[sic] Magazine

Antwerp Mansion: (and the search for Krystal and the Pistols)

Antwerp Mansion: not just your average venue.
(and the search for Krystal and the Pistols)

Who’d have thought at any point in my recently discovered (dare I call it) “career” as a journalist I’d ever succumb to writing about Real Estate. That’s right people, I’m afraid I’m done with reviewing rock and roll, I’m relinquishing my pen and trading it in for a bright red blazer and a clip board. At the tender age of seventeen I’ve discovered what takes most people a lifetime to learn: that the housing market is really where it’s at.

The Manchester in-crowd

Okay, so perhaps the above statement isn’t completely true. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a complete and utter fabrication…not that I wouldn’t look stunning in a red blazer. However, there is some truth in saying that I have in fact lost faith in modern day rock and roll. I think it’s safe to say that most British music journalists contemplated suicide after watching this year’s Brit awards. You could almost hear the sound of two thousand music lovers losing faith in humanity, the collective thought being “This? Seriously? This is what you’re AWARDING? A group of Oasis wannabees and a blonde hermaphrodite resembling some sort of cat/wedding dress amalgamation?” (More on Gaga at a later date) Oh yes, even I had a good long stare at a box of paracetamol after watching the Brits and wondered if it was really all worth it…

Where are they now?

…so what pulled me back from the brink? What gave me hope that music could and would thrive yet? Not a band, not an artist but a place, and that place? Rusholme’s own Antwerp Mansion. If you live in Manchester and haven’t been to Antwerp Mansion yet, either go now or move away. There is no point in living on the doorstep of what is without a doubt the best new venue in the city if you’re not going to step inside the grounds. The mansion represents everything that is and was brilliant about music, mainly due to its lack of rules. If you’re into order, I’m afraid the Mansion is simply not for you. Being converted from an old, abandoned house into a venue (which, in essence, is still a house) Antwerp Mansion is grimy, grubby and fucking fantastic. People who go to Antwerp aren’t just cool…they’re cool in a really fucking cool way.

Have raincoat, will travel

The venue has a semi communal vibe to it, along with holes in the walls, a smoking garden (as opposed to the usual over cramped smoking terrace) a bar, a stage and three main assembly rooms downstairs. What more could you possibly want from a venue? Good music possibly? Well, look no further because Antwerp Mansion attracts the best, most unusual and overall talented acts from…well God knows where. High flyers Ten Bears (a favourite of mine) have graced the stage more than once-most memorably April 29th when they held their single launch at the Mansion and were supported by Fresh Kills, Lostrites and my new best-loved band; the Caulbearers, who I hope to be reviewing soon, after their mind blowing performance. I also had the pleasure of watching the exciting group Krystal and the Pistols-who, despite having searched the net for thoroughly can find no trace of. I implore Krystal, or any of the band mates to approach me with some form of website in order to prevent my imminent suicide due to a lack of their music.

Key boarders

Every time I’ve been to the Mansion I leave craving to return. The venue stands as a representation of freedom and is an example of the way the music industry SHOULD be run today. All that hierarchy and competition normally found between acts in more mainstream venues is completely absent at Antwerp, and just as the Hacienda was in the 80s and 90s, the club is destined to become one of the most talked about venues our city has seen.

Sorry to disappoint any fans of Moho Live, or the Ruby Lounge (or even the housing market itself) but Antwerp Mansion is where it’s at.

~Photography courtesy of John Lee and may be subject to copyright.~