“This is Manchester. We do things differently here.”

Except we’re not, or at least we’ve not done in at least 20 years. We’re culturally stagnating in a manner not dissimilar to our much derided cousins down the Mersey, laying claim to music 30 to 40 years old and reminding everyone how we used to matter, rather than why we still do.

Everyone, including me, has a story about how they bumped into Bez in a curry house, or how they saw Ian Brown in a record shop in the Northern Quarter, or how Liam Gallagher once bumped into their Dad outside Maine Road. We need to stop. We’re not a city of McCartney chasers. We’re better than that.

I love Manchester’s musical history. We gave birth to post-punk and rave, and before that we gave oppressed African-Americans a platform to be unknowingly adored in casinos in northern wastelands a world away from Detroit, but only geographically. It’s something to be proud of and something to celebrate. Walk into any bar or pub in Manchester and what do you hear on the stereo? Nine times out of 10, it’s Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Oasis or The Charlatans. They’re all incredible bands and, without a doubt, guaranteed crowd pleasers, but it’s about time we let go.

Granted, there are exceptions to this rule, the all-conquering Elbow are still pumping out tunes which proudly fly the flag for our city, but our bars and clubs used to be places which championed fresh, local blood. For our city to once again claim its rightful place as the centre of Britain’s music scene, we need to be doing the same.

Bands and artists like Blossoms, PINS, The Mouse Outfit, Dirty North, LoneLady and many more are fresh, exciting, vibrant, local acts who need our support to push them into the mainstream, but with a music scene that is so obsessed with the past, far too many of these talented acts are left by the wayside, becoming less than footnotes in a musical odyssey that is dominated by the shadows of its gargantuan past.

My argument appears to fall short with huge, successful contemporary nights thrown by the likes of Warehouse Project, but look closer into any of the line-ups and you’ll find myriad names from the past dotted amongst, and often outweighing, those of the present. There’s two nights dedicated to New Order this time round. What exactly is it these nights are championing? Dancing in an abandoned warehouse to electronic music. I’m not opposed to hugging and kissing your best mates to some 4/4 beats in an ex-industrial space – in fact, I wholeheartedly support it – but it’s not a musical revolution our children will wish they were a part of.

The problem is endemic, but why? Partially it is due to unscrupulous businessmen and capitalists who are more than happy to keep promoting the same, recycled names, safe in the knowledge that it is a guaranteed earner. Not content with turning the Haçienda into a block of eponymous flats, one only has to walk alongside the canal towards Rain Bar from Deansgate to find a multi-storey car park, the side of which is proudly adorned with notes on Manchester’s musical past. Then there’s the merchandise. You can’t walk down Market Street without being confronted umpteen times by all manner of mugs, t-shirts and posters, all proudly displaying the sound waves of an exploding star or a single from The Stone Roses’ first album. Blame too has to fall at the feet of the original artists themselves, who, rather than allow new bands to take their place, are more than happy to take part in a stadium reunion tour, complete with £60+ tickets.

There are people proudly supporting contemporary music in the North. The Castle Hotel plays host to myriad new, local bands and Islington Mill similarly promotes both music and the arts with a leftfield twist, but with more and more live music venues falling by the wayside due to a toxic combination of inner-city development and noise complaints from inhabitants, who’re more than happy to enjoy the ‘cool’, ‘chic’ aesthetic of living near to these venues but seemingly forget that the exact ‘vibe’ they crave is a direct result of their continued legacy which they place at risk.

How do we reverse this demise? It all seems rather bleak, but there is hope. Support inner-city music venues. This year has already seen The Roadhouse close its doors, and Islington Mill and The Night & Day Cafe have both been hit with complaints about noise. We can’t let these places fall. Signing petitions isn’t enough. Get yourself down to a gig there. You’ll not only hear something new, but you’ll also be adding valuable gold to their coffers which will allow them to continue to promote new, exciting, local acts.

Oh, and burn your ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ t-shirt.

David Ewing