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The City that Never Stopped Pulsating

The people of Manchester always have to settle for second prize. Perhaps it is a bitter victory to come behind rivals, first-placed London, the economic, social and cultural epicentre of old Britain, but Manchester is still plugging away. They have always had a better football team than any in the capital and, as far as music is concerned, they have sometimes hit Londoners where it hurts most.

When it comes to Manchester’s nightlife, what comes to mind willy-nilly is stories and pictures associated with The Haçienda, that hotbed of endless creativity that set the trends in club music throughout the United Kingdom for over a decade. It is now eighteen years since it was converted into an apartment block. However, its demise did not in any way herald a decline in Mancunian nightlife. Club culture has long enjoyed good health in that city and this, added to the fact that music spots have always been plentiful in Manchester, makes it one of the hotspots in Europe.

The city boasts countless centres of night leisure. One of the most vibrant of them, which is currently on an upsurge, is the Northern Quarter, located in Manchester’s historic centre, dating from medieval times. The Council aims to give the neighbourhood a new lease of life, offering low rentals to attract young entrepreneurs. Located here is one of the best house and techno clubs, Sankeys (Radium St. M4 6AY). It is worth visiting for the quality of their sound and, incidentally, their equipment was designed by the likes of NASA. A good way to start the evening in this district is to have a pint at Odd Bar (30-32 Thomas Street), a sort of pub which won the best city bar award and which has a quality DJ programme. For live music, a great choice is Moho Live (Tib St., M1 1SH). There you can find anything from upcoming bands to Soundsystems by seminal electronic artists like Nightmares on Wax.

Another not-to-be-missed club in the Oxford Road university area is Joshua Brooks (106 Princess St. M1 6NG), located on the corner of Charles Street and Princess St. Aside from being a bar, at night it doubles as a disco, where the music ranges from indie to dance and dubstep. For addicts of black sounds, the city’s temple is called Funkademia Sited in Mint Lounge (46-50 Oldham Street), their motto is “wear what you like, but dress well”. Saturdays evenings are the most crowded and feature sessions of the best northern soul, groove, old-school hip hop and disco music.

The Event

For some years now, one of Britain’s paramount electronic music events has been held in  Manchester. This is The Warehouse Project, a serie of events that gets under way at the end of September and takes places every weekend until the beginning of January. Under the watchword, “For Twelve Weeks This City Is Ours”, the event’s organisers have drawn up a programme featuring a pithy lineup, designed to cure your hiccups. This year will see the likes of Jamie XX, Luciano, Clark, Siriusmodeselektor, Leftfield, Adrian Sherwood, John Talabot, Andrew Weatherall, Goldie, Carl Craig, Four Tet... The venues differ from one year to the next. According to the festival’s policy, the location should be outlandish every time. Until 2007, this was sited at their current operations centre. It lies in the underbelly of Piccadilly Station(Store St. M1 2GH), an unsettling place on account of the presence of catacombs. Each club night has its own theme. This year we recommend the weekend devoted to New Order, on 5 and 6 December, with a stunning lineup featuring such names as New Order themselves (they will be performing both days), A Certain Ratio, Erol Alkan, Horse Meat Disco and Factory Floor, among others.

As you can see, the intense Manchester scene continues apace. Come and feel the vibe – check our flights here.

Text by

Images by Tom Jerkins photographic, Odd Bar, Duncan Hull, The Warehouse Project, Funkademia

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