A sell-out capacity crowd crammed into Alloa Town Hall for what proved to be a very special night with Liverpool band CAST shaking the foundations to the core of the old building. The night itself was triumphant in many ways, notably it was the first time in years the venue has hosted a sell-out crowd for a music event in the town. The story did not end there and was much bigger than just the town hall as Alloa was buzzing on the night with many local bars, nightclubs, restaurants and even hotels benefiting from increased custom as result of local businessman Craig Stewart and his team from the Oakwood bringing such a credible act to Alloa.
With a string of top ten hit singles in the 90s, CAST need little introduction to music fans and it was no surprise the gig sold-out in a number of days. The night was boosted by the inclusion of fellow Liverpool band Tony Steele And The Massacre and upcoming Alloa singer/songwriter Kieran Fisher. Ex boxer Tony and his band kicked-off the night with opening song ‘Feel Love’. The three-piece Massacre consisting of Tony, Pete MacParland and Grant Walker did a great job of entertaining those in attendance with their recent single ‘Starting From Scratch’ being a set stand-out. With Tony’s husky vocal alongside the bongo drums the track has recently picked up some nationwide exposure after it was named by on-line music site Gigslutz asThis Feeling Track Of The Day.
At 21 years old, local artist Kieran Fisher is a young man with a bright future in front of him. A former pupil of Lornshill Academy, Kieran has been busy in the studio recording his debut E.P with the help of Coatbridge based musician Pete MacLeod. With his track ‘Festival Song’ being something of a local anthem, Kieran is well known around Alloa for his strong vocal, songwriting and local gigs. With the crowd swelling to near capacity, Kieran opened his set with a tribute to the Liverpool bands on the bill with a cover of The Beatles track ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ instantly ensuring everyone in the hall joined him in a sing-along from the off. New self-penned song ‘Heebie Jeebies’ followed before live staples ‘Rise and Shine’ and ‘Live and Let Live’ got the locals singing along as their local hero done them proud. Set closer ‘Festival Song’ is a track worthy of the attention it is drawing with the crowd roaring their approval with chants of “the feesh, the feesh is on fire” as Kieran closed his set and thanked the people of Alloa for their support.
With the venue close to bursting point, headliner CAST led by front-man John Power took to the stage and wasted no time unloading fan favourites and killer tunes from the off. ‘Time Bomb’, ‘Tell It Like It Is’ and ‘Promised Land’ all featured early in the set as the crowd bounced and danced for all their worth. With debut album All Change recently celebrating 20 years since it was released, many of the crowd appeared to be reliving happy memories from the past. ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Fine Time’ almost lifted the roof of the hall with guitarist Skin (also the guitarist in Robert Plant’s band The Strange Sensation) demonstrating his prowess throughout. Indeed with Jay Lewis (formerly of The La’s) now appearing to be a permanent fixture on bass guitar the musicianship on display was of the absolute highest calibre.
With their sixth studio album due next March, ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ gave fans a taste of what to expect from the new album. ‘Flying’ and ‘Guiding Star’ ensured the set continued to please before my own favourite CAST track ‘Live The Dream’ brought a mass crowd sing-along. ‘Walkaway’ and ‘Free Me’ followed with a memorable drumming showcase from Keith O’Neill as the band closed out their dynamic set. With chants of “here we, here we” and “we want more” erupting from the floor, John Power returned with his band mates to lead the encore charge. Despite not thinking it possible, the encore appeared to take it to another level with the band absolutely nailing it. In particular, 90s anthem ‘Alright’ ended the night hovering somewhere between the stratosphere and mesosphere. A terrific night indeed with the big question on everyone’s lips …who will be the next act of sell-out Alloa Town Hall?
Words: Bazza Mills