Your guide to what's on in and around Manchester this week.
Monday 6 February
Mastodon – Manchester Academy, £17.50, Doors open from 7.30pm
Their latest album ‘The Hunter’ is more melodic and polished than their Melvins-infused sludge debut, but Mastodon’s prog-rock leanings permit them to be as audacious and epic as ever. When those new songs are crammed in with their earlier stuff, you have a concert as loud as a fireworks and lasts as long as a fortnight. (maybe)
Tuesday 7 February
‘Bombay Beach’ Screening – Black Lion Salford, £5, 8.00pm
The biggest hit at last year’s Edinburgh Film Festival comes to Manchester. It’d be misleading to describe Alma Har’el’s debut as a documentary. As her camera explores the eponymous trailer-park sited by California’s Salton Sea, the desolate region becomes saturated with the whims of magical realism; there is no façade of objectivity when two teenage residents dance to the Beirut’s ‘Nantes’, or when reality seamlessly merges into a daydream of a young boy driving a fire-truck. For a film with no script, Bombay Beach coheres into a resonant portrait of withered hope and aspirations in the harshest of environments.
Wednesday 8 February
Red Walks – People’s History Museum, £6, 11.30am and 2.30pm
Two 2-hour walks about the condition of the working class in England: on the left bank of the River Irwell, ‘Seditious Salford’ will tell you tales about the Working Class Movement Library and Joseph Brotherton (the Dirty Old Town’s first MP), whilst ‘Fear and Loathing in Manchester’ trails the Suffragette City’s gloomiest history, including the notorious Peterloo Massacre. Karl and Freddy’s favourite pub is a highlight.
All New People – Manchester Opera House, £12+, 7.30pm.
Quirk alert: Zach Braff will be in Manchester for four days. The Garden State actor-writer-director has scrubbed up his first play, which had an acclaimed run on Broadway with Justin Bartha in the lead role. Braff is now playing Bartha’s character for the Manchester run, which lasts from 8-11 February. All New People’s zany contrivances led to some polarising reactions from the American broadsheets, but if you were a fan of Scrubs, its live-action-cartoon shenanigans will be pleasantly cosy.
Tickets: http://allnewpeople.co.uk/ or 0844 871 3018
Thursday 9 February
Brighter Sound – Cornerhouse, FREE, 7.30pm
Any musicians and heads of cultural organisations will want to attend this networking event, which will keep you up-to-date about happenings in the world of music (particularly Cultural Olympiad and the future of music education funding). Guest speakers include Brighter Sounds’ director Debra King, who will announce a future partnership with Band on the Wall, which will use master-classes to help connect emerging talents with established artists.
Friday 10 February
Chen Man Exhibition – Chinese Arts Centre
Who would have thought that someone under 30 and who bestows her snapshots with computer trickery would become China’s most acclaimed photographer? Chen Man’s imagery is so sleek it appears hyper-real; this will be her first UK solo exhibition.
Propaganda – HMV Ritz, £4, 10.30pm
The Ritz has been newly re-opened and is hosting ‘the UK’s Biggest Indie Night’, and it’s a very good thing too. Mancunian rock/indie fans have been struggling since Jilly’s Rockworld was ‘killed by death’ two years ago, whilst 5th Avenue seems to turn down entrants older than 21. The DJ collective Propaganda have been a high-profile success story spanning across twenty-two different English-speaking areas; with the Ritz’s delightfully authentic Art Deco interiors, the experience is going to be better.
Saturday 11 February
COTTON: Global Threads – The Whitworth Art Gallery, FREE, 5.00pm+
Learn about the production, consumption, and trade of the world’s first global commodity in an expansive programme that lasts until 13 May. The Whitworth is also holding various Special Events throughout the four months, which includes talks held by seven contemporary artists.
Sunday 12 February
Trivial Persecution – Sandbar, £1, 8.30pm
For the über-nerdy: a pub quiz, but it tests your acquaintance with specific trivia, rather than general knowledge. Questions are very academic and not in the slightest bit influenced by gossip. First prize: £30 bar tab; second prize: £15 bar tab.