This is a fine venue. I only wish I lived nearer to it. The range of bands is eclectic and ticket and drinks prices are very reasonable. The interior is modern and spacious and the sound is excellent. The normal crowd is enthusiastic.
Of particular interest to those of us who live some way away, there is ample cheap parking (£2) right next door to the venue. The venue is part of the university and situated on a busy thoroughfare and is always full of people and very safe.
Housed in Manchester University's Student Union building on Oxford Road, Academy 2 is a long, wide room with no defining decor or characteristics. There's a stage at the front, a section for mixing desks and engineers at the back and that's about it.
Whilst I've seen some great bands play great gigs here over the years, the venue itself is nothing to write home about, hence the three stars. I appreciate the drinks are cheaper than at other venues in the city but I'd rather pay a bit extra and soak up the ambience of a place with character or history. Given the choice, I'd much rather go to the smaller, sweatier, Academy 3 / Hop and Grape upstairs!
Back in my electro-girl days, when I wore 4 different Barry M products on each eye and danced ironically (actually, I stil dance ironically, to hide the fact that I cannot dance) I DJ'd in Academy 2. I was predictably awful, but the crowd (made up almost exclusively of friends and people waiting for Sky Larkin to come on) was very supportive, and the room was small enough to make it seem lively. Ill-advised DJ ventures aside, I do like Academy 2. I've seen a lot of bands here, it's small enough to be intimate, and you can always see the stage, which is always good. I'd say that where gigs are concerned, it's my favourite Academy venue after Club Academy.
It also plays host to the student market and various open-day style fairs, and is a really great, versatile space that makes the most of the Union building.
Big bands play at the MEN for about £30+, big but not massive bands play at the Apollo for £20+, famous but less popular bands play at the Academy for £15+ and popular-ish bands that you've vaguely heard of play the Academy 2 for £10+.
Apart from being the cheapest, The Academy 2 is my favourite of the aforementioned venues. I've seen numerous bands here including Presidents of the USA, Hot Hot Heat and the Futureheads as well as partaking in other events hosted here in the Union building such as Pangaea.
As Sarah-Jane rightly points out that there are no real defining characteristics of this venue, but who needs pretty décor when you've come to see a band? Wherever you stand you can always see the stage, the sound quality is always good, the music is loud but not deafening, the security staff are alert, you can get cheap drinks from the Union bar downstairs and bring them up and you get your ticket back to put on your wall. What more do you need? A pub for afterwards? Try Big Hands or the Oxford.
One of the first bands I ever saw here was The Dresden Dolls. Cabaret Punk, lots of red lights, they befitted perfectly the "haunted theatre" vibe that this place has.
Hey, for me it feels like a haunted theatre, OK? Live with it.
To "do a Kirsten P" I will now list all of the other bands I've seen here in an attempt to convey the notion that here my life's been affirmed on more than one occasion (and not in some ill-fated attempt to make myself look cool):
Yo La Tengo
The Hold Steady
So, it attracts some of my favourite bands and the sound's pretty good, but not brilliant.
Still, atmosphere. In this respect, it has everything that the larger Academy 1 has not.
Academy 2, 3 and Club Academy are located within the Manchester University student union building. There's two main ways of getting in;
1) Have a student ID card (allows you as far as the bar)
2) Have a ticket to one of the many gigs
Otherwise if you turn up of an evening you'll get turned away by security. It's worth noting that if you buy your tickets from the on site box office, then you won't get ripped off on booking fees, postage and the like. You will pay merely face value! Incredible! (In the day anyone can walk in off the street)
The venues themselves are pretty cool. I've seen many a great concert here; White Stripes in Academy 2, Regina Spektor in Academy 3, etc.. Iron & Wine at Academy 2 was the most recent on 25/10/07. Wicked.
One thing I can't say much about is the current state of the Club Academy, since I've never visited since it's refit. Years ago it was an all-black, dirty little club called "The Cellar".
I have been to very many great gigs here over the years!
Academy 2 is the bigger of the 2 and academy 3 is a smaller more cosy venue, don't buy drinks at the upstairs barsgo to the bar on the ground floor where the drinks are cheaper!!
The Academy is a great venue overall but 2 and 3 offer a much more intimate feel to any gig. The kind of bands/artists that tend to play in these venues are newer bands so you have a great chance to see them really up close and personal before they hit the big time and move to the bigger stage, as it were.
There are plenty of bars nearby, as you would expect with it being so close to the Uni; although drinks inside are cheaper than most larger venues.
The venue is also on the main Uni drag so there are plenty of buses that pass until very late and plenty of taxi's that pass here too. Parking is a plenty although you should beware when parking on one of the many side streets as they can be a haven for car break in's. There a couple of NCP car parks nearby.
Ive been to the Academy 3 a few times to watch a friends band. I find the stairs up to the top floor a little scary as Im not good with heights but well worth it when you get up there.
The music always sounds good in the room, and the bar staff are great too. Not forgetting the price of drinks, which can't be grumbled at.
Theres free road parking around and off Oxford Road.
A great place to go and watch a gig.
We watched a Cee Lo Green concert here the other night. I wasn't sure what to expect really from a 'student' venue. Overall, I was quite pleased. Its quite an intimate venue and you feel wherever you are in the room you are quite close to the stage.
We found parking a nightmare, but eventually found a space next to a church across the road.
Anyway, the bar staff were friendly and pleasant which makes a huge change from grumpy overworked lads and lasses.
Personally i wouldnt really go again. I went watching Scouting For Girls at the Manchester Accademy and its FULL of students!!! You get pushed and crushed the security guards arent that helpful and a lot of people get quite drunk. I went in March 2008 and it couldve changed, but there was a man at the side of us smoking, and my dad also got hit on the head by a bottle. However it is a good place for atmosphere depending on how old you are. And we did get to meet the band afterwards.
The up and coming band seem to perform here so therefore the tickets are quite cheap to buy, but this is reflected in the place itself being a little unorganized and can get very unruly, not a place for younger teens.
Manchester Academy is the University Of Manchester's live venue and it has 4 different rooms catering for small acts such as unsigned bands to a large venue for more established bands.
I have seen many bands here including Faith No More, The Black Crowes and Monster Magnet. Even in the large venue there is quite an intimate atmosphere, and you can connect to the band much more than at places like the Apollo and the Manchester Evening News Arena.
In the students union building there is also a separate bar which is good for pre gig boozing and has cheap drink offers.
Awesome venue, went here last weekend for the trailer park boys live show, also seen easy star allstars, decent size, quite a big bar space, not bad at all.
Smaller than Academy 1, i much prefer these venues. The bar is almost 'Wetherspoon'-esque with lots of seating areas so you can unwind before and after a gig. Only thing i dont like is the spiral staircase you have to go up to get to the academy as im sure one day i will fall down it!!
This is a great place for catching new bands. I would recommend a subscription to their music listing. Some of the local pubs are good for a cheap beer too.
If you're into live music then Academy 2, 3 & Club provide really good intimate spaces. The decor is fairly bog standard, if verging on a little grimey and sticky, but that is what you expect from such places. Door prices are very reasonable, often under 10 quid and the atmosphere is pleasant for students and non students alike. A good place to check out up and coming acts, or to see great bands that aren't mainstream. Good location on Oxford Road for public transport links.
Manchester Academy 2, 3 and the Club Academy are in the University of Manchester Student Union on Oxford Rd. It's close to Oxford Rd train station and there are lots of buses running past the venue into and out of the city centre. The Academy 2 is the biggest venue of the 3 and doesn't have a bar within the venue itself (you have to go out and across the hall, which isn't really any hassle and mean you can't here people standing at the bar talking). Academy 3 is smaller and on the top floor of the union. It has a bar at the back and I really like seeing bands here as it has a more intimate feel. I haven't been to the Club Academy in the basement yet (I think I'm going next week).
Ive seen some very good acts at these venues, and its a great place to catch new and upcoming artists for a tenner, but I must say that the Club Academy can be awfully expensive considering its a student hangout (£10 for a ticket is great but not when its £3 for a glass of coke!)
Located in the midst of the university of manchester, this venue hosts a very wide range of acts from local to international. It is very well know for show casing unknown acts that haven't yet quite hit the big time. You can buy tickets which are relatively sold for very low prices at the university of manchester student union and also current being renovated to provide a better quality experience for anyone attending an event.
A brilliant gig venue is all you can say for this complex. The Academy 2 and Academy 3 are inside the actual union and I have been to a few gigs in both. The atmosphere is electric, the sound travels well and the bar underneath the place makes it an easy place to have a drink afterwards.
always get good bands in manchester wherever you go but here's the best place to find them..more close nit gigs and better atmosphere than bigger venues like m.e.n or apollo.Cheap bars and good looking students always adds to the atmosphere.like academy 3 due to a smaller venue than 2.normally get a half decent band every night down there
Great venue for smaller bands, atmosphere is fantastic and you are never too far away from the band you have gone to see.
Were live music lives. Catch a mass of live bands from a wide spread taste of musical madness.
dirt cheap tickets for amazing bands. Been loads of times and still love it. Atmosphere is AMAZING but the bar is a bit expensive. Staff are really kind ( I got on the VIP balcony once because i got a bit squished!). Me and my friends love this place and go all the time for birthdays and stuff.
It has some really good acts, but expect to spend some serious money especially for a student venue. It could do with a revamp on both the exterior and interior though.
superb music venues! some great bands have played and still play here plus the prices arnt too extortionate! located within walking distance of the main town the venue is really easy to find as its on oxford road which is one of the main roads in manchester.
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