The Alarm & GoGoBot – The Lemon Tree – 04/05/11
I was never really a fan of The Alarm back in the day when they were setting out so I’m not going to pretend otherwise. One of my pals was though, I’ll call him K for short, funnily enough he was also well into Big Country who Alarm vocalist Mike Peters also fronts nowadays. K made sure that I got plenty listening time to these bands although I was preferring a sound a little more edgy at the time and he’d have just loved to see the lads kicking off `The Sound and The Fury 30th Anniversary Tour` at The Lemon Tree.
First up tonight though is Glaswegian band GoGoBots whom I first discovered at Wickerman Festival last year. They’re a three piece with a sound that mixes synth driven songs with a rocky twang making it something different but the tempo of many of their songs changes midways making for what I think is an interesting mix. I quite like these genre challenging bands these days, much like The Lafontaines were not so long ago and its makes for a refreshing listen. Their eight song set starts off with the `get your attention` You Ain’t Seen Nothing and the highlights, in my humble of course, are Do You Remember and Is This Love before finishing with We Are Here, a song that I’m actually not too fond of, maybe due to the vocal range from singer Marko Kelly. I’ve enjoyed the performance though, and hope that they can maybe get their second visit to Aberdeen under their belt before long.
A thirty minute wait and at 9pm The Alarm come onstage and its straight into a biggie with Blaze of Glory quickly followed up by Absolute Reality. Drummer Smiley seems to have found his feet without any problem as Release the Pressure and then Alarm Calling has the first three rows or so of the crowd singing along in unison and its something that pretty much does not let up for the rest of the night. I’ve always thought that The Alarm has pretty much a cult following and the knowledge of the crowd just shows how much they know as Unsafe Building (one of The Alarms first singles?) gets yet another airing.
Tonight I’ve just realised just how timeless some of this music is, it’s as relevant now as it was 20-30 years ago. Its passionate, with littered statements, and full of soul. K used to lecture me on these things too. Anyway, I’m thinking the band are really enjoying this tonight as we get Marching On, Sold Me Down The River and then Rain in the Summertime. Not sure what he thinks the weathers like outside but I’m thinking Mike Peters must be cooking inside with that suede jacket on!
Un-break the Promise and Drunk and Disorderly take us to Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke? and Mike Peters microphone seems to give up halfway through so it’s the turn of The Lemon Tree crowd to grab the baton and finish the singing for him. Maybe you had to be there, but it was a fucking stunning moment for me. Well done folks.
So, last song before the encore and its the streamtrain of an Alarm track that is 68 Guns. We get a little introduction to a young Steven O’Neill who I think won an auction to play with The Alarm tonight. I’ve had a read about this today and I think it’s an excellent piece of work and Mike also informs us that the funds raised tonight go to a local cancer charity so that’s worth even more of a clap from me. Love Hope Strength seems to go on forever, with its quiet bits that make you think to the faster, rockier parts that make you cheer up again. It’s a brilliant song, and very appropriate.
The winning pot is in sight and the trump cards are played as One Guitar and 45 RPM take us up to a stunning Spirit of ’76. It’s a brilliant end to a superb performance and a great start to the tour, much better than I’d expected. I last saw The Alarm a couple of years back when they played with The Damned up in Inverness but tonight I thought was a much better gig all round. And aye, at last, I’m a fan.
Long live The Alarm, and long live Mike Peters.
This review is dedicated to my pal K, who passed away in July 2008 after losing his fight against cancer. You’re not forgotten mate.
The Alarm Website
Love Hope Strength Foundation Website