THE GATHERING N25
3/4/5 Feb 2017
Love & Life & All Things Rock!
It’s great to come to an event which feels like an incredible Rock & Roll show landed in the middle of your family reunion. Admittedly now more friendly distant cousin than long lost brother, the odd nod and wave still warms the space in this cavernous Arena Style Venue.
So we begin with Mr Dave Sharp, and his hard edged yet intricately beautiful ‘Folk’.
An original founder member of the ALaRM, he thanks us for our Attention – Soul & Spirit – Clearly enjoying the energy in the room as old rockers and young at heart ravers busily reconnect. He tips his metaphorical cap to our Hosts Mike & Jules Peters. Time and good will have washed away any wounds that hard times and musical wanderings ever opened and Dave closes his set with a comforting, reworked version of
‘One Step Closer to Home’
See him on tour soon…
Home is exactly where we are as Mike takes to the stage with ‘Smiley’ on Drums, our Jules on Keys and Tambo, the Guitarsmith James Stevenson strangely switching duties on Bass, Guitars & Synth. Mike has an electrified distorted Poppy emblazoned, white acoustic guitar, which he uses to great effect, carving his way through a set of mainly quite recent material, generally themed around: Love; Peace; Understanding and Kicking Cancer’s Ass, which both he and his wife battle:
Click – Love Hope Strength – Inspirational!
We really enjoyed the new material, even and especially the soundscapes driven by electro sequenced backing – as he went on to explain in the Q&A the next day, “these young bands play music like they send texts, I needed to get to grips and up to speed on that” – he definitely has: making the stage spill sounds and beats and riffs mixed with deft arrangements; transforming what he does so well into something even more relevant again,
and not just for those here assembled.
Spiritually he seems to have moved on too, away from the hedonistic cry of “I believe in one life one life only …” of Coloursound, a reaction perhaps to his survival against the odds, to a more textured and informed lyrical landscape of a life high on Regeneration & Love for People and Life and his ever deepening ongoing determination to find The Good Stuff in Everything, and tap in to what is bigger, more important and ultimately more rewarding that just ‘Existing’,
your truth is out there, go find it, MLP will certainly provide us the soundtrack for that journey.
Back in the heat of the gig my personal highlights were the occasional return to his solo work ‘High on a Hill’, which he once kindly scribbled me the chords for; ‘Breathe’ one absolutely classic tune from his absolutely classic First Solo Album of the very same name.
One classic I was totally gutted at missing was a reportedly epic rendition of the ALaRM number ‘Strength’, who’s final lingering riff I enjoy strolling back in pint laden from a very badly timed bar visit. Never mind there are to be plenty more classics to come tomorrow.
Before this we enjoy a very pleasant day in our host town of Llandudno, delightful with its Faded Glory Architecture, but thankfully still vibrant town, bumping into familiar friendly faces and contemplating the night to come. Gig night begins with a remembrance of once almost sacred traditions with a meal at The Bengal Dynasty, my fellow explorer, Paul, and I say prayers for those of us not in attendance, then quietly make our way back to the venue.
Mike puts Family Firmly First, that is clear as his young sons played in the opening act O.C.D, who’s first performance we missed, but hear great things about their legendary rendition of ‘She Sells Sanctuary’. This closely followed by the jovial, Icicle Works’ Ian McNab Esq – whose presence of positivity is that to rival Mike’s drummer Smiley’s – likewise heard nothing but very positive words for those who caught his sensational support set tonight.
Tearing ourselves from engrossing conversations with new friends American, European, International, we head on in to position ourselves for what our Mike and his friends in the ALaRM have in store. Tonight, as expected a more wide ranging set of classics from across this man’s huge archive of Riffs, Words, Melodies, etc.
There is nothing which can be said that could accurately capture the energy of the night and I have to admit to abandoning my recently found no mosh policy on grounds of maturity, and found myself throwing myself about like a loon, arriving just in time for 45RPM.
Just Google The ALaRM 45RPM
This song I had the good fortune to be very loosely involved with in the A&R process via our music producer in common, when it was conceived and conceptualise, for cunning media onslaught which saw them chart top 30 for the first time in a long time, and judging by the passion which still burns in this camp of compadres, times which may come again.
Inappropriate Mosh Pit Mayhem Aside, this couldn’t have been a better trip and the admiration we have for the dedicated team who put this event together is unbounded.
Not content with two nights of High Energy Music next day we are treated to a reprise in the form of the press update and march along the seafront for their ‘By Your Side’ appeal which reaches its own crescendo this summer…
Fond goodbyes said it’s now off into the Welsh hills for another road trip to round things off properly, I bid you farewell until next time we meet ourselves coming home back where we started from just 25 sweet years ago.
And of all the ALaRM material Anthemic Coming Home hit the mark: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkyTwAtDCqY; here is an earlier version of the song which sums up this inspired event …
The ALaRM Tour in 2017, and Mike will feature on BBC1 Documentary “Being Mike Peters”, immediately followed by the broadcast of the Gathering 25 Performances on BBC2, this Spring. Not to mention the release to Global Arts Festivals of: “The Man in The Cammo Jacket” Film; about his ongoing battle with Cancer through Rock & Roll. They also plan two US Gathering Experiences in NYC & LA, see: www.thealarm.com; and tap in to all things positive happening in the world of the ALaRM; going out in the proverbial “Blaze of Glory” for WCN, Best, DGH.