Known around the world for its music and club scene, Manchester has led the way with a forward-thinking approach to clubbing for decades.
At its peak, the Hacienda was at the forefront of shaping not only Manchester’s music but the entire UK’s – and because of that, the Madchester era will go down as one of the most iconic in music history. But being too young for the Hacienda days, us younger ones can only imagine the scenes and atmosphere that it brought to Manchester.
It’s true that we’ve still got some of the biggest, best and most successful club nights in the UK right here in the city. But that’s just it – they’re so big.
I’m often told by older generations that Manchester has lost its club spirit. They say the huge lineups and big money headliners are swallowing the smaller venues to a point where they don’t stand a chance. And we have seen this happen in the past.
But for me, something that often makes a night so enjoyable is the intimacy of it. Just a few hundred people – if that – there for the music. When the room is small enough that you’re close enough to the speaker and are at risk of blowing an ear drum. Or when don’t have to queue for 30 minutes for a £12 vodka Red Bull. And when you don’t constantly lose your mates amongst a thousand-strong crowd after you’ve nipped to the loo.
This is something that DJ and Libero head honcho, Luke Welsh, has come to realise.
He runs the Manchester-based tech-house label Libero with fellow DJs and producers Mike Morrisey and Dan Costello. Collectively, they want to bring back the old club culture that the city was made famous for.
“We founded Libero as an idea in 2018 whilst playing at Hideout festival,” said Luke. “We are from the same area in Manchester, and we’ve been great friends since we were young. To have two other like-minded DJs, promoters and producers who have a passion for the same sound and passion for events is very lucky. I wouldn’t change the team for the world.
“Mike and Dan who have played all over the UK are two of the hottest producers in our sound at the moment. They both attended Leeds college of Music but they’re Mancunians – we’re all North Manchester.”
Being born and bred in Manchester, Luke started on the Manchester club scene way back. With residencies at Sankeys, Warehouse Project and with Kaluki over the years, he knows the scene well.
However, Libero also takes inspiration from Ibiza, particularly Marco Carola’s Music On event, which has somewhat of a cult following. With a Music On night, you know what to expect – a familiar roster of DJs will be playing, and the chances are you’ll see the same faces bobbing about the crowd.
But because of this, the insanely popular house night has developed its own community. One that creates a no nonsense, no frills and pure love for the music atmosphere. This idea has formed part of Libero’s ethos, as it also mirrors the famed Manchester club community from back in the day.
“The label started based on a mutual passion and love for Ibiza club night Music On. The Amnesia terrace – and now Pacha – have really put us in the lane we’re in today,” said Luke.
“We strictly take inspiration [from Music On] though, we’re not looking to replicate someone’s else model, we’re looking to carve our own out. The main ethos is producing consistently high-level events, label releases and travelling the world playing the Libero sound. Our events went from strength-to-strength pre-pandemic and we’re coming back stronger than ever.”
“If there was one thing we could bring back to the city, it would be the small club scene. Sankeys was the last club Manchester had that the Mancunians actually loved. The spaces we have now are cool, but the city is missing some top-level small clubs in the city.”
So, for Luke, maintaining the Manchester-centric ethos means gone are the days of flying in big name DJs from around the world. With their Libero events, the boys hope to draw attention back to Manchester’s very own talent. By using a residencies model, they want to scale back production whilst giving local DJs and producers the chance to showcase their music in their hometown. With this, comes familiar faces, familiar DJs and a strong reputation we’ll learn to expect from them. Consistency is key.
With the roadmap out of lockdown announced last week have come lots of possibilities. Although he can’t say what, Luke tells us there’s plenty in the pipeline for him and Libero later this year, with indoor and outdoor events in the planning.
But one thing’s for certain, I can’t wait to get back to it. I particularly can’t wait to rage when someone barges past me in the crowd, to be honest. Oh, how I miss it all.
Soon guys, soon.
Keep up to date with Libero’s events and releases here.
Hundreds of Ian Brown tickets appear on resale sites as fans slam ‘karaoke gigs’
People are selling off their tickets for Ian Brown’s tour at far less than face value after footage from his gig in Leeds went viral for all the wrong reasons.
Fans have been saying that the former Stone Roses frontman has been ‘butchering his own tunes’ while singing along to a backing track.
His show has been compared to a karaoke due to the lack of live band, and some have said they had to walk out halfway through.
Ian Brown is set to perform a sold-out show at Manchester’s O2 Victoria Warehouse on Friday 30 September as part of his UK tour – his first solo headline tour in more than a decade.
But dozens of people are now listing their tickets for the gig on resale sites for almost half the face value.
There are also tonnes of tickets popping up for his concerts in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, and other dates around the country.
One person joked: “Just seen the Ian Brown footage gig in Leeds. Anyone want to buy 2 tickets for the Liverpool gig this Saturday night haha.”
Another said: “Just the 132 email alerts from @Twickets today for #IanBrown tickets.”
Someone wrote: “Absoloutely brutal reaction to Ian Brown and his karaoke tour. Over 80 tickets up for his London gig already at under face value. It gets to a fiver and I’ll go, failing that, I’ll spend a tenner at the chinese karaoke in town.”
Someone has even compared the resale value of tickets for his shows to the plummeting pound.
One person said: “Absolute sh*t show from Ian Brown, the videos doing the rounds from his karaoke concert are cringe as f*ck, i couldn’t even give away two tickets for tonight’s gig in Glasgow.”
The viral video of Ian singing in Leeds – which has now been viewed more than one million times – was posted by one ‘gutted’ fan who said they had to leave early.
They wrote: “Gutted to see @ianbrown turn up to his £40 a ticket, sold out gig at leeds tonight WITH NO BAND. I’m a life long fan but it was bad. #ianbrown does karaoke and butchers his own tunes. Most were too pissed to care but I had to get out after this one. Longsight M13 was a highlight.”
Another fan wrote: “Ian Brown charging £50 a ticket to only sing his solo tunes, over a backing track, with no band is quite something.”
A third simply called it “the funniest gig I’ve ever been to”.
One fan and his partner said they had seen enough around half an hour in to the gig, before they headed to the door to make their exit.
How to get Arctic Monkeys tickets for their massive Manchester gig next summer
Arctic Monkeys have announced details of their biggest-ever UK and Irish tour – and your best chance at getting tickets ends today.
The Sheffield rockers are set to perform in Manchester next summer, with a massive gig at Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground.
Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Matt Helders and Nick O’Malley will also play shows in Bristol, Coventry, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Swansea, Southampton, London, Dublin, Glasgow, and two gigs in their hometown at Hillsborough Park.
The tour announcement follows news of a new album, The Car, which is due for release on 21 October.
Arctic Monkeys have already released one single from their seventh studio album – There’d Better Be a Mirrorball dropped last month, to rave reviews.
The group first formed back in 2002 and were one of the first groups to shoot to fame via the internet.
Their 2006 critically-acclaimed debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, became the fastest-selling debut album in UK chart history.
They’ll be supported on their May and June tour dates by fellow indie rockers The Hives and The Mysterines.
The Arctic Monkeys general sale will begin at 9am on Friday 30 September, but there’ll also be a fan pre-sale for an extra chance at grabbing tickets.
To gain access to the pre-sale, fans need to pre-order The Car from the band’s official web store before 3pm today, Wednesday 28 September.
Pre-sale tickets will then go up for grabs at 9am on Thursday 29 September.
Arctic Monkeys 2022 UK and Ireland tour dates
May 29 Bristol – Ashton Gate Stadium 31 Coventry – Building Society Arena
June 2 Manchester – Emirates Old Trafford 5 Middlesbrough – Riverside Stadium 7 Norwich – Carrow Road Stadium 9 Sheffield – Hillsborough Park 10 Sheffield – Hillsborough Park 12 Swansea – Swansea.com Stadium 14 Southampton – The Ageas Bowl 16 London – Emirates Stadium 17 London – Emirates Stadium 20 Dublin – Marlay Park 25 Glasgow – Bellahouston Park