The Arena. Venue Cymru. Llandudno. Wales.
26-27 January 2007
Review by Dave Jones
It was the greatest Mike Peters / Alarm concert ever and we didn’t see it coming.
The signs were all there before the show, Spirit Of ’76 early on Friday night, The Alarm 7/7/07 type-face on the t-shirt, the punk rock disco, Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks as special guest, Mike Peters in skinny jeans and white baseball boots and last but not least, the tell tale double safety pins worn on the sleeve of Mike’s black jacket both nights.
It was immediately apparent that something special has happened / was happening right from the opening salvo of ‘Superchannel’, unleashed through the rat-a-tat-tat of Mike Peters battered Fender Telecaster. The sonic assault that followed was simply awesome. The Alarm MMVII coming through loud and clear. ‘Rescue Me’ and a monumental ‘Without A Fight’ brought up the second wave of the assault and battery that was completed with a devastating ‘Coming Home’. The audience were doing their best to keep up by singing every word back with the same intensity as Mike Peters’ all out delivery.
‘Raindown’ was slick, cool and professional as each member of the band displayed courage under fire. ‘Sold Me Down The River’ rocked hard and allowed guitarist James Stevenson to stamp his authority all over the proto-blues riff. Mike dedicated ‘Be Still’ to all the North Wales nursing staff who had protected him during the past year before picking out the 12 string electric intro, the band stormed in behind him as he sang the song with every ounce of conviction he could muster.
‘Right Back Where I Started From’ was played with authority and struck a chord with every single member of the congregation. “Sometime you’ve got to stop breathing just to stay alive” sang Mike Peters. ‘It’s Alright / It’s O.K.’ was next with the refrain being picked out by the crowd and it really did feel like it was “you and me and no-one else”. ‘Breathe’ followed and the audience greeted it like a long lost friend. It hasn’t been played electric for a long time and was a reminder to all that Mike Peters has produced high quality material all through the many eras of his thirty years in rock and roll.
‘Rain In The Summertime’ segued perfectly into ’21st Century’ which began with the tumbling rhythm of Steve Grantley’s drums and Craig Adams deep bass rumble. The audience had their part to play too, as Mike Peters and James Stevenson launched the guitar riffs left and right of centre. As the song began to fade, Mike Peters strapped on his trusty black Gibson J200 and strummed the intro to ‘Drunk And Disorderly’ – a serious slice of rock and roll by anyone’s standards with drummer Steve Grantley taking centre stage and battering his double headed drum kit into submission.
The acoustic section that followed provided a refreshing change of tempo and feel. ‘The Stand’ was like an enormous campfire singalong, ‘Bound For Glory’ with all four members grouped around one mic was like a session from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, ‘Rise’ literally brought everyone together and as the classic Alarm red poppy was projected on the backdrop, the band celebrated the 25 years since it’s first appearance on the ‘Marching On’ single release by performing an acoustic / electric version of the very same song.
“Let’s go down to Deeside Town”, shouted Mike blasting out the opening chords and off we went again into the electric rush of this amazing evening. ‘Unsafe Building’ declared itself prior to an amazing performance of ‘Something’s Got To Give’. ‘Knife Edge’, ‘I Never Left I Only Went Away’, ‘Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?’, ‘Cease And Desist’, ’68 Guns’ and ‘My Town’ took us to the first encore. Mike came back alone and gave special thanks to his wife Jules for not only giving birth to his new son Evan, but for organising The Gathering without taking a single day’s maternity leave!!! In light of all the Peters family have been through this year, ‘This Is The Way We Are’ was particularly poignant at this point in the proceedings especially when Mike sang the lines “From my mothers womb to the delivery suite, I’m someone that my father was to me”.
‘Absolute Reality’ and ‘Blaze Of Glory’ featured the band taking time out to pose with the audience for photographers. Some people thought that maybe this was the end of the show especially as Mike had played ‘Spirit Of ’76 the previous evening and there was talk in the crowd that we may not hear the song but everyone stayed and showed their appreciation by singing ‘Blaze Of Glory’ as loud and as long as possible, praying that the house lights would not come on.
Mike Peters appeared once again from stage right and said and I quote “We will be back when the three seven’s clash”. I wonder what he has in store for us on 7/7/07. For now we will just have to wait and see but is there / was there a hint in what followed…. ’45 RPM’ , ‘Blitzkreig Bop’, ‘Anarchy In The U.K.’, ‘I’m So Bored With The USA’, ‘Alternative Ulster’ and (I kid you not) a thumping version of Sham 69’s ‘If The Kids Are United’ before returning to ’45 RPM’ and finally bringing the house down with an electric ‘Spirit Of ’76’.
If there is a better punk rock group in the world today then I’ve never heard of them. The Alarm are the inheritors and standard bearers of punk rock today, the true embodiment of the ‘Spirit Of ’76’ and if this gig is a hint of what is to come on 7/7/07 then I too will be there when Mike Peters’ prophecy comes true…. “The Alarm will be back when the three seven’s clash”.
WITHOUT A FIGHT
SOLD ME DOWN THE RIVER
RIGHT BACK WHERE I STARTED FROM
IT’S ALRIGHT / IT’S O.K.
RAIN IN THE SUMMERTIME
INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
THE DRUNK AND THE DISORDERLY
BOUND FOR GLORY
SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE
I NEVER LEFT I ONLY WENT AWAY
WHERE WERE YOU HIDING?
CEASE AND DESIST
THIS IS THE WAY WE ARE
BLAZE OF GLORY
ANARCHY IN THE U.K.
I’M SO BORED WITH THE USA
RIGHT TO WORK
IF THE KIDS ARE UNITED
45 R.P.M. (REPRISE)
SPIRIT OF ’76
Report : Dave Jones
Photos : Jeff Pitt/Rob Formstone/Steve Goudie
Thanks to Jeff Pitt – www.jeffpittphotography.co.uk
Sat Jan 27th 2007 Venue Cymru, Llandudno