I’ve been going to rock clubs in Manchester since before I was legally old enough to go out in Manchester. They have been great places of freedom for me, where I can hear the music I like whilst ‘dancing’ and drinking with friends. There hasn’t been many rock clubs in Manchester but I think I’ve been to most of them. They have usually been cheap, dirty, small and awesome but never have a long lifespan. Most have shut down or moved, leaving Mcr with just a couple of venues today.
The first rock club (and probably the first club) that I went to was Rock Kitchen on Oxford Road. Rock Kitchen was in MMU Student Union and was very cheap. At one point it was 99p for a Carlsberg and, whilst it was barely drinkable, at those prices you just can’t complain! There was 2 main rooms – one metal room (that I pretty much stayed out of, being a fragile pop-punk lover) and the ‘main’ room which was just a big open space that had smoke machines and a projector that played images from old cartoons and movies throughout the night. You could request tracks by queuing up at the DJ booth and scribbling a band name and track on a scrap of paper. There are so many songs that I heard there for the first time. The one I remember most vividly is that Disturbed song (ooo-AHAHAHAHA!). At one point the club was incredibly popular – you had to queue in the rain outside to get in – but it gradually fell out of favour as people actually became 18 and were able to get into ‘proper’ clubs. It tried to revamp itself a couple of times by adding a third ‘room’ where the bar was that just played indie music, but this seemed to put the die-hard rockers off more and the club eventually shut down, with the space now being occupied soleely by the Union bar. Such a shame!
I was never really a fan of Jilly’s. Maybe because I only went twice. It felt like a community that you had to be part of and I remember feeling like a kid on his first day of school when entering the place. Played some good music though, and I know that many people lament the closing-down of this place a lot. Maybe if I’d have spent more time there I would have loved it and would miss it more! Good place though. Plus, pool tables.
Pop Bubble Rock was one of my favourites. PBR was a pop-punk and hardcore-focused night that was held above The Phoenix pub on oxford road, which has now also closed down. It’s since moved to Sound Control, I think, but I’ve not yet been since it’s moved. But i hope it still plays Say Anything, The Wonder Years and The Starting Line!
Rock Box was a short-lived rock venue situated just past canal street, near Cruz (sp?). A great little place with awesome music that just seemed to close down after a year and not return.
Satans Hollow is a second home to many rock fans in Manchester. But I suppose, being now the longest-running rock venue in the city, many people are now bored of it. I like to go back every now and again, to remind myself how good it was when I was experiencing the place for my first time when I was in college. And when I do go back, I absolutely love it! But i couldn’t go all the time any more, it hasn’t actually changed as a club since i first started going and, whilst it’s admirable that it hasn’t bowed to the more popular genres of indie and pop, it can get a bit stale. Still, great venue that I enjoy going back to. Even if they have hiked up the prices recently! Scallywags.
Grizzly is a new-ish rock night held at The Zoo (new The Pub…) that plays some good tunes. I remember the first time I went here. Me and Gary walked into the place and they were playing Brand New – Seventy Times Seven and we both looked at each other as if to say “This is the kind of place we have been waiting for!”. We also had a minor revelation that night that drinking lemonade between rounds means you don’t get too drunk. Science.
So now there is just Satans (old), Grizzly (only on Thursdays, I think), Jabez Clegg (if they even do a rock night any more?) and PBR (also once a week) left in Mcr. I need more places! Let me know if you knwo of any other rock night in the city, I’m eager to try some new places out! :)