Music fans will absolutely adore Manchester, as this Northern English city truly rocks! The birthplace of many epic rock bands and a choice spot to see a live show, Manchester will have you rocking all night long to its excellent beat.
The city of Manchester, in Lancashire, England, is an essential stop for any music lover visiting the U.K. With a long history as the point of origin for many iconic bands throughout the years, and a hip and thriving current scene, this awesome city is tons of fun for a music fan.
A Long History of Awesome Tunes
The music tradition in Manchester goes back a long way, to classic bands in the 1960s including The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, and the Bee Gees. It was also the birthplace of many essential 1990s bands, which include The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Oasis, The Fall, Joy Division, James, Badly Drawn Boy and The Happy Mondays. The city is also credited as the main epicenter behind the indie movement of the 1980s, and the scene that resulted became known as the “Madchester” scene. It’s a thrill to spend time in this hip city, knowing that so many musical legends called it home.
Exploring the City
Begin your musical adventure in Manchester by perusing the treasure trove of classic vinyl at the iconic record shop Piccadilly Records on Oldham Street. You just might discover a hidden gem! Next, wander across to the Dry Bar, to see where the Happy Mondays used to play. The Night and Day Bar opposite it was also a popular venue during that era, and it still features great live bands on most nights.
Strangeways, Here We Come!
Of course, one of the best musical exports of Manchester is the moody rock sounds of The Smiths, so be sure to put some of their songs on your mp3 player so that you can listen to the wail of Morrissey’s mournful voice as you walk through the streets of this beautiful, yet industrial city. If you are a really big Smiths fan, you can recreate the famous photograph on the inside of their top hit album The Queen Is Dead by posing in front of the Salford Lad’s Club on the corner of Coronation Street and St. Ignatius Way.
Musical History Lessons
If you want to learn more about the musical history of Manchester, you can take one of the walking tours from Manchester Music Tours. This cool company offers exclusive tours of all the landmarks synonymous with the Manchester music scene, and there are band-specific tours available about Oasis, The Smiths, and Joy Division. The tour guides really know what they are talking about as well; Phil Gatenby is the author of two books on the Smiths and Craig Gill is a founding member and drummer of the band The Inspiral Carpets. The walking tours last approximately two hours and their insider knowledge and amazing stories will make you feel like you were there.
Dance the Night Away
After your day of exploring the history of the Manchester music scene, what better way to end your experience than with an awesome live band in a cool club or bar? Luckily there is always a great show on in Manchester no matter what your musical tastes. The main pop venue is the massive 12,000-seat Manchester Evening News Arena, and other major venues include the Manchester Apollo and the Manchester Academy. If you love the vibe of a quirky, smaller venue, check out who is playing at the Band on the Wall Roadhouse, the Ruby Lounge, or the Deaf Institute.