Manchester Open Mic’s: Whiskey Jar #5

Welcome to the new instalment 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 having recently celebrated it’s 9th birthday, doesn’t look to be slowing.

On Wednesday 8th of February 2023 we started off with Max MacMillan. A very talented performer Max showed his range of ability by playing his guitar flawlessly at some speed throughout both of his 2 songs. Max’s second song now holds the record for longest song ever performed at the Whiskey Jar! But that didn’t stop it captivating everyone in the audience, with the song changing pace and style many times during the piece. If you want to keep up with Max’s latest dates and songs you can find him on Instagram @maxmacsmallmmillan.

Another amazing artist that performed for us last week was Joni Mellor, the first thing I have to say is that her voice is magic! The Manchester based artist was outstanding when she played for us, with a voice that really does get a hold of you, eerie, but in the best way possible. She performed a trio of songs for us at the Whiskey Jar, her final song being her own rendition of ‘American Boy’ by Estelle. Covers of incredibly popular songs such as this can tend to be a little 'samey' but Joni had her own unique version of the track opting for a more grounded and slower tempo version. Joni’s decision to change from the track’s original sound was great as it allowed her to accentuate her vocal skills by singing at her own pace and take her time to let everyone know how enchanting her voice really is. Check in on her Instagram @joni_mellor!

May Payne is a spectacular singer/songwriter who, without a shadow of a doubt, made everyone in the room shut the f*ck up for a few minutes while she was playing. Her heartfelt lyrics combined with a top tier voice go together for captivating and emotional songs that you can really feel. May performed three tunes for us, the first of which hasn’t got a name yet, the second was called ‘Take It Too’ and the final song called ‘Second Best’, all of which were beautifully written, composed and perfected, as represented deafening applause after each song. New music is on the way, with ‘Take It Too’ being the first of her tracks that she plans to release soon, it is definitely one you want to keep your ears perked up for! Although May is a Manchester based artist she has a gig in Leeds soon. So, for more info on that and to see more of May, you can find her as @getamay on Instagram!

Max Eastland Park is another standout act that we got to see at the Whiskey Jar, Max is apart of a group that we here at One Love Records are really proud to be associated with, called ‘Sister Grace’. Max showed up in style on Wednesday despite it being his first performance at the Whiskey Jar. He displayed his outstanding solo act performing, the soon to be released Sister Grace song called 'Sail'. The group are in the process of releasing music and getting gigs booked for the rest of the year! You need to keep your eyes peeled for this class act. They specifically have a gig at ‘Night & Day’ coming up that we hope to see all you guys at! During Max’s performance he displayed his high level of skill in controlling the crowd, despite the mellow tones of his music. His presence really being felt by everyone listening, closely followed by a deafening applause. Whether alone or with Sister Grace Max is a prestigious performer and one to follow, you can find him as @nemo.the.artist and @sistergrace_band on Instagram you’ll be seeing more of him soon!

Harry Heart was another artist that performed on the stacked line-up showcasing at the Whiskey Jar’s open mic night last Tuesday. Harry is an Australian born artist that has been here in the UK since 2019. Since then he’s spread his time between the two countries. Harry is currently in the midst of releasing his album ‘Cambistry’, but in a very unique way, he is releasing each song as an NFT project so as a song is purchased on ‘Opensea’ then he releases the song coinciding with the NFT (he has released 5 out of 11 so far so if you can go and buy an unreleased song of his). Regardless of being the last performing artist of the night, his crowd was just as engaged as the first performers! He will be playing events in Manchester and London in May but even sooner has a show in Brighton, on the 12th of May at the Bee’s Mouth. If you want to see more of Harry you can find him on Instagram at @harryheartau and you can find his website at!

Luke De Sciscio also graced us with his performance in a stacked line-up on Wednesday. Luke is a performer through and through, with stage presence, vocal ability and guitar skills that are sublime. Luke performed three tracks for us called ‘Rise Up Waking Dreamers’, ‘New Skin’ and ‘To Love (A Love That Gets Away)’ which all crushed it with the audience. Luke is in the midst of touring after he also just came off tour with ‘Charm Of Finches’, which were sold out shows!. Luke has lots of dates scheduled and his next stop will be Chapel Arts Centre in Bath on the 17th. Luke is of Italian descent having an Italian father, and you can feel his heritage in his outfit style and bravado. Luke has just released his 11th record called ‘If One Thing Were Different, Nothing Would Be The Same’ which you can find out more about on his Instagram @lukedesciscio.

We were also treated with a performance from Big Society. A group that had a very unique instrument in the form of a bass guitar, almost shaped like a ukulele. The band recently started an album with a single release that should be out in roughly April/May with the full album release expected to be out in October/November. With the quality of the songs they performed last Wednesday you’ll really want to keep an eye out for their album. The band performed a song called ‘Foolish’ where lead singer William started the song out displaying his range and talent vocally with the lads making some spectacular backing despite the stripped back style of the performance. Not only do they have new content coming soon but they also have recently released an EP which is called ‘A Quick One, While We’re Waiting’ an indie rock ensemble that is a refreshing listen as you can hear the heart in the music. The group is working with ‘Run Remedy’ in April to play at ‘Low 4 Studio’ in ‘The Great Northern’ so make sure to go see them (they’re worth it!). To see more of Big Society check out their page on Instagram at @thebigsocietyband!

Thank you for reading the latest entry into our new open mic series. We apologise for the late release of this blog, we'll be sure to get it out on time next week! Big thank you to everyone involved at the Whiskey Jar and the talented artists who took the time to speak to us, we're looking forward to coming back already!

Written by Sam Wright.