London might be Britain’s biggest city, but when it comes to music meccas, Manchester’s miles better.
Legendary groups like The Bee Gees, Herman’s Hermits, The Smiths, New Order, The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and Oasis have underpinned the city’s reputation as a musical powerhouse with global reach.
If you’re a culture vulture, Manchester simply can’t be missed — here are five tuneful tips for music pilgrims.
1. 02 Ritz Manchester
Catching a gig at the 02 Ritz Manchester these days might involve busting a move to acts like Fontaines DC, the Manic Street Preachers or Angie Stone.
But back in the day, it’s where many seminal Manchester bands played classic concerts — The Stone Roses’ July 1986 gig here is still fondly remembered by hardcore fans.
So whoever you happen to get tickets for while you’re in town, you’ll also be setting foot in a venue with lots of vivid memories for those in the know.
2. The Boardwalk
At least in terms of record sales, Oasis are amongst Manchester’s most successful musical sons — songs like Champagne Supernova and Live Forever became anthems for a generation of kids across Britain and beyond.
They made their debut performance at The Boardwalk Club in Little Peter Street in August 1991 — the building no longer houses a live music venue, but there’s a blue heritage plaque placed there honouring its history nonetheless.
3. Salford Lads Club
If you’re a fan of The Smiths, don’t leave Manchester without visiting Salford Lads Club, where Morrisey et al posed for the famous photo on their 1986 The Queen is Dead album sleeve.
Salford is in Greater Manchester and a town in its own right — the still-active youth club was founded in 1903 and now has an ad hoc shrine to The Smiths in its weight room where visitors can pore over press clippings and memorabilia.
4. The Apollo Theatre
The Apollo Theatre in Ardwick Green is another active Manchester music venue which is central to its cultural history.
This cool, curvaceous Art Deco building has played host to many bands during its extensive lifespan — but it’s arguably most famous for hosting two Joy Division gigs in 1979 which were in the video Here Are The Young Men.
5. The Hacienda
Late music impresario Tony Wilson’s Hacienda club operated from 1982 to the late 90’s and became the unofficial British headquarters of the Baggy and Acid House movements.
It was converted to luxury apartments after it closed — but tagging along on a Hacienda Years walking tour from newmanchesterwalks.com will fill you in on the history of what was the world’s coolest club around 30 years ago.
If you’re in town for an extended break and are using Manchester as a base for adventures further afield, booking airport parking at Looking4.com allows you to stow you car securely whenever the need arises.
And you might be wondering where to stay — the Abel Heywood pub & boutique in the trendy Northern Quarter is a great base with comfy rooms and a classic Madchester soundtrack on tap.
That’s our list! Share your own Manchester music tips in the comments section.