Preview: Big Country, Liquid Room

Bruce Watson. Pic: Neil Hanna
Bruce Watson. Pic: Neil Hanna
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IT’S 11 years since Big Country frontman Stuart Adamson was found dead in a hotel room in Hawaii, and 30 years since the release of the band’s debut album, The Crossing.

The surviving members performed a celebration of the singer’s life at Glasgow’s Barrowlands in 2002, after which they admitted to having “no real thoughts of ever performing again as Big Country”.

But Bruce Watson, Mark Brzezicki and Tony Butler – joined by Mike Peters of the Alarm on lead vocals – got together again in 2007 to mark the band’s 25th anniversary and have since reconvened on occasion.

This year, however, saw the unexpected release of The Journey, the Scotrockers’ first studio album since Adamson took his own life in December 2001, with lyrics written and sung by Peters.

Next Monday, Big Country return to Liquid Room, sans Peters, who quit the band last month, and also without Butler, who departed last year.

Former Simple Minds bassist Derek Forbes and Watson’s son, Jamie, have joined the band, who will continue using Adamson’s original blueprint as a four-piece.

With hands-in-the-air anthems like Fields Of Fire, Look Away and In A Big Country, the Dunfermline-formed band almost single-handedly defined the sound of contemporary Scotland in the Eighties by making guitars sound like bagpipes – but Watson, pictured, admits it’s hard to analyse exactly where that came from.

“It’s just what Stuart and I were doing with guitars at the time,” he says. “We wrote a lot of the songs when it was just the two of us, and it could have gone either way, really – we were experimenting a lot with synthesizers as well as guitars.”

As a gesture to their late singer, the band will again leave the centre spot where Adamson used to perform vacant, just like they have at recent gigs.

“I don’t know if that many people notice,” says Watson. “A few people noticed last time, but the majority of people in attendance were too caught up in the occasion.”

Big Country, Liquid Room, Monday, 30 December, 7pm, £25, 0131-225 2564