Declaration Tour photos & T.V.

The Declaration Tour 2014 has now completed another 3 shows, The Gassienda – Keighley, Central Station – Wrexham and The Liquid Rooms – Edinburgh.

Photos from the shows can be found here.

Mike also filmed an interview before the Keighley show which was shown on the Yorkshire ITV news program ‘Calendar’.

For those in the UK the interview can be viewed via the ITV player on the Calendar website.

We have also just received this review of the Wrexham show.

Mike Peters – Shock Of The New

As The Declaration Tour 2014 rolled into a packed Wrexham Central Station last night, the evening turned out to be a revelation for any Alarm / Mike Peters fan as the artist took us on a journey through some remarkable song choices from his comprehensive and diverse songbook.

Opening with an appropriately entitled ‘Right Back Where I Started From’ – Mike Peters literally took one step back to go two forwards, with his trademark acoustic strum augmented by a bass drum decorated with lyrics and statements of intent. After a lung busting ‘Never Give Up Without A Fight’, it was a surprise to hear an acoustic ‘Reason 41’ performed with a stomp and skiffle arrangement that echoed the beginnings of The Alarm’s signature acoustic garage sound. Alongside songs from the solo ‘Breathe’ years and the more recent ‘In The Poppy Fields’ / ‘Under Attack’ era, there were stories that pulled you in and revealed insights about the founding days of the Alarm and beyond.

A pounding folk style rearrangement of ‘Across The Border’ that featured just Mike Peters voice over a beating drum breathed new life into the old pre-Declaration song that documented the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland of the early eighties. Set in this modern context with Mike Peters smashing out the spitfire guitar riff, the song seemed reborn and although specific in its subject matter, it echoed perfectly the modern day struggles being experienced in the new emerging Europe which currently dominate the 24 hour TV news headlines. On one level, it reminded me of Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello performing Springsteen’s ‘Ghost Of Tom Joad’ which in turn echoed the Woody Guthrie dust bowl character of the same name.

The shock of the new continued into the second ‘electric’ set which featured a performance of all twelve songs from ‘Declaration.

Beginning with ‘Shout To The Devil’, the Mike Peters one man band danced with the demons of rhythm and an audience compelled to join the ‘Preacher / Teacher’ call and response. It was hypnotic and the acoustic voodoo climaxed with vocal references to early rock pioneers that I don’t suppose many of the new young faces in the audience would know about. Elvis, Lennon, Dylan and Guthrie all got a namecheck in the First Rebel Carriage. A barnstorming ‘Where Were You Hiding’ came next and the room filled with playing cards. In between songs Mike Peters talked of the first successes of the band when appearing with U2 in America and opening up Top Of The Pops with humour and self deprecation. It all added to the sense of occasion that something new is emerging here. Mike Peters spoke of his desire to present the songs as they reflect the man you could see standing on the stage. A man who has lived a life far removed from the person who wrote the lyrics in the first instance. It was a brave move to sing ‘We Are The Light’ in a darker minor key but the melody and lyrics only became more powerful as a result.

The highpoint of the ‘Declaration’ set was a reading of ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ that was startling in its simplicity yet brutal in execution. Beforehand, Mike Peters explained that to help achieve its ‘pop’ ambitions of 1983/84, a verse had been cut from the original that inadvertently robbed the song of its full meaning. Now with the restored lines “if they take our chances, we’ll create our own” and the dynamic electro-acoustic / quiet-loud arrangement ‘Sixty Eight’ is like a new song that can be heard afresh while still retaining the conviction and integrity of the original that we all know and love. It was a stellar moment of reinvention.

The familiar refrain of ‘Blaze Of Glory’ rang from every corner of the venue, as Mike Peters left the stage to return and take the show to a celebratory finish with a double header encore of ’45 RPM and ‘Free Rock And Roll’. The younger, dare I say,  ‘Vinyl’ movie inspired members of the audience, were in raptures. Mike Peters said on The Alarm website recently that he wanted this tour to be special for fans who have stood with him from the beginning and also for those who have rallied around The Alarm flag in more recent times and make ‘Declaration’ relevant and accessible for everyone today. On the evidence of tonight’s performance he has done more than that, by taking a risk and redefining everything that has gone before, Mike Peters has proved once again that he is a formidable talent for our times.

Dave Jones