May 182017

By Craig Chisholm.

Inverness based promoter Stephen Robertson is slowly but surely making a name for himself in the world of music promotion.

Over the past year he has put on big names such as Motown star Martha Reeves, The Bad Shepherds, who feature comedian Adrian Edmonston, dub and reggae legend Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Manchester indie stalwarts The Fall, Radio 6 DJ Craig Charles with his popular Funk and Soul Club and former PIL bassist Jah Wobble, with his band Invaders of The Heart, among others.

Though based up North he has put a formidable line up of talented acts on in Aberdeen venues such as Café Drummond, The Tunnels and The Lemon Tree.

He’s also been racking up the miles to promote gigs in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Stephen started back in the promotion business back 2006 when he started booking acts for several venues in Inverness. In 2014 he started TwentyTen and took things a step further, booking bands in Aberdeen and not just in the Highlands.

As well as established names he has also put on shows by up and coming bands such as Teleman, Fatherson, Bloodlines and Vokovi – all of whom are destined for bigger things.

Upcoming TwentyTen gigs in Aberdeen include an appearance by critically acclaimed influential New York band Swans and a rare intimate acoustic gig by The Rifles.

Coming up in Aberdeen –

  • May 18th – The Rifles (Unplugged) – The Tunnels
  • May 19th – Swans – The Lemon Tree
  • May 21st – Matt Anderson – The Tunnels
  • May 22nd – Natives – The Tunnels
  • June 3rd – Popes of Chillitown – Café Drummond

Tickets are available to these gigs – as well as others in Inverness, Glasgow Dundee and Edinburgh from –

Facebook –
Twitter –

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jun 112015
Aberdeen Train Station May 2015

Aberdeen Train Station, May 2015, This may be the first view of the city to meet a visitor’s eye.

Victoria McAleer writes to Aberdeen Voice of her disappointment regarding how Aberdeen presents itself as a tourist destination.

I have lived  in the city for 18 months  now (after living in the shire for 8 years)and I’m well aware of it’s history and main focus on the oil and gas industry.

It seems the city has been buffered by the economic buoyancy that the oil and gas sector provided, compared to other cities in the UK.

I am also aware that at present there is a downturn in the sector and many people have been made redundant.

My native Liverpool, like many other cities, especially in the Northern half of the country was without such an industry and in the 80’s and 90’s unemployment was rife.

The city looked at what it had to offer and the groundwork was done to regenerate the Albert Dock area, spring boarding a total revamp of the city centre and more focus was paid to tourism and welcoming people to the city.

It’s proved invaluable. The city has gone from strength to strength and attracts people from all over the world.

Orrel Road Station Liverpool May 2015

Orrel Road Station Liverpool, May 2015. A cleaner, more welcoming environment.

It is of course helped by having attractions such as The Tate Gallery, The Beatles Museum, The Slavery Museum, The Walker Art Gallery, to name but a few and by other attractions such as the historic waterfront ferries and football.

This has all been achieved by hard work and the determination of people who were proud of their city, because, believe me it was not a place you would have spent a weekend in the 80’s.

It seems to me that Aberdeen tourism is a half hearted affair, probably because Aberdeen has never had to rely on anything else but oil and gas.

Which is a great shame.

The basics are already here. Great beaches and architecture.

What is missing though is a proper museum/gallery.

I know Aberdeen is of much smaller population than Liverpool, but this population is swelled greatly by all the oil and gas employees who live in the city during the week and use the resources, infrastructure and so forth.

Why couldn’t one of these multi billion pound companies sponsor a new museum/gallery and give something back to the people of Aberdeen from whom they have taken so much ?

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Feb 272015

steve nimmo trioBy David Innes.

Graham Robertson and Kenny Taylor’s Facebook page had me intrigued.

Blues, in all its guises, is a healthy obsession, so a chat was in order.

Graham provides the words.

So, Graham, what inspired you to begin promoting gigs in Aberdeen?

Kenny and I are both huge fans of live music and regularly travel to gigs all over the place.

‘We had thought about promoting, but when our friend Linda from Newcastle gave us the chance to bring Ryan McGarvey to Aberdeen, we decided to take the chance. Having seen him a few times before, we knew how talented he was, and it would be a challenge and a great opportunity for our first show. Ryan, Kenny and I were very pleased with the turnout out of 121, given that he’s virtually unknown in Aberdeen. There’s definitely a demand for blues rock out there with Joe Bonamassa pulling a crowd of over 3000 when he played the AECC in September.

We started our Facebook page since it’s much easier to get word out via social media. Over 200 people are following the page in the short time it’s been up and running, and we’re considering the merits of having our own website.

As fans of live music it is also quite important for us to keep the tickets at affordable prices.

So why Blues Rock? Are you attempting to get into a niche here, or are you open to acoustic acts, Delta interpreters etc? What if Eric Bibb was looking for a gig in the NE?

We’d be open to acoustic gigs, but are focusing initially on electric blues rock for the first two or three years until we get ourselves established. We’d then consider taking Eric Bibb to Aberdeen if it was financially viable.

What were your personal highlights of 2014?

2014 was very good year for us. Obviously starting up Blues Rock Aberdeen and putting on our first two gigs – Ryan McGarvey and The Nimmo Brothers were the main highlights.

In March I travelled to New York to see The Allman Brothers Band play two nights during their run at The Beacon Theatre. A week after I’d booked the tickets they announced that 2014 was going to be their final year, so that made the concerts even more special.

In May we both attended The Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival in Ballyshannon, where Rory was born. It was a brilliant, with over twenty bands playing over the weekend. Fans attended from all over the world and I even had a pint with a guy who had travelled from Australia especially for the festival.

The overwhelming highlight of 2014 for me, though, was the Harvest Time Blues Festival in Monaghan, Ireland at the beginning of September. It came as a real surprise, as I didn’t think anything could top seeing The Allman Brothers Band.

laurence jonesThe whole festival was particularly well-run and had a great variety of bands. Almost every bar had live bands playing including Crow Black Chicken and The Hardchargers from Ireland. Doug MacLeod, Lil’ Jimmy Reed, Bnois King and Smokin’ Joe Kubek all played, and 81 year old Leo Bud Welch graced the acoustic stage.

The main stage started at 2230 and had a wealth of talent with Monaghan’s own Grainne Duffy, Mud Morganfield, Royal Southern Brotherhood, and my favourite band over the whole weekend The Steepwater Band from Chicago. I would highly recommend The Harvest Time Blues Festival to anyone.

In November Kenny went to The Blues Fest at The Royal Albert Hall taking in many great acts including The Hoax, Beth Hart and Robert Cray, but his highlight of 2014 was seeing Gary Clark Jr blowing away the crowd in Manchester.

And your three favourite blues albums of 2014?

2014 was a fantastic year for blues albums. Our top three in no particular order were:

Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie

Gary Clark Jr – Live

Beth Hart  and Joe Bonamassa – Live in Amsterdam

And who would you predict for glory in 2015?

Blues Pills from Sweden who impressed us greatly when we saw them support Rival Sons in Glasgow in December.

Ryan McGarvey, a very special talent. I’m sure everyone who saw his gig in June will agree

Ruf Records’ Laurence Jones, We first saw him support Royal Southern Brotherhood in Kendal in 2011. It’s been really good to see him mature as a musician when we’ve seen him at one or two blues festivals in the last couple of years and when he supported Kenny Wayne Shepherd in Edinburgh last year, he went off to a standing ovation. He just gets better and better, now with a fantastic rhythm section behind him in Roger Innis on bass and Miri Miettinen on drums. It’s great to see him awarded another high profile support slot, joining King King on their current UK tour, including a Lemon Tree date on Sunday 22 March.

So far, what’s arranged in Aberdeen for 2015?

We’re bringing The Stevie Nimmo Trio up on Sunday 3 May, Virgil and the Accelerators on Friday 15 May, Laurence Jones on Monday 22 June and we’re hoping Philip Sayce will reschedule his cancelled show from last November. For the Stevie Nimmo Trio we’re trying something different. Since it falls on May Day weekend we’ve made it an afternoon gig with doors opening at 1500.

‘After their successful gig in September we’ll be bringing the Nimmo Brothers back later in the year.

If money, venue and availability were no object, who would you bring to Aberdeen for blues lovers to see?

We’re huge fans of Gary Clark Jr and Warren Haynes and would love to take them to The Granite City. Warren Haynes is the hardest working man in music and we’d love to see him play Aberdeen whether with his band Gov’t Mule or solo.

There are perennial complaints that Aberdeen is missed out when artists of all genres tour the UK. Blues Rock Aberdeen and Almost Blue promotions are putting admirable effort and energy into trying to put that right.

The least they deserve is your support for their creditable hard work.

Blues Rock Aberdeen gigs 2015

03 May             The Tunnels       The Stevie Nimmo Trio (afternoon show 1500)
15 May              The Tunnels       Virgil and the Accelerators
22 June            The Tunnels       Laurence Jones

Aug 292014

This is a great time to be a musician; it’s also a very hard time to be a musician as well. Arguably technology is behind this paradox. On the one hand, because technology has made it both easier to record and share new music, there has never been more competition in the music industry, and good bands have to stand out against a huge pool of talent all clambering for attention on YouTube and the like.

On the other hand, the ability to harness technology successfully is essential for fledgling acts and producers, and mastery of technology is what makes certain acts sound unique and separates them from the crowd. The more an aspiring musician knows about the aspects of the arts of performing and recording, the better their chances are for success.

The Ruptured Ducklings and their members are not leaving their success to chance; they’re going down every avenue of the industry, as I find out. By Suzanne Kelly.

DSC_0031Jonny Lees and Calum Farquhar meet me at their new recording studio/practice space in Aberdeen called D-Range, off Holburn Road. Tucked away in a beautiful garden setting, D-Range is in pristine shape.
The two met at Aberdeen College, both studied music and went on to complete an HND in Sound Production.

Their main music preference is for Rock but they have a wide music taste; Green Day was mentioned, as was admiration for Butch Vig, producer of Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Partners Lees and Farquhar have designed an impressive recording/rehearsal room and offer state-of-the art engineering/production facilities. Local acts are beginning to gravitate to D-Range, but that is only part of Lees’ and Farquhar’s enterprise.

The duo is in a band together.

The Ruptured Ducklings are Jonny Lees – Vocals; Mike Love – Lead Guitar (Backing Vocals); Calum Farquhar – Rhythm Guitar (Backing Vocals); and Allan Constable – Drummer. The act has just had a date at the Moorings which went down very well by all accounts. They have another gig coming up on the 20th September at The Moorings and will be giving away free EP’s. The band can be found on Facebook; they can also be found on soundcloud.

Calum and Jonny’s interests aren’t limited to running the studio and promoting their band; they are working towards launching their own label.

The_Ruptured_Ducklings_LogoWe discuss the pros and cons of music in Aberdeen; the two think the city is in one of its upwards cycles. They feel the opening of the venue Downstairs and acts like Semperfi and Akord who played download last year are helping to bring a positive energy to the local music scene.

They are very interested in helping young, developing talent. They want to bring high standards of recordings up in Aberdeen so bands don’t need to go elsewhere for the standards they require. And it seems to me that they have a great deal to offer in that regard.

What does the future hold for D-Range? Their plans and services include monthly live streaming of bands, hosting band nights, voice overs for tv & radio, selling Acoustic Treatment products. D-Range also offers low tutor/solo rates between 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Their goal is to constantly sustain their high standards; I think they definitely will.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]