Club Spotlight: Back From Hell [Jabez Clegg, Manchester]

Manchester’s pedigree rock clubnight, Back From Hell moves from Legends to Jebez Clegg. The heaviest, grungiest, punk-fuelled, heads down, anthem pumping, genre breakin’, sweat drenchin’, butt shakin’, feet skankin’, head freakin’, friend hugging, smile busting, most adrenalin soaked rock’n’rollin’ fun on the planet. We think, anyway.

Back From Hell

Our resident tech guru and metalhead, Mike Leigh Cooper took some time out on January to blast away the Jan blues with a good old mosh out in Manchester by visiting the club night which followed the demise of Jilly’s Rockworld, Back From Hell.

In their own words,”Back From Hell” is all about rockin’ out in Manchester and bringing together the rock and alternative community under one roof.” We’re glad to say that the night did not fall short of our expectations and memories of growing up and visiting Jilly’s as a teenager. In 2013 – a year with promising line-ups at countless festivals, it’s not unfair to expect good tunes and that is exactly what was delivered.

Examining the music first, having just moved from a previous venue, Back From Hell is a clubnight that deserves more recognition for its work. The first night of 2013 was jam-packed across the three rooms on offer: a classic rock and pop room, metal room and pop, punk and ska room.

We’ve all been to nights with high hopes of good choices by DJs only to be disappointed that the evening lapses into less-than-alternative tunes (our personal faves are Orgy ‘Blue Monday’ and Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me To Life’) which, really, makes it not a proper rock night, doesn’t it? Yep. This (again, fortunately) is not one of those nights, fortunately. As the DJs selected the prime cuts for our listening pleasure, from Pantera, to Down, 36 Crazyfists, Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour and other top class artists in the metal room and Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Alkaline Trio and many more in the punk room, topped off with the likes of Iron Maiden and other classics on the downstairs area. Pretty damn cool.

Looking at the venue, Jabez Clegg is known for its diverse speciality nights is, in this writer’s opinion, as good a venue as any for such a rock night. It’s very central (granted, not as central as Jilly’s was), it’s spacious and the divide between the bottom bar with its couches and diner-esque seating and the upstairs which is mainly for dancing and socialising really means you can have as heavy or as relaxed a night as you want.

There is a cloakroom available for only a pound which is in the large hall once you walk in, and directly opposite the main bar with the classic rock room tucked away to the side. Upon arrival, this space is perfect for easing into the night, or for taking a break from dancing the night away upstairs. On the second floor, there are two rooms; the smaller room feels a little overbearing as you can see everyone who comes up and down the stairs, it’s no problem at all as the traffic is constant.

Although there is no bar in the smaller of the two rooms, the second warehouse-like room which is adjacent and connected by a small corridor and bigger doors has the upstairs bar right at the back. Later on in the night, the bar is, on occasions, quite busy, but for a great rock night, though it is never more than one or two people deep on this night.

For anyone wanting to dance, the regulars who we met are more than accommodating – from an enthusiastic dancer dressed much like Keith Flint (Prodigy), to long-haired air-guitar playing fans of heavier metal, goths, cyberpunks, guys in cowboy hats and birthday girls in puffy dresses and Dr. Martens.

If you fancy a quieter night, the downstairs offers plenty of seating and enough distance from the classic rock room to speak and there’s plenty of space upstairs to nestle into your own little corner and enjoy the music from the side-lines.

My experience with the people attending Back From Hell on the night I was there was as pleasant as could be expected. Although, not knowing many people inside was somewhat of a hindrance, I was immediately welcomed by someone who had already been in and brought out some flyers for those of us inline so that we could get a pound off entry and, as soon as we ventured into the smoking area later in the evening, I was made welcome and had some small conversations with regulars outside – and not being a smoker, I still felt more than comfortable. The door staff are there, but not intimidating in any way. Following on from the night, the organisers have been extremely chatty on Facebook and very welcoming.

The addition of photography from Belisana’s Dream Photography helped me engage with people who were there as well as getting an insight into other people’s night with photos of moments that I wasn’t part of. This serves to support the already friendly community and does a great job of bringing the night to life, ensuring that they live up to their aims as described on the website: to create awesome nights that live long in the memory.

So, if you’re a seasoned rock night fan, or even someone who fancies a change – don’t be put off by the name, because your night is likely to be as good as you can expect up until 4am!

For more info, visit their website, or their Facebook page. Entry is £4 with flyer and £5 without. Jager Bombs are £1.50, with beers at an average of £3. Nifty!

Mike Leigh Cooper

About Mike Leigh Cooper

Hi everyone! I'm Mike and I'm a big geek. I help out with things like plug ins, advertising and media production. I'm not a coder or developer but I do design, create audio, video and photography. I love music and always have Spotify on - my favourite genres are metal, hip hop, trip hop, chillout, rap metal, nu-metal, ska punk and ska (I think that's it). The list is likely to be a lot longer and I change my mind every day. Feel free to find me on Spotify and check out my playlists. Welcome.