Without music, there is no Manchester as we know it.
The buzzing atmosphere in our great city was built by roaring guitars, scratching vinyls, shimmering strobe lights and booming microphones.
But the pandemic has halted the satisfying, rhythmic hum that used to echo through the city air on a daily basis.
And it’s been sorely missed.
The enormous support that came flooding in for United We Stream – a Manchester-based broadcasting platform that showcased quarantined performances from dozens of musicians and raised the best part of £400,000 for the night-time economy – showed that millions care about live music.
But now more action is needed.
Without it, 30-50% of the live music workforce will become unemployed, 90% of grassroots venues will close, and the industry will lose at least £900 million.
That’s we’re asking you, our readers, to join us in supporting Let The Music Play – an initiative set up to save live music across the UK.
The campaign asks the government for three things:
1. A clear conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing
2. An immediate comprehensive business and employment support package and access to finance.
3. Full VAT exemption on ticket sales.
If these aims can be achieved, the music industry just might have a fighting chance.
Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Paul McCartney have all signed a letter addressed to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for help.
Radiohead, The Cure, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Johnny Marr, Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, The Rolling Stones and Coldplay have also joined the cause.
In the meantime, we need to do our bit.
Contact your local MP. Share the initiative online. Spread the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay. Donate to causes wherever you can.
Music has shaped our region. It’s given us so much.
Noughties throwback Lemar announces special 20th anniversary gigs in Manchester and London
The one and only Lemar is back now only with new album but two special shows to mark his 20th anniversary in music.
A chart-topping, BRIT and MOBO award-winning artists who rose to popularity in the early 2000s, Lemar has sold millions of albums worldwide and is now returning with his first new record in nearly eight years.
Having released his latest 80s funk inspired new single, ‘Future Love’, today (7 February) and officially announced his upcoming seventh album, Page In My Heart, the noughties pop and R&B artist is back on the scene and thought it only fit to pay tribute to 20 years in the biz.
Two decades on from his debut album, Dedicated, Lemar is hosting a pair of anniversary shows in London and right here in Manchester. Now this is going to be quite the throwback.
Best know for hit tracks like ‘It’s Not That Easy’, ’50/50′, ‘What About Love?’, ‘Another Day’ and many more, the 44-year-old returns to the stage with a new sound but one that also calls back to his roots and early work.
Speaking in a statement, Lemar says: “With this new album, I wanted to make something for anyone who ever bought Dedicated, as this year is 20 years since its release. I thought I’d like to make something for the people who got behind that album, something that they would appreciate and like.
Descirbing his new single, he went on to say, “it’s more uptempo, it’s got that soulful feel, it’s a bit looser, a bit Chaka Khan. A bit ‘Dance (With U)’… it’s got that kind of energy to it.”
The Tottenham-born singer hasn’t been ‘away’ per se, having continued to perform up and down the country in recent years, but both he and his fans have been waiting “patiently” to get the right collection of songs together to release new material.
His last album, The Letter, released back in 2015 and delighted die-hards but he says this latest project is about reconnecting with his fans, insisting that “it really is a page from my heart.”
Lemar will celebrate two decades of music and the 20th anniversary of Dedicated live with two special nights at O2 Ritz here in Manchester and London indigo at The O2 on the 27 and 28 of April, respectively. You best believe we’ll be getting one.
Tickets go on sale on 10 February at 10am. Tickets will be available HERE and at Ticketmaster.
Neighbourhood Weekender announces massive warm-up show with Ian Brown, Happy Mondays and more
Neighbourhood Weekender has announced a warm-up show on the Friday before the festival proper kicks off, with the likes of Ian Brown, Happy Mondays and more already confirmed.
With Neighbourhood 2023 set for the weekend of 27-28 May as festival season gets into full swing, the increasingly popular Victoria Park-based crowd-pleaser is effectively starting a day early with their ‘Live At The Big Top’ event.
Although the local favourite has previously put on a number of performances on the Friday before the Warrington Weekender as we know it, this is the first time this event has been held and will serve as a warm-up show for the impending gig-goers.
Effectively acting as a warm-up party for the main event, the North West crowd will be treated to the likes of 80s and 90s Manc music icons Ian Brown and Happy Mondays, as well Liverpool indie band Cast and up-and-coming Welsh psych-rock band, CVC, a.k.a. Church Village Collective.
The lineup also denotes a landmark occasion, with this being the first time that Brown and Happy Mondays — two of pioneering artists of the ‘Madchester‘ scene — are sharing the same bill in their long and illustrious careers. Well, aren’t you a lucky lot?
While we’d say this is an absolute must if you truly want to make a full go of Neighbourhood Weekender, this is technically a separate event and it’s well worth attending if you can’t make it on the Saturday or Sunday for whatever reason.
Tickets go on sale at 9.30am on Friday, 10 February. You can grab yours HERE.