Talk about Manchester’s music scene, and what comes up? The Smiths, The Hacienda, Tony Wilson and, yes, Bez. It’s easy to get a bit stuck in the past, endlessly wheeling out the greats of yonder year – but the city is still a great place to watch new and innovative music. Promoters like Hey! Manchester and Now Wave are shaking things up, as is music festival Sounds From the Other City, and bands and musicians like Jane Weaver, Everything Everything and Josephine. Fantastic venues like our top picks below are behind it all – so here’s a guide to where to watch the best live music in the city.
Here are our picks
YES, 38 Charles Street, Manchester, M1 7DB - Visit now
It’s not been open long, but YES has very quickly become one of Manchester’s most important venues. The programming here is second-to-none with smart bookings of up and coming acts like Black Midi and Another Sky. Happily, YES is situated off Oxford Road and is yet to be discovered by the city’s throngs of visiting stag-weekend revelers. Long may it continue.
Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5WW - Visit now
Under the railway tracks on Whitworth Street West, this bar, kitchen and music venue boasts both a specialist Gin Bar upstairs, and a super sound system in the 700 capacity performance space – which, unusually, has a stage backed by old valve and amp cases from the old BBC basement on Oxford Road. Rad.
The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7HE - Visit now
In a Grade-II listed, neo-Gothic former Deaf and Dumb Institute you’ll find one of the city’s best loved music venues across three floors, complete with two bars and a kitchen. The Deaf Institute’s dome-shaped music hall upstairs, complete with tiered seating and a giant mirror ball, has hosted scores of critically acclaimed acts, and is a focal point for the city’s musicians and promoters.
The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester, M3 1DA - Visit now
Manchester’s new kid on the concert hall block, The Stoller Hall, opened its doors in April 2017 to further enhance the city’s already enviable live music provision. Since opening, it has has cemented itself as one of our favorite music venues in Manchester.
Band on the Wall, 25 Swan Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5JZ - Visit now
It was the place with the funny name hanging on up there in the city’s Northern badlands. Edgy, hard, grotty, a bit studenty. Some people are bound to say the new Band on The Wall – which opened in 2009 – isn’t the same and inevitably there will be those ready to bitch about slick transformations somehow robbing cherished old venues of their soul. They’re entitled to their nostalgia trips, but we’re excited about having another place to see good live music in this town. Long may it rock.
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.
Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.
Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.