Twisted Wheel, Manchester

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Radio Caroline and Northern Soul

Photo Gallery
30th June 2006
5th May 2006
16th April 2006 (no photos)
31st March 2006
24th February 2006
27th January 2006

Monroes on the corner of Whitworth Street and London Road The Twisted Wheel is where it all started... "it" being what we now know as Northern Soul. We all know the story of how Dave Godin came up from London to witness first hand, what was going on at the Wheel and how he devised the title "Northern Soul" to describe the brand of music enjoyed by us Northerners.

The Wheel had started in 1963 in premises at Brazennose Street, off Albert Square and moved to 6 Whitworth Street in 1966 (just on the edge of the City Centre, near to Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station). The club finally closed in 1971.

It was reactivated by its current promoters Pete Roberts and John Green in 1998 and is located in its original premises (leasing out from what is normally a Gay Club, "Legends"), this time as a monthly venue on the last Friday of each month from 9pm till 2 am. (admission 5, pay on the door). Allnighters are held 4 times a year from 10 pm till 7am. (admission 10).

The club has its own website at with information on how to get there, as well as details of forthcoming venues. There is also a picture gallery, to which yours truly contributes, showing photos of the dancers from the last 12 months.

Day time view of the Twisted WheelTo locate the club, start at the London Road end of Whitworth Street - the Twisted Wheel is two doors down from Monroes Pub on the corner. Go down the stairs into the basement, pay your money at the desk and walk ahead bearing left - you are now entering a piece of musical history.

Some of the greatest musical artists in the world, such as Junior Walker, Edwin Starr and the Spencer Davis Group have performed in this setting.

The bar is at the street end of the basement, the stage and dancefloor at the rear of the building.

It's unique! In winter, it's freezing when you enter, but pretty soon you'll be sweating as you start to dance. That sweat will return back to you by dripping down from the ceiling into your drink! In summer, it's sweltering beyond belief! The dance floor is cramped most of the time - no room to spread out here. It is solid, hard and uncomfortable, you often need talc for the soles of your shoes! So why bother? Because of the music! The amazing sounds of 60s African-American music! It sticks to the original playlist, you won't hear tracks after 1971 here! All these factors help to generate a very special atmosphere that has original clientele and newcomers alike coming back for more, month after month. There's just nowhere else like it!

Night time view of the front door I have to admit that I never went to the Club as a kid, my father simply wouldn't let me - only one lad in my class at school went there at the time, that was Derek Shanks and I was very jealous of him. And when I became a student, none of my pals back home went clubbing, so I didn't go then, either.

I first descended those steps into the basement early in 2004. What stunned me, was that I knew 95% of the tracks played there - unlike the traditional "Wigan Casino" based Northern Soul clubs, where I had to go through a learning curve, familiarising myself with the records. Quite simply, I had come home!!

The reason I knew the records is plain and simple, Radio Caroline North. For a summary of how influential Radio Caroline North was in promoting what became known as "Northern Soul", please click on Radio Caroline and Northern Soul.

So, for the ultimate experience of 60s club soul, there is no better place to go than the Wheel. To be in the Wheel when they're playing Joy Lovejoy's "In Orbit" and to feel the explosive reverberations as the crowd clap in time with the record is one of those "hairs rising on the back of the neck" experiences not to be missed. Where else can you hear the Spencer Davis Group's monster hit "Gimme Some Lovin'" (in my opinion THE best record of 1966), a couple of Mitch Ryder and Detroit Wheels tracks back-to-back, Sam and Dave's "Soul Man", the Contours "First I Look At The Purse", Inez and Charlie Foxx "Tightrope" and Mary Wells' "(Can't You See) You're Losing Me"? Forget Wigan Casino, THIS is where it all started! And it's still here!! Rocking HARD every month. See you there!!

Forthcoming dates
Sunday 12th November 2006 Charity Alldayer 3-8pm 3
Friday 24th November 2006
Friday 29th December 2006 Allnighter

Photos from the venue...
click on the date links in the side panel

To contact me, please click on this e-mail link:

All images are copyright 2006, Alan Milewczyk (Al's Soul Shack)