Independent promoters Now Wave have opened the doors of new four-storey music venue YES, “created for music fans by music fans”. Opening on Charles Street, YES consists of four floors: a basement club, a ground floor beer hall bar, the live Pink Room and an open roof top terrace, all of which are wheelchair accessible. Transforming a 1912 printing press building into a trendy music venue has taken Now Wave promoters Wesley Jones and Jon Wickstead – along with independent promoter Ruth Hemmingfield – two years of hard work. To celebrate the grand opening, Manchester music fans are treated to a spectacular three day-long opening party, with free music, DJs, drinks and pizza.
Upon arriving at 6pm on Friday, the place is already packed and there is a special atmosphere in the room. The décor and attention to detail is splendid, with a lovely tribute to LCD Soundsystem painted on the stairwell. There are two floors dedicated to food and drinks, with a gorgeous roof terrace overlooking the city centre serving cocktails, beers and wines. The ground floor doubles up as a pizza restaurant and a burger grill (opening soon), with fresh vegetarian and vegan meals on the menu.
The other two floors are dedicated to live music, with the darkly lit basement being perfect for intimate shows and clubnights. Post-punk outfit Monk perform a fantastic, pounding set buried in a haze of smoke and muted lighting. But it’s electronic musician Thomas Ragsdale who impresses the most with his blend of cinematic, ambient synths and pounding techno, presenting a forward thinking sound reminiscent of Jon Hopkins. Upstairs lays ‘The Pink Room’, which acts as the main gig space. The sound on both floors is crystal clear with plenty of low end, and Manchester’s own Dutch Uncles are delightful. Their choppy new-wave inspired rhythms get the whole crowd moving, with bouncy and danceable grooves. Sadly, a computer meltdown delays Let’s Eat Grandma’s set and they are only able to play three songs, but they still steal the show. The duo giggle their way through the technical issues as their dreamy voices sync up wonderfully. Dashes of guitar and saxophone show just how immensely talented this duo are, but it is their youthful energy and ability to let loose and command the stage that ignites the crowd tonight.
Furnished with some of the city’s best street food vendors, including Pepperoni Playboy Pizza and Firebird + Hope, there’s not much this venue is lacking – AND we could grab a pint for £2.95. YES looks to be a very promising and intricately detailed new gig venue for true music lovers, providing a space for all people to come together and share their creativity, and will thrive as a dog and child-friendly venue, welcome to everyone. “Whatever you encounter at YES”, says Now Wave promoter Wesley Jones, “you know it will be of the highest quality”. It is obvious that the Now Wave promoters have put a lot of passion into this venture, and with the vast list of amazing musicians that they have already brought to Manchester over the years, there will certainly be no lack of exciting acts to come and see at YES. For more information, click here.
Words by Chris ‘Frenchie’ French and Richard T. Holmes.