Manchester Open Mic’s: Whiskey Jar #1

Welcome to a new series on the One Love Records blog accurately named ‘The Best Open Mic Night In Manchester’. Known to many in the Manchester music community, Joe Bagpipes hosts a twice weekly (Tuesday & Wednesday) night at the Whiskey Jar, celebrating some of the best artists in Manchester and beyond. This night is the perfect place to discover new music and having recently celebrated it’s 9th birthday, doesn’t look to be slowing. On the 10th of January 2023 we managed to catch some great songs in so many different styles from the likes of Tommy Ball, Nicky Phillips, Alina Ly and many more. We’re looking forward to next week already, see you there!

First up we had Tommy Ball. The main we can say about Tommy is that he has a very unique sound, but it’s how he uses this unique style to hook the audience in as he delivers a standout performance that really shows what he's made of. The Blackburn raised singer has a deep care for his hometown and represents it with style and a top tier voice. His first song he performed was ‘American Diner’, a soulful tune which takes on an American inspired guitar playing style, which works alongside Tommy’s soft singing. The different style to the song compared to what is standard in the Manchester scene really captures the attention of the crowd. As the first act up he smashed it out the park by engaging the crowd with the first track, moving onto a deeper topic in his second song called ‘All sex is the same’. Tommy describes the song as “it’s about when you have two opposite sides of it all and when you’re just sleeping with someone and it doesn’t feel like much”. Even though the songs speeds up compared to his first track you can still feel the soulfulness in his voice which he takes inspiration from Ray Charles, Jeff Buckley, The Beatles and more.

At the moment Tommy is going solo working in the singer/songwriter scene and developing himself as an artist but previously he was in a band called the Dantevilles who supported the Blossoms at their first album launch in Stockport Plaza, a great feat for any band. If you want to find Tommy on Instagram you can find him at @itstommyball and make sure to look out for what he does next!

Marcus Man was another of the wonderful acts that performed at the Whiskey Jars open mic night, a very friendly lad from Warrington. Marcus has been playing live whilst releasing his own music since 2019, he is a younger performer with lots of time to produce more and more high quality music. Marcus has an impressive set of tracks that you can find on Apple Music and Spotify (which you should really listen to). Marcus played a few top tier songs for us at the open mic night, one of which he will be releasing on the 20th of January called ‘Relegated’ which, unless you can’t tell, has some football related themes. Find Marcus on Instagram @marcus_man_music.

Next, we had Xavier from the band Polybloom . ‘Anything different’ was the first of their tracks that Xavier played at the Whiskey Jar open mic night, a melodic tune that started his performance off with a bang. Xavier himself hosts open mic nights at Trof (make sure you to check that out as well). Throughout the whole performance there wasn’t a note that was slipped or vocal that wasn’t in key and that extends further to his music online with Polybloom. The band has some projects that they are working on which include a few singles and a live session in early summer last year, keep up with them on Instagram @polybloomuk.

Nicky Phillips is a stand out vocalist with perfect execution to match. This makes Nicky a joy to listen to, performing with grace and power, soft and strong, showing that she only needs herself to capture the peoples attention. In her first song she performs, called ‘Home’, she starts with a gripping line “take me, where the flowers grow, where we can’t grow old”, this very first line makes the listener think and imagine a scene that she is creating through her voice. Her voice is very elegant, but yet is also projected with strength, as in points like “so take me where your heart is, where your love is and I’ll call it home” where she still provides mental pictures for the listeners to make. She tells the story of a person that she loves and how she feels about them, singing “something in your eyes it tells me this is all I need” a person she believes can be her safe space, someone who can she can be at home with them anywhere. Nicky is a talent you have to hear, Find Nicky on Instagram @nickyphillipsuk and make sure to check out her music.

After putting out a successful single Alina Ly took a hiatus from putting out music to do some soul searching and find life experience that she could further use in her songs, and last Tuesday we got to see her at the Whiskey Jar’s open mic night. Alina and Jake her co-star guitarist performed three individual tracks consisting of ‘Aperture’, ‘Kerosene’ and ‘Empty Shore’ followed each time by thunderous applause. The Seattle native came across the pond to the north for the music scene that thrives in our area, leaving behind LA for the hub that is Manchester. Alina stated that she enjoyed the amazing community experience that comes with being in such a renowned area for music culture. With experience back under her belt, Alina sold out ‘The Castle’ and is leading up to a headline gig at the end of October.

Alina starts her performance with ‘Aperture’ a slow starting tune that has an ominous but yet sad synth in the background. Jake who played the electric guitar when he performed at the Whiskey Jar, has a key role in the tone that comes across in this tune with long lasting notes adding to the background to create a sad atmosphere which you feel when you listen, especially live. Alina has a charming presence on stage shouting out Jake in the midsection between tracks and thanking Joe (@joebagpipes) and the audience before her closing act. In the second song ‘Kerosene’ begins with a sombre guitar solo which leads into beautiful vocals. The song depicts a scene of a possible one sided relationship as described “but have you forgot, I know I won’t, given all this up for you” which paints a picture of someone trying as hard as they can for love. If you want to find Alina you can find her on Instagram at @alinalymusic and keep your eye out for what she has coming!

Make sure you come down to the Whiskey Jar on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week to experience some of these fantastic artists live like we do. Big thanks to Joe Bagpipes for helping us chat to as many of the artists as we could and we're sorry to the people we didn't get around to (we'll get better). All of the artists, venue and Joe are linked throughout the text, follow them all! New blog about Tuesday 17th coming next weekend.

Written by Sam Wright