After a few years in the wilderness, exciting and dynamic indie music is making something of a comeback. Acts like Royal Blood, Alt-J and The Black Keys are infiltrating the charts and winning awards all over the shop, while classic acts like The Smiths, New Order and The Stone Roses are more loved than ever.
If this is your kind of music, you’re in the right place. Manchester has been the epicentre of indie music ever since the term was first coined, and, no surprise, has the nightlife to match.
Whatever you’re after, from stadium-shaking anthems to wacked-out curios, this city has the lot. Here are the best five indie clubs Manchester has to offer.
Launched back in 1973 by every United fan’s favourite Belfast boy, George Best, 42nd Street was originally known as Slack Alice. After a much-needed name-change it became the city’s leading sticky-floored indie clubnight, playing guitar anthems from across the decades to a crowd of boozed-up girls and boys with vintage hairstyles. George would be proud.
2 Bootle Street, Manchester M2 5GU, 0161 831 7108 – 42ndstreetnightclub.co.uk
Goo at The Deaf Institute
Speaking of vintage, the Deaf Institute’s Goo clubnight is the go-to event for fans of indie’s golden eras. Playing late ’80s classic acts and going right through the smartest Britpop bands, up to the early 2000s revival courtesy of The Strokes and Libertines, it also takes in a bit of grunge and shoegaze on the way. As you’d expect from a night named after a Sonic Youth album, this is one for the discerning guitar music fan. Beered-up lads best steer clear.
The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE – thedeafinstitute.co.uk
Not that there’s anything wrong with a rowdy singalong. Little more than a dingy room packed with party people, cheap beer and a truckload of songs you know, The Venue is one of Deansgate’s best kept secrets. A far cry from the shiny super-clubs round the corner. If you fancy a sweaty night that ends with you and your gang belting out ‘Mr Brightside’ – and once in a while, who doesn’t? – this is the one for you.
29 Jacksons Row, Near Deansgate, Manchester M2 5WD, 0161 834 3793 – thevenuenightclub.co.uk
T O M O R R O W @TheRubyLounge
Come kick out those Saturday night jams with us in true rock n roll fashion… pic.twitter.com/Yp9abhNXl4
— Remake Remodel (@Remake_Remodel1) April 3, 2015
However, if you fancy something with a bit more bite, head to Remake Remodel. A balls-out reaction to the established indie haunts, Remake owes more to the artsy mindset of New York punk than standard Madchester anthems. Playing the likes of The Horrors, Iggy Pop and The Fall, it’s second-hand leather jacket-tastic.
Ruby Lounge, 28-34 High Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1QB – clubremakeremodel.com
Let’s Make This Precious
And finally, the connoisseur’s choice. Held at the same venue as the hugely influential Smile and Smiths Night clubnights, the eagle-eyed will notice it’s named after a song by Dexys Midnight Runners. No, not that one, a better one. Representing the fanatic’s belief that a band’s best song is never their biggest hit, Let’s Make This Precious is ran by music obsessives for music obsessives. This means a playlist of Northern Soul, Post-Punk and off-kilter pop hits from the likes of Belle & Sebastian, David Bowie and Pulp. People travel all over the country to dance here – it’s that kind of night.
The Star & Garter, 18-20 Fairfield Street, Manchester M1 2QF, 0161 273 6726 – facebook.com/letsmakethisprecious
Main image: Remake-Remodel