Mike Peters is pretty much The Alarm these days. He promotes the band’s music and back catalogue with the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for kids in sweet shops. And he is an out and out gentleman to boot.
Last night 6 of us descended on Tuts to see Peters do a solo acoustic gig which would celebrate the band’s brilliant solo album Declaration. But beforehand there was the small matter of some beer and pizza.
Myself, Patrick McCann, Barry Mowat, Brendan Lochrie and Sean Fitzsimmons met in Bar Bloc on Bath Street for a few beers, specifically attracted by the Blue Moon on tap in Bloc, as well as the 2-4-1 pizzas.
After being suitably hydrated we headed up to Tuts for the gig. There was no support act, only Mike. At 2030 doors opened and up we went, gaining a perfect vantage point atop the left hand stairs. We wouldn’t relinquish this spot all night. Tommy McCann joined us to make up the 6-piece for the night in the venue.
The stage set-up was simple. Three mics and a poppy backdrop. Mike would work all three mics during almost every song, allowing himself freedom to move and also the crowd at the front to get close to him without moving themselves.
Unlike the raft of album tributes that artists have been doing recently, where the band usually opens up with the celebrated work, Mike eschewed that and did a dozen or so classic Alarm songs to begin with, telling anecdotes in between as he engaged with the crowd in easy manner. He is at home on the stage and the violently loyal fans of his work are equally at home enjoying his shows.
Songs like The Deceiver, Rain in the Summertime and Unsafe Building were lapped up by a crowd more than happy to provide backing vocals. Highlights for me were Walk Forever By My Side – which was Pat’s wedding song – and Deeside.
Mike then disappeared for a short break before coming back to do songs from the album we were there to celebrate. But, again, he didn’t do the norm, instead of doing the album in any order, or even in its entirety, he did the songs in no particular order. By now I had a sore throat from the singing but enjoyed getting into it even more as We Are the Light, Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke and Blaze of Glory and lots more were rattled through. The buzz in the place was palpable and Mike was soaking it up.
The Alarm are sometimes a forgotten band of the 80s. The stories of the day, featuring the likes of Bono, were brilliant and there is no doubting the quality of the songs and the fact that most of them have some serious influence on them from the social situation at the time. Songs about miners, politicians and the death of industry tell you all you need to know about The Alarm’s roots. It would appear Mike has never forgotten these.
It’s been 5 or 6 years since we went to see him or The Alarm, I doubt we will wait that long again.