Our team choose their best live events in 2014
The last 12 months have been pretty outstanding in Fife when it comes to music and entertainment.
The Kingdom’s theatres and live music venues have packed in shows and gigs that have provided something for everyone in the last year.
There’s been everything from comedy to musicals, serious plays, ballet, live bands and soloists, plus much more.
And as 2014 drew to a close, the Fife Free Press staff took a look back at some of their highlights from the year.
Dance - Brendan Cole
Once again, the ‘Strictly’ star returned to the Alhambra stage with his live show in the spring. ‘Licence to Thrill’ followed the same formula – one full of fun, live music, sparkling costumes and terrific dancing in both ballroom and dancing styles.
But when you’ve got a set formula that works and proves popular with the crowds, then why venture too far from it? As a fan of the TV series it was great to be able to see all the dances performed live on the stage rather than through the camera lens.
Theatre - The Full Monty
It’s a story that many people know through the 1997 film of the same name, but this year saw the action come to life on the Dunfermline stage. The West End touring production came to Fife in October, bringing with it a fantastic cast, which included Gary Lucy (Hollyoaks, Eastenders), Louis Emerick (Brookside) and Rupert Hill (Coronation Street). The story worked well on stage and all of the favourite parts of the film featured alongside the popular soundtrack.
Revue - The Ladyboys Of Bangkok
Adam Smith Theatre
The best feel-good show in town – upbeat, offbeat and never actually crude, the Ladyboys know how to deliver a smashing night on stage.
True, once you’ve seen their rendition of ‘500 Miles’ you’ll never look at the Proclaimers again in the same light, but this was simply a great night out; one the audience loved.
Comedy - The Showstoppers Improvised Musical
As part of Fife Comedy Festival, there was a chance to enjoy an evening of improvised comedy based around a musical theme from this terrific company. Creating a 90-minute musical from scratch based on audience suggestions, this team are something definitely worth seeing.
Unfortunately, many Fifers missed out on the chance of seeing them with not a great attendance on the night, but it did not take away from the sheer brilliance of the show. It was a great night of comedy entertainment from a very talented group. Having seen the Showstoppers three times now, I can assure you that it is continually enjoyable and it’s completely different everytime.
Comedy - An Evening with Noel Fielding
The ‘Mighty Boosh’ star brought his unique and psychedelic brand of comedy to a packed theatre. Bringing with him a host of characters including punk legend Joey Ramone and New York police sergeant Raymond Boombox, Fielding delivered a surreal and infectiously funny show. From running through the crowds, interrogating them on camera, to dousing them in water, everybody went home having a thoroughly good time with stories to tell the next day of when a comedy genius came to town.
Music - Kasabian
The indie rockers, er, rocked Fife ahead of their headline slot at Glastonburyy. Playing the hits from their new album, the lads did not disappoint the crowd, which was packed in like sardines. Despite a power failure that saw the band leave the stage for over half an hour, they came back on to deafening roars and powered through their set with gusto. The highlight of the whole evening was when guitarist Sergio Pizzorno took to a balcony box at the side of the stage to show off his guitar playing wizardry. The boys are welcome back to Fife any time, the sooner the better.
Theatre - In Time O’ Strife
The revival of Joe Corrie’s work in his home town - powerful, creative and utterly compelling.
First performed at the Pathhead Halls, the stage show was re-worked for 2014 and was just as brilliant.
Another huge success for the National Theatre of Scotland.
Music - Lights Out By Nine
The Duchess of Kirkcaldy
As part of a fundraising gig for community radio station K107, Lights Out By Nine headlined a top night in music, with X factor contestant Emily Middlemas and Dave Latto and Gavin Brady from The Dave Latto band lending their support. Despite the small stage, all eight members wowed the crowd with their powerhouse rhythm and blues. Flying through their set which included hits ‘Take It Or Leave It’ and ‘Back To The Blues’, the soul and funk band cemented their right to be classed as one of the best musical group to come from Fife and rocked me clear out of my blue Chelsea boots.
Music - Doors Alive
Good tribute acts are a rare breed. The Doors Alive are the closest thing to actually seeing the original and transport you to LA’s Whiskey A Go Go club circa the 1960s as soon as the first note rings round the venue. It also helps that front man Willie Scott is everything that you look for in a lead singer; charismatic, talented and gorgeous. As soon as they took to the stage, the crowd went wild. From the opening song of ‘Touch Me’ to the best that the Doors had to offer, ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Hello, I Love You’ to the last hit, the audience sang and danced as if their lives depended on it.
Music - One Night of Queen
When The Works took to the stage in December, the audience was in for a treat.
Gary Mullen, who won ‘Stars in their Eyes’ portraying the band’s lead singer, took on the role as the flamboyant Freddie Mercury like he was born to do it and wowed the crowd with a stellar show that saw Queen brought to life at least for a couple of hours.
The Springsteen Sessions
You got to be good to take on the music of ‘The Boss’ and get a nod of approval from his fans - and these guys do.
Cracking set on their Rothes Halls debut - they’re back in 2015 - which covered a huge range of Springsteen classics, including ‘Jungleland’ and ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze Out’.
Great support too from The Coaltown Daisies.
Comedy - Omid Dajalili
Omid came to the Kingdom for the first time as part of Fife’s Comedy Festival and had the crowd in stitches with his smart, razor-sharp wit. What makes Dajalili stand out from the comedy crowd is that he isn’t offensive – something that is hard to come by nowadays. The audience participation part of the night was the highlight, with members putting questions to the comedian that were off the cuff and hilarious. It was hard to guess who enjoyed it more – Dajalili or the audience.
Music - The Selecter
A rare treat seeing the Ska legends here in Kirkcaldy celebrating the 35th anniversary of the their classic debut album ‘Too Much Pressure’.
The Windsor was jam-packed and the band didn’t disappoint. At nearly 60, Pauline Black has more energy than some half her age and was in great voice throughout.
The band whipped the crowd into a state of near delirium at times and, while the classics such as ‘Three Minute Hero’ and ‘On My Radio’ sound as fresh and original as they ever did, songs from the band’s latest album ‘String Theory’ slotted in to the set perfectly.
A gig to remember and a special mention to the bloke keeping time with the music by banging a tray on his head. It was that sort of night.
Kirkcaldy Film Festival
Adam Smith Theatre
Full houses and fantastic feedback - not bad for a town with no cinema!
The programme was wonderful, the Fife-themed films a delight to watch, and seeing everyone dressed in their finest for the red carpet screening of ‘Goldfinger’ - including a wee kid dressed as Oddjob! - was smashing.
The town is on to something with this great and growing festival.
Comedy - Jerry Sadowitz
A review of this gig didn’t appear in the Press back in April as, contrary as ever, Sadowitz wouldn’t allow it, so I hope he’ll forgive me for including him in my gigs of the year, though I’d imagine it’s extremely unlikely.
The crowd was smaller than expected for a Saturday - something that Sadowitz mentioned in no uncertain terms - but this was probably due to Fife Flyers’ involvement in the EIHL semi-finals and Raith Rovers, who were just 24 hours away from winning the Ramsden’s Cup.
This was a night combining comedy and magic. An overhead camera showed Sadowitz performing card tricks, at which he is nothing less than a master. Some of the sleight of hand on show was simply breath taking and left you open- mouthed in amazement. His comedy had much the same effect but for entirely different reasons. He’s not to everybody’s taste, clearly, but if nothing else, Sadowitz remains utterly unique.
Film - Goldfinger
Adam Smith Theatre
Screened as part of the excellent Kirkcaldy Film Festival, this showing of the James Bond classic was to mark its 50th anniversary and it was a special red carpet event where you were encouraged to don your gladrags. I agreed to meet a friend in the bar beforehand and turned up slightly nervous that I would be the only numpty in a bowtie, but my fears were unfounded as almost all who were there had made the effort.
A pianist and singer performed a selection of 007 theme songs in the foyer before we made our way upstairs for the film itself, which remains one of the most popular of all the Bonds.
Out and out classic though it is, there is one moment of quite appalling sexism which I’d forgotten about where Bond shoos away a masseuse by slapping her on the bum and saying “man talk”, which got an astonished laugh from the crowd. Can’t imagine Daniel Craig doing the same nowadays.
Oh, old punks never die, they ease up on the pogo-ing. Seeing The Stranglers play after all these years was astonishing - a two-hour set that had the audience wilting and enjoying their youthful flashbacks.
It also reminded you just how much great music they’d created over the years.