Pontins, Prestatyn, North Wales 27th & 28th January 2012

(with Guests Steve Norman(Spandau Ballet), Simon Fowler (Ocean Colour Scene), The Men They Couldn’t Hang, The Last Republic, The Absolute Worst and Joe Silva.)

The Gathering

The Gathering is an annual celebration of the music of Mike Peters and The Alarm, fans from all around the world travel to Prestatyn for a great weekend of fun, friendship and above all some excellent music. Now in it’s 20th year, this years Gathering is billed to be one of the best ever. The format follows with an acoustic band on Friday night with a full electric performance on Saturday night. Each year Mike with his wife Jules Peters and their extended family work extremely hard making sure everything in place for everyone attending to have a weekend that they never will forget.

Friday

Simon Fowler

Friday night kicks off in the Red Poppy Arena with Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene, he arrives on stage looking like a teacher that has left the classroom. Okay, he does not have the guitar expertise of his fellow band mate Steve Craddock, but his skills with an acoustic guitar entertains with some great striped down versions of Ocean Colour Scene classics such as ‘The Circle’, “Robin Hood” and “Travellers Tune”.

The Alarm then arrive on stage to join him with storming version “The Day We Caught The Train” which saw virtually everyone in the place joining in with the chorus to great effect. After a great 30 minute set Simon Fowler leaves the stage with plenty of appreciative applause, making way for the band that everyone came to see. The 4 members of The Alarm are joined on stage by Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman who stays for the duration of their set, kicking off with ‘My Town’ the band immediately get the excited audience singing along enthusiastically. The set is a carefully put together with a good mix of album tracks, rarities and singles, this all seems really well rehearsed and the band perform together with out a hitch.

The Alarm
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The highlight or guilty pleasure as it was called by some, is when Steve Norman comes centre stage to perform a version of the Spandau Ballet smash hit “Gold”, this goes perfectly and the band all perform it with huge smiles on their faces. The set comes to a close after nearly two hours with a couple of fans joining the band on stage after a bidding war to raise money for the Mike Peters charity “Love Hope Strength”, they perform two songs including Willie Nile’s “One Guitar” which again sees The Gathering choir singing along long after the band have left the stage.

Set List (Friday Night)
My Town
SuperChannel
Without A Fight
Strength
The Wasting Land
Rivers To Cross
Badge Of Honour
How The Mighty Fall
All Seeing
Plastic Carrier Bags
Right Back Where I started From
Fade In Fade Out Fade Away
1983/84
Unsafe Building
Marching On
The Stand
68 Guns
Gold
Where Were You Hiding………..?
1983/1984 Reprise
Love Hope Strength
One Guitar

The Absolute Worst

And the fun does not stop there, after the band leave the stage at around midnight, where two further acts are lined up at the after show party in the Spirit Ballroom for further late night entertainment. The 1st of these are “The Absolute Worst” who features Mike Peters nephew Will who appears in the new film based on The Alarm’s attempts to get back in the music charts “Vinyl” which can be seen in cinema’s this summer starring Keith Allen and Phil Daniels. They take to the stage with a batch of some impressive self written songs such as “Longing” and “Dirty Daydreamer” as well as a couple of well chosen covers to get the party started.

Last Republic
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“The Last Republic” opened for The Alarm on the last tour as well as gigs at the O2 Arena with Bon Jovi, so a Gathering crowd should be no problem to them, their well written songs is full of anthemic guitars and passionate vocals gets sadly a little lost on many of the people here. The set was made up with songs from their debut album “Parade” which features such gems as “CCTV”, “Lets Make Bombs” and ” Perfect Stranger”, they leave the stage a little frustrated, but then again all those who did not pay full attention will regret it when this band’s potential is fully recognised.

Saturday
So on too Saturday night, if last night’s excitement wasn’t enough, the weekend continues with more of the same, for those still suffering from last night’s hangovers the evening starts gently with an acoustic set from The Threats singer Joe Silva performing songs from what is billed as “The Ultimate Break-up CD” his solo album “Blue”. The emotional delivery of songs from the heart is nothing new, but Joe does this well and will go back home to the USA having made a few new fans from the U.K.

Joe Silva

The folk rock of “The Men They Couldn’t Hang” are next and virtually as soon as the band started up, part of the crowd starts dancing to their infectious sound, with songs such as “Iron Masters” and “Shirt Of Blue” they certainly do a great job warming everyone up ready for the main attraction.

The Men They Couldn't Hang
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After 20 years of Gatherings Mike Peters each year comes up with new exciting ways to deliver his music and this year is no different, after a countdown on the videos screen, Mike brings his eight piece band onstage to deliver a thrilling set to his faithful following. The three hour long set features so many highlights “Permanence In Change” with Steve Norman on Saxophone, an emotional acappela version of “A New South Wales” and “45 RPM” coupled with new song “Free Rock ‘n’ Roll” from the “Vinyl” movie. It was obvious that a lot of hard work had gone into rehearsing the near perfect set with each band member giving 100% and Mike Peters as usual giving 110%. If you are a fan of The Alarm and you have not seen a Gathering performance you have not yet seen the band at their best, I am not sure what it is but in these surroundings and in front of this crowd the band are on fire and give the audience one hell of a show.

£124 for the weekend including accomodation………………….If Calsberg made weekends they would surely be like this!!

Set List (Saturday Night)
Control
Knife Edge
Permanence In Change
Levi’s and Bibles
No Frontiers
Hardland
The Rock
Shelter
Kill Kill Kill
Higher Call
We Are The Light
Breathe
Rain In The Summertime
Drunk & Disorderly
Sold Me Down The River
Alarm Calling
Absolute Reality
Blaze Of Glory
A New South Wales
Down The Road
Spirit Of 76
Peace Agreement
Breed Apart
45 RPM/Free Rock ‘n’ Roll
68 Guns
Walk Forever By My Side

Videos

The Alarm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxBsESKDh8g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1h1w71UYJ8

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjW0ia57zfc

Simon Fowler
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eELvcxQNlLk

The Last Republic
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__plN60eR-Q

More Videos from the event can be found here.

Band Links:
http://www.thealarm.com
http://www.lovehopestrength.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/theabsoluteworst
http://www.thelastrepublic.co.uk
http://thejoesilvawebsite.com
http://www.tmtch.net
http://www.oceancolourscene.com

Review, Pictures and Videos Dave Chinery (Chinners).

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