Ok, back to the 80’s. One of my favorite bands in high school (early 1980’s) was The Alarm. The band formed in Wales in 1981. They fused the rawness of The Clash with their own brand of folk-rock garnering (nonsensical) comparisons to u2. They toured with u2 in 1983 giving them massive exposure. The band have several hits in the UK in the 1980’s and a few minor hits here in the states, mainly at the tail-end of their career. The Alarm’s first two offerings, “The Stand” ep and “Declaration” may not stand up production-wise now but their heart-on-the-sleeve emotion and leftists politics definitely do. I was a bit hesitant to catch the band knowing that only lead singer Mike Peters is in the latest lineup. He has surrounded himself with some old pros from the UK who played in bands like Gene Loves Jezebel, The Cult and Stiff Little Fingers. The new Alarm caused quite a stir in the UK when they issued their single “45 r.p.m.” last year, an anthemic punk tune. Peters decided to make up a fictitious name to issue the single under and even went as far to have a little known Scottish band lip sync the track for the video. The song landed in the Top 40 before the hoax was revealed. The band has reverted to their early punk roots ala The Clash keeping The Alarm’s signature anthemic choruses. Peters’ voice is as strong as ever especially considering he’s fighting lymphoma. This is my fourth year at SXSW and I had yet to see an encore, mainly due to the tight schedule of the showcases. The Alarm came back for two encores, pleasing the crowd with their classics, “68 Guns” and “Blaze of Glory”. Honestly, it’s the first show in a long time where I found myself smiling uncontrollably. Their new release “Under Attack” will be released in the States in May.