SINCE the closure of the Blind Tiger, Bolton after a memorable gig on April 21 from young Manchester rockers, Twisted Wheel, the Bolton indie scene has suffered a nail in a very familiar coffin, writes Will Wolstenholme.

With support from Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles (formerly of Catfish & the Bottlemen) and local heroes, the Jade Assembly, the line-up encapsulated exactly why the Bolton indie scene’s lack of venues meant it was doomed, as one of the town’s strongest and most followed artists once again opened for a touring act in a venue they have headlined themselves.

While effectively ending the local indie scene, the fall of the Blind Tiger poses few problems for local bands, as they are now left with all the more reason to search for success under Manchester’s bright lights, in an indie scene which is thriving. Read about other venues that have played a part in Bolton's scene here.

Local indie acts such as the Jade Assembly, Our Fold, Dear Caroline, Urban Theory, and the Attic Doctors have all headlined the Blind Tiger and moved on to Manchester as the natural next step.

Without anything bigger for Bolton to offer them other than festival slots, it proves that the best Bolton can be is a fruitful feeder scene for Manchester’s eclectic atmosphere of punk to pop.

But why is the Manchester music scene so strong? While it is undeniable that a heritage of The Smiths, Joy Division, the Stone Roses, and Oasis can only do you favours, it is Manchester’s facility to cater for every different level of indie act that means that, as a city on Bolton’s doorstep, it is far more eye-watering a prospect for four 17-year-old starry-eyed start-ups than having to wait a year to be able to play your town’s only venue.

A music scene needs several venues of different shapes and sizes to not only form a ladder for a band’s live development, but to help them establish their own identity as a band worth listening to.

But what does this mean for Bolton? Of course it will never be able to compete with Manchester, but truthfully very few places can. The best the Bolton indie scene can do is feed bands to Manchester as ready-developed prospects, whether punk, or pop. Bolton’s indie scene may be down, but all it takes is one band to rise through the ranks of Bolton/Bury and then up the Manchester ladder and beyond to re-spot Bolton on the musical map.