Just getting in the door at a club in Providence is a hassle. Pay for parking. Wait in line. Feel cold and uncomfortable. Pay cover. And four hours later, when your clothes are sticking to you from sweat and spilled alcohol, five minutes of walking becomes an inebriated death march. If I sound like an ignorant suburban snob, consider that Providence has no subway or metro and the majority of people enjoying the nightlife in Prov come from out of town and have no other option but to park and pay. Ain’t nobody walking home from the club. If you love live music, but hate dealing with the city, a promising new venue is opening in West Warwick. It’s called Manchester 65. The industrial space at Evolution Mill has been renovated from the ground up. With the date of the first show quickly approaching, there’s still work to be done, but the bones are there. Initially, Manchester 65 was crammed with industrial junk, floor to ceiling. In two weeks it was all cleared out, and everything was installed brand new. The 500 person capacity concert hall boasts a national level JBL sound system, main stage and a full bar. On the other side of the wall, there’s a 200 capacity Irish pub with an emphasis on craft beer with an estimated 40 (!!!) beers on tap. Just outside, a courtyard right on the Pawtuxet. There is no venue in Providence that can offer all that. Some fast facts about Manchester that may interest you Rhode Island concert-goers: Manchester 65 is located just two miles from 95, up to 200 cars can be parked on the property, and that’s not counting the abundant street parking, free of charge. The venue is insulated from main streets; a sense of security pervades, reinforced by the town park and historical society bordering the property. The red light district, it isn’t. “I wanted to get out of Providence because the cost of doing business is ridiculous. The city just takes and takes from you and gives you nothing in return. Please quote me on that,” Manchester 65 owner Jim Vickers told me. It’s damn expensive to operate in Providence. Vickers estimates that what it costs for his club to operate for a month in Prov is what it will cost to operate for a year in West Warwick. Jim is acutely aware of the problems that plague the Providence nightlife. “You’re getting tickets, or you’re getting towed, or someone’s getting shot in front of you.” Manchester is a full package alternative in a completely different community setting. As contemptuous as he is of Providence, Vickers is equally appreciative of and enthusiastic about West Warwick. “People would say ‘Why are you going to West Warwick? There’s nothing there!’” That’s just the point. The town has been extremely accommodating, according to Vickers. West Warwick is open territory for a venue that hosts national touring acts. No competition, no claustrophobia, no bullshit. And Manchester has had no trouble booking top-notch acts for their maiden voyage. The roster for the first week speaks for itself. New York reggae/rock stalwarts The Slackers will christen the Manchester stage on July 24. The next night, the Wailers play. If you’re a pop music historian, you know the Wailers remain the standard to which all other reggae bands are compared. Rounding out Manchester’s opening week, Grammy winning Rebirth Brass Band brings their New Orleans-bred blend of gospel laden jazz and funk to West Warwick. The lineup leans toward laid back, non-threatening music. Vickers promises Marylyn Manson will not be playing. Beyond live music, Jim’s planning on art shows, maybe once a month. Standup comedy and live performance theater are also on the backburner. Vickers hopes Manchester 65 will be a magnet for Rhode Island arts organizations. He envisions the mill complex developing into an artist community, comparable to Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. Bands have already taken up residence in the Evolution Mill to practice. Add a café and couple studios and you’ve got a hive buzzing with creativity. If you don’t feel cool enough to go to AS220, if you think Lupo’s is overpriced, if you said good riddance to Club Hell, if you are generally frustrated with your local live music experience, there is at least one other option. Classic rock and reggae tinged acts supported by a full pub and location that is downright serene. Clearly frustrated with Providence, Jim Vickers seems to have found a comfortable niche at Manchester 65. “We can do stuff we like and not have to chase the mortgage.” There’s no telling how the club will fare. But based on my impressions of the space, even in its sawdusty near-completion phase, you’ll be hard pressed not to succumb to the charm. Manchester 65 is large enough to support headlining acts, yet small enough to feel local – to feel like “your” place. Mark your calendars; Manchester is open for business July 24.