Manchester is known for its rich musical culture and still rivals most cities with its live scene. Whether it’s the big guns at the arena or outdoor sports venues, or the newest thing in the back room of a backstreet pub, we’ve got the low-down on the gigs happening in Manchester this December.
Large/mid-scale gigs in Manchester (1800 – 21,000 capacity)
1. The Charlatans, Victoria Warehouse – Saturday 2 December
One of the UK’s most enduring and best-loved bands, and Manchester locals, The Charlatans have been an inspirational force in British music for more than 30 years, notching up 13 Top 40 studio albums – three of them Number One’s – alongside 22 Top 40 singles, four of them Top 10 hits. Tim Burgess, Mark Collins, Martin Blunt and Tony Rogers remain one of the most brilliant live acts around, a finely honed musical powerhouse the world adores. Their back catalogue is a non-stop jukebox of indie rock’s greatest hits including the instantly recognisable The Only One I Know, One to Another and North Country Boy, all of which we’re hoping to hear on their homecoming visit to Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on Saturday 2 December. Find tickets here.
2. Fairytale of New York, Manchester AO Arena – Monday 4 December
The ultimate feel-good Irish-inspired Christmas show is brought to you by the producers of Seven Drunken Nights – The Story of The Dubliners and features an international cast of singers, musicians and dancers. Fairytale of New York brings you all of your favourite Christmas songs, including Driving Home for Christmas, White Christmas, Oh Holy Night, A Winter’s Tale, Silent Night and of course The Fairytale of New York.
Just when you think the party couldn’t get any better, this world class Christmas show also features some of the greatest Irish singalong songs of all time, including The Galway Girl, The Irish Rover, Danny Boy, Dirty Old Town and The Black Velvet Band, ensuring people of all ages will be singing, laughing and dancing in the aisles. Set in Central Park, New York on Christmas Eve, Fairytale of New York‘s musical content is punctuated throughout with a celebratory dose of hard-shoe Irish dancing popularised in the UK via Riverdance, as well as soft-shoe dance. Fairytale of New York will be in Manchester for one night only on Monday 4 December, and you can find tickets here.
3. Madness, Manchester AO Arena – Saturday 9 December
British Ska legends Madness are taking their house of fun on tour once again, visiting Manchester on December 9. Expect classic tunes such as It Must be Love and Our House in this celebration of life and music, lovingly named ‘C’est La Vie‘ after their newest album, featuring the entire line-up of six fun-loving band members. This tour comes as Madness announce a huge outdoor tour for next summer, visiting some incredible historical sites including Ludlow and Edinburgh Castles, and the wonderful Lytham Festival. You can find tickets for the December gig here.
4. Måneskin, Manchester AO Arena – Tuesday 19 December
Eurovision rockstars Måneskin will be making a much-anticipated appearance in Manchester this December, as part of their Rush! world tour – the only UK date on the tour. The Italian band have managed to continue their popularity beyond all expectations and promise to put on one heck of a show at the AO Arena. The band is a group of showmen and tend to leave everything out on the stage, representing a young, wild and free generation of musicians with songs such as I Wanna Be Your Slave and The Loneliest sure to get audiences dancing like nobody’s watching. Find tickets here.
5. Tom Jones, Manchester AO Arena – Wednesday 20 December
The Welsh silver fox himself, Tom Jones, will be treating the Manchester crowd this December with his Ages & Stages UK arena tour. From soul-stirring ballards to exhilarating anthems, the Ages & Stages tour promises to showcase the full spectrum of Tom Jones’ colossal career, brought to life by his distinctive voice and magnetic charisma. Expect generation-spanning tunes including It’s Not Unusual, Sex Bomb and What’s New Pussycat? getting all ages up on their feet all night long. Find any remaining tickets here.
6. Festive Happening with Manchester Camerata and AMC Gospel Choir, Manchester Albert Hall – Sunday 10 December
To close out the year, Manchester’s Albert Hall has what has become very much a Christmas tradition, the annual Christmas celebration with AMC Gospel Choir. Start your festivities with this incredibly popular and moving concert for the whole family, making a lovely afternoon outing in Manchester. Expect your favourite carols, festive tunes and timeless classics from these iconic local ensembles, all together under the wonderful Albert Hall roof. Maybe one of the most festive Manchester gigs around. Find tickets here.
Small & intimate gigs in Manchester (60 – 1500 capacity)
7. WITCH, Band on the Wall – Sunday 3 December
WITCH will be making a rare appearance at Band On The Wall next week (3 December). The originators of Zamrock, the band shot to stardom in the 70s and 80s and became known as the “Zambian Beatles”. Writing a new chapter in their rollercoaster journey, the band returned to music in 2023 with their first album in over 40 years: Zango. Performing new material and classics, WITCH return to the UK for a short tour this winter. You can find tickets here.
8. Gok Wan Presents the Isolation Nation Christmas Ball, O2 Ritz – Saturday 23 December
Fresh from spreading positivity and inclusivity at venues across the globe, Gok Wan invites generations of ‘nationers’ to celebrate a love for each other and dance music at a Christmas party like no other. Expect the full-scale, immersive production soundtracked by your favourite club classics and plenty of surprises as Gok Wan presents the critically acclaimed Isolation Nation on Saturday 23 December. Find tickets here.
9. NATI, The Deaf Institute – Monday 11 December
NATI is the singer who rose to prominence as a result of her ‘natidreddd‘ TikTok channel. Her singing videos, which typically contain Celtic music with lyrics on-screen, have over 1.6 million followers, and now she’s bringing this Scottish charm to the Manchester stage. Don’t miss the chance to see this real rising star at one of the December gigs in Manchester, before she hits the big time – grab tickets here.
10. The Away Days, Gullivers – Thursday 7 December
Turkish dream pop band The Away Days make take a trip to Manchester this December, occupying the stage at the wonderful Gullivers. With a substantial online following and having been active in the industry since 2012, these guys are pretty well-versed in touring, so you can be sure of a great show in their very experienced hands. If you’re not familiar with the band, that’s OK, but do go along and have a dance – you won’t regret it. Find tickets here.