Sounds of the City 2022: Manchester’s outdoor summer concert series
By Sarah Taylor
Since its inauguration in 2016, Manchester’s Sounds of the City has taken over Castlefield Bowl for a string of huge outdoor shows each summer. The festival calls upon some of the most exciting artists in the industry – some established and some newer names – curating an unmissable line up.
The venue is just a short walk from Deansgate [est. 5 minutes], Manchester Oxford Road [est. 15 minutes], or Manchester Piccadilly station [est. 24 minutes].
Events generally start around 5pm, so you can soak up the sun and good vibes, grab a beer or a hot dog from one of the numerous food stalls, and enjoy an evening of unmissable entertainment.
General admission tickets allow concertgoers the option of unreserved standing or seats on the steps at the back of the bowl.
In the past, Sounds of the City has welcomed acts including New Order, Arcade Fire, The Last Shadow Puppets, Björk, Janelle Monae, Chic, The Streets, and Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds, to name a few.
This year’s festival invites the following acts:
Lewis Capaldi (support TBA) Tuesday 28th June
Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi captured everyone’s hearts in 2018 with his relatable and romantic lyrics and infectious radio-friendly ballads. But it is perhaps his personality and humour that have made him so popular too, never one to take himself too seriously. Lewis’ back-and-forth with the Gallaghers including his infamous Glastonbury entrance in 2019 make it hard to dislike him. The 25-year-old Glaswegian’s debut album Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent went on to become the biggest selling album of 2019 and 2020 in the UK and spawned sing-alongable tracks ‘Someone You Loved’, ‘Grace’, ‘Hold Me While You Wait’ and ‘Bruises.’ He is working on a second soon-to-be-released album. Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster with Capaldi’s set!
You can buy remaining tickets for Sounds of the City – Lewis Capaldi here.
Foals (support TBA) Wednesday 29th June
Oxfordshire indie-rockers Foals have become something of a festival-staple over the years. Having witnessed the band’s explosive return to their hometown as headliners at 2019’s Truck Festival, its safe to say their reputation is justified. The band will release seventh album Life is Yours this year, the first since long-time keyboardist and bassist Edwin Congreave’s departure. Having previewed it with singles ‘Wake Me Up’, ‘2AM’, and ‘Looking High’, the album looks to be just as raucous as previous efforts. Look forward to mosh-pits galore and beers-a-flowing!
You can buy remaining tickets for Sounds of the City – Foals here.
Crowded House (with JP Saxe) Thursday 30th June
Australian-New Zealand pop-rockers Crowded House will offer a light-hearted evening of hits at Castlefield Bowl. The group were mainly active in the 1980s and 90s, producing hits such as the karaoke classic ‘Don’t Dream Its Over’, which has gone on to be covered by several high-profile artists including Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus. They secured hits with the likes of ‘Something So Strong’, ‘Distant Sun’, and ‘Fall At Your Feet’, and have gone on to sell over 15 million albums worldwide. They released their first album of new material in over a decade last year – Dreamers Are Waiting – so expect to hear material new and old! Canadian singer-songwriter JP Saxe will fill out a support slot, his ambient and soulful music providing the perfect pre-cursor to the headliners.
You can buy remaining tickets for Sounds of the City – Crowded House here.
The Libertines (with Sports Team) Friday 1st July
For many music fans, The Libertines are a defining band of the 2000s. Love them or hate them, for a band who released only two albums in their initial phase, The Libertines both spearheaded a garage rock revival in the UK and have gone on to influence countless other bands including Arctic Monkeys. This year the band are touring their seminal debut album Up The Bracket in celebration of its 20th anniversary, so expect to hear it in full (I’m certainly looking forward to finally hearing the rarely-played ‘Radio America’ live!). The unbeatable chemistry between frontmen Peter Doherty and Carl Barat, their poetic, often literature-inspired lyricism, and chaotic (if at times unpredictable) nature of their live shows makes them a must-see live band. Girls will board their boyfriends’ shoulders for slow numbers like ‘You’re My Waterloo’ and ‘What Katie Did’, mosh-pits will open for classics like ‘Don’t Look Back Into the Sun’ and ‘Time For Heroes’, and gig-goers will revel in the back-and-forth lyrics of ‘Can’t Stand Me Now.’ Alt-rockers Sports Team will open the show. Their suitably quaint style and witty one-liners have drawn comparisons to The Libertines, so its no wonder the Cambridge six-piece have been chosen to support.
You can buy remaining tickets for Sounds of the City – The Libertines here.
James (support TBA) Saturday 2nd July
Mancunian stalwarts James are on something of a roll at the moment. Having embarked on an arena tour with fellow Madchester group, the Happy Mondays, James will close out the first week of shows at Castlefield Bowl. James produced some of the biggest sing-along hits of the 1990s including ‘Sit Down’, ‘Laid’, and ‘Come Home’, so expect to be up on your feet and swaying along for much of the show. After a brief hiatus in the mid-2000s, James reformed in 2007 and continue to release new music to this date. Their latest album All the Colours of You saw the band explore themes including the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic and receiving glowing reviews from critics. They will be celebrating 30 years of their iconic Alton Towers show, where they played to 30,000 fans, playing the same setlist, and making for an ultra-nostalgic night out!
Sounds of the City – James is SOLD OUT.
Pixies (with Klangstof and The Slow Readers Club) Tuesday 5th July
With a career spanning five decades and a slew of instantly recognisable hits including (‘Where is my Mind?’, ‘Hey’, ‘Debaser’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’), the Pixies make their Sounds of the City debut this summer. Their second and third albums Surfer Rosa and Doolittle were instant classics, regularly appearing on best albums of all time lists from critics and music fans alike. Headed by Black Francis, whose unique vocal range arguably sets the group apart from other acts of their genre, the Pixies are often credited with perfecting the loud-quiet-loud-quiet pattern found in much modern music. Their ability to experiment with classic rock, pop-rock, and ska is testament to their enduring legacy. Look forward to a show of greatest hits as well as new material from their forthcoming ninth record, including recent single ‘Human Crime.’ Support comes from Dutch indie-rockers Klangstof and local lads The Slow Readers Club.
You can buy remaining tickets for Sounds of the City – Pixies here.
Sam Fender (support TBA) Wednesday 6th July
The North Shields-native returns to Manchester just mere months after his record-breaking sell-out UK arena tour. Fresh from touring stellar sophomore album Seventeen Going Under which won the NME Award for Best Album in the World, Sam Fender is at the peak of his powers so audiences will be in for a treat. Citing Bruce Springsteen as his main influence, Fender isn’t afraid to explore the personal or the political in his music. With his trusty guitar, powerful voice, and band of friends in tow, Sam Fender is not a live act to be missed.
Sounds of the City – Sam Fender is SOLD OUT.
Hacienda Classical (support TBA) Friday 8th July
The world’s most experimental orchestra will grace the stage once more during the final weekend of Sounds of the City. Like many other acts at Sounds of the City, the Hacienda are celebrating a big anniversary: 40 years since its creation! DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering will perform alongside the Manchester Camerata orchestra recreating old-school house, club and rave anthems in a nostalgic night for Manchester’s rave scene. Don’t forget your best shell suit jacket!
You can buy remaining tickets for Sounds of the City – Hacienda Classical here.
Primal Scream (with LoneLady and Walt Disco) Saturday 9th July
Marking thirty years of their piece-de-resistance, Scottish psychedelic-rockers Primal Scream will play their Mercury Prize-winning third album Screamadelica in full. The concert will be a celebration of the record which spawned party staples like ‘Movin’ on Up’, ‘Loaded’, and ‘Come Together.’ Enigmatic and outspoken frontman Bobby Gillepsie recently released his autobiography and Rough Trade Book of the Year, Tenement Kid, to critical acclaim. The book chronicles Gillepsie’s life and Primal Scream’s career up until the release of Screamadelica for it seems only fitting that the band tour it now. Wrapping up a series of summer shows, Primal Scream’s performance will certainly mark a euphoric end! Support comes from six-piece glam rock outfit Walt Disco who released their debut album to critical acclaim last month and Mancunian post-punk and electronic one-woman project LoneLady, whose unique style and self-sufficiency earned her the support of Brian Eno. Her funk-infused third album Former Things, released last year, draws on her experiences growing up in Manchester and appeared on several year-end lists of best albums.
Sounds of the City – Primal Scream is SOLD OUT.