Venue Spotlight #001

Over the next few months, we’ll be paying homage to the perpetual hard graft and passion behind some of our favourite venues around the globe. From London to New York, Barcelona to San Francisco, we’ll be poking our heads behind bars and through stage doors to meet the amazing people who live for live music.

And we’re super-psyched to kick things off with a trip to Manchester’s Northern Quarter: allow us to introduce Gareth Butterworth, promoter and booker for the legendary Night & Day Cafe!

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Hey Gareth! Let’s get straight down to it. Tell us a little bit about Night & Day. 

Hey. Well, we’re located in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, once a derelict area of town – now thriving with trendy bars, cafes and independent retailers. We’ve been here for over 20 years, and for many of that, we’ve been a major stepping stone for touring bands as well as supporting a thriving local scene.

And if you had to sum it up in three words?

Always championing creativity.

So what’s it like to work at a venue? What excites you about heading into work each day?

I love music, so checking out new artists day in day out and working with people who inspire you everyday is brilliant. Its not easy – in fact its a really difficult job – but the challenge makes it that bit more exciting. 

Who has the most enviable job at Night & Day?

As far as I’m concerned, I love this job, so if i would say mine! But everyone is different. Owning, managing or engineering might be more desirable to different people.

What are the best (and worst) aspects of Manchester’s live scene?

The scene has always been, and still is, really strong. There’s a massive presence of really talented local artists which I think affects each band or act to push themselves further to try and break through. There’s the old Manchester music stigma that always gets attached to artists, which has its pros and cons; some bands use that to influence and spearhead their sound which sometimes works and other acts rebel against that to try and be creative in their own way which is really positive too. That way we get a real mix. Obviously Manchester is a firm staple on the touring map so there’s no shortage of touring musicians in the city either. As for bad aspects – I’d rather talk about positives to be honest!

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You must have seen an endless number of bands pass through. What makes a performance really stand out from the crowd?

I like it when artists are really professional about their business – standard things such as being tight on stage, arriving on time, well rehearsed, making good use of their sound check, promoting themselves in a sufficient way. That goes a long way before they’ve even played a song. 

If you had to pick a favourite moment from the Night & Day archive?

There’ve been so many in these past few months alone. Watching a hot sweaty Manchester Psych Fest crowd go crazy to TOY was great. The Orwells’ sell-out show, Radkey crowd surfing out the venue on their final song… and just seeing local acs start their career here.

And if you could bring any artist to Night & Day…

I suppose we missed out on Joy Division by a decade but I think we’re the type of venue that would have fitted perfectly with their shows. Also, we had Albert Hammond Jr here last December which was really cool but if he wants to bring The Stokes with him next time then I’d be open to hosting them!

So which gigs would we be crazy to miss over the next few months?

We have some great shows coming up. Manchester Psych Fest is back at the end of November for a second edition, and before that we’ve got DZ Deathrays, Spring King, Kyla La Grange and loads more.

Awesome. Thanks Gareth!

Head here to check out Night & Day’s full itinerary, and tune in next week for a venue spotlight in a new city!

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Manchester Psych Fest photos via Sam Huddleston of The Skinny

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