P In the Bay

4 Stars

****

The summer is here in spite of what the weather here in Scotland is trying to do to us, and summer means festival season. Glastonbury and T in the Park have both been and gone, on Saturday 24 July, Fife’s own Dalgety Bay had their turn with P in the Bay, a musical extravaganza that ran for upwards of ten hours with localish performers and bands, 15 in all, royally entertaining the crowd throughout.

This, concert seems hardly the word, followed on after a push-cart derby had taken place wit nine intrepid teams charging round a challenging course set up in an industrial estate to get the title for 2010 and all proceeds from both events were for Cancer Research UK, who’s committee and willing volunteers were pressed into service by organiser Mark Bennett and what a job he got them to deliver.

Sharp on midday the first band hit the stage, a four piece rockin’ combo by name of So4. Fronted by brother and sister Katieanne and Darren Gibson these youngsters really knew how to sell their set. A combination of original material and the occasional cover highlighted their exceptional potential. They deserve to go far if they can continue to deliver; I know I’d certainly like to see them again. Katieanne has an exceptional rock-chick voice and Darren really plays a mean axe, and they are so bl*ddy young!!

The second act to the stage was a complete contrast laid back, MOR and big band numbers delivered by vocalist Grace Black. Ms Black also appealed to a different demographic in the mixed age crowd that was steadily building throughout the afternoon and her slightly shorter set was generally well received.

The third act again had a different style. Calling themselves the Cherry Pickers, this acoustic folk rock duo comprising Paul Brand and Calvin Laidlaw were very much to my musical taste. Not the most visual band on offer, but they delivered where it counted with a quality sound and professional performance. Certainly another name to add to the list and look out for in the future.

Back in a rock vein again the next on stage was the very professional set performed by The Expectators. Again a young group, this time a trio, who performed a short set of their own material, which also went down well with the crowd. I had no idea there were so many talented musicians locally,

And yet they kept coming, Fire in Effect were next, this time a young four piece rock band. Again it was mostly their own material that was performed. A different sound than what went before, but none the less very well performed and I’m sure given the breaks they could go far. Certainly worth catching again if there’s a chance.

A chance in age group and style was Baby Isaac who oozed class throughout their 45 minute performance. They majored on blues which given the talent in the band and the amazing vocals of Angela Moore was certainly the right move as far as I was concerned. This, along with most of the acts, was the first time I had seen them perform, but it certainly won’t be the last. A five piece ensemble and each one complemented the other. It’s easy to see why they have a great reputation and certainly enhanced it on this showing.

Lost Fleet followed, and it was yet another local band and yet another young one. A five piece featuring vocals, two guitarists bass and drums. I wish I had been able to get the lead guitarists name as he must be the most talented 15 year old out their. The sounds he produced from his instrument were almost beyond belief. That’s not taking anything away from the rest, who were integral to the set, it was just wow. What talent!!

Rock continued after the next change, with the more mature The Session taking over with a selection of rock covers. Okay I’m equally more mature also and I did enjoy them, it was good to head their slant on classics and they at times brought the house down, and unfortunately the rain also, which did have a scattering effect on the crowd a little. I could have stood quite a lot more of them personally.

Next to hit the stage were the acoustic trio The Dandy Lions, comprising Kellie Buchanan guitar / vocals, David Hershaw, guitar / vocals and Sandie Forbes fiddle /vocals. Their set was a highlight for me, new material, good covers, a pleasing sound and as much as I like rock, I also like acoustic stuff and it made a nice change. They shared vocals, harmonised well and even with the slightly damp conditions around certainly made me feel like I wanted them to go on far longer than they were allowed.

Around 6-00, mayhem it the stage, no that wasn’t the bands name, they were Blue Delta, mayhem was Mark ‘The Organiser’ Bennett, and his larger than life personality, together with quality vocals, shared with Lynsey his wife, bass guitarist Jon McLuskey and drummer Scott Christie together with Ian Craig making his guitar talk, this amazing covers band blew everyone’s socks off. The range of material was wide, the quality was excellent and in the face of inclement conditions they managed to drag people out of the bar and food area to dance and sing along. I don’t know if they are the number one covers band in Fife as I haven’t seen every one, but if they’re not no.1, then some band has gotta be better than awesome. It was over all too soon for all. Here’s to the next time.

A brief change over period heralded the arrival of Tam Scott, who does a mean line in Neil Diamond impersonations. Although he really doesn’t look too much like the superstar, he does sound rather like him. I have seen Diamond perform live and the enthusiasm Scott generated, especially from a few young dancers during some of the classics numbers was approaching the master. I would like to see him with a bigger audience and judge the full reaction then.

The variety continued with the next act, and wow did David Mutch woo the ladies. He is 6ft plus tall, dark and with matinee idol good looks, backed up with a superb sing voice attracted him quite a female fan club. Mutch is a mainstay in several local theatre clubs and split his set between show tunes, and more MOR stuff like Bouble, Matt Munro and Tony Christie. Seeming a natural too he was also good at the links between songs informing the crowd of the material source. Again even the rock fans appreciated the variety.

With the time moving on, the penultimate band hit the stage. This was Big River a hard driving C&W band who entertained with a rousing set with quite a few Johnny Cash numbers in the mix. Now those who know me well will be aware that I am anything but a Country fan, and having been on my feet for over ten hours I expected to be unimpressed. I wasn’t. I will never like the genre but if I had to listen to this type of music, well they could be a band I’d listen too. A few die hards were dancing around the front of the stage throughout.

Rock predominated throughout the day, and so it was fitting that Millsyeck the headline band took to the stage for a further hard driving hour, finishing well after 10.00pm, with a well delivered and staged performance. The band is from Dundee, and is cutting quite a swathe on the music scene and I could understand why. It’s just a pity so many people had gone as the weather and fatigue took their toll, ‘cause I feel they, and I, would have enjoyed the set more if it had been more heavily populated.

At time of writing I am not sure how much money was raised for Cancer Research UK, but I trust it was plenty given the effort put in by all the artists, committee, volunteers and all. Special thanks should be given to Mark Bennett for the many, many hours and boundless enthusiasm that he put into the day. And if you missed out this time 23 July 2011 is the date for your diary when hopefully most of the bands will be back once more.

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