Being the city that invented indie, it's no surprise that Manchester is saturated with clubs claiming to be the best indie night out. However, unlike its rivals, South actually delivers.
Our nightlife isn't about the mainstream, but very slightly outside of it. Chav-paradise The Printworks is clearly suffering testified by the recent closures of mainstream favourites Opus and Pure. The current state of “indie” is stagnant and the clubs reflect this - which is why South is Manchester's best nightclub.
Remake, Remodel on a Monday night is fantastic. It promises to be “the nation's saving grace of rock n roll” and it delivers. As well as this it's cool, fucking cool (just like swearing). The clubs iconography is black and white,, best represented by The omnipresent Sonic Youth T Shirt, Bob Dylan and the Kills.
The people there are close to crossing the wanker line, but very few do and a low dickhead content is a rare and precious thing for a club. It is amazing to think that All Saints almost went bankrupt considering that everyone inside South is dressed exclusively in their clothes.
For a small club it isn’t too busy, but the empty space is filled by the constantly running smoke machines. Musically, early highlights were Gold Lion by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Florida by Modest Mouse. It was a welcome change hearing Johnny Marr’s guitar work on a song that wasn’t This Charming Man.
The people the are close to crossing the wanker line, but very few do and a low dickhead content is a rare and precious thing for a club.
Smoking areas are hard for clubs to get right, 5th Ave charges £1 for wristband and 42's gives you a stamp and lets you stand on the opposite pavement. South takes the concept of a smoking area and smashes it. It’s an odd back alley with scaffolding running around your head and up the walls. There’s an outside bar built into one wall, ready to serve drinks and it's even possible to have a conversation.
As the night wore on the the choices of song became more obvious, but by no means dull. People whooped and rushed to the floor to dance to The Chain by Fleetwood Mac. The standard trio of Paint It Black, Paperback Writer and Ring Of Fire was broken up by some more obscure tunes, heaven forbid the DJ be accused of playing it safe.
Drinks were as cheap and free flowing as the good tunes, there was practically no queue for the bar. The toilets weren't great, but has any club got good toilets? Perhaps, then, better to judge them individually and South once again excelled. The urinal was less of a room more of a Plywood Piss Palace which was an assault on three of the senses, I'll let you guess which three, but bonus points must be given for the very useful beer shelf.
South takes a the concept of a club; good music, cheap drinks and dancing and executes it clinically. A quick look at Manchester's other clubs shows how far this idea can go wrong.
The 5th Ave night is same every time and happens as follows. Long queue to get in, cheap drinks, the same crap music: Open with Black Eyed Peas 'I Gotta feeling,' bang on 11.30 drop RATM “Killing In The Name Of' and end on 'Time Of Your Life' by Green Day. In between you have more cheap drinks, be unable to move because it's too full and see the same girl get off with all the males in the establishment except for you. Then you go home, and you cry and you want to die.
42’s is like your overweight Britpop loving uncle who still thinks it's 1995. The Stone Roses and Oasis are guaranteed, as is the feeling of distinct averageness, not necessarily from the music but from the feeling of wasted potential.
Peter Hooks Fac 251 provided an adequate alternative for a short period. However it's opening coincided with the rise of Mcat and as such was full of under-age slack jawed lunatics, ready to fight at any opportunity. Shortly after that craze died down, the popularity of the club did as well.
South, your more popular contemporaries are in your shadow, you are truly the best “Indie” night club in Manchester. Reader, don’t go there, you’ll spoil it.
Check out South here
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