Salford Lads’ Club, the recreational club made famous by The Smiths, is set to become a music venue, hosting a series of intimate gigs.

The club, located in Ordsall, Greater Manchester, has become a place of pilgrimage for Smiths fans ever since it was used as the backdrop for a photo that appeared on the inner sleeve of the band’s 1986 LP ‘The Queen Is Dead’.

Thye club has played host to gigs in the past, with The Charlatans curating a gig there in 2010 and The Courteeners playing there that same year, but this would be the first time the venue promotes shows on a semi-regular basis.

The Manchester Evening News has reported that there is “interest from major promoters” after the owners announced plans to stage “about 10 gigs a year”. The MEN has also suggested former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr may be a consideration for one of these shows.

Club spokesman Leslie Holmes said: “We have put in new fire escapes and a lift. We have improved access to the building with a grant. Now we can have 200 [people at the venue], and the sound gets better the more people you have in the room.”

“We could have small exclusive gigs. In the past we had a secret XFM gig with Liam Fray, of the Courteeners, and we have had Billy Bragg here. We had a limited number for the concert hall, and since we did the work with the Sport England grant we can accommodate more.”

Holmes added: “We think there will be a lot of interest from bands wanting to play here. We can apply for up to 10 temporary licences per year. We have one or two people interested already – promoters wanting to help us.”

Last week, The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess visited Salford Lads’ Club with a TV crew, where he played a harmonica on stage in the venue’s concert hall.

This article was first featured on nme.com

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