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Scala, Kings Cross, London 1 March 2004

Bit of a treat this one as I last saw this band back in my sixth form days at school in 1986 and they were only the second gig I ever went too (Blue Oyster Cult was my first taste of live rock ‘n' roll)! Back then the Alarm were having top 20 singles galore, fast forward to 2004 and the Alarm have just had their first top 30 hit single in nearly 15 years, albeit posing as a hip new band called the Poppy Fields. My first time at the Scala, which is used for showcase gigs mainly and tonight was special as it was St. David's Day (Alarm main man Mike Peters is Welsh). A sell out crowd (I believe the venue holds 700) and the whole gig was being filmed for future DVD release, hence the break mid-set.

Of the original line-up only vocalist/guitarist Mike Peters remains but he has a strong and experienced band consisting of guitarist Jamie Lawrence (ex-The Cult/Kim Wilde), bass player Craig Adamson (ex-Sisters of Mercy) and drummer Steve (didn't catch his surname, ex-Stiff Little Fingers). The show started with ‘Coming Home' a nice up-tempo rocker to get the crowd going, although they needed little encouragement! Then ‘Unsafe Building' with the line I love ‘Declare yourself an unsafe building'. The Alarm have a knack for anthems, none more so than the excellent '68 Guns', ‘Where Were You Hiding' and ‘Absolute Reality'. There were slower moments for the crowd to catch their breath like ‘Rain In The Summertime', a glorious slab of pop rock.

Mike Peters was in fine voice and belted out the tunes, with special mention to the drummer who was superb. Mike Peters paid tribute to the late Stuart Adamson, of Big Country and they did a moving version of ‘In A Big Country'. Of course their new hit was aired '45 RPM', a real pop punk tune that is over no sooner than it began!

Such a memorable gig and a band well worth seeing live as they can't be faulted in passion, songs or musicianship. Personal highlights for me were the acoustic run through of ‘A New South Wales' and ‘Blaze of Glory' - the latter defines musical anthem. Special thanks to Dave Clarke at Planet Earth Publicity for arranging the ticket, providing the set list and also the competition prize for the Newswire.

Set List

Coming Home Unsafe Building In The Beauty Of My Surroundings Absolute Reality Right Back Where I Started From Knife Edge Rain In The Summertime The Stand The Rock And Roll

Declaration/Marching On Where Were You Hiding..... In A Big Country The Drunk And Disorderly Sixty Eight Guns Close Rescue Me 45 R.P.M Spirit of '76/Walk Forever..../Spirit Of '76

A New South Wales Bell's Of Rhymney Blaze Of Glory Get Down And Get With It

Review: Jason Ritchie

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