Open mic’s are the vibrant heart of Manchester’s music scene. This year we have frequented one open mic which sits at the top of the list. We’ve witnessed the talents of both established and emerging artists who have graced the stage at The Whiskey Jar. From the soulful melodies of May Payne, Marcus Man and Kaiden Nolan, the incredible talent of Ollie West, to the genre-blending artistry of Max Eastland Park and the captivating performances from South By Zero and LIP. In this blog we’ll be showcasing the very best that 2023 has had to offer so far this year.
Lip's performance at the Whiskey Jar was nothing short of electrifying. Opening with their stripped back rendition of "A Thousand Years," the crowd was immediately captivated as the song resonated with the audience. A clever lyric from the song, "I told her I loved her for a thousand years, she said you only say that shit to me after a thousand beers," drew laughter and cheers from the audience, showcasing Lip's ability to connect through both their music and humor. The band's trio of guitars—electric, acoustic, and bass—created a rich and dynamic sound, with Quade's powerful lead vocals leading the way while the acoustic guitarist provided harmonious backup vocals. Their second song, "Burning Love," was a raw and take on the stresses of life, drawing inspiration from AC/DC, although this song was again minus the drums for to fit the whiskey jar environment. Even in this acoustic rendition, the track exuded a palpable intensity. Lyrics like "The only love I need is weed and f***ing baccy bro" and "Cigarettes smoke dancing doing pirouettes" further highlighted the band's unique blend of wit and musical prowess, leaving the audience craving more of Lip's infectious energy. Check them out on instagram @wheresyourlip
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 8th February 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 an event at ‘Lock 91’ 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!
Kaiden Nolan is a Manchester born artist who performed with pianist Harry McCann, representing the home side at the Whiskey Jar’s open mic on Tuesday 24th January. 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!
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 didn't have 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. May has recently released her first EP 'Sane' which is filled with beautiful songs, some incredibly sad and some slightly less sad. But don't let that put you off! For more of May, you can find her at @getamay on Instagram!
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 released 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.
Ollie West was up first on the 24th of January, 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. 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!
South By Zero are the only full band we got to see on Tuesday 17th January, a newer band that started as a duo but now have their most recent addition of band mate Emma. Tom, Matt, George and Emma clearly work together well as they heard enormous applause after each song they played on the night. Their first song they performed called ‘A Thousand Miles Away’ which originally is George’s song that’s based on his girlfriend who lives in Spain (which can feel like a thousand miles away). The song was upbeat and lifting even though talking about someone who is so far which can be very tough on a relationship, the bands chemistry could be shown with pitch perfect harmonisation in sections such as “I can’t be trusted alone”. They create satisfying sounds with background harmonization to compliment George’s lead on the track. They are due to have their first release around March time so make sure to keep your eyes on these guys social media to find what else is in store for the band, you can find them at @southbyzero on Instagram!