Archive for the ‘The Alarm’ Category

Stiff Little Fingers Newcastle City Hall 23rd January 1982 (and/or October 1982?) and farewell on 5th February 1983

Stiff Little Fingers 23rd January 1982 (and/or October 1982?) and farewell on 5th February 1983
slftix1982The fourth (also to be the final) album of Stiff Little Fingers’ first incarnation, Now Then… was not as successful as their earlier albums. The album took the band towards a more pop/new wave-oriented sound than their previous releases and wasn’t received that well by fans and critics. Having sad that, it did reach No 24 in the UK album charts. In 1981, drummer Jim Reilly left, and was replaced by Dolphin Taylor (from the Tom Robinson band).
“Looking back, for me, that was the end of the REAL SLF. After touring and recording for four years, Jake decided that 1982 would see the end of SLF. He wanted to pursue a solo career and walked away. I went back to a life in Belfast.” (Henry Cluney, from his website).
Live, however, they continued to be a major attraction and toured again in 1982, in support of Now Then…slf82prog
Frustratingly, my tickets and programmes for SLF in 1982 leave me confused once again. I have a ticket stub from a concert at the City Hall on 23rd January 1982, yet the programme from the same year shows that they played twice at Newcastle City Hall on 11th and 12th October 1982. So….was the January gig postponed until October? Or did I see them in January and October? And if I did, where is my ticket stub from the October gig? Who knows….I’ve giving up beating myself up about such things, and just accepted that my memory is not good these days. Perhaps if you read this you can help solve my dilemma. Support for some of the dates on the October tour came from Midnight Oil, an Australian rock band who hit the UK charts “Beds Are Burning” later in the ’80s.
By 1983 it was all over. Stiff Little Fingers announced that they were to split, and played a few farewell gigs, one of which was at Newcastle City Hall. Support came from the mighty Alarm (68 Guns). slftix1983Now I do remember this gig well. It was a storming concert, much better than their concert at the same venue previous year, and a fitting send off for a great band. There was a sense that this was the last time we were going to be seeing them, and we wanted to make sure that we made the most of it, and we also wanted to let the band know how much they meant to us.
But of course it wasn’t the end after all. Five years later Jake Burns reformed SLF and they continue to tour to this day. I’ve never seen the band live since those early days, which is something I should really put right. I’ve just read a couple of reviews of recent SLF gigs, and it seems that they are just as high energy and passionate as ever. I must try and get to see them again one day. Until then, I’ll remember that young, raw band I saw at that crazy gig at Newcastle Guildhall 35 years ago…

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The Alarm live in Newcastle 1983 to 1988

On a good night in the 80s The Alarm were untouchable. Full of righteous passion, great stirring singalongs and celtic rock. Occupying a territory somewhere between The Clash, U2 and Dylan, this band could really cut the mustard. My first Alarm experience was at Newcastle Tiffanys club. I may have seen them before that as a support act, but can’t be sure. This gig was just as 68 Guns had been released. I can picture my mate Davey and me, on the balcony in Tiffanys looking down on the stage with the whole place singing along and the whole balcony shaking. Happy days. The next couple of times I saw The Alarm they were at the City Hall. I remember those gigs as being good, but its that night at Tiffanys that sticks in my mind. They had quite a few hits, but none of them matched the power of 68 Guns, and the passion that Mike Peters sang it with. Mike Peters has not been well, but has kept playing, and The Alarm play on to this day. The last time I saw Mike Peters was in the bar at a Springsteen gig at the O2 in London. The guy has good taste.