PEANESS' Favourite Gig Venues in the North
With so many venues for you to check out in your new home, we thought we'd ask our pals from indie-pop trio PEANESS to give you a heads up on what's good
Hi! Jess from PEANESS here. We're based in Chester so have the pleasure of being right on the doorstep of some great cities with great venues. Our guide is based mainly on vibes... and the very important business of toilets. We're not really drinkers so we won't be able to comment on where to get the cheapest beer, but we will be able to guide you if you've had a few drinks and need to go pee
Live music venues in Manchester
We've played here a lot, and we've become very attached to the building and all the people who work there. Lovely down-to-earth vibes at Soup Kitchen. They've recently upgraded the speakers, raised the stage, and taken out some of the old bar area, which means they can get more people through the door. We had our most recent single launch there, and it was a great night and the perfect place to have it.
It's a bit rough around the edges, and the first time we played I was a bit scared to take a pee in the toilets. It's not particularly dirty, but it's very dark! The venue itself is also in the basement so maybe don't look up when you're in the toilets if you don't like cobwebs/spiders. The toilets are also gender-neutral which is always cool.
A wicked little venue on a wicked street. The sound is great in there, with lots of wood and curtains which also makes it a tad warm. It's about 80-capacity, so it's a very intimate space and it gets very hot in that room very fast. We've played in winter and in summer and every time we were physically dripping on stage. Nice. Toilets are fine: locks are a bit stiff, but the hot tap will cause your hands to fall off.
The Deaf Institute
The biggest/fanciest stage we've been on in Manchester. They have loads of great shows and they do great veggie and vegan food in the restaurant downstairs (result!). There's a big space for standing audience members and cool seating bits at the back and on the side. The sound in there is amazing and there's a nice little outside area too. The venue toilets are basically in a cupboard and you will have to enter side-on and leave personal belongings with a friend before entering the cubicles.
Collier St, Salford
Nearly impossible to find if you've not been before! Our Uber driver was very confused. But once you get there you'll feel right at home. The venue room looks like it was a house that had the first floor ceiling taken down. You can see where the fireplace was! It's a really cool venue and has a lovely intimate vibe. Toilets are fine, just make sure you pay them a visit before trying to get back to civilisation.
Live music venues in Liverpool
Maguire's Pizza Bar
Our second show was at Maguire's. This is a proper small, simple pizza bar and venue. It's DIY punk, hosts some great shows and sells pizza (including vegan pizzas too, FYI). What's not to love? The venue itself is at the back of the building and is pretty basic, but what it lacks in audio quality it makes up for in ethos. And the toilets are clean, with cubicles covered in stickers and posters, and always has toilet roll. Win.
Hidden away off Hardman Street, the Buyers Club is a fairly new venue. The sound is booming and the lighting is really nice. The toilets, however... missing doors on all but two in the whole building! Not what you want when everybody goes to pee in between the sets.
Also on Hardman Street is The Magnet, which used to be a burlesque venue and it still carries those vibes. The stage is really cool and the sound is great. They generally host nights that are a little heavier/grungier: we went to see Drenge there last year, and we played with Menace Beach earlier this year. I remember the toilets missing a few doors and lacking working hand dryers.
Invisible Wind Factory
Looking over the river Mersey, this massive old factory building has rooms and rooms full of community projects and art spaces. If you need to rent a space to do your art in Liverpool, this could be perfect. Downstairs is a big hall with a giant stage, where some of the bigger acts play. We played FestEvol [there] this year, which was an amazing event and shared the building alongside acts like Wild Beasts, The Big Moon and Pulled Apart By Horses.
Live music in Leeds
Although we've heard Leeds is bursting with rad venues, we've only had the pleasure of playing there once. Wharf Chambers is a DIY community space and hosts various events, from live music to workshops to drop-in NHS health advice, and openly advertises itself as a safe space for the LGBT community. The venue area is a decent size and the sound was nothing too special, but none of that was really an issue considering how wicked the vibes were.
Live music in Chester
Easily the best venue in Chester, Telford's Warehouse sits over the canal, has great food, interesting beers, great vibes, and is full to the brim with lovely people. If you're in a band and want to be looked after properly, I'd highly suggest Telford's! Not only is this our favourite place to play in Chester, the toilets are spotless.
Recently under new management, Alexander's has shifted from jazz to student-based audiences. Lots of events and open 'til late, this in-town venue has a large outdoor garden and quiet seats out front too. Great for when the music inside is far too loud, which it definitely will be. It's a nice space to hang, but you may find yourself with a constant cringe face from all the interior design clichés, including the toilets.