Had I have been a 15 year old lad looking for a cause with a spikey haired charismatic leader I might have been more into The Alarm back in the day, I wasn't and I just didn't get it. OK 68 guns was a good tune but I was lost in the poetry of Oscar wilde, saving the whale and banning the bomb. I adored Big Country, Stuart was my spikey haired go to leader, I had no idea of the connections, friendships and visions of life that brought these two bands together....fast forward 30ish years and in a small venue in Islington I was introduced to 'acoustic' Mike Peters. My now husband a fan, man and boy, took me along. Mike appeared joyous but vulnerable but what was more interesting to me was the love in the room. I spoke to Gaz Top at the end of the gig and apart from me being quite drunk and being overly excited because I was chatting to Gaz Top he also shared this deep feeling of love....long story but this was forgotten by the time we got home, falling asleep on the train and walking 2 miles bare foot to get home overtook my joyous recollections of the gig.
And so to last night, The Alarm at the Electric Ballroom. I was quite indifferent about going to be honest, working week, hassle of getting into London blah blah.
It doesn't take long to be taken back to that feeling from the previous gig. I'm surrounded by men of a certain age. Some still holding on tight to the hair gel others have embraced the shaved look, all have something in common, The Alarm.
There's something different about the atmosphere, honestly it's something quite beautiful. Big manly men politely asking if they can 'squeeze past' 'excuse me please' without exception every person who needed to get past or accidentally bumped into me apologised, it's a gig...this is unusual! Equally, instead of getting quietly wound up by people talking while the band played I was deeply moved by the voices singing loud and proud around me, there's something very special when a crowd sings. The bloke behind me knew all the old stuff, word for word, I only know which songs were newer songs as matey didn't sing along! At times the love in the room was almost unbearable, nostalgia helps but this was different. No air of angst, no brooding, no anxiety no uncomfortable feelings just love. This is quite a feeling. With other gigs there's often an underlying feeling whether this be because of drink or the message from the band there's an 'edge'. Not here, the gathering of men surrounding me were embracing, singing and throwing out the love. Big big love.
OK so I get it, take away the longing to be 15 years old and looking for the anthem of your youth, I get it. The message for me last night wasn't one of anger, rise up and fight, though lyrically I suspect Mike would lead us and frankly I would follow....but for me the message was of love. Morrissey once sang about love peace and harmony and actually meant 'woe is me' when Mike Peters speaks of love, it comes from a different place and I feel that, very much so.