A place profile in West Lothian


WITHOUT a house, there is no house. Without a place to play, develop and perfect their material, there are no musicians.

Much has been said about the venues in West Lothian then and now. The Dreadnought has always been there, in fact the bar is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Bathgate, while the Midnight Breakfast Club and Purple Orange are making names for themselves as great breakthrough spots.

Few towns of a similar size can boast the same infrastructure, and with pubs in Bathgate also offering regular live music, the city not only caters for those looking for a gig, but they feed the scene in general. .

Alan Russell, COO of DreadnoughtRocks has experienced the emergence of the scene for the past decade or so and watches it with enormous pride.

Born and raised in West Lothian, he has been blown away by the talent that has manifested itself and hopes to continue his efforts to further develop his groups.

He says The weekend : “There have always been bands in the area, but in the last few years they’ve grown tenfold. In the past we’ve had bands like Goodbye Mr McKenzie, etc., but now we have Mark Sharp, Luke La Volpe everything happens now.

“It has exploded over the last ten years, but the potential has always been there. We see it every week, so many great groups are just looking for that small step forward that can take them to the end.

“Obviously Lewis had a break but he didn’t forget the ones he made up and Mark and Luke were both there playing with him at Princes Street Gardens etc.

“West Lothian has always had that sense of community and we want to be a part of it. We want to give people the platform to play and we always ask them when they come here if they have any bands they want to bring with them. .

“The same is true when groups from other parts of the UK come in and don’t provide support. We know we have a huge talent pool here and we can suggest groups of any gender to come and play. ”

DreadnoughtRocks at Bathgate

DreadnoughtRocks is Bathgate’s largest venue and can accommodate a few hundred for each gig. The venue is currently undergoing some upgrades, something of a constant theme over the past decade. Alan and co and hope to attract more and more players to the region in the future.

“We’ve always had concerts,” he says. “In the past it was a bit rarer, but over the last decade we’ve had a vision of having constant live music every weekend. We’ve invested a lot and more recently we have moved the women’s toilet away from the stage.

“It’s been an evolution, but the way we did it helped us attract some really good bands – some really big names and some international artists. Marco Mendoza performed here a day before he left for the United States on the next day to join Journey.

“I always pinch myself for that. It can be hard to understand sometimes that guys of this stature want to come and play here.”

He continues, “We want to give everyone the chance to perform. Performing on stage is the only way for bands to perfect their art. And there’s no better place to do it than in your hometown.

“If venues were to consider that it all has to be about the money in the cash register – something that will stifle the progress of groups – then they’re not going anywhere. I’d rather have 50 people having fun than 400 people in one. room wishing they hadn’t disturbed.These 50 are going to tell their friends how good this gig was and they will come back here for me and go see this band again.

“We know as a business we can’t have gigs with 30 people all the time. We have to balance that. There are those nights when we throw a band – we take the pain – but we watch more. far down the line to those groups that come back to repay that support when they get big. ”

Around the corner from the Dreadnought is Purple Orange – an intimate location established inside the AMP Music store on Union Road.

Purple Orange

Purple Orange

Mike Mathieson, who runs the venue with Scott Horsburgh, is from Bathgate and the cause of the development of more artists in the area is close to his heart.

He says: “Bathgate and the surrounding area always had a lot of artists who wrote their songs but couldn’t get concerts.

“We opened in 2013 and at the time we had artists like Luke La Volpe or bands like The Fire and I. All local artists. We just wanted to give people a platform – a lot of artists that here we are playing their very first gig.

“It’s amazing what you were able to find out. Lewis Capaldi was a regular; was here in 2015 and we have footage of him playing here. All the songs you’ve heard from him on the radio – songs no ° 1 – well, he was there to play them live five years ago. ”

Another newcomer to the West Lothian music scene is the Midnight Breakfast Club, located on Gardners Lane.

Midnight Breakfast Club

Midnight Breakfast Club

Speaking on behalf of the venue, Martin Boyle adds, “About ten of us have taken over the previous owners and live music is a big part of what we do here.

“This is our second year and we’ve had a few decent bands already. They said they would all come back too, so it works for us. Mucky Scoundrel was recently and they were really good, starring with Petty Cassettes and Megan Black.

“Cutchy Cash is booked again so it will be another crack night. The static satellites will also be launching in a few weeks with a few support groups including The Volts.”

About Octavia A. Dorr

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