Manchester Open Mic’s: Whiskey Jar #3

Welcome to the third installation of ‘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 on the 24th of January 2023 we managed to catch some great songs in so many different styles from the likes of Ollie West, Jack Woodward, Sistra and many more. We’re looking forward to next week already, see you there!

Ollie West was up first this time around, and what a talent he is. As the first act of the night he really set the standard, this wasn’t Ollie’s first visit to the Whiskey Jar and you could tell. His pianist skills were elite, watching his fingers move so fast was hard to keep up with, but even at such pace not a key was played wrong. Absolutely fascinating to see. Ollie has a new single on the way soon, which we can’t wait to get a listen to. His music started out with the song Shelf life, a song of Ollie’s which came out last November, the song started slowly with a piano build up to Ollie’s vocals. Ollie shows his distinctive voice off when he sang “can we stay at home tonight” on the second time, adding some impressive flare to the “at” in the sequence. Ollie is a part of a band called the ‘Ollie West & The Wildflowers’, that has another 6 members excluding Ollie. They have plenty of shows that are coming up in the near future so make sure to follow their Instagram at @olliewestwildflowers!

Jack Woodward visited the Whiskey Jar last Tuesday to showcase some new music that he will be releasing soon, called ‘On Your Level’ & ‘Unforgiven (pray)’ and a song he had already released called ‘Every Night’. His new releases should be available in the next few months so keep an eye out for them! Jack is a musician for a living, he plays covers at bars and restaurants so he is no amateur in front of a crowd, which you can tell with his presence on stage. Jack looked so comfortable and in his element while he was playing, which ideal for the respectful environment that the Whiskey Jar has for the artists they host. The last song he played, ‘Every Night’ has a fantastic music video filmed in various spots around Manchester. Jack’s Instagram is @jackwoodwardmusic so you can keep up with everything he’s up to!

Kaiden Nolan is a Manchester born artist who performed with pianist Harry McCann, representing the home side at the Whiskey Jar’s open mic last Tuesday. Kaiden and Harry’s second song they performed was called ‘Flow’s Deep’ a more upbeat funky sounding song that has a rhythm that makes the body want to move! Kaiden has a distinctive accent that adds to his sound, building his character as he stays true to his hometown sound. Harry McCann was standout on the keys really adding the funky emphasis to the song, matching with Kaiden on guitar perfectly. In the climax of the song the duo sync up by playing in rhythm together guitar and keyboard, one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever seen at the Whiskey Jar so far. Kaiden will be releasing a new single soon and his first single ‘Move’ is available on all major platforms. You can find Harry on Instagram at @harrymccann98 and you can find more of Kaiden at @kaidennolan!

Coruja Jones was another artist that came down to the Northern Quarter for the Whiskey Jar’s open mic night. If you think Coruja is a different seeming name, Coruja himself let the audience in the know that it means owl in Portuguese. In his final song played a tune called ‘Songs For Winter’ off of his debut record, a softly sung track that Coruja brings to life with his prowess and vocal ability. He includes an uplifting message which he put across especially well when he sang “keep on fighting, fight for yourself”. Coruja has an upcoming EP that he will be releasing later on this year, called ‘Undo’ so keep on the look out for that! Coruja is originally from the Midlands and his guitarist, Jake, comes from Yorkshire. They are now based in Manchester and have been here for 10 years. Coruja will be available to see on the 17th of February at the Castle Hotel, where he will be playing songs from ‘The Crossing’ and ‘Undo’. Catch more of the both of them on Instagram at @jakesguitar and @corujajones!

Dreuw is another exciting act we got to see at the last Tuesdays open mic night. Dreuw who originates from Leeds, is an intriguing artist who is currently organising another tour, which will be premiering his short film documentary in support of the EP from last year called ‘Lose This’. Dreuw’s voice is so compelling, which he demonstrated specifically in the last song he performed called ‘Knows Me Too Well’ where Dreuw sang a cappella. His voice didn’t need any accompaniment as he projected through the bar, so quiet you could hear a pin drop, everyone amazed by his beard and his vocals alike. Dreuw gave insight to his artistry talking about how his music is about healing and a form of healing through experiences, and unifying people through relatable scenarios. You can see and hear more of Dreuw on Instagram at @dreuwmusic, don’t miss out!

A newer act called Louis Collier made an appearance last Tuesday, showing off his voice and skills on guitar by playing 2 covers. Louis is a former military man, who was well prepared to take on the mic, singing all of his songs with power and passion, having the whole room wanting to join in. He really had a presence in the room. One of the songs Louis performed was ‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac, a very iconic song which lyrically bases itself on a metaphorical chain that binds people together. The room definitely enjoyed the performance from Louis and we hope to see more of him soon! You can find Louis on Facebook at

Sistra are a group from London. A duo, they are not only music collaborators but also sisters, although the name may have give it away. Their act started out with a track called ‘Lost My Way’. The sisters have clearly put in the time together, having a class performance. Sylvie and Sasha both have unique talents and can sing, one preferring the keyboard and the other using the guitar. The sisters composure and trust in each other was obvious to see with both of them harmonising in sync and playing in perfect time, an act you MUST make sure you get to see! At @sistramusic on Instagram, they have an EP coming soon and I’m sure they will have more content coming as well, stay up to date!

After a long night of brilliant music we were treated to some tunes from Jacob Coley. Only his second time visiting the Whiskey Jar’s open mic night, but Jacob proved himself yet again with a top class performance and I’m sure we’ll see him back again to make it an incredible hat-trick! In his final song, Jacob talks about two people being separated by something beyond their control. Painting a mental image with his lyrics Jacob sung, “Although she might be far away, the sunsets stay the same” something that’s a refreshing take on an aspect of long distance relationships. You can find more of Jacob and his work over as @jacob.coley on Instagram, he’s got a very prominent aesthetic with some snippets of his music mixed in!

Thank you for reading the third installation of The Best Open Mic Night in Manchester, as of next week we will be putting a playlist together for everyone we listen to on these unmissable nights. So keep an eye out for that.

Big thank you to everyone we spoke to on the night, we hope to see you all again soon!

Written by Sam Wright (@samwright.__ on Instagram)