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Venues in Aberdeen at the moment

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So, what are everyone's thoughts on the smaller venues that are currently in Aberdeen city centre?

 

I don't think it comes as a surprise to many that Cellar 35 is my favourite venue in town. It has a great intimate feel to it and Gemma and James are easy to deal with. I'll look forward to a positive resolution to the noise complaints, which will mean a wee bit of investment to the venue.

 

Downstairs is nice too. The layout has always been a bit weird for gigs - that pool table section isn't the best, it basically invites people to skulk around the corner - but they've spent money on a decent back line and there are plenty of promoters putting the space to good use. Claire and I are putting on a show there this Thursday, and I'm fairly confident that there will not be any problems. 

 

The Moorings sort of counts as a venue, but it is very much a bar too, so I think that a lot of things don't really apply to it. The renovations and upgrades to the bar are pretty exciting, toilets that aren't hell holes, widening the stage etc... so you have to commend Flash & co. for that. Hell of a lot of cover bands and tribute acts playing there now, guess it brings in the mega bucks.

 

The Blue Lamp is a venue that I'd like to see used more, but I think it's quite expensive to hire? After being there for the Aidan Moffat gig, I'd have to say the stage is too low! It's a great big room though.

 

If I was writing this in 2007, I'd have have probably said that the Tunnels was my favourite venue in town. It was where all the best gigs and club nights were. I also have to factor in that I was 23 at the time, so there is definitely a nostalgia factor there. However, I do feel that the venue has suffered from a lack of investment/maintenance, as every time I've been there in the past 18 months or so, the venue has been freezing cold and the toilets are bloody horrid. There is definitely not as much put on (gigs/club nights) as has been in the past, but I dare say people have a lot less disposable income than they had in 2007, so there is much less demand. When it's busy, it's a great place to be.

 

I can't remember the last time I saw a band in Drummonds, so I can't really comment. I've been there plenty of times after gigs at other places, but that is mostly because I am too old for Exodus or Korova.

 

Where else have I missed? I'm not sure if Upstairs at O'Neills is going to be putting on regular gigs.

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I echo what you've said about C35, Downstairs, The Moorings AND The Blue Lamp! Would love Cellar to do a bit of work to the system/general feel of the place from a bands point of view, but it's a lovely venue to play and watch bands in.

 

Regards the Tunnels - definitely needs a bit of love. I believe that the people behind Snafu will now be putting on a bunch of clubnights down there which will hopefully generate the traffic to justify an investment in the problems you highlighted. There is now WiFi down there which goes a long way to 'convincing' people it's a good idea on a night out (texts/iMessages/Whatsapp, etc.).

 

Drummonds is Drummonds, innit? Total clusterfuck of bands/genres/whatever, but in terms of performing, it's probably my favourite in the city. Good sound system, generally decent engineers and always a crowd with it picking up a passing trade due to location/regulars. Nice big and high stage.

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Moorings are putting on a heap of cover bands now a days?!

When did that start? They used to be pretty anal about not having cover bands on. 

 

I take it gigs dont happen in the east nuke anymore? 

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Cellar 35 is a nice, cosy venue and is probably my favourite in Aberdeen.

Quite liked Downstairs when I was in there a couple of weeks ago. Downstairs Malt Mill was where we used to go for underage beers so it will always have a little piece of my heart.

Blue Lamp is good if you can get down the front, if not then there's nae chance of seeing what's going on.

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The Blue Lamp is great, but from what I understand the owner is quite particular over the bookings that he takes. He likes putting on folk music/jazz, and the comedy nights there are always packed. But it's never going to be a venue that puts on loud rock bands on a regular basis; it's a shame to some extent but at the same time you have to respect the wishes of the management I guess.

 

Malones late bar...are folk still using it to put on gigs?

 

I echo what most people say about Cellar 35, it has filled the void of a 100 capacity venue that Aberdeen, in my opinion, desperately needed. Glasgow and Edinburgh have always had venues this size, but Aberdeen only really had the Tunnels and Drummonds that would put on regular gigs. I rate the Tunnels as a venue but it feels dead even if 50 folk are in there...50 folk in Cellar 35 makes for a pretty good gig.

 

My only slight qualm with Cellar is the layout, but this obviously can't be avoided given the structure of the building and it would be silly to have the stage in any other part of the room.

 

I love playing the Lemon Tree, mainly due to the quality of the on stage sound.

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Was pretty impressed with Downstairs when I was there for the Nirvana night the other week.  First time I'd been there in a few years and I really liked it.  Lot of nostalgia for gigs at the Malt Mill as it was one of the first places I saw local bands play in the late 90s and it's gone through a succession of haphazard and shoddily run takeovers along the years that have all fucked up the music side to some extent, so great to see it being done properly now.

 

Would echo the Blue Lamp comments as well. Seen some really good gigs there by Kelly Joe Phelps and King Creosote and it can work brilliantly. Would be great to see it used more often.

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I agree with stroops about downstairs gav in absolutely ace guy to deal with. My band in a month or two should be putting a gig on there. Go for under 18 gigs!! They've got a decent sound system too plus a decent sized stage with good amps.

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I should say on Downstairs - I always find it a bit quiet. Maybe it's the shape of the room or whatever, but I don't feel the PA has enough balls. I'm saying that as both a punter and as someone who has played there.

 

 

Moon Moon - take heed of this, it is a completely serious piece of advice - when you think your band are ready for a gig, you are not. Give it at least an extra four-six months of rehearsal first. You will quickly ditch songs that aren't good enough as you become better at writing and working together as a group and the end result will be much, much better, and therefore more satisfying for you and your audience.

Edited by Adam Easy Wishes
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Yeah, I had a few qualms about the Downstairs PA when I put a gig on there recently but hey ho.  The guitars had to come right down to make room for the vocals and the result was bad sound, IMO.  I guess it doesn't help when you get a big hitter on the drums in there, but I don't see that micing up drums and amps has to be a neccessity, not with the power of amps people have these days.  I don't think the PA has the capacity for a loud band. 

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I love the Cellar. It makes me feel all warm and happy and is also near my flat. I was there twice last week and the sound was really good but of course you need someone to take responsibility. I hope it can continue to put on so many great gigs.

 

Downstairs is doing really well and I enjoy playing there. The sound was poor on Friday but I don't really know anything about these things so don't know why. I've seen other loud bands there and there was no problem with the sound. Everyone should come to this gig tomorrow night and hear for yourselves.

 

Drummonds is a bit of a dick magnet but for sound and layout is excellent.

 

I haven't been to the Tunnels since I saw Carson Wells there about 2 or 3 years ago (this gig didn't put me off - I just haven't had occasion to go back). Like Jan I used to love it back in the day but thinking of it now makes me feel cold. The draft beer was also dreadful for many years.  

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I've only had the opportunity to play the Lemon Tree once but that was really enjoyable. Our soundcheck was scheduled between 5.35 and 6.00 and that's exactly what happened. It was weird.

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The Tunnels really should have been one of the best venues in this part of the country, but its just never reached the levels i think we all hoped for. Dont get me wrong its a great venue, but at times the sound is so bad you cant enjoy watching a band in there. Last time i was there it was a night of white noise, even with ear plugs in. Now a days it doesnt have the same appeal to it, the equipment needs replaced, the beer is dreadful at times and its always bloody cold! 

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 The only thing I could ever criticize about the place was the bare metal shiter. Great sound, great crowd, great guys to work with. 

 

xx

I liked these two sentences being put together.  It's like you're assessing the bare metal shiter in some extra detail.

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I've typed out and deleted two posts now.  Mostly maudlin', rambling, nostalgic pish about how good The Tunnels was (particularly when I worked there 2006-2009), how it seems to have lost a bit of its lustre these days and how that's a source of personal ire for me which I've decided not to bore you with.

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The rule is 'only drink from bottles in The Tunnels'.

 

 

Pfft. CANS OF RED STRIPE.

Only a mad man drinks draft beer in the Tunnels. My dad actually made that mistake a few months ago, literally the only person with a pint in the venue. He quickly switched to Red Stripe.

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The Carlton was great. More gigs there.

 

Do you really think it would ever work, given the proximity to people's homes (i.e. on the other side of the wall)?  It was one good night and great atmosphere, but it's obviously not going to be sustainable. 

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Do you really think it would ever work, given the proximity to people's homes (i.e. on the other side of the wall)?  It was one good night and great atmosphere, but it's obviously not going to be sustainable. 

Yeah I know. It's just a pipedream. 

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I have a pint in the tunnels about once a year hoping it'll have got better. It's never better.

 

It still has its virtues as a gig venue - in the last year bands like Rolo Tomassi, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Funeral For A Friend and Gnarwolves all managed to pull enough of a crowd to make it feel like there were people there but it is difficult when anyone not so well known plays there, especially outside of a weekend. Is there a reason more touring bands don't go on in Tunnels 2? There's been a bunch of cracking line-ups in there in recentish times and with it being slightly smaller it doesn't feel quite so soul destroying when it's not so well attended.

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