Five Hidden venues of the Manchester Music Scene
Manchester has a musical legacy second to no other city. I’m sure Liverpool, London and New York may have something to say about this but, come on! Just take a look at some of the fantastic, ground breaking bands that have come from the city: Joy Division, Buzzcocks, New Order, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Oasis, the Chemical Brothers and the Bee Gees, to name but a few. (In fact, I’m sat a stone’s throw from the Gibb brother’s childhood home).
Undoubtedly, there numerous factors that went into making these bands the musicals behemoths they became; circumstances, God given talent, luck and, most importantly, a place to perform. As well as the legendary bands, Manchester has had and continues to have many iconic venues: from the Free Trade Hall, which was home of the infamous Sex Pistols gig in 1976, and the Hacienda nightclub, which towards the end of the 80’s was pretty much the centre of the universe.
With venues such as the Manchester Arena, Manchester Apollo and the Ritz regularly selling out to more established acts, there is no shortage of outlets for live music in Manchester. However, where do the up and coming bands go to show case their material? Here is a list of five venues you may not be aware of that are certainly worth checking out, and who knows, you may see the next big thing there!
The Deaf Institute.
135 Grosvenor St, M1 7HE
Located just off Oxford Rd and right in the heart of Manchester’s bustling university community is the Deaf Institute. Despite celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, the building was built in 1878 and is the former ‘Deaf and Dumb Institute’. The venue is one of the hippest in the city, where it hosts gigs, comedy nights and special events. It’s art-deco style and huge glitter ball make it a very special venue. This is also helped by three bars and a roof top terrace. This is certainly one of Manchester’s most unique venues.
Oldham St M4 1LW
Step inside Gullivers and you’re guaranteed to hear an absolute banger on the jukebox. This iconic bar has been selling booze on Oldham Street for well over 150 years. However, head to the back of the bar and up the stairs and you’ll find the Ballroom. The Ballroom has a capacity of 100 and plays host to some the nation’s freshest bands. Gullivers also has lounge space which hosts comedy performances, poetry and book readings.
31-33 Spear Street, M1 1DF
The Soup Kitchen can be found right in the heart of the ultra-cool Northern Quarter and has a bit of something for everyone. It is not just a music venue. In the basement there is a dark, intimate, sweat box of a venue, that plays host to some of the most exciting new bands around: perfect for those who like their gigs up close and personal. Whilst above that is a bar/eatery which hosts comedy nights and some truly unique club nights, plus the menu is alright as well so you can have a decent bite to eat before you indulge your musical sensibilities.
105 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD
Night People is one of Manchester’s least known venues and this fact is even more baffling because it hosts one of the City’s most famous and long running club nights: Twisted Wheel. However, it’s also a great live music venue too, hosting an eclectic mix of up and coming bands, more established acts and some of the country’s top tribute acts. It’s a stones throw from Canal Street but certainly well worth a visit.
The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, M4 1LE
The Castle is the little brother of Gullivers and can be found on Oldham Street. Established in 1776, the venue has been a corner-stone of the City’s cultural scene. In 2010 the venue opened it’s 80 capacity live music hall. The Castle prides itself on supporting local talent and is also a unique creative space for artists and musicians to showcase their talents, but more than that, you can get a bloody decent pint!
So next time you’re out and about in Manchester and fancy something a different, why not look up one of these venues and head on over: who knows, you may see the next Stone Roses… and to quote Ian Brown, “It’s True!”
By Matthew Forrest