The Eagle has undergone somewhat of a transition as a music venue in 2013, the enthusiasm that had seen a successful Battle of the Bands the year before as well as becoming another opportunity for acts to play and hone their skills had waned with the closure of the upstairs venue.
Recently Stuart Thain of 2010 Management and ABC Radio Presenter, took over bookings and subsequently events have started to become a bit more structured again. We (myself and Frank) managed to catch up with Stuart over coffee and have a chat about his plans for the venue.
An array of acts have already been booked including a vast array of genres from a Toby Michaels acoustic set to the punks of Against ALL Flags via The Rosettes, the latter being a Dundee based indie band. Stuart explains that he intends to use “Southern bands” to compliment local musicians with the intention of helping bands to make connections and support each other. Stuart acknowledged the possibility of building relationships with promoters in other cities and building on the “gig swap principle”.
Another debut will be “Acoustic Joy”, a Saturday night event, that he hopes to make a regular occurrence. The first night (on Saturday the 16th of November) will see Meeshelle joined by Robbie Flannagan and Neon Knights, a significant mix, all sticking to acoustic roots.
November is already booked up, with December is filling up, including a festive appearance on the 27th of December by The Federals. Music at Hogmanay is also to be confirmed, although the hope is that there will be four local bands and perhaps a more traditional Scottish act thrown into the mix.
Stuart voiced a clear desire to promote new talent and he states “one of the things that I want to do is push the young musicians”, Stuart uses Jake Cameron as an example, a 16/17 year old from Dingwall who debuted at amaSing in September and playing his first gig at The Eagle very soon.
Currently the plan is to leave music in the bar with a possibility of music returning to the first floor given the right circumstances in the future. Stuart acknowledges that re-focusing on music may take a bit of time. The support from the venue itself, Stuart acknowledged, has obviously been invaluable.
On talking about the local venues Stuart is keen to pursue the collaborative working model, building on that goNORTH vibe and ethos. “It would be great for venues to offer something different”. Stuart clearly emphasises the idea of complementing , and not competing with, other venues, with the possibility of venues staggering gig times to allow audiences to follow the music. “It will take the time.. we’re all on the same team”.
Stuart’s enthusiasm for the gig scene in the area is quite immense.“I love the music scene, it’s getting better and better”. He appears very keen to look at some new ideas and it will certainly to be interesting to see how they develop over time.