Review: Review: Manchester Saturday Gig

Everyone knows what a gig is like, right.

A few crowd pleasers at the beginning (you know, a couple of hits that made the charts). An acoustic bit in the middle where the drummer can stick his hands in liquid nitrogen to cool down for a bit (and for the guitarist to readjust his mullet). Then throw in a couple of new ones that no-one is bothered about, and gives them time to nip off to the bar as well. Probably costs �20 (and the rest) and you go home thinking it was a pretty good night out.

Well, that might be the case on planet earth, but tonight, the Academy 2 in Manchester is transported to another galaxy, because this gig broke all the rules of gigging.

�15. A result in itself.

Missed the first support act. Not a surprise (sorry first support act), but we were in the Las O�Gowrie downing a pint of their finest.

We make the venue in time for The Salford Jets who in my eyes were a good booking, I used to be a fan in the early eighties, and they played all the songs I remember, Gina, Looking at The Squares, Who You Looking At. Don�t think there were too many Jets fans in tonight, but Alarm fans being a decent sort, gave them a favourable reception. Good on ya Sweeney.

As the stage was reset for The Alarm, the fans started pouring in from the various bars in the university and a hint of expectation rippled throughout the venue. This was good turnout, the best Manchester turnout for many a year. As soon as the lights dimmed the tension racked up two or three notches and didn�t loosen for the next two hours.

The set opened with Superchannel and Absolute Reality. I�m tempted to say new and old sat side by side comfortably, but it was even more seamless than that. There is a seam of talent running through the Alarm 2006 which the band mine with gusto and the resulting outpouring of rock �n� roll leaves me thinking they could have done 2 hours of Postman Pat�s greatest hits and still gone down a storm.

Mike then dropped a big bomb by announcing he was in remission from his Leukaemia which had we been seated would have prompted a standing ovation. As it was, it was one of the few times Mike couldn�t get a word in. It would be real easy to make some cheesy sentimental mush out of that fact and milk it till you can�t punch the air any longer, but in the case of MP you just know that the fans are part of his treatment (yeah, OK it is a bit mushy) and tonight was another dose of Alarmotherapy. Enough of the mush.

The band careered relentlessly through�

Absolute Reality
Without A Fight
Where were you hiding…
Somethings Gotta Give
Right Back…
I Never Left
Coming Home
Its Alright-Its Ok
Rain in the Summertime
This is the Way We Are
Be Still
Sold Me Down The River
Cease And Desist
Drunk And Disorderly
My Town
Rescue Me
45 RPM
68 Guns
Unsafe Building
Spirit of ’76
Marching On
Blaze of Glory

As if it couldn�t get any better (and like we didn�t know that Sharpy was going to pop into a local Alarm gig), Dave Sharp joined the band for Marching and Blaze.

Nice moment. But it says something about The Alarm today that although the Nostalgia was like a Mars Bar after 5 minutes in the oven, �soft and warm�, he didn�t actually bring anything to the gig other than that (he should have been the support act).

Anyway, what was I saying about what you expect gigs to be like.

Stuff the convention, none of the safe stuff tonight.

The band didn�t let up for a moment. All credit to the Manchester crowd, there wasn�t a song they didn�t know every word of. New or old, each song was greeted with equal gusto.

The band tore up the gig rulebook and jammed 140 minutes with pure adrenalin filled, full on, no prisoners, nail it to the floor, jam it in yer ear, relentless, raw, 100% authentic Rock �n Roll.

If you haven�t been to an Alarm gig, you haven�t been to a proper gig.

Beer. The Alarm. What could possibly make a better night? Ah yes, a kebab on the way home!

Andy Labrow.