I was getting quite worried as I waited for the Alarm to come on at Leeds O2 this week. No support and at 8.15 the venue was disappointingly empty. By the time the band arrived on stage though (very early 8.30 start) a respectable crowd had assembled.
Whatever muso critics may have said about the Alarm over the years their fans have always been a loyal bunch. Originally more punk than rock they started out in North Wales as The Toilets but they’re certainly a lot more charismatic and charming than that name might suggest.
Thirty years later, with worldwide sales in excess of five million and 16 top 50 singles I think they can afford to be quietly pleased with themselves and as the gig got going there were plenty of smiles up there, particularly when they spotted a blonde photographer in the pit wearing a loud pink cardi.
The only original member of the line-up is lead Mike Peters, who also fronts Big Country these days, and this year’s tour coincides with the release of Vinyl, a feature film based on Mike’s “true rock n roll hoax of 2004”. A group of fairly washed up rockers get a new lease of life through a brilliant new single launched under a fictitious band name which they then proceed to populate with a bunch of fairly talentless youngsters. Clearly this is a mild dig at today’s recording industry but like my recent experience of the Alarm I’m sure its delivered with good humour. That’s the great thing about aging – less angst and cool self-awareness and more fun. Thank God there’s an upside!