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Top 5 Manchester Music venues

Band on the Wall

With the help of a large lottery grant, Band on the Wall opened in 2009, after its premises had spent years in disarray. Having been refurbished and engineered exclusively with live music in mind, the venue has become known as one of the most reputable music venues in the city. In a city with a scene as rich as Manchester’s, that’s saying something. You can catch quality bands throughout the week, and the venue is also a bit hit on the DJ circuit, too. Craig Charles regularly sells out the place with his funk & soul sessions, and the legendary DJ Yoda is a regular visitor. Whatever floats your musical boat, Band on the Wall is sure to please.

Manchester O2 Apollo

Manchester’s second-largest venue has played host to more music legends than we could list in this whole article. The Apollo is the perfect size – large enough to have a full-on epic concert experience, and just compact enough to feel a sense of intimacy with the performers. The hallowed halls of the Apollo have bags of character, which hasn’t been diluted in the slightest by its takeover from a multinational corporation. The acoustics are fantastic, and you’ll get a good view of the action from wherever you’re sitting or standing. The Apollo is simply untouchable as a live music experience.

The Deaf Institute

Yes, the name is somewhat ironic, but it is accurate – this venue did actually used to function as a school for the deaf. Today, the building provides a perfectly-sized venue for touring bands on the cusp of big things, with around a 200 standing capacity in the upstairs venue. Since opening as a venue in 2009, the Deaf Institute has played host to critically-acclaimed acts such as Warpaint, The 1975, Metronomy, and the XX. It’s loud as all hell, but the sound engineers know exactly what they’re doing, and nothing gets lost in the mix. View the current listings here.


The brainchild of the same people behind The Deaf Institute, Gorilla is Manchester’s worst-kept secret; tucked away beneath the city’s grand Victorian railway arches, a stone’s throw away from Oxford Road Station. Gorilla functions as a bar, kitchen, live venue, and club space, and manages to excel at all four. With great food, perfect decor, a relaxed atmosphere, and a thoughtfully-selected listings programme, Gorilla is a must-see at any time of the day or night.

The Ritz

Built in 1928 as a dance hall, The Ritz has truly seen it all, even playing host to The Beatles and Frank Sinatra all those years ago. In the 21st century, the venue still stands as a shining testament to the musical culture of Manchester, its current listings boasting such acts as Sleaford Mods, Eagles of Death Metal, and My Morning Jacket. The building was greanted grade II listed status in 1994, and it’s not hard to see why. The art deco interior chic still looks great today, and in a world full of soulless corporate-sponsored arenas, The Ritz just oozes class.

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