In this challenging time, it’s easy to forget our normal lives, the places we used to go and the things we loved doing. We thought it was time to reminisce and support the venues that will no doubt be struggling in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, by writing them love letters. With the aim of staying sane in the present, we’ll delve into our past experiences at Manchester’s finest clubs, creating hope for the future by making sure they’re still there when we come out the other side of this crazy period. Up next… Gorilla.

If you’ve been to a gig or club-night in Manchester in the last 8 years, it’s likely you wandered down Whitworth Street to one of the busiest venues in the city – and the UK. At 700 capacity, Gorilla is pretty big and plays host to those future festival headliners and gems you thought you’d never see under some railway arches. It feels intimate but epic. After a massive refurb in 2012, it’s gone from strength to strength with state of the art sound.

Gorilla achieves that difficult task of both acting like a blank canvas for an act, while also feeling unique. It’s a simple enough shaped room but its dome-like roof makes it feel like a proper sweatbox – so when a band like Foals show up to play on their pre-album launch tour, it’s only gonna go one way. Lead singer, Yannis Philipakis revelled in the closeness and ended up jumping into the crowd from the balcony. The venue – formerly The Green Room – also lays on seated gigs, often for some of the most unique shows in the city; the elusive Sun Ra Arkestra wowed back in 2015.

But the venue also manages to be one of those rare spaces that works as a nightclub too. Last year the one and only Kerri Chandler played all night long, bringing in a crowd of all ages. DJ Q tore the roof off too and Todd Terje and Gilles Peterson were supposed to be playing there last month. Somehow, it’s one of the most important clubs in the city, despite being a gig venue at its core. Not to mention having one of the best restaurants and cafe upstairs. Oh, they’ve also got a killer design studio company that’s worked with Red Bull, Morrisons and Tesco. Let’s hope when this all blows over, Gorilla will still be beating its chest.

54-56 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 5WW
, Tel: 0161 826 2998
Leo Burrell
Published on:
Wed 20 May 2020