With a population of over 139,000, bigger than places like York and Brighton you’d expect Bolton to have a lively music scene, wouldn’t you???
Well if you go “in town” on a Saturday night you’d be treated to some Bolton Bounce – which consists of a chav talking fast whilst somebody bangs a sledge-hammer on a drain pipe, a random selection of drivel from whatever passes as chart music today or the Baywatch theme tune. Set to a back drop of brawling and shouting. Camden in the 90’s it isn’t!!
If you venture out in the sticks you’ll find the odd classic rock tribute band at a local pub, which whilst filling a void is by no means nurturing new talent.
There are one or two islands in this ocean of crapola namely the institution that is the Ye Olde Man & Sythe and the wonderfully quirky Dog & Partridge.
Is this state of affairs down to the fact Manchester and it’s buyout scene is only 20 mins on the train – possibly, do other satellite towns of Manchester suffer from the same musical void – definitely, do the people just not care – maybe
But Bolton hasn’t always been the musical back water it is today, back in 1964 Jimi Hendrix played two nights at the Odeon, the now demolished bingo hall near Moor Lane bus station, with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck. In 1978 Joy Division played at the old Bolton Tech. In the late 90’s The Temple, now turned into flats, was voted best dance venue in the UK by Mixmag magazine during the hay-day of the Super Club regular booking the big name DJ’s.
My theory is build it and they will come, give the kids somewhere to go with music that’s new and fresh. There are plenty of people in Bolton who are into their music but have to travel in order to get their fix. Bolton is crying out for a small venue, a la Ruby Lounge or the Cockpit in Leeds, putting on local bands and up and coming new bands or just playing decent music.
Bolton needs a music scene to support local bands and inspire the next generation of musicians because without it we’ll be stuck with Simon Cowell karaoke crap and people telling us about their crazy G Shock collections!?!