Nazareth & Big Country set for special home town outdoor gig

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Take two bands, place them on the same bill in their home town and you have ‘Legends Of Rock.’

Nazareth and Big Country are two of Dunfermline’s greatest success stories - chart success, world tours, best-selling albums, and yet they’ve never shared a stage until this weekend.

So, safe to say Saturday’s gig at East End Park - another first for the venue - can be filed under ‘unique.’

The bands’ stories are well known, and while chart success may be a thing of the past, they retain strong fan bases and still play live with a regularity that puts most of today’s acts to shame.

If you think Big Country’s schedule is busy - and it is - take a look at Nazareth’s.

Forty-four years on, and they’re still hitting the road with a vengeance: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Finland and Moscow are all booked, the USA is to be confirmed, and there’s a string of UK dates too.

Big Country

Big Country

And that’s just the next eight months!

For Nazologists, however, this weekend’s gig is a wee bit special.

As well as being a homecoming, and a fundraiser for Dunfermline Athletic, it’s also a debut for the man with the task of stepping into the shoes of Dan McCafferty.

Carl Sentance has been on the rock scene for decades - he fronted Persian Risk, as part of the 80s’ ‘New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’ which gave us Def Leppard, Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang and many more.

He’s played with a range of big names, and now has centre stage in one of the most enduring bands of all time.

But Nazareth minus Dan McCafferty?

There’s no doubt his sandpaper-raw vocals will be missed - at the band’s 42nd anniversary gig at the Alhambra in 2012 he was in remarkable form, only to be forced into retirement when those same lungs finally gave in with the illness COPD.

But the music continues.

Nazareth’s chart days may be 40 years ago, but their radio friendly hits still resonate - it’s always a joy to hear ‘Broken Down Angel’ or the instantly recognisable intro to ‘This Flight Tonight.’

But don’t expect just the hits. The band are still busy in the studio, and you’ll get more current material too - and if it’s on par with the stuff on ‘The Newz’ released just a few years ago then you’re in for a treat.

Big Country too have a new man at the helm.

Last time they played the Alhambra they had Mike Peters, ex Alarm man, on vocals. Now the mic stand has been passed to Simon Hough.

The absence of the much loved, much missed Stuart Adamson remains strong, but his glorious, swirling, driving songs from those massive-selling 80s albums haven’t diminished with the passing of time - can you believe ‘Steeltown’ is about to mark the 30th anniversary of its release?

Big Country remain a great live band, and playing in their home town is always extra special.

The ‘Legends Of Rock’ line-up also includes Hurricane Road - featuring Steve Agnew - and Foreign Fox, and with a start time of 5.00 p.m. you have over five hours of good, live rock to look forward to. Tickets are available online on Ticketmaster, and if you want the last few hospitality packages then go to www.kingdomfm.co.uk for more info.

From the dance hall to the charts

Nazareth were the first band I ever saw play live.

The venue was the slightly un rock ‘n’ roll Usher Hall of Edinburgh, and it was 1979.

At my school you were either a punk or a rocker. I opted for the long hair, denim and earnest discussions of Deep Purple ‘In Rock’ and listening to Iron Maiden at levels loud enough to make my ears bleed and annoy the neighbours. Five decades on I still do …

Back then, Nazareth were ‘Top of The Pops’ regulars along with the holy trinity of Mud, Sweet and Slade.

They were hairy, probably un-cool, and yet cranked out some incredibly radio friendly rock numbers as well as displaying a canny knack of cherry picking cover versions to land them firmly in the then hallowed top ten.

Playing the dance halls of west Fife as The Shadettes they were used to playing other band’s songs - that was the rule back then - but it took them into America and across Europe, and laid the foundations for their own remarkable longevity.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen them play live over the years - from the Ayr Pavilion to the Alhambra, via Rothes Halls and the Liquid Rooms.

Their 40th anniversary gig in Edinburgh was a belter, their 42nd year show at the Alhambra sold out and was something rather special.

The ‘Legends’ gig is an important one too. It marks the debut of new singer Carl Sentance who has the huge task of taking over from Dan McCafferty whose unmistakable vocals have powered the band since its very first single and album.

Ill health forced McCafferty off the road in 2013, just 12 months after that cracking Alhambra gig where he sounded better than ever.

Health depending, it’d be wonderful to see him take a bow or even make a cameo appearance at the ‘Legends Of Rock’ gig.

A fitting platform for one final bow from one of rock’s under-rated singers ...