Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues
Manchester is a city of music makers and music lovers. Many bands to have emerged from the city need no introduction. The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, The Smiths, Simply Red, New Order, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Take That, Elbow, The 1975. The list goes on. If you’re visiting the city and want to get a taste of its vibrant live music scene, our list of Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues will help:
Any list of Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues has to include this. It’s been an emotional few months for the city, sue to Manchester Arena reopening its doors to concert-goers for the first time following the terror attack in May. In the face of tragedy, music has been a uniting factor across the city. Its good vibes have echoed across the world. At the re-opening concert comic Peter Kay said: “There’s been a lot of joy in this room over the years, including the night of 22 May, right up until the terrorist attack. These last four months have been incredibly painful. Horrendous is putting it mildly. But that’s why you’re here. Because we can’t let terrorists win. And I know the memories of that night will stay with us for a very long time but we’ve got to remember the good times and let them outweigh the bad.”
Manchester Arena is one of the busiest and best known concert venues in the world.
Nothing and no-one will dampen its song, and this autumn we’re looking forward to more amazing times including, Neil Diamond’s 50th anniversary show, Lady Gaga, Emeli Sande, Mariah Carey and John Legend.
There is something both grand and intimate at the same time about a gig at the O2 Apollo on Stockport Road. The venue is an Art Deco style, Grade II listed building, which started life in the 1930s as a cinema. Since 1970 its been strictly a live entertainment venue. There can’t be many Mancunians who don’t have memories here! In addition, the venue boasts a back-catalogue of acts to match any rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame. From The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to David Bowie and The Who, Prince and Bruce Springsteen to Paul Simon, on what could be his final tour last year. The O2 Apollo even has a sentimental attachment for Morrissey, who came back to the city and chose to celebrate his 50th birthday with two gigs here.
The popular venue continues to attract some of the biggest names in rock, pop and comedy. Gigs coming up this autumn include Harry Styles, Blondie, Bananarama and The Charlatans.
The Albert Hall is another of the city’s hidden architectural gems to be given new life as a live music venue in recent years. The Grade II listed, Wesleyan chapel on Peter Street, still has its beautiful, stained-glass windows, but has sat closed to the public for 40 years. Its potential was spotted by the current owners, who also run some of the city’s other popular live music venues, Gorilla and The Deaf Institute. The atmospheric venue, attracts some big names looking for a unique and intimate setting. And this autumn, is hosting an acoustic gig by frontman and songwriter of Courteeners, Liam Fray.
Manchester’s magnificent concert venue, The Bridgewater Hall, is home to not one but three orchestras in the city. The Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata. The 2400 seat, auditorium was purpose built in the 1990s when it was clear that the Free Trade Hall could no longer produce the quality of acoustic excellence required of an internationally-renowned concert venue. A striking feature of the hall is its 5500-strong, pipe organ. This completely covers the rear wall. In addition to its orchestral programme, which includes more than 250 concerts a year from the Halle alone, the venue also hosts a range of diverse acts. Those performing this autumn include Neil Sedaka, Kate Rusby, Suzanne Vega, Squeeze, ABC, Goldie, Alison Moyet and Katherine Jenkins.
Matt and Phreds
For those looking to combine live music with a late-night lounge, Matt and Phreds in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter is one of the city’s hidden gems. You can check out the website to see what’s coming up. The wonderful thing about this venue is there is no need to book ahead though. The venue has live music six nights a week, with free entrance Monday to Thursday, and a £5 door charge on Friday and Saturday nights. The venue has built its reputation as a jazz club. Past acts included Sneaky, Kit Downes, Marius Neset, Manu Delago, the Dagda Quartet, Jamie Cullum and Adele. Today its musical genres have widened to encompass Folk, Electro, Salsa, Swing, World and Ska. A visit is a must for music lovers to the city, but if you’re lucky enough to look under 26 remember to bring along ID, because Matt and Phreds is a strictly over 18s venue.
I hope our round-up of Manchester’s Best Five Live Music Venues has helped you plan a night of music and entertainment in our great city. Enjoy!