Hear people talking about the Manchester music scene, and what always comes up? The Hacienda, Tony Wilson and a litany of great bands from The Smiths to Joy Division. And yes, all of these have their place in the city’s proud musical history, but endlessly wheeling out the greats of yesteryear is getting old.
What we should be talking about is what Manchester’s music scene is today, because for all the corporate co-option of Wilson’s “We do things differently here”, for all the monetisation of brand Manchester, today’s scene is decidedly forward-looking, and thriving for it.
We have some of the best venues in the country, many innovative promoters and, it almost goes without saying, incredible artists (who, by the way, have next to nowhere left to practice in the city centre, due, at least in part, to the aforementioned corporate interests forcing out hundreds of musicians from the likes of Brunswick Mill in the name of More. Luxury. Flats).
Okay, rant over. Let’s talk about the here and now of the Manchester music scene, because the here and now is great. Below are our favourite spots in Manchester (and a little beyond) for watching the best live music in a city absolutely brimming with it.