One of Manchester’s more mature live music venues hosts regular jazz and world music gigs. Look out for regular nights from DJ Yoda and Radio 6's Craig Charles
Band on the Wall represents a real musical success story for the city of Manchester. Funded by both the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Arts Council, the £4 million venue opened in 2009 after years in disarray; like many previously abandoned tenancies in the city, it has a rich history intertwined with the textile industry, but has always been a fertile ground for live music. The name is attributed to the tall stage fixed behind the bar during the 1930s, and while the venue isn’t quite as bustling nowadays, you still can’t miss it thanks to the pulsating neon graphic equaliser adorning the outside wall.
Having been refurbished and engineered exclusively with live music in mind, Band on the Wall has one of the best reputations in the city for shows and clubnights. The venue is spacious, with both a huge wooden dancefloor and a series of snug balconies in the round. The music programming leans towards world and experimental, and has won regular acclaim for its support of jazz, for which it’s regarded as one of the best venues in the UK. As such, it generally attracts a more mature and conscientious audience than other clubs in the city.
Nonetheless, weekends at Band on the Wall see some of the most successful and consistent clubnights in the city. BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Craig Charles sells out on a monthly basis with his Funk and Soul Club, usually featuring a live act or guest DJ alongside his crate-digging sets. DJ Yoda is another regular genre-hopper on the stage, while Marcus Intalex’s Soul:Ution residency takes the club’s epic system to its limits with fresh and classic DnB.
Located at the far end of the Northern Quarter, Band on the Wall is surrounded by offbeat drinking spots such as Bar Fringe, and the venue’s own Picturehouse bar and café promises great beer and homemade curries.