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Thread: caithness music scene

  1. #1

    Default caithness music scene

    its good to see a lively music scene in caithness alot of good musicians around

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    So many good musicians ......................and no one can be bothered to listen for free, if you ask someone to pay 6 you might as well ask if the'd like to saw off a limb.
    The Y Not has put lots of money,thought and effort into making a stylish inviting and well equipped venue; and in a place where someone sneezing can reported as pneumonia 40 miles away within the hour, muso's saying the advertising should be better doesn't help. The price of newspaper ad's here means you just guarantee your costs are way higher.

    So I quite agree a great place to find good musicians, and they need twice as much enthusiasm as anywhere else to cope with local apathy. (Unless you play country guitar with a backing machine - then you're appreciated, but I don't get that.)

    Edit-sorry - too gloomy - there are hard core music fans who do go out regularly, but the rest!

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    Quote Originally Posted by davem View Post
    So many good musicians ......................and no one can be bothered to listen for free, if you ask someone to pay 6 you might as well ask if the'd like to saw off a limb.
    The Y Not has put lots of money,thought and effort into making a stylish inviting and well equipped venue; and in a place where someone sneezing can reported as pneumonia 40 miles away within the hour, muso's saying the advertising should be better doesn't help. The price of newspaper ad's here means you just guarantee your costs are way higher.

    So I quite agree a great place to find good musicians, and they need twice as much enthusiasm as anywhere else to cope with local apathy. (Unless you play country guitar with a backing machine - then you're appreciated, but I don't get that.)

    Edit-sorry - too gloomy - there are hard core music fans who do go out regularly, but the rest!
    Amen to that!!!
    In the image of God? You must be joking!

  4. #4

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    I sensed a good 10-pager from this thread. Surprised no-one has come out and fought the corner already. There is no scene as far as I can tell.

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    There is no scene? I think that is perhaps a tad harsh.

    The scene is there... people just need to find it. I don't think it's very fair to criticise Joe Public if nobody is out harrassing them to come along... flyers, posters, radio, write ups in the newspaper(aye, the non-paying type) all do wonders for getting people in the door.

    Advertising a website of some sort with music samples on it can also help(or have the opposite effect I guess).

    We can't expect people to just turn up just like bands can't expect things to be put out on a plate for them.

    Moaning gets nobody anywhere. A gig is only as good as you make it.

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    breach brother!!

    lol

    totally agree wit jeid on this one.

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    Its a simple case of supply and demand.

    If you have a product that the public want to hear/see they will come, you will be booked and paid for your services (if you play for a fee - and lots aren't).

    O course there is a vast difference and variety of live entertainment out there, from the one man and his accordion/guitar in the old village hall(possibly with a drum machine) to a 40 piece choir or orchestra.

    The music scene is not just about young, loud rock bands struggling for their first paid gig. There's everything from bell ringers to livingroom organists out there.

    To say there is no scene is very blinkered indeed.

    Myself, I very rarely play in public these days. 98% of my gigs are private functions behind closed doors with an invited audience paid for by a host. (So much more civilised, though musically of a much more limited scope - still lots of fun!!)
    All the world's a stage and we are merely players . . . . .
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    Talking

    Myself, I very rarely play in public these days. 98% of my gigs are private functions behind closed doors with an invited audience paid for by a host


    is that not public exclusion that somewhat dampens the whole music community? (genuine question, not an attack)

    and i agree there isnt just one scene but many. but again as jeid said a lot of these artists are undiscovered and just stick to playing in their rooms, obviously im referring to the younger generation, but as jeid said they need to get out there and do summat. now heres my point, it seems that many dont know how, and many are pushed away from it.

    whats the deal with thurso high, they used to be really good at encouraging bands and artists to get out there, now the gigs are pupils and parents only is it not? not sure whats happening on there front anymore.


    mind you its obvious that no matter how many threads there are, we as a music community have not found the solution, to increase the scene.

    myabe spending too much time bickering on the org LOL!

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    I think what Deemac means by that, is that he plays mainly as a function musician at weddings and ceilidh dances.

    Thurso High have a parents and students only policy as there were too many people attending which was seen as unsafe by the fire officer(or so I've been told).

    A lot of people stick to playing in their rooms as it's hard to find like minded dedicated musicians. It took me 3 years to find people who I thought I could play music with and that they'd have the same drive to play as I would. Not only that, they'd have to have a similar sort of taste in music to make things work and keep them interested.

    There's plenty of musicians... it's just finding the right people to mix with I guess.

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    It IS public exclusion.

    But that's my main point.

    The general punter isn't very interested it appears and certainly doesn't want to pay for it or even go if its free (why, it gets in the way of continuous and relentless drinking/scoring/fighting).

    So better to make your own scene.

    Things like, far instance, Lyth Arts Centre (Jazz, arty stuff), Dunnet Lighthouse (private invited guests only), Strathspey and reel society, the Northern Nashville . . . . I could go on and on.

    All these entities have built up their own scene to cater for the punters that are interseted in that particular form. The young things will grow up eventually and either have music play no part in their existance or gravitate to what ever does it for them.

    All of these entities ARE the musical community.
    All the world's a stage and we are merely players . . . . .
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    Unhappy

    there seems nothing wrong with the private things such as the lighthouse and what you do, but that does justify my point that there is nothing left for the youth of music. how can the music scene prosper in years to come if the youth, which lets face it will carve the music genre and scene when they grow up, have no place. and if they choose to go private then, we will be where were at now.

    seems wrong to me somehow, not that my words are said in an angry tone, im just debating, but it makes me feel empty and hopeless about the whole music scene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by K dragon View Post
    there seems nothing wrong with the private things such as the lighthouse and what you do, but that does justify my point that there is nothing left for the youth of music. how can the music scene prosper in years to come if the youth, which lets face it will carve the music genre and scene when they grow up, have no place. and if they choose to go private then, we will be where were at now.

    seems wrong to me somehow, not that my words are said in an angry tone, im just debating, but it makes me feel empty and hopeless about the whole music scene.
    I don't understand what's so different for high school kids now than say when I was a teenager?

    During my time at High School there were plenty bands and musicians out playing the pubs and clubs around (and beyond Caithness). The Rubber Banned (who eventually morphed into Buddha Crush) were doing it, Isaac did it in many different forms, Stuart Conaghan, Barry Gordon, Ralf Speed, New Experience, not to mention all of the traditional Scottish musicians who were out playing at functions and events. Even in the more latter years you have the likes of All Stitched Up, Cyanide... all bands/musicians who at the time were quite young to be playing in pubs/clubs/local festivals. It didn't matter whether it was friends family or Joe Public at the school concerts. The majority of the musicians mentioned above who played the high school concerts used those events to maybe do something a bit different to what they were doing in the pubs. And it would be easy to argue that there were more venues back then but there wasn't, infact, i'd say there were MORE local pubs/venues willing to take younger musicians NOW.

    So... the real argument would surely be... if kids 10 years ago could arrange to play events outwith the high school, what's stopping todays young high school bands doing it?

    If they have the ambition, I can't see anything stopping them.

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    As a young musician you will go down a certain path depending on your talent, self-motivation and most of all - Luck.

    You start off full of promise and hope that your own music is unique, that everyone on the planet MUST like it for the perfection that it can only be!!

    You may be lucky. The luck lightning bolt may land on you and you make it in the music business and you live happily ever after!!

    In reality, for the vast majority, compromises start to creep in one by one. You get older, a job, responsibilities etc. etc. , you have less time to dedicate to your art and you either give up playing entirely forgetting about that buzz and rush you once loved so much . . . .

    or

    retreat to the living room or family gathering round the piano and are never (in a musical context) heard of again . . . .

    or

    join or form a cover band playing occasionally in a semi-professional or amateur format. The cover bands come and go in various formats and musical styles until one day you find yourself playing in a wedding/function band!! Musically worlds apart from your initial personal tastes or desires, but you get to perform your craft, its on the whole fun and you get paid quite well (in a pocket money sort of way) for playing the instrument that you started with.

    I hope I'm not depressing you and I genuinely wish you all well with your own ventures. Its great to be able to feed off someone elses success (see Xfactor for a superb formula in this area).

    not sure where this is all leading, but just some of my own thoughts . . . . .
    All the world's a stage and we are merely players . . . . .
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    My views on the caithness music scene are mixed.

    There are plenty of bands on the go at the moment trying their hardest to get their music out there to the people of caithness and beyond (Estrella, Astronot, The Gaels, Crimson Tide, All Stitched Up, Fatts & Son). All with their own styles which is a very good thing as it gives punters a bit of choice. Hats off to them for that i say.

    Some pubs are keenly taking on a good share of bands now aswell. most noticeably the Holborn, Newmarket & The blackstairs.

    I find it odd however that some bands only play certain venues in caithness. No offence to these guys, I think your music is great & did a lot for the local scene but just using this as an example, I've never seen or heard of Boss Hogg playing in a pub (not locally anyway). they've played larger venues such as the Redwood, Skins or the Viewfirth (may it subside in piece) which is all good but sometimes its good to see a band in a more intimate venue. Adds to the atmosphere IMHO. There seems to be more craic when i've played pubs as opposed to the larger venues.

    Other important factors which indirectly affect the music scene IMO are things like rehearsal spaces (it took Duress months to find a decent place to practice without costing too much), Transport, Equipment, and as Jeid mentioned in a previous post, finding like-minded musicians. I still plan on building a big jamming shed when i grow up and buy a house!

    With regards to the High School, not sure what their policy on bands jamming at lunch or after school is now, but when i were a lad the huts were still there so jamming at lunchtimes and occasionally after school was easy to organise and caused little disturbance. To be honest, the music dept was the only thing that kept me interested in school enough to stay until 6th year. There was also the youth club who regularly put on small fundraising gigs.

    Whoever said the music scene is dead must be living out at sea. Every week theres sure to be something going on wether its a private gig, pub gig, folk jamming in the comm, people recording material, charity events.

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    There are a few reasons that BH have never played pubs... the main reason though is that BH never did the cover band thing. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVED playing in a cover band. My time in The New Experience was not only great fun but a fantasic learning experience, but IMO I don't think BH would work in a pub situation. If we do get offered to play in a Joe Public venue, we usually try to throw some covers together and mix it with our original material (as we did at our last Skins gig) but we don't have enough cover material to play for 2 hours. We considered putting a cover band together at one time purely for a bit of banter and some cash but if Boss Hogg want to be seen as a band concentrating on their own material then pubs aren't the way forward in my opinion. We're also not stupid when it comes to understanding our fanbase. The age-group that turns up to a BH gig is usually between 14 and 25 therefore if we were to stick to pubs rather than venues that allow U18's we would be alienating almost half of what we consider our fanbase.

    I don't think what i've said above applies purely to BH either. Crimson Tide don't do pub gigs these days either. They did initially when they were finding their feet and they obviously decided to concentrate on their original material and are now playing venues further South. Astronot also have never done the cover band/pub thing, and that was again purely because we'd rather play our own material to a crowd who came specifically to hear the music we want to play.

    Like I said, no disrespect to the cover bands out there as there's nothing better than lying back in a pub listening to a band blasting out some old favourites but it's just not what I want to do. I'm sure I could say the opposite for Duress... why no original stuff in charge at the door, U18 venues?... but I know that's your choice, just as playing original material in these venues is our choice.

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    I regularly missed Mondays due to gig fatigue etc etc throughout high school. I was fortunate in so far that I was born into a heavilly musical house & grew up learning to play.

    the "music scene" et al is currently bouncing. I've also noticed that "pub audiences" are more open to original music than they ever have been in the past. I did a gig in "e' stairs" recently with my good friends TBITB & Donald Banks & there was a fair percentage of the audience of a younger age & I was getting a slight feeling of dread as I'm not totally into the modern music of the day, but they went for it, no matter what we played they applauded & laughed with the crack on the mic

    Now from the postage stamp stage of the Camps all the way through to obscenely huge festival stages & my fav. gigs are the close situations in a bar with a receptive audience. As people doing the profeesional circuit will tell y'all that the average set time is 45mins-1 hour 15mins. It's not really that long when you get into it which is why I prefer to do gigs as long as possible where we can play more or less what we want which puts us in the pub. I also love sit down theatre audiences because amplification doesn't have to be floored just to get above the noise of an audience.

    When it comes down to it as well, most of the possible gig scenarios are represented in Caithness at some point of year or another. Your small staged pub gigs happen all the time & we now have the Nashville country fest & the Big Gig plus whatever else rears it's head.

    So it can't really be said that there is no scene, there is a scene albeit in some ways blinkered re; paying admission aver 3 etc etc but it's always been like that since before a lot of us on this board had been born......

    off the top of my heid

    Thurso:
    Newmarket
    Y-not
    The Grove
    The Holborn
    TJs
    The Weigh Inn (Ashes)
    Skins

    Wick:
    Blackstairs
    Spoons
    The Backer
    Zeroes????
    Waterfront

    I'm totally prepared for correction & a pile of additions to the list, if you took in the various places that functions (weddings etc etc) & annual meets (fiddle & Acc. Strathspey & reel etc etc) are held then the list gets bigger

    there is basically something for everyone in Caithness, if one can be bothered to find it. Heck I went to the pub twice last weekend to see live music & that's almost unheard of.........basically cos' I spend a lot of time in one gig or another, & sometimes the thought of going back to a venue for enjoyment is just brain curdling

  17. #17

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    There are a few reasons that BH have never played pubs... the main reason though is that BH never did the cover band thing. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVED playing in a cover band. My time in The New Experience was not only great fun but a fantasic learning experience, but IMO I don't think BH would work in a pub situation. If we do get offered to play in a Joe Public venue, we usually try to throw some covers together and mix it with our original material (as we did at our last Skins gig) but we don't have enough cover material to play for 2 hours. We considered putting a cover band together at one time purely for a bit of banter and some cash but if Boss Hogg want to be seen as a band concentrating on their own material then pubs aren't the way forward in my opinion. We're also not stupid when it comes to understanding our fanbase. The age-group that turns up to a BH gig is usually between 14 and 25 therefore if we were to stick to pubs rather than venues that allow U18's we would be alienating almost half of what we consider our fanbase.

    I don't think what i've said above applies purely to BH either. Crimson Tide don't do pub gigs these days either. They did initially when they were finding their feet and they obviously decided to concentrate on their original material and are now playing venues further South. Astronot also have never done the cover band/pub thing, and that was again purely because we'd rather play our own material to a crowd who came specifically to hear the music we want to play.

    Like I said, no disrespect to the cover bands out there as there's nothing better than lying back in a pub listening to a band blasting out some old favourites but it's just not what I want to do. I'm sure I could say the opposite for Duress... why no original stuff in charge at the door, U18 venues?... but I know that's your choice, just as playing original material in these venues is our choice.
    I hear you, things are exactly the same with us The Maydays.

    But I still do cover stuff aswell!

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    Quote Originally Posted by davem View Post
    . The price of newspaper ad's here means you just guarantee your costs are way higher.

    The cost of advertising in the Caithness.org What's On section is FREE but despite that we do not see it packed with ads for musical events that bands are playing at. Some are placed and they appear on the front page on the day of the gig and are also available for the period before the event.

    If more bands began to add their gigs to the What's On then maybe more folk would check it to see what was happening.

    I know everything takes time to do but sitting down once a week for a few minutes to add the gigs that are booked might just begin to have some affect on audience sizes. Also it lets folk from much further away see that Caithness lots of music going on and they might be tempted to come along when they visit the county.

    We also offer free pages in the Arts section with links to the band web site. Are you all listed - See http://arts.caithness.org/category.php?cat=16
    If not are your contact details easily found elsewhere for anyone looking to book a band etc.
    Last edited by Bill Fernie; 12-May-07 at 22:03. Reason: corrected spelling due to poor typing

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    Bill,
    Thanks for the advice - good to know.

    I recommend you invest in a spell checker though . . . . . .
    All the world's a stage and we are merely players . . . . .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeid View Post
    Thurso High have a parents and students only policy as there were too many people attending which was seen as unsafe by the fire officer(or so I've been told).
    Haha, i can remember OH so long ago, the hallw as so crowded, there were people sitting on the piano, and then there were flying chairs and, someone incited a sort of riot (when i said breakstuff, im sure i didnt mean litteraly)
    "The Light seems small and far,
    A Darkness envelops my soul,
    Hiding behind my empty smiles,
    Within my mind, Deeper I fall."

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