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Image © @jimmys_nq via Twitter

3 of the Best Live Music Venues in Manchester

6 March 2019 | London Calling

We know what you’re thinking. Three venues? Three?! Surely that’s not all the mighty Manchester has to offer when it comes to its gig scene? You’re right, of course. The music capital of the UK doesn’t fail to deliver thanks to its abundance of wonderful venues, both grandiose and intimate, so we’re here to round up the best of the bunch based on size and reputation, but all embodying the local passion for the inclusivity that live music can create.

Jimmy’s
The creation of ex One Night Only bandmates and brothers George and Jimmy Craig, Jimmy’s fronts itself as a ‘Rock N’ Roll’ bar on the outskirts of Manchester’s northern quarter. Yet, that label doesn’t quite do it justice. The bar incorporates a contemporary feel, from the lavish cocktail list and a student crowd, to the magnificent rock memorabilia and maroon coated décor. Whilst not leading the lines for securing big names, Jimmy’s effortlessly cool interior is a hotspot for the rising stars of the Manchester music scene, an ethos that can be lost in the stature of the city.

As an added bonus they also host a night dedicated to spoken-word poetry. Jimmy’s makes the list for the famed irresistible attractions: cheap gig tickets, reasonable pints, great snackage and a community atmosphere.  The performance area may be intimate, but the sound is enormous. The true joy of Jimmy’s is that every gig feels like a shared experience, where the crowd and performers are bound together in honour of the very essence of music.


Image credit: Jimmy's Manchester via Facebook 
 
YES
Packing a hefty punch for a venue that only opened in September 2018, YES is one of Manchester’s rising stars for hosting talent from across the UK. Opened as a flash four-floored haven by independent promotional company Now Wave, YES wasted no time in recruiting heavyweights from all genres, including Streets frontman Mike Skinner, indie doom-pop act Insecure Men, psychedelic sons Toy and soul singer Curtis Harding. Whilst most acts steal fans hearts in the delightfully ambient pink room (seen above), there is also a basement that reverberates the vibe of northern quarter’s Soup Kitchen, where frequenters can enjoy DJ sets from the hottest local DJ’s and MC’s.

On the ground floor you’ll find a pizza bar that before 7pm throughout the week sells £1 slices, meaning that gig goers can grab a cheap treat before heading upstairs.  The acoustics are tight, and the atmosphere is always electric. In YES’ bid to incorporate everybody, they are in serious contention for being crowned Manchester’s best live venue.


Image credit: YES via Facebook 
 
Castlefield Bowl
With a whopping capacity of 8,000 comes Manchester’s favourite summer venue, Castlefield Bowl. Hosting this year’s ‘Sounds of the City’ event that includes the likes of Elbow and The National, Castlefield Bowl boasts a reputation that attracts some of the biggest acts from around the globe.  Whilst it may be weather dependent (a risky factor when regarding Manchester), when the sun happens to shine, Castlefield captures both the stunning industrial landscape of the area and a thunderous roar of cheers and screams that shake the very foundations of the surrounding buildings. The venue is easily located on the outskirts of the city centre, and has been blessed with juggernauts like Arcade Fire, Hacienda Classical, New Order and Blink 182 amongst countless others.

Despite its grand scale, and with it the space to dance your heart out, Castlefield Bowl still manages to retain that magic sense of community usually reserved for smaller venues. A summer evening here can really steal your heart, and the unifying force bringing people together through music is the backbone of what makes Manchester a truly immaculate city.


Image credit: Chalfont Don via Flickr 
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