Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

The Alarm

There is a celebratory atmosphere in the air tonight as we arrive in Portsmouth, as Portsmouth FC have just beaten Cheltenham 6-1 to win the League two trophy and much-needed promotion to League one. Southsea is bathed in a mass of blue and white and there are people out in the streets celebrating their team’s achievement.

Tonight The Alarm are about to interrupt the festivities with the opening night of their UK Tour, to promote the band’s new album “Blood Red”. The record has been much anticipated and is the first to contain brand new material in quite a while. The songs were debuted at The Alarm’s Fan Gathering in Llandudno in January and outside that, this is the first place in the UK that gets to hear the new material performed live. Tonight the shows start time has been pushed back to 9:15pm due to the 5:30pm kick off of the football. The atmosphere in the Wedgewood Rooms is building nicely as the house lights go down and the intro music starts.

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The band arrive on stage to a rapturous welcome and immediately launch into a new song “Brighter than The Sun”; which certainly shows Mike Peters has lost none of his prominent songwriting, the powerful song connects with the audience straight away with many singing the chorus along with the band. The line-up is a little different tonight than previous tours, as Craig Adams is preparing for his tour with The Mission, James Stephenson takes over bass duties. Mike’s wife, Jules Jones Peters, is on keyboards and backing vocals along with the ever popular Smiley Barnard on drums. Mike has worked hard in embracing new technology, working with his custom made acoustic guitar, “The Vigilante”, he uses loop and pedal effects to generate the guitar sound needed to recreate the songs. The band show no lack of energy despite their recent trip to the USA for an American version of The Gathering. They play an eclectic mix of old and new material, with each number comes a renewed energy and an undying passion that still burns deep within the music.

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An Alarm crowd these days is made up of a complete mix of ages as the music crosses generations, with parents passing the story and the music of The Alarm down to their children. The band’s music will also be brought to a whole new generation very soon when the BBC broadcast a new documentary this month called “Mike & Jules While We Still have Time”. The band thrill with a rare version of “68 Guns” which includes an extra chorus that was originally cut from the song before it’s release on the “Declaration” album. The high momentum is kept up right until the end and at 58 years old it is anyone guess where Mike Peters gets his never-ending energy from. The evening ends with a new song called “Two Rivers Meet” a positively uplifting tune that mixes old with new. Electronics, harmonica and guitars come together to create a really special tune has a catchy instant appeal; with hard-hitting relevant lyrics which is an immediate hit with the Portsmouth crowd, ending a night full of celebration perfectly.

Set List
Brighter Than the Sun
Absolute Reality
Coming Backwards
Howling Wind
Rain in the Summertime
Love and Understanding
The Drunk and the Disorderly
There Must Be A Way
Kill To Get What You Want (Die For What You Believe In)
Peace Now
68 Guns
My Town
Spirit of ’76

45 R.P.M.
Blaze of Glory
Marching On
Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke
Two Rivers Meet



Words by Dave Chinery (Chinners)
Pictures by Jon Musselwhite
Dodgy video by the legend that is Pete “Novelty T-Shirt” Cole

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