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Double Bank Holiday weekends makes May’s gig roster epic

Written by James Young.
Posted May 2, 2024.
Band on the Wall hosting events in May
Credit: Band on the Wall

As festival season gets ever closer, Manchester’s roster of gigs is greater than ever across the city with big names across all genres performing live. Here are Union’s top picks for May.


Band on the Wall

Saturday 4 May

Described as a tripped-out shoegaze troupe, Pastel are what happens if you take all the effects pedals from an early Verve record and add in a bit of Welsh swagger. Support slots with Liam Gallagher and The Charlatans have put them in a very good place live with several EPs and singles to their name.

The Rifles

Manchester Academy 2

Friday 10 May

All I need is a little peaacceee and quiieeeeet. Tune that. Chingford’s answer to The Cure released their 6th album this year and they’re sounding just as strong as they did back when they released their debut back in 2006. If you’ve ever played any FIFA game from 2006-12 you’ve heard of them, but that’s doing them a disservice because they’re so much more.

Elbow are due to play at the Co-Op Live Arena


Co-op Live

Tuesday 14 May

Manchester legends Elbow return to their hometown to promote their 10th studio album, Audio Vertigo. Having already played nearly every venue big and small in this city alongside some of the biggest festivals and the 2012 Olympics, you can’t go wrong with seeing them. They’ve known for years how to put on a good show.

Horse Meat Disco

Joshua Brooks

Saturday 18 May

Celebrating 20 years since their inception in 2024, Horse Meat Disco are back in Manchester at Joshua Brooks. It’s always a fun time whenever they play, and their 3-hour long set in May will be no different.

Girls Aloud

AO Arena

23-25 May

Come on, you secretly like them. Even Arctic Monkeys did a cover of Love Machine, there’s no shame here. They last performed on stage together a decade ago for their 10th anniversary, so interest is high in pop circles as they have reformed again for a UK tour. The biggest-selling girl group of the 21st century will be playing three nights at the AO Arena, so you’ve got a good chance to see them if you want a guilty pleasure.

Martial Arts and Splint – Double Headline

The White Hotel

Saturday 25 May

Martial Arts are one of the hottest new bands around in Manchester at the minute. Fresh from releasing their first single Warsaw, the post-punk group have been playing all over the country and finish their tour with the equally exciting Splint at the White Hotel at the end of the month. Endorsed by John Kennedy on Radio X alongside Shock Radio and So Young magazine, this is a great chance to see two bands on the up for a steal.

Arab Strap


Saturday 25 May

Cult Scottish indie band Arab Strap are on tour to promote their new album and if you’ve not heard them before, it’s a great mix of spoken word, techno and loads of other influences. Bar a 10-year hiatus between 2006-16, they have been consistently putting out good records. It’s also good to see Gorilla back open after it had to temporarily close before Christmas.

Nicki Minaj

Co-op Live Arena

Saturday 25 & Thursday 30 May

As a part of her Pink Friday 2 world tour, Nicki Minaj will be playing two out of her five UK shows in Manchester. Expect to hear lots of her new album along with all the classics like Starships, Beauty and a Beat, and Super Bass.