Electronic Sound guide to Manchester International Festival

The Manchester International Festival starts today and continues through until 16 July. We’ve highlighted some of the Electronic Sound-friendly must-see events you should be getting yourselves along to.


True Faith

Where: Manchester Art Gallery
When: Fri 30 June – Sun 16 July, Daily 10am–5pm Except Thur 10am–9pm

‘True Faith’ explores the significance and legacy of New Order and Joy Division through the wealth of visual art their music has inspired. Curated by Matthew Higgs and Jon Savage with archivist Johan Kugelberg, it centres on four decades’ worth of extraordinary contemporary works from artists such as Julian Schnabel, Jeremy Deller, Liam Gillick, Mark Leckey, Glenn Brown and Slater B Bradley, all directly inspired by the two groups.

Manchester Street Poem

When: Thur 6 – Fri 14 July, 10am – 6pm

The brainchild of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld, ‘Manchester Street Poem’ brings to life the stories of those who find themselves homeless in Manchester. Both a fleeting performance and compelling installation, Hyde covers the walls of the venue with words and phrases drawn from the streets, the space will fill with a powerful soundtrack built on snatches and fragments recorded by Smith all over the city.

Last And First Men

Where: The Bridgewater Hall
When: Thur 6 July

The world premiere of ‘Last And First Men’, an extraordinary new multimedia work by Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. ‘Last and First Men’ combines music, film and Tilda Swinton’s elegiac narration into a poetic meditation on memory, loss and the idea of Utopia. For this world exclusive, the BBC Philharmonic will be performing Jóhannsson’s score live with the film at The Bridgewater Hall.

Spring King + Let’s Eat Grandma

Where: Pavilion Theatre
When: 16 July

Live at the Pavilion Theatre ramps up to a close with this Sunday afternoon double-header of Norwich collective (and Electronic Sound favourites) Let’s Eat Grandma and followed by Macclesfield’s magnificent Spring King. Not to be missed.

Holly Herndon

Where: Gorilla
When: 30 June

One of the most exciting electronic musicians working today, a performance by Holly Herndon is one you should be getting yourself to. She’ll be performing new material as well, with a DJ set by Mary Ann Hobbs opening the gig.

What Is The City But The People?

Where: Piccadilly Gardens
When: 29 June

This year’s Festival opens with an invitation – come to Piccadilly Gardens and join friends, neighbours and total strangers for this self-portrait of the city. With live music from ex-Biting Tongues member Graham Massey assisted by an unexpected mix of local musicians, ‘What Is the City But The People?’ will capture and celebrate Manchester as never before.

Amnesia Scanner + Gnod + Hesska

Where: Pavilion Theatre
When: 9 July

Between the lines of theatre, cinema and the technological innovations of nightclubs, Amnesia Scanner present the stage as a living organism with their live show. They call it Xperienz – a totally-enveloping spectacle. They previously collaborated with fellow MIF17 artist Holly Herndon on her excellent 2015 album ‘Platform’. Support is a cracking Islington Mill double bill in the shape of Gnod and Hesska.


Where: Royal Exchange Theatre
When: 1-22 July

‘Fatherland’ is a bold, ambitious show about contemporary fatherhood in all its complexities and contradictions. Created by Frantic Assembly’s Scott Graham, Karl Hyde from Underworld and playwright Simon Stephens (‘Punk Rock’, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’), this daring collage of words, music and movement will transform the Royal Exchange Theatre, animated by a 13-strong cast and a multitude of voices.