A lot happened in a short space of time. Mike performed at the Love Hope Strength booth and then jumped up onto the main stage and lead The Alarm through a 100 minute set punctuated with modern era songs like 45 RPM, Down The Road and A Breed Apart. Spirit Of ’76 was the moment for the new wave ‘Free Rock And Roll’ anthem to appear and every one in attendance burst into spontaneous applause when Mike reappeared with his tribute to The Ramones ‘Free Rock And Roll’ banner. An impromptu ‘Rescue Me’ came from nowhere in the encore just before a closing ‘Moments In Time’. A great start to the tour and now the band and crew are readying themselves for a massive St. David’s Day, Cardiif, Wales homecoming show.
The whole MPO Team and management are pleased to welcome some great support acts from the recent ReverbNation ‘Support The Alarm’ opportunity’. So far, over 700 British acts have applied to open for the band including 661 for tonight’s show in Cardiff University. The opportunity for this show has been awarded to Cardiff based singer songwriter Nick Ward who is playing with his five piece band and can be heard at: www.reverbnation.com/nickward
Tomorrow night in Liverpool two acts are playing with The Alarm including the fantastic Hummingbirds (who got such a great reception at The Gathering (on stage at 7:15), and can be heard again here at www.reverbnation.com/wearethehummingbirds), also on the bill are another great up and coming Liverpool band with a very charismatic lead singer named Lewis called The Matchstickmen (on stage at 8:00) www.reverbnation.com/matchstickmen.
On Sunday night in Sheffield we have ‘Vicious Liberty’ and you should really check out their own unique version of ‘Free Rock And Roll’ that also has a great video to go with it…… watch and listen here at www.reverbnation.com/viciousliberty.
To get you in the mood as the tour gets closer to your hometown here is a review of The Gathering from Alarm ‘Editorial’ contributor Paul Miles.
45 RPM – The Story Continues…
We all became part of the 45 RPM, Poppy Fields, Vinyl story the day we went out to buy or download 45 RPM to push it into the charts back in 2004 and at the 21st Gathering in January 2013 it was all about the next chapter of this fantastic story.
The origins of the Vinyl story are well known to every Alarm fan, and it is great to see the momentum this has as the cinema promotion gathers pace and the premier approaches.
There was an air of excitement on the G21 Saturday afternoon, and with an expectation of something really great we crowded into the Spirit Ballroom for a special screening of a pre-production version of the Vinyl film. Luckily we had additional commentary between the sections by Gareth and Mike who provided an interesting insight into certain scenes by drawing on experiences during the long and successful career of The Alarm. The big screen release is eagerly anticipated as we wait to see the complete film with the much-awaited Alarm soundtrack, which will be revisiting recent songs and bringing back some written and archived long ago. In 1977 no one could have predicted that these songs would be recorded and appear in a film 35 years later!
After the film clips it was time for the band to sound-check in preparation for that night’s set. While walking past the main stage door I was stopped in my tracks as I heard the Eye Of The Hurricane being played, I could not believe my ears and was instantly taken back to 1987 when I first heard this song. It was fantastic, was this just a warm up or was it in the set list?
The Saturday night-lights dimmed and on came The Hummingbirds, what a cracking band, they had a really good set and warmed up the crowd in great style.
Then came The Alarm for the first gig of 2013. The opening song was 45 RPM (it had to be!) hitting the ground running and with the usual energetic passion that Mike and the band give every time they walk out on stage. The long rehearsals and painstaking set list creation was finally getting it’s day. The band was on form and in for a marathon.
The set list read like a novel, 37 tracks and 3 hours of full on Alarm. It was everything that you could expect and much much more, G21 certainly did not disappoint. And the highlight for me was when Eye of The Hurricane was played in all its glory, sounding better than ever before!
The band was in full flow and Mike was in his element in front of the fans with something special up his sleeve. There is something great about seeing The Alarm these days in front of a 2000 strong crowd, a back catalogue containing over 350 recorded songs plus any new ones making their debut and 5 well-versed musicians on stage.
Midway through Spirit of ’76 the band left the stage leaving the two huge screens on either side to show a compilation of clips breaking the news of the 45 RPM exposure; there was some classic news footage from CNN and the BBC. While the fans watched the stage was transformed into half its size, Smiley’s kit was set up between Mike and James and a huge Vinyl backdrop pulled into place. This was impressive, the band walked back on stage to celebrate the Vinyl film with Mike’s songs from the days of The Toilets sandwiched between the new song Free Rock And Roll!
Here were songs that Mike wrote back in 76 / 77 when punk was in it’s heyday, songs that were probably never expected to be played again but in the middle of this set they appear and are played by musicians rich in punk history. We have Mike the writer and founder member of The Toilets, James who goes back to the beginning of the London punk scene, Smiley “The Rhythm King” so aptly named by the late great Joe Strummer during his days with the Joe and the Mescaleros and Craig who not once but twice was asked to support The Clash with The Expelaires and Sisters of Mercy!
Amazing sights and sounds for all, after a quick transformation back to the main set, while more TV footage of the 45 RPM story was shown, we were back into Spirit of ’76 and a run of classics from the first few Alarm albums complete with the famous electro acoustic guitar!
This was a superb set and if this is anything to go by the Vinyl Tour is certainly going to be a big hit with fans.
If a 3 hour gig is not enough Mike was back to the bar to spin some discs and then up for a morning walk along the beach the next day before saying a farewell to the G21’ers to end a great weekend and set up the next few months of touring and promotions!
45 RPM made it into the charts with lots of support, now it’s the same again for the film. Tell your friends, book the tickets, have a great night at the cinema and leave a review on IMDB to give Vinyl a good run and the credit it deserves!
By Paul Miles