The eye of the hurricane missed York while the rest of its energy swept through The Duchess on Friday night as Mike Peters powered through Strength, a 30th anniversary solo tour of the album that ensured the band’s place in rock and roll history.
Mike was literally a one man band, complete with a rack of acoustic guitars, electronic keys, drum head, a bodhran and, of course, no Alarm gig would be complete without the harmonica.
However, this was so much more than a commemoration of the album, as the night became strewn and interlaced with not only the tracks that go to make the Strength album but the night was host to an extensive selection from the back catalogue such as The Deceiver, Majority and One Step Closer.
Every single track from the first to the encore was delivered with Mike’s powerful vocals, energy and endurance. Mike still has the passion for rock n roll. It was felt in every note and every chord. Mike played to the audience through three separate microphones, stage left, stage right and centre stage, meaning he traversed and ultimately owned the stage.
This was interspersed with tales from when he was a young lad and was Rhyl’s ‘first punk rocker’, which paved the way to him to meeting the manager of the Clash and scoring a gig with them. Mike even gave the audience a few lessons on how to pogo! He also blasted out a couple of quick renditions of classic punk tunes, including Anarchy in the UK.
This all led into an absolute Alarm classic Spirit of 76, telling the tale of how he and his then best friend (the second punk rocker in Rhyl) ultimately went their separate ways, with his friend later spending time in Walton Jail. The audience raised the roof.
The audience were captivated from the get-go, but they also brought their own brand of energy and needed no prompts or encouragement to sing along, to hold their hands up high, and to participate in the obligatory throwing of decks of playing cards along to Where Were You Hiding?
Amidst the energy, the passion, and the rock n roll, Mike offered the opportunity for members of the audience to help fight the battle against cancer. Mike has suffered from leukaemia for several years and set up the Love Hope Strength Foundation, which makes it all the more remarkable to witness a couple hours of the most intense energy a performer could give.
Mike Peters is a tower of strength. Here’s hoping he comes to York again soon.
Mike Peters played at The Duchess on Friday 17 April 2015