IF Bolton is to be successful in its latest bid for city status, surely one of the things it must have is a decent live music venue.
It has for decades been a source of frustration to gig-goers that bands simply don’t even consider Bolton when it comes to planning tour dates.
Step forward then The Soundhouse in Ash Street.
A lot of money and effort has gone into turning it into the perfect venue for up-and-coming bands, or maybe those slightly past the peak of their powers.
Or in the case of Glasgow foursome Glasvegas, to road test new material ahead of their latest album release and bigger tour dates across Europe.
At least that was the theory.
In practice, the band took the opportunity to sharpen up with a set made up largely of songs from their hugely successful debut album.
And it’s always a good sign when most of the audience can sing along to entire songs — strong Glaswegian accent included — as they did to favourites My Own Cheating Heart, Geraldine and encore Daddy’s Gone.
Singer James Allan was in fine form, complete with a microphone bedecked with Christmas tree lights, while new drummer Jonna Lofgren banged the kit like she had been there from the start.
Glasvegas have always worn their influences on their sleeves, from sixties girl groups to Jesus And Mary Chain, and a cover of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby certainly didn’t seem out of place.
The highlight for me was Go Square Go, probably the only time the band really cranked into top gear, and again the audience sang along to a chorus far too full of swear words to repeat here.
At times, the sound was a bit muddy, guitarist Rab Allan especially struggling to be heard, but that was no fault of The Soundhouse as the band had brought their own sound engineers.
But that was a small issue on an excellent night that really does bode well for both Glasvegas’ new album, Euphoric Heartbreak — due out soon — and the future of live music in Bolton.
The Soundhouse has all sorts of plans for more gigs in the pipeline, as well as DJ nights.
But that’s for the future.
For now, the 400-or-so fans lucky enough to have been there on Friday are probably still singing to themselves “He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone, whoh-ho-ho-hoooooh!”