Review: Izzie Walsh’s Open Mic Night at The Bay Horse Tavern

A city renowned for its music, Manchester is, in my opinion, a place where true artists are born.

By Manchester's Finest | 21 May 2019

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If you are passionate about making or listening to live music, you’ll know that Manchester isn’t short of open-mic nights, and I thought it about time I reviewed one of the most up-and-coming events in the city.

Izzie Walsh’s Open-Mic Night is hosted in the basement of The Bay Horse Tavern in the Northern Quarter, a very small, yet intimate setting for performers and guests. Despite her youthful age, the award-winning singer-songwriter was a confident host with an obvious passion for music.

As an extremely talented musician herself, I had faith in her abilities to create and organise event designed to celebrate music in all its shape and forms, and she did exactly that and more.

She kicked the whole thing off with her original song, sidelined for her debut EP, ‘The Curse’, an expressive, uplifting tale about striving to fulfil your dreams, even on the hardest days.

Though I could have quite happily indulged on her gorgeous voice for the rest of the night, like any good host, Izzie was quick to introduce the following acts who each performed two, mainly original, pieces over the course of a few hours.

From insane guitar playing by Shaun Redlake to Charlotte Mary’s tales about Tinder, lyrical genius Harry Houston to the unique sounds of James Kruman, it was refreshing to see such a diverse collection of artists under one roof.

As a whole, the calibre of talent was pretty outstanding which was quite surprising considering the size of the event. American Indie Folk singer, Run Remedy, was one of the many established artists there that evening and one of my personal favourites.

Despite losing her voice, she captivated the audience with a stunning rendition of a Scottish folk song on violin, followed by her original, ‘Alphabet song’– a relatable story about a broken relationship.

Although most of the acts were arranged prior to the event, I was impressed to see how encouraging and accommodating Izzie was when Scottish tattooist, Yogi, impulsively took to the stage.

Handing over her guitar, Izzie proved that open-mic isn’t a competition; it’s a platform for people who are passionate about music. For me, that is what made it extra special. I am not a musician myself, but I can appreciate and respect how scary performing to a crowd must be.

That being said, Izzie’s encouragement along with the diversity of the acts makes her open-mic night the best in the city for first-time performers.

You can trust me on that one. As a spectator, I loved the venue and I loved the atmosphere. It was cosy, warm and felt like home, so can you imagine a better setting debut your talents? I couldn’t rate it more highly.

Lizzie Walsh’s Open Mic Night is on every Thursday night at The Bay Horse Tavern.


Izzie Walsh’s Open Mic Night

Venue: The Bay Horse Tavern
Date: Every Thursday
Time: From 7pm

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The Bay Horse Tavern, 35 – 37 Thomas St, Manchester, M4 1NA,
0161 669 5799