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Thursday 3rd October

Academy 2

Alma’s extraordinary soulful voice and sharply observed lyrics hit somewhere between Sia and Amy Winehouse. Perhaps understandable the world wants to know where and the how the 22-year-old Finnish powerhouse (currently working with Justin Tranter, MNEK, Rudimental, Charlie XCX, Sub Focus, 2 Inch Punch and more) began her career in music. “I don’t think I ever really started,” Alma recalls. “It’s just when I was little, I understood that singing made me feel things. It made me feel safe, it made me feel good, it made me feel better. It’s how I’ve survived everything, cliché́́́ as that sounds.”

Alma needn’t worry about clichés: with her long, electric-neon hair, baggy goth attire and magnetic punk attitude she iseverything but the stereotypical pop princess. “She looks like a cybergoth reimagining of a young Adele and sounds likeBeth Ditto had she been raised on tropical house,” The Observer wrote recently - they hit the nail on the head.

Growing up between Helsinki in the winter and Lapland in the summer, Alma sang constantly. “If I was happy, if I was sad, if I was walking alone in the dark and a bit scared,” she says. “It made me feel like I had a shelter around me.”Singing was her secret security blanket —until one summer when her family were driving north for the season. She told her parents that she wanted to sing for them, and they imagined they were in for a rendition of something by the SpiceGirls or Destiny’s Child. If they were surprised by her daughter’s choice of the Jackson 5, that’s nothing compared towhat came next.

“They started crying and mum had to stop the car,” Alma recalls with a grin. “She was like, ‘How haven’t I known about this...?’ She made me sing it again and again on the trip.” Back at home, Alma’s parents suggested that she take singing lessons and join the school choir, both of which she tried and dropped. “Studying and being told what to do, even when it came to music has always been very hard for me,” she says. “If I do something, it needs to be for myself, it needs to be completely free.”

From then music was always a totally independent pursuit for Alma. When she and her twin sister Anna (now her backing vocalist) were 12, the family got their first computer, and she devoted herself to YouTube, discovering TheJackson 5 and Amy Winehouse amongst others who would become her inspiration later in her career. “I wasn’t doingvery well in school, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, people were unkind but then I found music and lost myself init.” she says.

Her newfound obsession crossed genres: punk, reggae, soul, pop and techno (The Prodigy, if she wanted to let offsteam). “No one else around me knew much about music, it was just mine. When my friends were playing video games,or going out I could easily listen to four or five hours of music straight. Not even dancing, just listening.” (On the rareoccasion she removed her headphones, she binge-watched Skins. “Oh my god, I loved it.”)

Having struggled through school Alma didn’t believe that she could write songs as well as sing them, but age 15 she picked up a pen and started giving it a go. Seven years later she’s still writing her own material as well as tracks for other artists she loves.

Writing sustained her through a period of crisis when she was 16 and spent six months sitting home alone while herfriends and sister went off to college. Alma didn’t get in. “I was so shy and insecure about everything at that time,” she says, radiating confidence today. “All my friends had moved on. It was especially hard seeing Anna go. Me and my sisterwere always together until then. I was like, ‘This is shit. I can’t be home when I’m 16 years old’—it’s not good for my mental health.”

She threw herself into writing, singing and performing every day. “I understood early on that to have success in this business you need to work hard and stand out above the rest.” She adopts an innocent voice. “If you’re like, ‘I just want to sing!’ then you are gonna fail! You have to have something to say.”

It was then she was invited to a rap writing camp on Suomenlinna, a beautiful island fortress just off the coast of Helsinki,(“because hardly anyone else had shown up!”) She wasn’t sure if she should go, but a friend encouraged her to “just come and say hi.” It was her first time in a studio and it felt like home. “When I got there and started sharing my material everyone was like ‘Where did that come from,’ and suddenly it felt like rap camp turned into Alma camp.”


Germany’s Sony/ATV Music Publishing heard the demos and immediately signed her. But “Finns are naturally pessimistic,” Alma explains, so she didn’t let herself get too hopeful. She also wasn’t sure if she was going to be a songwriter or a performer. “But in time, I started to understand that people were really digging my voice and my words together.” She signed with Universal, but still didn’t believe she could break outside of Northern Europe until “my managers and I showedmy songs to the Universal UK team and to Republic (now her US label) in New York, and they were like, ‘Fuck yeah!’” Alma’s debut EP,

2016’s Dye My Hair, makes it pretty obvious why, with three euphoric, intricate productions (and one acoustic version)bolstered by her phenomenal voice.

She’s brazen explaining the story behind “Dye My Hair,” laughing about the prospect of fatal devotion. “Would Bruno Mars really catch a grenade for you, y’know?!” she says. “The song is tongue in cheek, I think people get that when they see me. I’d never change the way I look for anyone, it’s not my thing.” She switches between innocence and steeliness describing Karma, “it’s about taking revenge on an ex” which she swears she’s never done. “Success is the best revenge,” she grins. “And this song.”

Alma’s unique voice as a writer (honest, educated and satirical) is best exemplified by “Knock,” a shuddering embrace of a song that offers sanctuary to a friend in need. The track sighs at the ritual of “crawling through the weekends,” thoughAlma admits that despite having no club scene, Helsinki has the best parties in the world. “Kids are just real there,” she says. “Anywhere else in the world when you go to an underground club, you can see them trying really hard to be cool. InFinland there are those people, but when you go into a club they can be anyone. People are cool even though they don’t look cool, and I love that, it’s very inclusive.”

Given Alma’s love of soul (Amy Winehouse remains her all-time favourite artist), it might seem surprising that she’sembraced such a massive pop sound—one that’s already seen her rack up over 300 million Spotify plays, and praise from Annie Mac, MØ, Elton John and more. Her answer is eminently sensible. “I’m a mixture of everything,” she says. “I lovehouse, electro, hip hop, R&B, soul and jazz but fundamentally pop music is what I know.”

Her attitude places her among a generation of young pop geniuses who are swiftly taking over the industry. With her debut album coming March this year (executive produced by Justin Tranter and Charli XCX), first single from which‘Cowboy’ was released in October 2018 Alma is moments away from world domination. “I am an ambitious person,” she admits. “But I want to live in the moment, I’m not thinking about tomorrow, about big arena concerts, or flash awards. Iwant to keep writing, performing and working with people I like and see where it takes me.”

Despite her openness to whatever the future may bring, Alma’s sense of self is steadfast. She recognises that today’s pop stars “are like gods” to their young fans. “They need to understand they’re powerful people who really can change things,” she says. One day, she’d like to work with kids who felt like she did in her teens. But in order to get there, she knows she must build up trust as an artist. “I just want to be here and be real,” she says, her blue eyes wide. “I don’t want to bullshitanyone or write empty pop bangers. I want to keep the Finnish mind-set, cos I’m just a Finnish girl, y’know?”

Belinda Carlisle 'Runaway Horses 30th Anniversary Tour'

'Runaway Horses 30th Anniversary Tour'

Saturday 5th October


Jon Bellion: The Glory Sound Prep Tour

The Glory Sound Prep Tour

Tuesday 8th October


Jon Bellion has announced an extensive 16-city European tour this Autumn titled The Glory Sound Prep Tour, kicking off 18 September at Oslo’s Rockefeller in Norway before taking off through European with stops in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Cologne, Zurich, Milan, Paris, London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, before wrapping on 9th October at Dublin’s Olympia.

JP Cooper

Tuesday 8th October

Academy 2

Sometimes you see someone perform for the first time and you're just completely blown away...

Hailing from Middleton North Manchester, playing a blend of folk, blues, soul and gospel. JP Cooper is an intriguing prospect amongst aspiring British Singer Songwriters.

Listening to him perform, either alone or with his band, bears witness to an honesty, intensity and power evoked via the simplest of orchestration. 

His soulfully expressive unique vocal style, the kind that cuts through a room to hush a chattering crowd in seconds, is utterly bewitching. His unexpected vocal flights hardly prepare you for the intimacy and empathy to follow, couple this with a clutch of sensational songs and you would find it almost impossible to believe that he has only been writing seriously for two years and performing solo for barely one. Comparisons are yet to be made (although they inevitably will be..), but there is nothing derivative about his voice or his songwriting. 

JP has been singing with Manchester's finest gospel choir, The Manchester Sing Out Choir (nominees for the National Gospel Awards), for the last few years. An unusual training ground for an acoustic singer-songwriter you might think... but it's one that has enabled him to develop an extraordinarily soulful warmth to his vocal whilst retaining a genuine folksy feel and has informed a real leftfield approach to his song writing. 

Between The Buried And Me

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Wednesday 9th October

Academy 2


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Wednesday 9th October

Club Academy

Martin Kemp - Back to the 80s DJ Set

Saturday 12th October

Club Academy

Proud Mary

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Saturday 12th October

Academy 3

I remember early spring, I remember everything…”


And early Spring 2001 it was when Proud Mary first appeared on the scene. Proud Mary’s first single Very Best Friend was just a small taste of the infectious songs that the band had to offer. Limited copies were released on one sided 7” vinyl and later followed by another limited single in the form of All Good Things.


The two singles were just a taster of the band’s glorious debut album The Same Old Blues which was produced by Noel Gallagher in just ten days and released on Gallagher’s very own Sour Mash records in the summer of 2001. The influences of Dylan, The Rolling Stones and The Faces were there to be heard yet at the same time the band had managed to create a Rock’n’Roll record that touched the heart and fed the soul of the current generation. Singer Greg Griffin’s vocals left you with hairs standing on the back of your neck and Paul Newsome’s song writing was so touching and personal that you almost felt part of the songs themselves.


The album was well received and as a result the band went on to secure support slots with none other than Oasis, Neil Young, The Stereophonics, Paul Weller and Ocean Colour Scene. This not only introduced many new fans to the music of Proud Mary but it helped to shape the band into the formation that it is today, a class live act.


The 2nd album Love and Light included the indie chart hit Mexico and features work from Andy Rourke (The Smiths) and Gordon Raphael (The Strokes). A more experimental album than their debut, the tracks mix soul, blues, gospel and of course good old fashioned  Rock’n’Roll, and if you’ve seen Proud Mary live then you’ll have to love Hats Off – right?


After relocating to Los Angeles and setting up a film, publishing and music company City of Angels, Paul and Greg recorded solo albums, Electric and Palms + Glass Bottom Boat respectively. 3rd album Ocean Park and 4th album Pilgrim fields, both recorded in USA have followed


More recently Paul has toured Europe as main support for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds as well as appearing in the same bands 2 videos.


Greg set up a USA based band project Midnight Clergy and in 2017 released a debut album 'ONE' in  collaboration with Marc Ford of The Black Crowes

Since they first started out a lot has changed in the world of Proud Mary, what has stayed strong is the powerful nucleus of Paul and Greg. 


Proud Mary band are currently recording for a 5th album and looking forward to June 2018 UK shows.




“A lesson in song writing” (Noel Gallagher)


“When Proud Mary let loose, they really bite” (Q)


“If you like swaggering scarf-waver tunes with vast choruses and singers who sound like they swallow red-hot pokers, you’ve found your Holy Grail” (The Guardian)


“Raw-throated singer Greg Griffin is a star” (The Mirror)

“A classic rock ‘n’ roll band” (Caleb Followill – Kings of Leon)


“Imagine a bastard son of Bob Dylan fronting the Verve (but with a better slide guitarist) and surely you’re already in the shop” (Evening Standard)


Black Flag

+ Special Guests

Sunday 13th October

Academy 2


Wednesday 16th October

Academy 3

Gloryhammer + Special Guests

+ Special Guests

Saturday 19th October

Club Academy

Kris Barras Band

Friday 25th October

Academy 3

Little Simz

Saturday 26th October

Academy 3

Royal Republic

+ Special Guests

Saturday 26th October

Academy 2

If the abundance of explosive alternative rock thrillers on Royal Republic’s third album seek to remind us of anything, it’s this: Rock ’n’ Roll was never meant to be clever. That’s why “Uh Huh” speaks caveman, not Latin. That’s why “When I See You Dance With Another” begins with kamikaze drums and a man howling like he’s caught his fingers in a mousetrap. You won’t need a black belt in poetry to appreciate “Kung Fu Lovin’”, either. A brilliant and gloriously silly song comparing love-gone-wrong to a martial art, it lands its sonic drop-kick right on target.


Though the gutsy, fireball energy and sheer cockiness of 2010’s We Are The Royal and 2012’s Save The Nation put Malmo, Sweden’s Royal Republic on the map in some style, their latest opus Weekend Man is a bolder statement still; one that marks a great big ‘X’ where the treasure is buried.“Hearing these songs come together was a constant high”, says the band’s lanky, moustachioed frontman, Adam Grahn. “It took a little while, so we’re still processing the fact that the album’s actually done!”

Together with fellow guitarist Hannes Irengård, bassist Jonas Almén, and drummer Per Andreasson, Grahn hatched Weekend Man in Berlin, Germany. The group also recorded Save The Nation there, so the city, says Adam, is their “second home by now; our base of operations.”

This time out, dynamic German production duo Christian Neander and Michael Tibes oversaw recording at Fuzz Factory Studios in the city’s Kreuzberg district, the kind of neighbourhood where strange and wonderful things happen after dark. “Basically, it’s a safe haven for whatever crazy shit you’re into”, says Hannes. “You can walk around dressed as a UFO and nobody will even notice you crossing the street.”


Though Royal Republic’s Facebook page attests to their near-constant craving for Bratwurst while in Kreuzberg, each day, they would only indulge after they had ensured that another song’s chorus was killer. Hunger is clearly an energy; the kind of spur that can help a man desperate for a sausage deliver a bludgeoning guitar riff or killer drum groove with complete conviction.

“When Jonas first put the fuzz-bass on “Uh-Huh”, that was pretty bad-ass!”, recalls Per, asked about a high-point of the sessions, “and I think there was only one night when we had a total band meltdown and started yelling at each other.”

“We needed Christian and Michael to set the rules”, adds Adam. “I loved their personalities, because they’re not megalomaniacs, you know? Whatever the missing ingredients were, they helped us to find them within ourselves.”

“Also, it’s kind of an inevitable when you’re making a record that, just because you hear the stuff over and over, you sometimes think, ‘Man, this song sucks!’, but Christian and Michael kept us at it. Suddenly it would be like, ‘Wow! This is amazing! It was reassuring to know that our first instincts were correct.”


To fully understand Royal Republic’s drive for rock ’n’ roll redemption, you have to go back a bit. Before forming late in 2007, all four members studied at Malmo’s prestigious Academy Of Music. As Adam points out, this has ensured that the communication between them “is like lightning”, but for all their musical sophistication, there’s another key reason why Royal Republic rule: each member is one-hundred-percent in touch with his inner Viking. 

“My whole education at university was about holding back”, explains Per, who has a masters degree in classical percussion.  “It was always: ‘keep it down’; ‘cherish your sound’, but I just wanted to hit things harder and louder. When Royal Republic came along, it was a great release.”

“And the same for me”, says Adam. “After years of having to be perfectly in-time and perfectly in-tune, being in this this band has helped me to drag out all the grit, all the real emotion.”

One can certainly hear that on “Walk!”, another of Weekend Man’s plentiful stash of potential singles. Adam clearly relishes wrapping his tonsils around the song’s insistent command to, well, Walk!. With its ballsy, thrill-a-second riffing, you could say the song is a masterclass in simplicity. “We had to tread carefully so as not to stomp all over its initial genius”, says Hannes. “Is Walk! particularly smart? No. Is it freaking awesome? I’d say so!”


Listening to Weekend Man, you will also notice Royal Republic’s keen understanding of all that is great about pop music. Hooks abound, and no matter how gritty or guillotine-sharp the music, every melody has been designed to wrap itself around your heart.

“Personally, I’m a big Max Martin guy”, says Per, flagging -up the Midas-touch Swede’s productions for Britney, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and all. 

“Yeah, songwriting-wise, I’d say one of the strengths of Royal Republic is our healthy lack of respect for genre boundaries”, adds Hannes.  “Whether it’s a Taylor Swift song or Led Zeppelin one, we draw on what we like and try to make it our own.”

Given that each member of Royal Republic is more than capable of bringing a finished, high-quality demo to the table on their own, there was no shortage of material to choose from when it came to deciding what to record for the new album. Using the studio “as an instrument” more than they ever had before, the Swedes stretched-out a little this time, spreading their wings.

“We enjoyed making something that was a dynamic journey”, says Adam, “So you have these new adventures, these great little wild-cards along the way, stuff  like “Any Given Sunday”, “Follow The Sun”, and “American Dream.”

“Some songs fall into your hands out of nowhere”, and “Follow The Sun” was one of those”, he adds. “I guess the words are open to interpretation, but to me the message is crystal clear: It’s easy to have unrealistic expectations for your life, so every now and then you just have to stop and appreciate what you’ve already got.”


Asked about just how far he and his bandmates have come, moreover, Royal Republic’s frontman sums-up nicely: “When we started out, it was almost laughable how different the four of us were. I’d be like “Hey! Did you guys see the game last night?’, and they’d go, ‘[Quietly] No. We don’t watch football…’ Today we’re a family - with all that comes with that - and I don’t think any of us would change it for the world. We’ve made a really strong Royal Republic record that’s totally true to ourselves, and we can’t wait to take it on the road.”

Ben Phillips Live Tour 2019 - Ben vs Elliot

Ben vs Elliot

Sunday 27th October


She Drew the Gun

+ Support

Wednesday 30th October

Academy 2

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