Manchester Open Mic’s: Whiskey Jar #7

Welcome to the seventh 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 7th of March 2023 we managed to catch some great songs in so many different styles from the likes of May Payne, Luson, Old Sun New Moon and many more.

The second ridiculously talented singer of the night, Luson revisited us again. We can always expect some Adele/Aretha Franklin-esque vocals whenever he’s scheduled to perform. Luson performed some great covers on the night and wowed the room regardless of being ill and having a few drinks beforehand, after all this was his birthday! Luson sang ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ by Frank Sinatra, a personal favourite that was excelled with Luson’s casual flare adding a great personal touch. Another song he did was a rendition of ‘Very Superstitious’ by Stevie Wonder where, yet again, Luson showed off his impeccable voice by adding extra projection and style to the already high-powered song. Luson is a testament to the talent that the Whiskey Jar draws in. Drew (who we talk about in a couple of paragraphs time) joined Luson by playing his guitar, they had never performed together before but still they both had the talent to make it flawless. Go and follow Luson on Instagram to see what he’s up to next @_luson!

There aren't enough words to describe May Payne's incredible talent, one of the highest-level songwriters that we have ever come across. A soft but commanding voice going hand in hand with her talented keyboard skills, May performs at the absolute highest level every time we see her. Joe’s introduction of May should have prepared everyone for what was to come saying, “get strapped in for a roller coaster of emotion”. May has a single that she is releasing TONIGHT called ‘Take It Too’. From the teasers that we’ve seen on her Instagram this one is going to be amazing so make sure you get it on repeat as soon as it turns midnight! The third song May played for us was called ‘My Mattress’ May stated she’d never performed this song before which left us wondering why she hasn’t played it before, as it was too good to be shelved. The song has some melancholy lyrics, opting for a darker toned song. With lines such as “There’s bloodstains on my mattress, would you tell me that they’re harmless” and “The grass is greener but the darkness stays the same”. These lyrics play with some very real imagery, which was so thought provoking. We’re always hoping to see May live again soon and you can see more of her @getamay on Instagram.

Old Sun New Moon came back to play for us here at the Whiskey Jar, the prominent band were excellent as always with captivating singing and skilled guitar playing. Tom and Ethan are clearly destined to be bandmates as they play so in sync with each other despite their different styles, it’s really a pleasure to watch. The duo played three songs for us, all songs being their own work. ‘Pull Of The Tide’, ‘Hearts Change’ and ‘What Started A Fire’ all drew in a fascinated response from the viewers. Ethan, an Indiana native, plays the guitar like few I’ve seen before, using long drawn out notes to set an almost cosmic vibe in the room. They definitely come together as a very talented package. They have recently launched their new single that they performed for us, ‘Pull Of The Tide’ which was released on the 31st of March. If you want to see more of these guys make sure to check them out as @oldsun_newmoon on Instagram.

It was lovely to see Neeve and Drew again at the Whiskey Jar. The duo always provides a great performance when they’re performing together. Neeve, the country music artist, has a very fresh style, as it isn’t often we get to listen to some incredible country music at the Whiskey Jar. An incredible vocalist whose songs hit another level of perfection in this cosy environment, having beautiful lyrics and the perfect guitar accompaniment to fit with her abilities, Neeve knocked it out of the park.
Drew Palmer backed the performance with his awe inducing guitar playing. Having his own couple minutes in each song to show off his own mastery on guitar. Neeve has an EP launch party for ‘Country Kind of Love’, that’s coming up on the 19th of May where she will be playing with a full band at the Wilson’s Social, it’s her first headline gig so make sure to go see and support her then! Neeve has recently been recognised for her country music when she got the chance to go to Nashville, the home of country, for her song ‘Love Me’ which placed top 10 in an international song contest with over 20k song submissions, which is a massive accomplishment. If you want to see Neeve and keep up to date with her then you can find her @neevezahramusic on Instagram!

Drew Palmer came to do his own solo performance at the Whiskey Jar this week, Drew was a staple of the night, helping both Neeve and Luson out on the night by backing them with some incredible guitar skills. Drew has an incredible voice in his own right and in his first track that he performed the Beatles classic ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. Joe provided some back-up vocals on certain sections, creating an amazing sound. Drew nailed his own rendition of the classic song, by performing with a certain charisma and confidence that had people fixated on him, nailing the performance with a perfect guitar solo in the middle. Drew went with Neeve Zahra (our next act) to Nashville because of Neeve’s song ‘Love Me’ that Drew worked on with her. You can find more of Drew on Instagram as @drewpalmer92.

Daniel and Connor are a fantastic duo, the combination of the acoustic and electric guitars between them works in sync perfectly. You could immediately tell that they had come along together as they were in sync right from the start, performing some amazing musical pieces. In their first song “Something Is Changing” Daniel leads in with the acoustic as Connor backs him with the electric. Daniel’s song is a deeper one, focussing on the essence of change between a couple, and how people can become estranged due to life getting in the way. The song has some hard-hitting quotes such as “I watch you as you fall but never hit the floor” and “Something is changing for you, maybe I’ll change myself too”, relationships are full of internal struggle and reflection which this song gets across so well due to Daniel’s lyricism. Connor creates mood with the electric guitar by playing long drawn-out notes that add that extra infliction of sadness. Daniel and Connor will be back at the Whiskey Jar very soon so make sure that you’re there to listen. If you want to find more of them, you can find them as @danielmthomas and @connorkeaster on Instagram!

Thank you for reading the seventh 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)