By Ellie O’Neill
Emerging out of the recession with more false starts than Great Britain is the grand opening of Sound Control Manchester. You may have heard it had launched a couple of times back last year, but as these openings either didn’t go to plan or were not quite as spectacular as hoped, much like a bride on her wedding night telling her husband he is her first, Sound Control have decided these other nights didn’t really count. I imagine they are hoping anyone who attended the other launches was too tanked to remember it or have now convinced themselves that even though the music was better than normal, they had been at 42s after all.
Entering the club the first thing I feel aware of is the nerves of the staff and owners. They have embarked on an impressive publicity campaign and delaying the grand opening does seem a wise step. The venue looks superb; with a bar lined with pretty red lights and bathroom facilities far lovelier than anything you’ll find at Manchester’s longer running indie nights. There is paper and soap provided for a start.
Though they have expressed a desire to keep the building in its “raw industrial state” the end look is in places more rushed than raw and as I sit down on the wonderfully springy wooden chairs to take in the place I realise the smell I first noticed when I came in is sawdust which litters the lush tables.
There is some disappointment from people who have come here on a promise of stomping ska and garage in the basement club when it is closed only an hour after it opens as there are not enough people to fill the floor. Most people however, myself included, are quite content with the other floors; a bar area where one can listen to music whilst chatting with friends and a fantastic upstairs room which has a fantastic pa and music pit which when combined with its wonderful mini podiums for chilling out and acting up on could well rival The Academy as a live music venue.
The night is everything a music lover and a dance floor mover would want. The playlist is fantastic; whilst unafraid of old Indie classics for the sentimental, these songs do not define the night. There are plenty of new tunes and an impressive line up is advertised of live music to come, including a visit from The Drums a popular post-punk group from New York early in February.
Sound Control is besides Oxford Road station and as a result the launch attracts some interesting traffic. As well as indie boys and girls, some of whom tell me they were heading to 5th Avenue but thought they would give it a go and were pleased they had, there are middle aged men and even a couple of cowgirls. They all seem united by their appreciation of having found a good music night with decent beer on tap as well as drinks offers. At £3 entry with a flyer and £1.50 for Carlsberg, Alco pops and spirit and mixers you can leave feeling quite tipsy with change from a ten-pound-note.
Formerly a music shop where legendary artists brought the tools of their trade; Sound Control will soon be known as a venue where musicians inspired by such acts will come to play. This is, The Launch Night of Sound Control Manchester, and for the sake of indie-music lovers everywhere I hope it will be the launch of many a great night to come.
For more info and line-ups go to Sound Control