Balloon Machine Presents

‘Balloon Machine Presents’ are specially curated evenings in Manchester, UK. We pick two or three acts we love, usually they’ve featured on the website or are scheduled to be, and put them on in unique venues. Set-times are published well-ahead, this means that people with accessibility issues can plan their evening. All shows aim to be finished by 10.30pm, sleep is nearly as important to us as music!


Merival + Elk, The Eagle Inn, Thursday September 12.

Merival is Torontonian singer-songwriter Anna Horvath, drawing inspiration from tension and gathering from the romantic and familiar with practiced vulnerability. She gained recognition in 2016 with the critically acclaimed EP Lovers, and released her debut full-length album Lesson on June 21st, 2019. Her songs carry questions, exploration, and an expectation of philosophical growth. Full of folk lyricism, experimental instrumentation, and a sweeping dynamic range, she strives to make sense of the key arresting moments of life.

Elk is 21 year old Leeds based multi-instrumentalist Joey Donnelly, whose brooding and beguiling work on debut album Beech marries up the sound of Daudi Matsiko, Florist and Talons with the lyrical depth of Phoebe Bridgers. Family is embedded in Elk. The seven songs that make up Beech were written and recorded at the family home in York, over a six-month period. Like a family, the songs envelope you in a trusting warmth; Joey lays himself bare, as his honest songs slowly welcome and wash over you. The songs are a personal reflection on relationships, loss and growth, all told with the openness of family. Elk has just finished a UK tour with 60s Californian icons LOVE.

Natalie Evans + Bonniesongs + Tea Leaf at The Castle Hotel, Manchester, Sunday 12 September.

Natalie Evans

Fusing a virtuosic talent on guitar, harp and piano with a distinctive playing style and finely tuned songwriting sensibilities, Kent-born Londoner Natalie Evans’s music glows with a rare self-contained grace, as she wraps her minimalist and deceptively simple lyrical lines in winning hooks and harmonies.

“Really gorgeous…go out and buy her music now” – Guy Garvey (BBC 6MUSIC)
“Well there’s a voice I love” – Nick Luscombe (Late Junction, BBC R3)
“Beguiling, enveloping…delicate yet empowered songwriting” – CLASH
“Richly-ornamented pop songs” – Bandcamp (New and Notable)
“In short, bloody lovely” – The 405


Bonnie’s sweet ethereal vocals sail over the polyrhythmic backgrounds created between her guitar, percussion and vocal loops. Her imaginative lyrics tell stories of treehouses, mice, birds, flying and video games.Described as “dreamy experimental indie folk” and compared to artists such as Bjork and Joanna Newsom, Bonniesongs is creating a unique sound in the Sydney songwriting scene.

Tea Leaf.

Intimate and emotive acoustic indie storytelling with clarity, depth and nuance from Leeds-based singer/songwriter. With stark poetic imagery chronicling depression in a minor key, Tea Leaf refracts the confessional lyricism of John K. Samson through a melancholic northern lens.


Balloon Machine Presents GHUM + Aufbau Principle + Cat Apostrophe, The Castle Hotel, Monday July 15


Credit: Paul Samuel
Credit: Paul Samuel
Credit: Mojojo

Aufbau Principle

Credit: Paul Samuel
Credit: Mojojo

Cat Apostrophe

Credit: Mojojo
Credit: Mojojo