IT ONLY ever takes one gig. And then everything changes.

Nothing even comes close to the experience. There is no vicarious equivalent, no halfway house, nothing that captures that same raw energy.

Every single music-loving soul walking the Earth will look back on their first live concert and think: 'That was the moment'.

There is no doubt that, as a music venue, Alloa Town Hall has its place in history.

For outsiders, it is the forum for The Beatles' first gig in Scotland. The commemorative plaque above the main entrance says it all.

However, for musicians and gig lovers across Clackmannanshire, and those further afield, it remains an informative milestone in their lives.

Many had their own moment of transformation at Alloa Town Hall. Their eyes opened by the sights and sounds of live music. And then everything changed.

Martin Mullady played his first-ever gig as a boy, with music taking on a massive role in his life ever since. But the opportunities he had in his youth are harder to find these days.

There is no showcase of Wee County talent that young artists can work towards. Generally, live shows at Alloa Town Hall are few and far between – though that is something Martin and others are keen to address.

In just over a week, he brings his own mammoth production to the venue, with support from Tonto, fronted by Alloa man Kieran Fisher, and Gerry Son & the Smokin' Gun, spearheaded by Stirling's Gerry McGlade.

All three acts rehearse in the same space in Alloa and see the potential the town has as a live music scene.

The show, set for October 7, is not only a big step for the three acts, but it could be a major stride in bringing more acts to town.

Not only that, the show – or others to follow – may be the moment when everything changes for another youngster. When 'the moment' arrives for the next generation of talent.

"This show could be a bit of a catalyst for more down the line," Martin said. "That's the hope at least, and it can be done.

"We're only three of the acts around here. VIDA, Deltamanic, The Colony – there are plenty bands around this neck of the woods. And they're all different, and each with their own sound.


Martin on stage at Vibration Festival. Picture by Bazza Mills

Martin on stage at Vibration Festival. Picture by Bazza Mills


"When bigger acts come to Alloa, such as The View or Cast, it sells out every single time. That tells you that people here do want to hear music, they do want to come to gigs."

Any attempt to develop a live music scene will have to involve local artists. And for the next generation to be inspired, it has to be sustained.

Each of the three acts have their own vibe, but complement each other well. They are all lively performers, with bags of experience and a home crowd right behind them.

Importantly, they all also understand the importance of making sure young emerging musicians can sample that live show energy – just maybe there will be a youngster in the crowd on the night that will be performing at the same venue a few years down the line.

Martin said: "We intentionally lowered the age on the doors to 14 because we want to see younger folk coming along. I had messages from people asking if they could bring their kids.

"And that's happened a lot – there are kids that want to go to gigs but can't because it's 18 and over."

Indeed, Gerry was only a teenager when he ventured through to Alloa for one of his first concerts.

Now, after years of performing, he knows all too well the energy a live band can inject into a venue – and the impact their show can have on the audience.

"You never know with a live show," he added. "I remember coming through here when I was young for one of my first gigs and it was an AC/DC cover band playing, with these guys in their 50s. And they were phenomenal.

"Live music is just a different experience. When you're listening to a song on Spotify, it's just so passive.

"But seeing a show for yourself, it's just a different thing. When you're there, with the light show and the band going for it – honestly, your head is spinning with it all.

"And it's a shame for all those kids who have never experienced that."


Gerry performing at Vibration Festival with Gerry Son & The Smokin Gun. Picture by Iain Smith

Gerry performing at Vibration Festival with Gerry Son & The Smokin Gun. Picture by Iain Smith


The Martin Mullady headliner could be a start of something. There is no doubt that there is talent in the Wee County, and, equally, that people will come out for shows.

And once the ball rolls on having more and more events, it is possible bigger promoters will see the likes of Alloa as a worthwhile stopping point for touring acts.

If the support for a campaign from the general public materialised, then all it would take is for the right notes to be struck.

"It could be every week," Kieran said. "We could have local bands on here, bands coming from places, or they could have comedy acts on.

"Music is still a huge draw. People are always wanting to go to places like TRNSMT. Well, you can have something like that right here. I've been to festivals at town halls and they're incredible. That's all achievable here."

"We're the first to write ourselves off at times," Gerry added. "But there could easily be regular shows at a place like Alloa Town Hall.

"There are so many different types of bands around here. No one could say there is only one type of music that comes out of Alloa. There is something for everybody."

It's only ten days until what promises to be a memorable night, with each band costing the same as a drink in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and no need to scramble for the last crammed train home to Clacks.

And if more people find themselves in the habit of heading along to events in the area, then it may well come to a point where weekly shows and events are the norm, rather than the exception.

"A gig like this is a showcase," Kieran added. "There are a lot of bands in Alloa that are crying out to play gigs, and especially in a place like this.

"It would be great if there was more support for acts. There is a lot of talent that goes unseen around here and I think folk would get a real kick out of it if they come along to see it.


Kieran playing with Tonto at Vibration in Falkirk in 2021. Picture by Iain Smith

Kieran playing with Tonto at Vibration in Falkirk in 2021. Picture by Iain Smith


"And having it here, in the community, is a big thing. You hear people say there's not much on in Alloa, so here it is. You hate to see something like this being overlooked because it's Alloa, and not Glasgow or Edinburgh.

"For the cost of the train fare or a couple of drinks, here's a cracking show on your doorstep that you can get along to and walk home. No crammed train home, no taxi, no hassle.

"A concert on the doorstep – you've got to come see it. Honestly, it's nothing like listening to music on Spotify. You need to see the artist, see how they perform, and feel the music. You need to come and witness it."

It's clear the three acts have something special in mind for the night with no effort spared in putting on something that people will remember.

And taking it back to where it all really began for the artists brings a little added sentiment.

Kieran continued: "This Alloa show will not be just another gig where you pay your money, have a few pints and watch a few bands.

"Martin has obviously taken the lead himself and it's not just music he's bringing as well; he's got a full light show coming in – it's a full production. He has gone above and beyond. It's local acts but it's a professional production, right on our doorstep.

"The whole thing has been a journey for us all. We have put so much work into learning how to play shows like this – it's been thousands of hours.

"I've known Martin since I was a kid; he's been playing longer than me and pretty much got me into it. Now, 15-20 years later, we're going to play the town hall together. It's been a long time coming."

Martin Mullady plays Alloa Town Hall, with Tonto and Gerry Son & The Smokin' Gun, on Saturday, October 7, from 7pm.

Tickets are available now at

Those looking to buy in person can do so at the Royal Oak in advance, or on the door.

Alloa Town Hall - a special venue


PERFORMERS: Kieran Fisher (left), Martin Mullady (centre), and Gerry McGlade (right) will take their bands on stage in Alloa next month. Picture by Iain Smith

PERFORMERS: Kieran Fisher (left), Martin Mullady (centre), and Gerry McGlade (right) will take their bands on stage in Alloa next month. Picture by Iain Smith


WHETHER it is a first gig played, first gig attended, or a firm favourite, they all feel a genuine affection for Alloa Town Hall.

Martin Mullady, Kieran Fisher and Gerry McGlade have sampled many a stage across the country, but the Wee County venue is certainly up there.

For Martin, the history goes way back to his musical apprenticeship

"We used to play gigs here all the time," he recalls. "When the council ran the music project that was based on Glasshouse Loan, there were bands from all over the place involved.

"It was for kids, basically, and you'd go there and get lessons on music and learn how to play. Then the idea was that you would put a band together, rehearse for a bit, get a 20-minute set together, and then you'd play at Alloa Town Hall."

"It's where I played my first ever gig. I supported a cover band and we played two songs – Teenage Kicks [by the Undertones] and a Blink-182 song.

"I was so nervous on the day as well. I think we were about 12 or 13 years old and had no idea how it all worked.

"I remember thinking we were going to use the main band's equipment, but it turns out we were supposed to bring our own amps and I had left mine at home. My dad had to run up and get it.

"But I was that nervous that I was thinking: 'I hope he can't find the amp and he comes back without it' – oh, well, I can't play."

Thankfully, Martin played – and then played again. Most recently, he supported Big Country there, another sold-out event, and just over a week away from a return.

Kieran harbours a similar love for the town hall, having played there a number of times over the years. He's also played to a full house there, having been on the bill supporting Stevie McCrorie, Kyle Falconer and others.

"I think it's a tremendous venue," he added. "I've played a lot of places, all over, but I love it here. I play when the boxing is on as well. It's a great place."