First look inside Band On The Wall as it reopens after two years

Manchester’s historic music venue, Band On The Wall, has finally reopened after two long years of closure, during which it got a bit of a boost.

Gone are the white walls and chunky wooden tables with mismatched chairs from the main bar, a staple for over a decade.

Instead, velvety green chairs, dark walls, and incandescent bulbs displayed overhead give the revamped space a sort of New York speakeasy vibe that more than matches the plans of host late-night concerts here for “after-show” parties, with some running as late as 2:30 all week.

Image: The Manc Group
First look inside Band On The Wall as it reopens after two years, The Manc
Image: Jody Hartley

Little nooks carved into the corners make for intimate hangouts at night (or a good hideout for working during the day), and just aft, the original bar has been replaced with a stage draped in curtains. of theatrical red velvet – perfectly setting the stage for a late night jazz bar.

During the day, they’ll be serving Patel’s pies and other snacks here, along with a new bar menu packed with bespoke cocktails, cask ales from Hebden Bridge Vocation Brewery, low-intervention wines from Kwas and a solid non and low section with different wine, beer and spirit offerings.

At night, it’s all in the hands and the mood is celebratory as the venue’s live music schedule resumes after months of reconfiguration, postponements and delays.

First look inside Band On The Wall as it reopens after two years, The Manc
Image: Jody Hartley

Some shows taking place this month are part of tours the Band On The Wall team had organized in 2019 or 2020, showing how long it took for things to get back to normal after the pandemic. Finally, nature heals.

The main bar and stage have been extended, the stage pushed back from the stage door and raised above the crowd to ensure that even those in the back now have a decent view (as long as they are not stuck behind one of the pillar supports).

The balcony area is still there, as is the main stage bar – with most of the work devoted to adjusting and upgrading the already excellent sound system and installing a brand new system lighting.

First look inside Band On The Wall as it reopens after two years, The Manc
Image: Jody Hartley

We’re told capacity has now increased here to at least 500, but the team expects to be able to sell even more tickets once they iron out a few issues. It also costs a pretty penny, with around £3.5million raised for the development of the project since 2015.

Behind the scenes, a connecting platform makes it easy to move the grand piano from the main stage to the bars, and a lot of work has been done throughout the venue to ensure it is fully wheelchair accessible for performers and artists.

Read more: Sankeys, The Boardwalk and Paradise Factory – the long-lost nightclubs that Mancs miss

More is yet to come, with construction work underway at the rear of the building which currently incorporates a new recording studio, workshop spaces and a roof terrace which will be used by Manchester College students.

First look inside Band On The Wall as it reopens after two years, The Manc
Image: Jody Hartley

Work should be fully finished at the end of April, but after a long period of closure, the bosses were keen to reopen the doors to continue doing what they do best: booking brilliant underground musicians and filling the dance floors with fans. impatient. hear (and see) them play.

With so many small, intimate venues closing in recent years, Band On The Wall’s new bar makeover brings something sorely lacking in Manchester – a small, intimate space where up-and-coming artists can play and be heard, right in the heart from the city center.

Riding the line between big mainstream venues and spit-and-sawdust dive bars, it’s great to see it reopen with a promising lineup for artists all confirmed for its reopening.

First look inside Band On The Wall as it reopens after two years, The Manc

Featured announcements for the reopening of Band On The Wall:

MF robots / Fri, March 11 / To buy tickets
Amadou & Mariam and Blind Boys of Alabama: from Bamako to Birmingham / Tue 15 March / To buy tickets
Avi Kaplan / Sun March 20 / To buy tickets
Balimaya Project / Tue 22 March / To buy tickets
Trio Bill Laurance / Thu March 24 / To buy tickets
soft machine / Mon March 28 / To buy tickets
Ibibio sound machine / Fri April 1 / To buy tickets
Mario Biondi / Sun April 3 / To buy tickets
To concentrate / Tue 5 April / To buy tickets
Asian Dub Foundation / Fri April 8 / To buy tickets
Roberto Fonseca / Thu April 21 / To buy tickets
James Taylor Quartet / Sat 14 May / To buy tickets

To see full listings, visit the website here.

Featured Image – The Manc Band

Evelyn C. Tobin