Mike Peters presents The Alarm - 'Strength' - Swansea, Sin City - 20th March 2015 Print E-mail
Written by Dom Daley   
Friday, 03 April 2015 03:00

It's a Friday night in the middle of town and Michael Leslie Peters rolls into town to pay something of a tribute to the original Alarm's second album, 'Strength'. In vogue at the moment are '80s bands revisiting their back catalogue by either reissuing albums as a deluxe editions or touring where they play said album in its entirety unless the line-up doesn't contain the original line-up (often the case) and whoever was responsible for the break up has their songs left out of the set, mysteriously.  


Anyway, these days (in fact for the last few decades) The Alarm has only been Mike Peters with the occasional fleeting appearance of Dave Sharp or Eddie McDonald and just the one (Bands Reunited) MTV showing for Twist, so tonight it's the one man band show that is Mike Peters and anyone expecting the original line-up is in for something of a shock.  




Me, I'm well over the politics of one of my favourite bands and the whys and wherefores and the original vs the current and the name deal. To be honest I want new material, always have, but I can handle last year's one man show for 'Declaration' and I'll let this one go for 'Strength' because they were such a massive part of my younger years and, besides, they were both great albums. I enjoy the stories and as I'm something of a vet having attended every single Gathering in Llandudno or Pontins I know the format.


Splitting the performance into two sets Peters explains that he'll open up some of the stories as to where the songs came from as well as a time-machine road trip through the recordings that made the album. I'll be honest and say that 'Declaration is my album, always has been and probably always will be. It was fantastic and I can still remember hearing it when it came out and playing the cassette tape to death, even getting the school bus driver to play it on the way to school as long as he drove slowly. There was massive anticipation when the 'Strength' album was released and I thought it was a bit of a let down as it didn't sound like the first album, but this band always turned in superb live shows and there was plenty of material available between records, usually better than the songs that made the albums. This was no different.


'Howling Wind' finished off the debut album and segued into the sessions of 'Strength' and acoustically it has lost none of its power and passion. Straight away Peters regales stories about the tracks and up next is one of my favourite songs ever as 'Unbreak the Promise' gets aired and I'm thinking how didn't this make the album? In fact, as the songs fly by the band should have been brave and made it a double album because it's criminal 'Majority', 'Absolute Reality' and 'Blackside Of Fortune' never made an album. I always remember them ('Majority' and 'Absolute...') being live favourites and they still sound superb, the lyrics resonating with this scribe.




Before you know it just shy of an hour has passed by and this busy audience has laughed and sang along with Peters to some superb singles and B-sides.


After a little comfort break it's time to crack on with 'Strength' and with added drum machine and backing tape 'Knifedge' opens proceedings as the audience loosens up and the evening really gets underway.


Working through the running order and mixing up the familiar melodies and arrangements Peters explains a few tracks and where they came from, lyrics are added and Peters plays to the home audience when he explains away 'Day The Ravens Left The Tower'. 'Deeside' could have been written today such is the current climate and 'Spirit Of '76' brings the house down before 'Walk Forever By My Side' dots the I's and crosses the T's on a splendid evening, and it only leaves time for a hat-trick of Alarm favourites as 'Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke' proceeds '68 Guns' and to cap off a really enjoyable and rather splendid night of 'Strength' related songs it only leaves 'Blaze Of Glory' before we head off into the cold night air wondering if the next time will be for the 'Eye Of The Hurricane' tour.


Great songs, great arrangements, great atmosphere, great to still be able to hear Peters belt out songs with the same gusto as the day they were written. Here's to the next time.


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