Preview: Big Country Live and Acoustic

WHEN it comes to advocating a charity, sometimes it’s hard to take the words of a pop star seriously. Good PR for them, perhaps, but there’s no doubting the sincerity of a rock star who has first-hand experience of the charity’s cause – in this case, cancer.

Mike Peters, singer for The Alarm and now fronting a rejuvenated Big Country, comes to the Hard Rock Cafe tonight to support Pinktober – the cafe’s campaign for breast cancer awareness.

Performing an acoustic set with Big Country’s guitarists Bruce Watson and son Jamie, 53-year-old Peters knows all about the problems coping with cancer. Diagnosed for cancer in 1995 when he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the Welshman recovered in 1996 before suffering chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in 2005.

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Thankfully, Peters fought the cancer successfully – though it never made the rock vocalist contemplate early retirement.

“Personally, I feel I live life by going onstage,” says Peters.

“It means I can be a father to my children, I can be the man I need to be for my wife, family and friends. To me being in a band onstage symbolises being alive. You don’t want to think about those [negative thoughts] until the last minute, but you got to confront it head on. And so to write the songs, you have to create an armament to deal with those situations. In a way it helped me put them in some sort of perspective.”

Although tonight’s gig was an instant sell-out, 40 extra tickets have been released on a first-come first-served basis.

The show also stars ex-Simple Minds bassist Derek Forbes, who makes his first appearance with the band since Tony Butler retired. Tragically, original Big Country singer Stuart Adamson took his own life in 2001 in a Hawaiian hotel room. Filling such large shoes would have been a tough job for anyone, however guitarist Bruce says Peters is the man for the job.

“Mike is the hardest working man I know. I’m convinced he wears a superman costume under that jacket.”

Big Country Live And Acoustic, Hard Rock Cafe, George Street, tonight, 7.30pm, £20, 0131-260 3000