Manchester is one of the UK’s premier music destinations.
Home to world-famous artists and venues, it was hit as hard as anywhere by the pandemic, with millions in lost revenue hitting the local economy hard.
2022 promises to show the green shoots of recovery, though, with hundreds of gigs scheduled for Spring 2022.
From hip-hop to dance music, here are six of the biggest shows coming Manchester’s way very soon.
Stormzy – AO Arena, 19th March
Manchester’s music industry is built on small venues.
The iconic Band on the Wall was saved by £1.9 million in funding from the UK National Lottery in 2019 after a long campaign, and many small music halls still exist across the city.
The AO Arena is on the opposite side of the scale but is also important in the city’s modern music scene.
Its 21,000 capacity will host one of the world’s biggest grime stars when Stormzy comes to town in March.
The show is part of the star’s Heavy is the Head tour, much of which was cancelled due to the pandemic, and is right in the middle of a hectic two weeks for him as he plays 11 shows in 14 days.
Anyone who has seen Stormzy play before, though, will know the show will be full energy.
Franz Ferdinand – O2 Victoria Warehouse, 4th April
2022 marks 20 years since Franz Ferdinand, one of Glasgow’s most famous bands, formed.
It will also be the first year that drummer Paul Thomson won’t feature: he left the group in October, but with no hard feelings according to a report that showed a photo of him passing on the drumsticks to his replacement Audrey Tait.
The Victoria Warehouse will be where Manchester gets to see how Franz sound with their new member: they’ll also likely hear a medley of the band’s finest songs with the show coming just weeks after the release of their greatest hits album Hits to the Head.
Dua Lipa – AO Arena 15th April
Dua Lipa hits Manchester in April on the back of another successful year. In 2021, she landed two Brit awards, achieved her third UK Number 1 single, and was even named on Time Magazine’s 100 Next List which picks out the future´s most influential people.
The people of Manchester will get to see her live in her first UK show following her US tour, but she’s likely to be refreshed and raring to go after a two-week break.
The Hotter than Hell star recently teased fans with hints of her forthcoming third album, but said it’s ‘something they may not want to hear’.
Whatever it is, it adds a whole new level of intrigue to her show at the AO Arena.
Metronomy – Manchester Academy, 28th April
Metronomy will bring their new material to the Manchester Academy after Easter, where fans will be hoping for glimpses of their latest album Small World.
The electronic music quintet haven’t reached the success of their first releases like Love Letters, which reached Number 7 in the UK Album Charts, but they retain a loyal following who will pack out the venue.
The show is part of a tour celebrating the decade since another hit record The English Riviera was released, so expect tracks from that album to dominate the setlist.
Michael Kiwanuka – O2 Apollo, 17th May
2020’s Mercury Prize winner rolls up at the O2 Apollo in mid-May just before a huge show at the aforementioned Knebworth gig headlined by Liam Gallagher.
The London singer doesn’t dominate the headlines like the Oasis frontman, and his music is very different, but he has the ability to captivate audiences in the same way.
The 02 Apollo might be an important venue, but its 3,500 capacity is still small enough to make it feel like an intimate gig.
Expect Kiwanuka to play a medley of his greatest hits from his three albums, along with hints of a fourth record that is rumoured to be released in 2023.
The Script – AO Arena, 21st May
In the 15 years since they were formed, The Script have had enormous success in the Irish and UK charts.
Their six Number 1 records in their native Ireland have almost been matched in the UK, where only 2012’s #3 failed to hit top spot – although it did reach number 2.
Their UK tour will see X Factor star Ella Henderson join them as the supporting act, and the Manchester show is the third date on the schedule.
2022 has been a strange year so far. They closed the Diriyah Grand Prix at the end of the January, the first time the band ever played in Saudi Arabia.
Manchester won’t be anywhere near as hot and sandy, but the welcome from the band’s fans will be just as warm.