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Liverpool Academy


(review and pic by neil crud)



Quite strange – I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen The Alarm – but I know this time is the first time sober. OK, The Gathering last January I had not a drop to drink, but I did have a camera stuck to my eye as part of a film crew – and wait ‘til you see the DVD (out xmas, I think) – the electric set at least is superb – I should know – I spent five months editing it (by all accounts for free; or so it seems…).

Liverpool is a notoriously hard city to play if you’re a band from out of town. Any band will tell you that Liverpool is usually the least attended of their gigs on a tour, just read some of Phil Newall’s previous reviews of various bands on this site, and his main complaint is the attendance figures (although Phil does support Tranmere Rovers). But speaking to tour manager Liam (Follow The Bear), he reckons being a football mad city (that’s LIVERPOOL and not the other club) takes a lot of the blame for the head counts, and The Alarm are no exception. With the Academy about ¾ full, whereas the forthcoming shows in Leeds and Sheffield are close to sell out already, this is a reflection on the city rather than the band.
Kicking off with Superchannel, the set represents The New Alarm, and rather than just being here to rest on your laurels The Alarm 2006 are hardy enough to let you know there is a new album out and the bulk of the set is going to be just that.
I’ve seen many bands for ‘old times sake’ over the years, sometimes bands I was too young to have seen the first time round; Bauhaus and Buzzcocks spring to mind as being amongst the best; if not the best. But… The Damned and The Alarm fall into another category; yes, they’re bands from my youth but they’re bands who are not doing the rounds to milk the cash cow for all its worth and live off the benefits of their past. They’ve moved onwards, and in both cases, upwards to produce new material and in the case of Mike Peters, the material has never stopped. With the album ‘Under Attack’ The Alarm – or Mike Peters and his entourage of rock’n’roll pedigree, he has managed to produce a collection of songs, that in my opinion eclipses his and the original band’s previous material.
That material is pushed in your face every other song and if you were an old Alarm fan paying your dues to freak out to the 8 years’ worth of LPs up to 1991 then you were in for a surprise – albeit pleasant. If ‘Raw’ was the last LP you bought then you’d hardly recognise the majority of what is on show these days as The Alarm are marching on. Yes, Mike Peters will still request that you ‘Rescue Me’ and beware of  an ‘Unsafe Building’ and they’ll never disappoint by leaving out ’68 Guns’ and ‘Spirit of 76’, but time moves on and rather than ending up on the road to Armarillo, The Alarm took Route 2006 with ‘The Poppyfields’ and ‘Under Attack’ releases figuring prominently.
For someone who sees probably 170+ bands a year, most of whom play a maximum 45 minute set; a two hour blast from The Alarm made my legs ache! To the passer by (or newbie) the length would have been too much. To the seasoned Alarm fan, anything less would have felt them being short changed, and they probably still felt that way anyway as they muttered, ‘I wish they played ‘Blaze of Glory’ or ‘Close’.’
To an Alarm fan, this is not just a gig, or a night out; this is a way of life and being being disciples of Saint Peters they hang on to the brevity of his every word.
Long may it continue…


The Alarm



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