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Jackie O at Night Day Cafe

30 Years on Oldham Street

As the Night and Day Cafe reaches a landmark birthday, we ask those who know it well for their memories and cherished moments.

Defining what a venue should be, Night and Day is a Manchester institution. Every pore of its being oozes music; every drop of sweat, every ringing guitar chord, every rush of emotion, every beautiful dream, every hope and every sensual decibel seeped into its bricks and mortar.

It's where classic bands were formed, either at the bar in furtive conversations or on its hallowed corner stage; it's where young bands came and went living the beautiful dream for a few hours in those life defining moments that go beyond having a musical career; it's where ideas bounced around its walls; it's where we turned up, tuned in and freaked out.

Genius lurks in its shadows, bonhomie round its tables and the future in its febrile thrilling air. It still resonates to the beat of the legendary instigator Jan, the wayward Dutch hippie who created magic out of a chip shop and culture in a desolate space. His revolution mind made a venue out of thin air and sparked the northern quarter and a city centre fast forwarding into a lo fi sci future.

John Robb (Journalist, musician, TV and radio presenter, author, DJ, mentor, spoken word)

Night and Day was the place where I found my tribe… a bunch of dreamers with big dreams doing their darnedest to make their big dreams come true.

Stanley Chow (Artist)

The city lights are dying,
Two burning suns cruise west,
Stomachs taught,
With the smack of wine
Left behind the streets of sweat,
Bled a thousand times
Living in the alleys of grime,
Kids made of steel
Who never give,
Muscle and blood
To stay and live.

Jon Ashley (Musician and promoter -
Night Day Cafe frontage

Night & Day Cafe frontage

Ged Camera

I’m not sure how many people really remember the post-Madchester musical landscape. I’d say they were pretty desperate times. Manchester music pre-bomb was still struggling, with little going on during the week and commuter pub crawls filling weekend venues. The music scene was pretty flat and areas like the N/4 hadn’t changed significantly much since the 80s. Being in a band around ‘93 instantly drew you to Manchester with places like the Roadhouse, Star & Garter and Boardwalk providing obvious platforms.

But I remember my first visit to Night & Day. A mid-week evening, demo cassette tapes in hand and myself and the rest of the band peering into the window. It was closed, but owner Jan emerged, happily took our demo and told us all about the place he was developing into a more ambitious and fully fledged venue. From playing in a band and being booked in by Johnny and Pete, to our later work with and reviewing and putting on gigs at Night & Day via Andy Woods and then Jay Taylor, this was from the off a fantastic venue, that always felt like home. Impossibly hot in summer, quenched only by canned and bottled beer, Night & Day broke the mould, combining bohemia with a sense of occasion, housed in a coffee house that thrives on live performance.

There are many happy memories there, particularly from playing on the stage to watching soon-to-be-massive bands passing through. Our nights DJing and putting on gigs there were fun-filled, from hogging the bar, arranging meetings or standing front and centre, soaking in an atmospheric set and publishing it all as soon as the internet would allow.

Night & Day is so revered for establishing itself in such a way. An cultural oasis in a desert long before gentrification. A positive, sustainable beacon that remains after many around it have faded. That it finds itself front and centre of a revitalised N/4 is as amazing as it is deserved. This is also a place that IS Manchester. Nurturing and showcasing emerging talent, it remains one of the few established places with a historical significance that provides this. The rich veins of post millennial new music are certainly embedded in its fabric. The journey has been long but fruitful with many, many bands, artists and fans intertwining the venue into their life story.

The legion of artists who have passed through is countless. The sounds, sights and lights of Night & Day are very much present within all of us and long may they remain so. Long may it stay and live.

Skids (Night & Day Cafe)

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