30 years on and the lights are still burning brightly for Kirkcaldy band

Douglas Hunter, George Morrison and Tom Stirling from the band (Pic by FPA)
Douglas Hunter, George Morrison and Tom Stirling from the band (Pic by FPA)

Three decades in and Kirkcaldy’s Lights Out By Nine show no sign of slowing down.

The soul and funk band have lined up a host of activities to celebrate their 30th year under the banner ‘LOBN@30’.

Lights Out By Nine original line up, circa 1988

Lights Out By Nine original line up, circa 1988

They kick off the anniversary celebrations with a special one off show for the Fife Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline on Saturday, February 11 which will see the band reunite with original lead singer and slide guitarist Al Hughes, four years after he left the band.

Bass player Dougie Hunter is one of the band’s original members and remembers their beginnings back in the mid-80s.

He said: “LOBN’s original keyboard/Hammond player Tom Stirling and I had played in a local acoustic trio, in which Tom was then replaced by Al Hughes when he left.

“Al, Alan Kyle and I were all then together in well known Fife touring band Side Effects until our Ford Transit ground to an abrupt halt in 1984.

Dougie Hunter

Dougie Hunter

“Three years later I were back together, planning the soul band we had always craved for, and which Al and I had often discussed. So, the four founding members - Tom, Al, Alan and me started crafting the original soul set, and searching for liked minded ‘soul mates’ to complete the line up.

“By the middle of that year, we were off and running.”

The band was soon making its mark on the local scene and was able to sell out the Adam Smith Theatre on a regular basis. From there, they began touring all over the UK – a schedule that continues to this day.

Dougie said: “There’s lots of stories from the past 30 years. I remember the full cast of Rab C Nesbitt stage show, including Gregor Fisher, Tony Roper, Elaine C Smith and Andy Gray, all watching from the wings at the Adam Smith in Kirkcaldy as they were in rehearsing for a stage run that was opening the next night, and also some of the cast of Braveheart in full highland gear dancing to the band in Fort William.

The band in 2000

The band in 2000

“One gig in Doncaster was a classic. We appeared at the reputable Leopard venue only to find the entire local gig crowd were all off on buses to Glastonbury that weekend, apart from the unlucky Dave who had the pleasure of watching us - alone!

“Luckily he liked it and we liked him!”

The band have also rubbed shoulders – and played – with many famous names over the years and have forged a long-lasting bond with the Average White Band (AWB), whom they supported on a UK tour.

They also appeared at a Frankie Miller Tribute Show at the Glasgow Barrowlands with Joe Walsh, the Alex Harvey Band, Nazareth, Hamish Stuart & Graeme Lyle, Cosmic Rough Riders, Horse and Clare Grogan, and also followed the Blockheads, including Wilko Johnson and Norman Watt Roy, in front of 3,000 people at a music festival in Lincolnshire.

Dougie said: “There’s been many after shows with our friends from AWB, Nazareth, Martin Stephenson, Paul Carrack Band, the Shetland Blues community, The Blues Band, the lads from Dr Feelgood, and more.”

Now its hoped that some of those friends will join the band in its 30th year, making special guest appearances, along with the four founding members of the band.

As well as the Fife Jazz Festival other dates include a King Tuts show in March with Nine Below Zero, a regular spot at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh, playing the summer festival circuit with some in Fife to be announced.

Following the success of its nine-night run for the ‘What the Funk’ show at last year’s Fringe they have planned a couple of “Funked Up and Souled Out” style shows.

Dougie said: “A collaboration with Kingdom FM is also in the offing as we played at their first anniversary in the year 2000.”

Looking back, he said it has been a “long and colourful existence” and hopes to see as many people as possible joining them at shows this year.

To keep up to date with all of the activities during ‘LOBN@30’ sign up to the band’s Facebook page.