After a battle with Leukaemia (he’s now in remission), Mike Peters, frontman of eighties new wave group The Alarm, has increasingly dedicated himself to raising money for his Love Hope Strength Foundation by trekking up mountains, from Ben Nevis to Mount Kilimanjaro, and playing tiny gigs at the summits. With many of those here having taken part in previous fundraising events, this show has a particularly intimate, close-knit feel.
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The Alarm always inspired a fanatical devotion amongst their followers anyway, and tonight’s gig, coming in at nearly two hours, is certainly one for them. With just a harmonica and his acoustic guitar, Peters works without a setlist, first playing half-a-dozen tunes as they pop into his head, including Marching On and Frontiers, before opening it up to the floor.
As the audience bellows out requests, the rocker does his best to keep up with them, playing Walk Forever By My Side, The Deceiver and Rescue Me amongst others.
A quick break – which features some glad-handing and photos with eager devotees – and he’s back, ready for more suggestions, including Breathe and Deeside, as well as an extremely rare outing for When Everything Was Perfect. There’s just enough time to squeeze in One Guitar, a track by under-appreciated New York musician Willie Nile.
Raspy and gnarled, Peters possesses a voice that’s quintessentially rock, but one also capable of lung-bursting sustains. At times though, he’s drowned out by the small but fiercely loyal fanbase who sing lustily throughout, even performing call and response sections unprompted.
“Here’s one sung by a Welshman who’s half-Scottish these days,” he says with a grin, referring to his on-going stint filling the shoes of the late Stuart Adamson in the reformed Big Country.
Accordingly, we’re treated to some material from Dunfermline’s finest too. Chance, Look Away and In A Big Country all inspire a fair old sing-along, but top setting on the volume control is saved for the evening’s last few songs. 68 Guns, The Alarms’ biggest hit, descends into one big burly hug-fest down the front before Blaze of Glory has those same huggers standing arms aloft, close to tears.