Albert Hall is more than a venue and events space, historic, atmospheric, and with some incredible people behind it, it's set to be the club that dominates proceedings in 2014 and beyond...
With a host of 'late night sessions' and club nights booked into its epic structure The Albert Hall finally seems primed and ready to live up to the rich and great expectations we've stamped it with. Upon entry though you begin to question exactly how this building is going to live up those brutally high expectations, you see the downstairs bar and club space, a Brannigans in a previous life. Nothing overly exciting there, but as you begin to wander up some stairs which curl round hugging the vintage brickwork, it's here you start to get some grasp of what it's all about. As you burst through the double doors underneath the balcony, looping arch ways and dark brooding corners fill with the shadows of the inner structure. A intimate and encapsulating stage that is backed by the vintage organ pipes, you can almost smell the rich history as you look around the place. It's truly magnificent, and I've not even heard any music yet.
The Atmosphere & Clientele
The potential for a secret live music and club space forged from the remnants of a Grade II listed chapel that's enigmatic and rich history date back decades, created the levels of curiosity and excitement that have only been seen a handful of times in Manchester (The Warehouse Project and Manchester International Festival spring to mind). The budding collaboration between TROF (the folks behind Gorilla and The Deaf Institute) and The Warehouse Project in such a righteous, historically draped venue is one that conjures up unseen and unrivalled atmosphere. There is no specific crowd, the venue provides for all, and whether you be consuming lashings of electronic genius from Moderat, stomping the wooden floorboards to Hot Since 82 or embracing the multilayered melodies of Neutral Milk Hotel, you're guaranteed a return on the ticket price and a whole lot more. It's an experience you're as much a part of as the artists and performers themselves.
The Food & Drink
As an entertainment venue, Albert Hall is less about the off-stage offerings than the experience. For me hearing Moderat play 'Bad Kingdom' whilst throwing my limbs skyward in an attempt to hitch a ride to the rafters with the bright and encompassing lights is one of those experiences. The sound echoes and crashes around the natural contour of the ceiling ricocheting from pillar to post until it lands in the upper ether of your imagination. Let's take nothing away from Moderat as their extensive talent and delivery is the very reason we we're their in the first place, they were merely complimented by a venue that seems hell bent on being not only the cities best, but it's most loved and revered.
A closed and abandoned space opened up and restored to its former glory and given to some of this cities biggest and best producers of live music experiences is always going to be epic. They said it would be, and they were right. It's like nothing else in Manchester, and the sooner you go, the sooner you'll want to go again. I do, that's for sure.