and with a worrying number of closures hitting the hospitality sector lately, grabbing a ticket and a pint at the bar means more than ever before. And by gum, March is packed full of events to choose from. 

New Oxford Road venue Canvas is inundated with shows, with Ojerime, Lovescene, Kamaal Williams and more taking to its shiny new stage. Over in Levenshulme, the legendary Chris Difford is due to perform songs from his admirable back catalogue to an intimate audience. Expect to hear hits from his band Squeeze such as Up The Junction and Cool For Cats. March is also a big month for club nights, with The White Hotel, Hidden and The Loft all featuring in our extensive round up. 

Read on for the best gigs and club nights in Manchester this March.

Are you a fan of Joni Mitchell? Make sure you catch Etta Marcus at Gullivers this March. Image: Etta Marcus

Etta Marcus at Gullivers

Thursday 2 March
Hailing from South London, 20-year-old Etta Marcus creates a sonic soundscape of emotionally haunting music. A product of dedicated bedroom writing, her music explores personal and intimate experiences that she’s developed from acoustic guitar to snarly grunge-influenced singles, taking inspiration from the likes of Jeff Buckley and Joni Mitchell.

Ojerime at Canvas

Thursday 2 March
Offering a nostalgic glimpse into the golden age of R&B, Ojerime lands at Canvas this March with her fusion of electronic production, classic blues hooks and transcendent harmonies. Her music is heavily influenced by the unforgettable R&B tracks of the 90s, found in hits such as Give It Up 2 Me, which conveys an emotive narrative through slow funky house beats.

Lovescene at Canvas

Friday 3 March
Neo-soul collective Lovescene bring their cinematic, soulful magic to Canvas with their debut live visual show. Favourites on the soul scene in Manchester and beyond, Lovescene had a powerful 2022 and the band now return to perform exclusive new music and timeless classics, accompanied by immersive live visuals.

She Drew The Gun is stripping things back for an intimate performance in the city. Image: She Drew The Gun

She Drew The Gun at The Deaf Institute

Friday 3 March
Wirral-based singer/songwriter Louisa Roach AKA She Drew The Gun has cemented a stellar reputation as a leading voice in the alternative music scene. Her blend of punk influenced pop is used as a vehicle to expose the wrongdoings of society, including the division between the rich and poor and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This March show at The Deaf Institute will see the artist strip it back for an acoustic evening of music and poetry.   

Death Valley Girls at Projekts Skatepark

Friday 3 March
Kicking off Sour Grapes’ brand-new WAX series of gigs set to take place at Projekts Skatepark behind Piccadilly Station, Death Valley Girls will take part in a UK first. The new shows are to be the first ever recurring gig nights in a UK skatepark, where artists and musicians will be joined by an open skate session alongside a sponsored bar and space for local artists and bands to sell merchandise. The gigs will continue monthly until Saturday 17 June. 

Jamz Supernova at The Loft

Friday 3 March
BBC 6 Music DJ Jamz Supernova is taking over Manchester’s most sought after rave den this month, bringing her endless collection of alternative R&B, experimental hip hop and electronic gems. Cementing herself as one of the most knowledgeable selectors, Jamz will be joined by local resident Charms who will mix alongside Great Danes and Kultura for a six-hour session to remember.   

Funky house and Vietnamese food? An unsuspecting match made in heaven. Image: Hidden Spheres

Hidden Spheres at NAM

Saturday 4 March
Back home from his global travels, Hidden Spheres headlines an evening in the basement of Ancoats’ Vietnamese favourite NAM. Housed in the intimate space below the bustling restaurant, NAM’s bespoke sound system will be cranked to the max to host the master of mellow groove and melodic boogie, alongside some very special guest selectors. 

Souls of Mischief at Low Four Studios

Wednesday 8 March
90s hip hop group Souls of Mischief are hardcore MCs with an intellectuality to their music. With a long and prosperous career behind them, the trio are hosting a one of a kind get to know each other gig at Low Four Studios on Deansgate Mews. They’ll be joined by Manchester producer Jamie Groovement for an exclusive Q&A with DJs playing before and after the chat.

Chris Difford at The Talleyrand

Friday 10 March
One of the founding members of seminal English rock band Squeeze, Chris Difford is set to play an intimate gig this March at The Talleyrand over in Levenshulme. Quite an incongruous backdrop for this cockney legend whose music has gone onto influence future stars including Lily Allen, Mark Ronson and more. He will give guests a personal glimpse into his back catalogue of influential, poetic music.  

Anz at The White Hotel

Friday 10 March
Rising from the depths of Manchester’s underground club scene, Anz is back behind the decks at Salford all-night party spot The White Hotel. The DJ and producer is credited for paying homage to all corners of dance music in her sets, shuffling through hardcore, two-step, funky garage and ultra smooth electro. She’ll be taking over the decks from midnight until 7am. 

Dan Shake is taking over Hidden for an extended set this March. Image: Dan Shake

Dan Shake at Hidden

Saturday 11 March
A lover of all things groove, you’ll find Dan Shake either behind the decks or in the record bag of fellow DJs. With his own releases exploring everything from Brazilian Samba to chest pounding house and beyond, his extended set at Hidden will be loaded with music to make you move – paying homage to his reputation as one of the most exciting DJs on the UK circuit. 

Ruby Colley at Where The Light Gets In

Sunday 12 March
Composer, violinist and sound composer Ruby Colley is making her way to award-winning Stockport restaurant Where The Light Gets In for an evening of live performance that “unravels the connections between nature and music”. Drawing upon styles including; folk, improvisation and contemporary classical, her music is transfixing and eclectic, charged with emotional power. 

Sfven at YES

Wednesday 15 March
Alternative indie artist Sfven is a mysterious character with an online presence that only alludes to his love of eggs. His music on the other hand is a funky mix of bedroom pop and alternative indie, akin to the joyful nature of artists such as Still Woozy and Bon Iver. The 25-year-old is embarking on a UK wide tour this March, stopping off at Manchester music venue YES with a basement set. 

Back when we caught up with our good pal Jay.

Jay Rayner Sextet at Albert Hall

Thursday 16 March
Legendary restaurant critic Jay Rayner is swapping his dinner fork for a piano tuning fork on an overnight stay in the city this March as he takes to the stage at Albert Hall to lead his ensemble of award-winning musicians. Guests can expect a compelling night of jazzy performances of iconic pop and R&B tracks reimagined by the Jay Rayner Sextet with Jay on piano duties. Tunes will come with a side dish of quips about his life as a journalist 

El Khat at SOUP

Thursday 16 March
Named after a drug widely used across the Arabian Peninsula, El Khat refer to themselves as a “homemade junkyard band” making music from items that people usually chuck away. Influenced by traditional Israeli music that’s characterised by decorative melodies, the band is fronted by multi-instrumentalist El Wahab who built his career as a self taught busker on the streets of Tel Aviv. Now, El Khat combines the expertise of musicians from Poland, Morocco and Yemen. 

Local Boy at The Castle

Saturday 18 March
Dublin-based Local Boy spent his teenage years honing in on his craft as a bedroom producer, slowly but surely evolving into the idiosyncratic pop star he is now. With a strong Irish vocal softened by bubblegum pop sensibilities, his music could easily have fallen from the mind of Matty Healy himself. Latest album Local Boy Climbs the Ladder brings together lessons learned over his expansive career, touching on the pop, hip-hop and indie rock genres. 

DIY label Sour Grapes bring Toronto punk rockers to the city. Image: Hot Garbage

Hot Garbage at Big Hands

Saturday 18 March
Toronto garage punk rockers Hot Garbage head over to Oxford Road dive bar Big Hands this March for a sweaty DIY takeover. With glistening metallic melodies and elements of 60s and 70s psychedelia, the band emits reverb heavy music that harks back to a vintage musical era. This show has been curated by Sour Grapes, the brains behind the UK’s last standing cassette shop.

Colossal Squid at The White Hotel

Wednesday 19 March
You might recognise Adam Betts as the man at the back of the stage, often found drumming for big names including Jarvis Cocker and Goldie. He returns to Manchester with his solo project Colossal Squid, an ode to the drum kit – the place in which the musician feels most at home.

Franc Moody at New Century

Tuesday 21 March
Soul, funk and disco from the cosmos, Franc Moody are a band with no boundaries when it comes to partying. Taking over newly revamped New Century, complete with its very own disco ceiling, the band will explore space age melodies with modern-day electronica.

Low Island’s captivating on stage presence isn’t to be missed. Image: Low Island

Peven Everett at The Blues Kitchen

Thursday 23 March
You might recognise Peven Everett from his collaborations with the likes of Gorillaz and Kamaal Williams but with 25 years in the game, this producer, writer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has helped shape the world of electronic music. The US legend brings his sweet, soulful voice and blend of house, garage, RnB and beyond to Manchester this March for an exclusive performance at The Blues Kitchen.

Low Island at YES

Thursday 23 March
Formed in Oxford back in 2016 when R&B was at the forefront of the UK charts, Low Island brought an uplifting gift of euphoric electronica to the party. Merging music for the dance floor with soulful ballads, the band offer a romanticism through free-spirited tracks such as Don’t Let The Light In and Everything Before Us. Their live performance is also joyous, blurring the lines between club night and indie gig. 

Kamaal Williams at Canvas

Saturday 25 March
A pioneer of modern day jazz, Kamaal Williams is a British record producer and musician. HIs big break came in 2016 with his jazz group Yussef Kamaal who won best Breakthrough Act at the 2017 Jazz FM awards for their debut album Black Focus. Difficult to define, Williams’ musical style has roots in the jazz greats of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis but also takes influence from funk as well as the UK garage scene.

One of the most exciting gigs this month – Channel Tres at Gorilla. Image: Channel Tres

Chloe Robinson at The Loft

Saturday 25 March
Formerly known by her DJ pseudonym Barely Legal, Chloe Robinson makes her return to Manchester at The Loft, armed with a mix of UK garage, grime and dubstep. The versatile artist will be joined by DJ ADHD who is recognised for his expertise in techno and UK bass, often blurring the lines between the two, gaining him praise from greats such as Peggy Gou and Four Tet.

Channel Tres at Gorilla

Tuesday 28 March
With a dreamy mix of Detroit techno, silky-smooth Chicago house and gritty West Coast rap, Channel Tres is a vibrantly different artist. Over the course of his career, he has won the praise of artists as diverse as Elton John and Tyler the Creator alongside the growing fanbase crazy about his sound. His music provides an outlet for the artist to reconnect with his past and his own history, as much a transcendent journey for himself as his listener.  

Berries and The Empty Page at Gullivers

Grungy London punk trio Berries are signed to Xtra Mile records (famous for signing acoustic guitar wielding punk troubadour Frank Turner) and have toured with The Subways. That should give you a good idea of their indie credentials. They are on out on a headline tour in March to promote their album How We Function and their Manchester show at Gullivers features special guests The Empty Page – a Mancunian Sonic Youth meets Pixies influenced power trio packing anxious, angular singalong anthems.

A Certain Ratio will celebrate the release of new album 1982. Image: Paul Husband Photography

Orbital at Albert Hall

Thursday 30 March
Pioneering electronic music duo Orbital have announced an extensive UK and Eire tour to celebrate the release of new studio album Optical Delusion, due to be released on 17 February. Reviews of Optical Delusion credit it as embodying the groundbreaking techno Orbital are known for.

A Certain Ratio album launch at Night & Day Cafe

Friday 31 March
To honour the release of the brand-new album 1982, Manchester legends A Certain Ratio return to their roots with a gig at Night & Day Cafe. Although its title references the past, 1982 refrains from being a nostalgia trip, as the band position themselves in the future with afrobeat, jazz and moody electronic made to dance to.