5 bands to check out who call Manchester their home

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Featured image: Charlotte Wellings

Looking to find a new hidden gem? Eager for a few gig nights out in one of Manchester’s many great underground venues? We round up five locally based artists to look out for to broaden your horizons of the city’s music scene.

Dirty Laces

Bursting onto the scene in 2017, Dirty Laces have blazed a trail and left very few in their wake. Combining punk rock energy with a sense of adventure from the classic rock bands of old, this Manchester quintet have built up a colourful resume of singles and EPs, with acclaim from Wyatt Wendels (Planet Rock), Chris Hawkins (BBC 6 Music) and sold out shows at Salford Lads Club and Manchester’s Gorilla to back it up.

Songs like the eerie ‘You’ (2020) take the listener on a seven-minute psychedelic trip through time, and ‘Breathe’ (2021) drives forward with its stand out piano and confessional tones, while traditional ragers like ‘Exile’ and ‘Midnight Mile’ (2022) will satisfy any mosh pit and riff-enthusiast.

Dirty Laces Members: Charlie Jordan (Vocals), Luke Dec (guitars), Jacob Simpson (guitars), Tom Edwards (Bass) and Luke O’Reilly (Drums).

The Ashley Sherlock Band

Born in Manchester, and raised in the Southern States of America, Ashley Sherlock is a singer-songwriter whose gritty, falsetto infused Blues rock sound, recalls such artists as Jeff Buckley, The Cadillac Three and Chris Stapleton. Ashley has received critical acclaim from the UK Blues Awards, and many radio stations for his emotive and attention grabbing songs. He is certainly a formidable live prospect. 

Backed by a dynamic rhythm section that includes Charlie Rachel Kay (Bass), and Danny Rigg (Drums), the trio’s self-titled release (2019), and follow-up ‘If You’re Listening’ (2021), are essential acquisitions for any blues connoisseur.

Shape of Water

Shape Of Water are an electronic art rock band formed in 2018 and based in Manchester. Led by Rossano Capriotti, and Luca De Falcao, this group conjures grand cinematic imagery of Radiohead with the potent power of Muse and electro stylings of Depeche Mode. 

Offerings ‘Great Illusions’ (2020), and ‘Amor Fati’ (2022), are sprawling and aesthetically ethereal albums that are designed to provoke, educate and question while you are pulled deep into their world.

Dakota Avenue

Dakota Avenue are an expressive, infectious and dynamically energetic alt-rock trio whose expansive sounds have already taken them far out on the road.  

Combining Sam Fender’s modern outlook with Coldplay’s infectious melodies, The Police-like Grooves, and Foo Fighters’ stadium flair, the group have already hit places like Kendal Calling, Blackthorn and Dot2Dot in a busy year that picks everything back up that the COVID-19 Pandemic once curtailed. 

Check out singles ‘Slap Me Silly’ (2022), ‘Petrified’ (2020) and ‘Temptress’ (2019) for good times.


Formed in 2020, Sinclair are a five-piece alt-rock band formed and shaped in Manchester. Led by singer Ollie Crompton, the band’s sound is an abrasive and electric storm of aggro-punk led by stories of working class struggle and musings of what it means to be young in modern day Northern England.

‘Burn It Down’ calls for anarchy via Rage Against The Machine and ‘SIM Card Citizen’ questions: What prospects are there living in the Matrix? Like Sex Pistols fronted by a poet, prepare to be provoked.

About the author / 

James Swindell

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