Article: In the next issue of Inside Connection Magazine… (Back In The USA)

The Alarm: Back In The USA

The Alarm marched into New York Town once again to kick off their
“Back In The USA” tour. To the delight of Alarm fanatics everywhere,
they’ve been making frequent visits to America of late. Riding high on the
strength of their brilliant new album “In The Poppy Fields”, the dazzling
culmination of five self-produced independent releases over a five-month period. Having allowed their faithful fans to cast their own votes as to which songs would
be included on the record. Easily one of the most important bands to emerge on
the early Eighties New Wave scene, along with the likes of Big Country and U2,
The Alarm prospered. Unleashing a string of emotionally powerful and
commercially successful albums like “Declaration”, “Strength” and “Eye
Of The Hurricane”. A band of childhood friends first and foremost, their impact and
integrity was evident in such classics as “The Stand”, “Sixty-Eight
Guns”, “Spirit Of ’76” and “Rain In The Summertime”. Opening for giants such as
U2, Bob Dylan and even Pat Benatar, they were Alternative Rock years before the
phrase was ever coined. But with success came tragedy, leading up to singer Mike
Peters’ surprise departure from the band. Incidentally, this announcement was
made onstage. As years passed, Mike resurfaced, first with the short-lived
Poets Of Justice, which featured his lovely wife Jules on the keyboard, then
as a solo performer. After almost a decade on his own, Peters resurrected The
Alarm. Enlisting some of the United Kingdom’s most notorious musicians. To
read their credentials is to realize that The Alarm is nothing short of a
European super-group: Craig Adams on the bass guitar, hailing from such
legends as Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission U.K. James Stevenson of Generation
X, Gene Loves Jezebel and The Cult, on lead guitar, and rock-solid Steve Grantley
of Stiff Little Fingers on the drums. (Steve even spent a brief period with
The Clash right around the time of “Combat Rock”). With an absolute
bulldozer of a line-up intact, The Alarm has stormed into the new millennium
stronger than ever.

In fact, any bad blood between Mike and the original Alarm members
(Dave, Eddie and Twist) was recently set aside as they rocked the
house on VH1’s Bands Reunited. But enough about the past! Let’s get back
to the here and now. The Downtown in Farmingdale was the first stop on their
three-day trek through the big apple. It’s become their Long Island stomping
ground. A fine room with excellent sound, The Downtown is always treated to a
special show. And this night was no disappointment. This was a leaner,
edgier Alarm set than usual. Showcasing many of the more recent tracks. Drawing from
the glam-heavy “Edward Henry Street” collection (Available on
Alarm.com) as well as their anthem-stocked back catalogue and the new album, this was a
band so tight that if you’d had placed a lump of coal on the stage it would have
turned into a diamond. A pleasant acoustic interlude made for a welcome
breather from the pulse-pounding set. A packed house of familiar faces sang along
loudly and proudly. After the show, the boys in the band returned to chat
with old friends, sign autographs and pose for pictures. Ever the gentlemen,
Mike, Craig, James and Steve, joined by indestructible tour manager Liam, invited
everybody to come down to the Knitting Factory for two more nights with the pride of
Wales. Nobody needed convincing. Talking to some of the regulars,you’d find
that people had flown in from as far as London, Scotland and beyond.
The first of two Knitting Factory nights was looser than The Downtown
set. A few technical difficulties made for some good laughs between band-mates.
This is a band that enjoys playing together so much that their energy
overflows onto the crowd. And you want to talk about energy? Let’s move onto the next night. Whenever The Alarm does multiple nights in New York, the last one is
always spectacular. As a fan, you always know they’re going to hit you
with something great. And this night was no different. After a spirited opening set
by Alarm friends Flu Shot Lottery (Great name!) which included a guest
appearance by Mike Peters on the Elvis Costello classic “Peace, Love And
Understanding” The Alarm hit the stage like a band possessed. Tearing through ninety
minutes of great rock ‘n’ roll, Mike seemed to knock the rest of the boys
for a loop with the spontaneous inclusion of “Up For Murder” a gem from the
band’s earliest days. The cry of “Now let’s go get drunk” signaled the
end of a brilliant three-day blast from a band whose story is so miraculous
that a movie is currently in the making based on their story.

Publication::Publication:Inside Conn
Author::Steven J. Messina

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