The Alarm at The Kazbah, Scarborough - Friday 6th February 04
By Steve Rudd
Gigs do not, I repeat, DO NOT get any better than this. Ever.
Even though The Alarm haven't actually stayed together as a band since their inception back when punk-rock gripped the UK in the late 70's, the charismatic singing-&-songwriting Mike Peters has been over-actively involved in numerous bands and solo projects over the past 25 years.
While photogenic Welshman Mike did get a band together come the Millennium under the guise of The Alarm 2000 for touring purposes, the 2004 version of The Alarm sees Mike - as ever - as the fantastic frontman, accompanied by the devilishly - and hilariously - drunken Craig Adams on bass (who used to play in the Sisters of Mercy no less!), James Stevenson on guitar and Dave Baynton-Power on drums (who used to play for James).
While The Alarm did bust with the punk revolution, the bulk of their songs have been inoffensive soft-rock anthems laced with rampaging 'punk' zest.
During the 80's they toured with U2, and few who hear Mike Peters sing can surely deny the fact that he sounds so much like U2's Bono it's uncanny. And hugely unfair, given the superstardom that's besieged U2 over the years, when The Alarm songs are just as euphorically anthemic as U2's, if not more so.
Mike Peters is a unique workaholic and seemingly never stops releasing records and touring his music. While his solo albums - such as the stirring and sublime Rise and Feel Free releases - aren't as well known as Mike's captivating Alarm-era hits, I've honestly never heard one dud song written by the man, and he sure can hold his own in front of a crowd.
Despite the Kazbah far from being sold-out in light of Mike and band's first-ever visit to Scarborough in terms of playing for The Alarm, the in-house atmosphere was perfect, as obsessive-compulsive fans clamoured over the security fence that separated Mike from his awaiting public.
Forget any singer you've ever seen on the TV show of the same name: Mike is a true 'pop' idol, and he's looking cooler than ever with his long blond hair and warm, ever-ready grin.
Always cracking smiles and seeming to genuinely enjoy his gigs as much as his fans, Mike is a pretty entrepreneurial businessman too (through having the most impressive spread of high-cost merchandise this side of Cardiff) - which is a bonus in the cut-throat, money-making biz of the music industry.
Even if The Alarm were a pretty well-known 'mainstream' band in the 80's, I bet there are many of the band's original fans who are unaware that their victoriously vibrant music is still being banged-out as exhilaratingly as it always has been.
But why are The Alarm not better known? With songs as infectiously feel-good and shimmering and soaring as Alarm tunes are, they should be big business and destined for Top 40 penetration.
Hell, the rate at which Mike doles out brilliant songs, there's serious potential for him to top the charts with a different song every single week for the next decade or two - he is that prolific a writer.
Aware of his musical prowess and self-convinced that he can more than 'kick it' as a songwriter, Mike's been asking for his fans' support to push the new 45 R.P.M' single, which is a spiky punk-fuelled romp.
The Alarm at The Kazbah, Scarborough - Friday 6th February 04 continued
By Steve Rudd
This gig in question crammed in as many of The Alarm classics as possible from 68 Guns, Rescue Me and Declare Myself an Unsafe Building to Where Were You Hiding? and the Spirit of '76 (the latter anthem being to Mike Peters what Summer of '69 is to Bryan Adams), before winding-up the second rapturously-received encore with a cover of the classy James song Tomorrow (given their ex-drummer's presence), then Blaze of Glory.
Not one duff note sounded and no trace of ego within the current Alarm ranks prevailed.
And, if I'm perfectly honest, this gig was - no word of a lie - probably the best gig I ever have been to.
For the record, Mike Peters is a genius. For whom the bells toll, The Alarm do deserve to be re-embraced, as though the original line-up never parted in the first place.
Music Reviews - Rhythm Room, Baker Street, Hull - Friday 6th February 2004
The flyer bravely stated that Rhythm Room was to hold Hulls' first and only techno night on 7th Feb. with DJs' Swiv (10til12 headlining) and Chris Gawtry (12til2) playing techno upstairs and Andy Maile & Biskit (9til12) and Ben-jammin (12til2) downstairs playing funky house etc..
Well, it did. Hold it,
Music Reviews - The Suicide Machines/Adequate Seven/ THE FREAKS UNION - Carling Academy, Liverpool - 12th February 2004 By Dick Spring
This was the first time I'd been to Liverpool in over 10 years (last time was on tour with Mega City Four) but I was impressed by the clean and neatly laid out interior of the newly refurbished Carling Academy (formerly The Lomax).
We were in the middle sized room, the Academy Two, which was a
Music - Sending Out Demos -
Some Simple Advice By Glenn Williams (Lazyswede Productions)
There are thousands of demos posted daily to record companies and radio stations and managers etc. The chances of them all being heard is so small that sometimes it hardly seems worth bothering. In many cases, the problem is simply to do with the packaging of the product.
I must admit, I was also once guilty of sending out a CDR or a cassette with just my telephone number..
Music Reviews - The Saved, still life and We Start Fires at Under the Influence
Billed as Ball crunching guitars with tingly piano riffs.
These female pop punkers kick arse (NME).
I was delighted to see some females at last (yes, I know you're out there).
A girl band? No, not quite. The drummer is a bloke! The line-up looks terrific ...
Music Reviews - A Champion Night - Welly Club 16th January By Cilla and Greg
One cold night in January (actually it was bloody freezing) my mate Greg and I went along to the Welly for a night with Champion Sound, the Reggae and Dancehall magicians who are currently gracing the Hull night club scene with their individual and blistering repertoire.
We arrived early - about 10.15 and the club had a cold feel.
There was a steady trickle of people arriving and after an hour or so, so the music began to build ..
Music Reviews - Pave - Promotional CD by Nick Quantrill
It's often said that bands use the opportunity of recording as a means of 'capturing the live sound.' What a load of cack! It's an opportunity to sound better than you do live!
Due to the pressures of working far faster than a signed band would be expected to, and in lower quality studios, the recording process must be incredibly difficult for your average Hull band.
Music Reviews - The Landau's - Sweet But True (single/ DAGALOST Records) By Steve Rudd
Hull's something of a hotbed for cool indie-rock bands, and The Landau's - along with Still Life - are one of the freshest bands forging ahead within such a musical genre.
An exclusively laddish quartet, this is the young band's first major release, and has been recorded at the city's famous Fairview Studios.
The production qualities are fantastic,