It’s been a long time coming but it’s good to be back. Now, where have I heard that line before? Many moons ago the good people at The Alarm HQ had a plan to celebrate 40 years of The Alarm and Mike Peters by having a couple of shows on consecutive nights in Rhyl Town Hall the birthplace of The Gathering (a yearly weekend of all things Mike Peters & the Alarm for the past twenty-Five years) sadly due to Covid and the past few years of uncertainty the celebrations were put on hold with the Rhyl shows and one at St David’s Hall Cardiff getting shelved until further notice.

Initially, these three shows which sold out in a matter of minutes were put off due to the Global Pandemic. They were rearranged but again the Cardiff celebration was put off into the distant future of 2023 but thankfully the Rhyl weekender was upon us. The Gathering has seen several venue changes over the years and after the first two were in Rhyl it grew to something altogether bigger and was decamped further up the A55 to the seaside resort of Llandudno and the spacious Venue Cymru. After a few years of being in the prisoner of war camp that is the hell hole known as Pontins Prestatyn it made a welcome return to Llandudno before returning to its spiritual roots of Rhyl Town Hall and the compact surroundings of this forgotten seaside town and Peters hometown, a stone throw from where he was brought up. We took our seats as the doors opened and the stage set on the floor of the hall rather than the traditional raised stage it was deemed more intimate for the lucky few hundred who were gathered for what promised to be a mammoth run through forty years of music from Peters. No drums, Bass, electric guitar or piano just one man a few mics and a lifetime of music. Friday night and it’s the present running backwards to 2010 and Peters looks like a man who means business and it was headlong into the music with ‘Two Rivers’ from his latest studio album ‘Sigma’. There was to be a further twenty one songs dispatched from Peters before a welcome interval and an end to the first act it was a hectic flurry of songs from the excellent ‘Heroine’ to ‘Direct Action’ via ‘Coming Backwards’ and ‘Peace Now’ there wasn’t time for any introductions or stories just on with the show with a really impressive run through some deep cuts from his most recent decade.

It was Steven Tyler who once said “Let The music do the talking” and Mike Peters was certainly on top of his memo to play as many tunes as humanly possible. I’ve seen Mike Peters play live well over a hundred times and it’s often the deep cuts that excite me the most. Sure I love ’68 Guns’ and ‘Strength’ and ‘Spirit Of 76’ and ‘New South Wales’ but I love hearing my favourite artists create new music as well and keep pushing themselves especially when I’m on board the journey and tonight is proving to be some journey.

For me the 2000’s was a prolific time for Peters when he wrote some of his finest work be it The Poppyfield collective or the 2008 Counter Attack collective. The band he was working with were pushing him to be the best writer he possibly could be and it was paying dividends and us the fans were reaping the rewards. ‘Superchannel’ whilst being such a force electrically is still a powerhouse acoustically as tonight’s audience buys into the set. ‘My Town’, ‘Edward Henry Street’ and ‘Mercenery Skank’ are given some serious attention and the floor is a shaking.

With the twenty two song second half reaching a climax with the excellent single ‘Close’ followed by the controversial ruse of ’45 RPM’ it was the end of the first night and a really excellent night’s entertainment. To hold an audience for three and a half hours on a Friday night is some achievement but tonight Mike Peters did it with consummate ease and it seemed everyone was now well up for the Saturday night and a delve further into the catalogue.

I must admit I tend to opt out of the Saturdays daytime extravaganza but if you want to immerse yourself in all things Mike Peters they opened up the Hall for a film ’50 Days In Lockdown’ and Peters had time to pose for photos and sign records before a Q&A with the man took place. The team at the MPO do give fans access that many other bands wouldn’t dream of and after all is said and done, if you’ve travelled from afar or just down the road then it’s a pretty impressive experience.

Saturday night was upon us and the fresh breeze outside was forgotten come eight PM as Peters took to the stage for 1999 to 1992 and it was the same format as the previous night where there was no interaction between songs just on with the business of the music and ‘Flesh And Blood’s ‘House Of Commons’ brought memories of being in the studio at BBC in Cardiff whilst that particular album was being made and memories certainly did come flooding back. It was now the turn of ‘Rise’ ‘Feel Free’ and the time when Peters emerged from the fall out of the Alarm split and taking the poets on an exciting journey as ‘Back Into The System’, ‘Feel Free”, ‘My Calling’ and ‘Gone Elvis’ were played. As Peters played ‘Train A Comin’ you could have heard a pin drop as the entire audience was silent with respect for the music and the journey we were on it was awe inspiring and a real moment even after all these years of watching this man play many of these songs all over the country and beyond.

As we headed into the home straight and the beautiful nineteen eighties and when many of us began our love for these works and when Mike Peters entered most of our lives and record collections it is probably many of these songs we did a lot of first to and why they are held with such high regard in our lives and soundtrack so much of who and what we’ve become. It was a privilige to be part of such a great weekend. ‘Moments In Time’ from ‘Raw’ began a whirlwind blast through the original line ups repetoir as ‘Rocking In The Free World’ took my mind back to Brixton and the tanned fringed coat there was even an out of time run through ‘Merry Xmas War Is Over’ which brought a broad grin across Peters face ‘Rivers To Cross’ was a welcome old friend as was ‘Day The Raven Left The Tower’ and the first time I heard ‘Majority’ from the Marquee club came racing back to me, so many venues, so many memories. Inside the young man I once was – was smiling that I still have the opportunity to hear these songs live and have had the pleasure of doing so on so many occasions. The fact that tonight’s performance was four hours long sounds epic because it was epic. It flew by, I honestly thought that I’d have to go into training to get through it but as the songs were unfolding I didn’t want it to end and could do it all over again on any given weekend.

The encores went right back, predominantly featuring the ‘Declaration’ period songs with ’68 Guns’, ‘Where Were You Hiding’ sung with as much verve and energy as the day they were written it seemed. Then the second encore hit us with ‘The Stand’ and ‘Marching On’ hit with the realisation that we were reaching the end of an incredible evening of music. It only left ‘Up For Murder’ before finally bowing out with a raucous ‘The Stand’. Peters took the ovation he richly deserved and a couple of hundred people filed out into the cold North Wales night with yet more memories of a Gathering that was a while in the waiting but oh so well worth it when it arrived. Bring on 2023 and back to Llandudno for another Gathering and that much overdue performance in St David Hall Cardiff. Going out in a blaze of glory our hands were held up high! Brilliant life affirming rock and roll, I love it!

Author: Dom Daley

MPO HQ Tickets

London’s Lost Music Venues Vol 2 has been lovingly put together by author Paul Talling. In this follow-up volume Paul focuses on London’s larger theatre size venues. The book is released on June 23rd and is available to pre-order now via your local bookshop, Amazon, Rough Trade or direct from us.

There will be a launch event for the book at London’s Rough Trade East on Tuesday 28th June, featuring Q&A/signing with Paul Talling and a live performance by the wonderful Mr TV Smith.



Damaged Goods Books are proud to announce ‘London’s Lost Music Venues 2’, available this coming June 23rd, the second volume of the photographic guide to the iconic lost live music venues of London, as they are today.

The first volume, issued in 2020 during the initial lockdown at a time when the music world began to seriously wonder how any venues were going to survive the pandemic, featured over 100 lost smaller venues from all over London. The very real fear throughout the pandemic was that the planned second volume would be even larger as the venues in the capital feared for their futures, but thankfully as we (hopefully) come through the other side of the pandemic, almost all have survived and live music has once again exploded across London. This second volume, then, features over 140 venues from the past, focusing on the larger halls and theatres of London’s musical heyday.

Did you dance the night away at the Hammersmith Palais? Queue outside the Rainbow theatre to see The Jam or The Osmonds? Or jive along to rock ‘n’ roll legends at the Cellar Club in Kingston? Then this is another book is for you! Paul Talling, author of ‘London’s Lost Music Venues 1’, ‘Derelict London’ & ‘London’s Lost Rivers’ returns his attention to the lost music venues of London.

This time round he focusses on the larger, theatre sized venues as well as a few smaller venues not included in the first volume plus some more recent losses. This book takes a look at some of the iconic venues of the last 60 years with images, flyers and modern-day photos of what they are now, with 292 pages with full colour photos throughout.

Venues include Hammersmith Palais, The Rainbow, The Astoria, The Borderline, The Lyceum and many more. Featuring photos, adverts & tickets, this book is a reminder of a less homogenised London, taking you back to the city’s halcyon days of Rock N Roll, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Rock, Punk, Indie and more.

The unveiling of ‘London’s Lost Music Venues 2’ will also be celebrated on June 28th with a special launch party at Rough Trade East featuring an acoustic set from The Adverts legend and musical troubadour TV Smith, plus a book signing and Q&A with Paul Talling and more. Tickets available HERE:

Paul Talling’s first book of Lost Venues was warmly received with large features in The Observer, The Guardian, Mojo, The Times & more. Paul also has two other very successful books out via Random House called ‘All New Derelict London’ and ‘London’s Lost Rivers’, he appears regularly on BBC London, BBC 6MUSIC and has made many TV appearances.

Pre-order ‘London’s Lost Music Venues 2’ HERE:

The one and only time I saw GBZ was in a London pub basement a touch over six years ago and they blew the place a part. Then they were pushing their second and possibly finest album Hadeland Hardcore and as fantastic as they were that night, no one in that room would ever have thought that the press release for album number five, Research And Destroy would begin –

“The NEW ALBUM from the Kings of Scandipunk! Fronted by singer Ivar Nikolaisen from KVELERTAK!! “

It’s just bonkers!!!

These Norwegian punk rock terrors’ sound snuggles somewhere in the same ball park as fellow country men Turbonegro (both bands feature ex-members of Norwegian glamsters Silver) but with a far more aggressive and abrasive edge. Perhaps with album number five some of this jagged, raw hate has been polished away to appeal to the Kvelertak fan base, it’s still hard and heavy but maybe not as raw and hungry as the aforementioned  Hadeland Hardcore or even it’s follow up Misanthropical House but it’s still a fine12” slab of plastic that’ll sit deservedly in your top ten of 2022.

First up ‘What’s My Rage Again?’ Spends a good minute building up and up and up in full metal guitar grandeur before launching into a spite-filled bombastic banger. Maybe it gets a bit Maiden-esque in places but it’s a great place to start.

Hot on its heels comes ‘Song For A Prepper’, another great tune with another long intro. Less aggressive than previous stuff and maybe a nod to the expanded Kvelertak audience

Third up, ‘Bridge and Tunnel Guy’ gets its own video and is a fine balance of aggression and hooks.

The PKA Took My Money Away’ is far less metal than its predecessors and is by far my favourite tune so far. This feels like the most GBZ-like song so far.

Nostradumbass’ carries on the mid-album hump for me, a fine mid-paced tune not a million miles from Ivar’s previous band Silver. There’s a video for this bad boy too.

While ‘Diet 1-2-3′, may lean a little to Backyard Babies territory (not a bad thing at all), ‘The Power of Beer’ is the kind of GBZ banger that ‘Research And Destroy’ has been a little light on.

One-Dimensional Man’ is a nasty pop song and boasts one of the strongest choruses on offer. I guess Fysisk Format agrees too because there’s a video for it.

The penultimate track ‘The Original Incel’ is another banger. GBZ to the max, while closer ‘Here Come The Waterworks’ is a far more sedate affair. Decent enough, but like several of the tracks that have gone before it, maybe a bit too much of an offering to their expanding metal audience. But hey, good luck to them.

So there you have it. Ten tracks in just over half an hour, long enough to love but not quite enough to blow you away.


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Author: Fraser Munro

Costa Rica based thrashers Chemicide have been around since 2011 and have released three albums and an EP. Their latest release ‘Common Sense’ has the sound and feel of an old-school thrash album. Echoes of early Sepultura, Kreator, Death Angel, Exodus, Forbidden, Nuclear Assault, with a bit of Morbid Angel thrown in. Not bad eh?

If, like me, you’re a fan of the bands I’ve mentioned above, then you could much worse than check out Chemicide. This really is like stepping back to 1989. All I need is my Cosmic drainpipe (black, of course) jeans, Hi-Tec basketball boots, and a baseball cap worn backward to complete the picture! Big riffs, fast parts, mosh parts, breakneck double bass drumming, shouty vocals and song titles like; ‘Self Destruct’, ‘Barred Existence’, and ‘Strike as One’ just add to the nostalgic charm of the album.

The production from Juan Pablo Calvo has that classic Scott Burns feel to it, very raw and punchy. It really is a thrasher’s delight and it’s very comforting to know that thrash metal is alive and well thanks to bands like Chemicide. Great job guys! Mosh it up!!

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Author: Kenny Kendrick

Slyder Smith first swaggered onto the stage in the 90s as lead guitarist with glam-tinged power popsters, Last Great Dreamers. After releasing four studio albums and one live album on their own label, Ray Records, & having toured extensively throughout the UK & Europe with LGD, Slyder now takes centre stage leading The Oblivion Kids (Tim Emery, Bass and Rik Pratt, Drums) in an honest outpouring of grit, glamour and emotion.

With over an album’s worth of material written, the band have worked tirelessly in the rehearsal studio, whipping into shape a carefully curated, explosive mix of rock anthems, with a few surprises thrown into the mix. With lyrics that speak from the heart, Slyder has delved deep into his own psyche over lockdown and explored numerous new guitar styles, resulting in what can only be described as his best musical output to date.

The Oblivion Kids are chomping at the bit to head in the studio at the end of March with legendary Producer, Pete Brown (who has worked with George Harrison, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Marc Almond, The Smiths & Diamond Head as well as being musical director, vocal arranger & guitarist, in his father’s (Joe Brown) & sister’s (Sam Brown) touring bands & producing Sam’s platinum selling album Stop). 

Having raised the capital required for recording themselves, the band are reaching out to their fans on Kickstarter to help match fund the remaining 50% required to manufacture CDs, Vinyl and other promotional merchandise. In exchange for their support, pledgers can choose from a range of rewards and exclusive experiences.

Support the project on Kickstarter: Here

While most bands of their ilk are resting on their laurels FM hit the road running with the release of Thirteen, coming hot on the heels of their double Tough It Out Live set from 2021. This album has no right in being as good as it is. Considering they are now only a few years away from hitting 40 years as a band. And the current line-up has been in place since 2008! With this album being produced by the band themselves, they having never sounded better or more on fire than they do over the 11 slabs of melodic rock gold.

Wasting no time, the album kicks into gear with a none more politically apt ‘Shaking The Tree’. When people mentioned singer Steve Overland’s voice it is normally in awe and this song proves that he can sing anything, no matter what the subject and make you want to fight, love and smile all at the same time. Single ‘Waiting for Love’ is more like what we have become accustomed too from the band, but even that sounds fresh and vibrant, especially in today’s musical climate. The flame is still burning for the page 7 stunner that is Steve Overland and I honestly do not think he has ever sounded this good.

As the band themselves continue to lay down some of the most awe-inspiring grooves, from Merv Goldsworthy’s tantalising bass lines, to Pete Jupp’s backbone drumming and Jim Kirkpatrick’s sizzling solos and last but least Jem Davis glorious keys of parp, the band can do no wrong.

Just like the big hitters of the AOR scene any of these songs could be singles as they are all, that good.
Clearly the band are enjoying and relishing their moment in the sun again. And so they should, as this album is up there with their best.

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Author: Dave Prince

First up today is the brand new video from Birmingham Garage rockers Black Bombers with their most excellent new single ‘Last Bite’. Released on April fools day through Easy Action Records there isn’t anything remotely funny about this slice of proto-punk, primitive Garage rock that goes straight for the jugular. Don’t delay kids because this one is backed by a most excellent version of the Damned classic ‘You Take My Money’.

This release comes as ‘UN-SCENE!’, Black Bombers’ drummer Dave Twist’s compilation album of Birmingham Post Punk, is receiving real acclaim and is already in short supply… 

The band have dates around the country in the coming weeks and play the DIE DAS DER benefit show for Ukraine on March 27th at the Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath Birmingham.

Pre-order here

To celebrate the Chats UK tour dates it seems fair to run with the video for their brand new single ‘Struck By Lightning’ Tour dates, tickets and merch available Here

Finally how about this banger to set your week up nicely. A track off her new EP out next week on pirates press Suzi Moon will release her second EP April 1st then the debut album this summer via pirates press. Check it out and pre order Here

When the word was out Amazon was stocking copies of this filthy tome it was a no-brainer I was going to blag myself a copy (pun intended). Forward from Blag himself and page after page of on the road salacious stories of punk rock deprivation and the most un PC-like behaviour known to man.

I mean it did come with a warning so you wouldn’t just happen across this book whilst browsing for something to read and if you did then I have zero sympathies because, if you don’t know of the Dwarves then serves your right, not being a believer and fully being on board with what they’re about is a crime anyway and Vadge pulls no punches and doesn’t even attempt to flower this fucker up and goes straight for the bull’s eye. At times it comes across as like swearing in front of your nan and her friends from the church but another way of interpreting that is Vadge truly doesn’t give a flying fuck and just socks it to you the reader leaving no stone unturned and no doubt what he’s on about.

I did find myself giggling like a teenager at some of this shit like when you first read Viz on the school bus and got away with dropping a quote from the profanasaurus in a job interview Vadge is a degenerate, a randy, sexed-up, drunken pain in the arse and I’m sure he’d take that as a compliment (he should do).

If there is a cliche in rock and roll about hitting the road and having sex with groupies and drinking way too much and taking daft amounts of drugs off a stranger then you better believe it The Dwarves wrote the book (literally and wore the T-Shirt.

It’s a fairly compact book and Vadge doesn’t flower up any of his stories nor does he use a dozen words when one is enough. this book is one hundred and forty-five pages of sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, and anyone who has seen the band can testify that they certainly walk the walk always have and always will.

I won’t spoil the stories but it’s safe to say there are GG Allin, Rex Everything and HeWhoCannotBeNamed stories and tales of ladies (who were willing victims its fair to say). For all the depravity and Vadges bandmates were no angels either its fair to point out as well. Vadge was next level and how he’s lived to tell his tale is a mystery. He does point out that it’s only the first installment of his life and crimes and there is more to come but I’m not sure he has anywhere he could take this further but I stand to be corrected on that.

It’s not your typical autobiography there is no childhood hard-luck story about that kid who escaped and toured the world but more chapters that are recollections of random tales that might gross you out then make you giggle but remember where your reading this and what you’re laughing at and good luck explaining to a work colleague what it is your giggling at and just who the fuck Vadge Moore and the Dwarves are.

My advice is if you’re a fan just buy it before the book gets taken down and/or Vadge is slung down some bottomless pit never to be seen again. I would however love to see Vadge at some book signing in Waterstones or the Hay-on-Wye literary festival reading a passage or two out of this memoir – now that would be special whilst Netflix thing they’re being all edgy showing Tommy and Pam or the Dirt my God a drama based on the life and crimes of The Dwarves on the road would be explosive and make the Crue see like an episode of the Teletubbies.

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Author: Dom Daley

Having initially seen large numbers of Charger T shirts at punk shows here in the UK, before checking out their debut 7 track EP/mini album released back in 2019, and thinking it was pretty damn decent,  I can honestly say that I never realised that Rancid’s Matt Freeman, along with Jason Willer (from Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine), and Andrew McGee (from Wired All Wrong) were the people responsible for conjuring up the no-nonsense metal onslaught that the band specialise in.

I mean, I know Lars Frederiksen has dabbled with the odd AC/DC/Rose Tattoo riff over the years with The Old Firm Casuals, but Charger are full-on “rock out, with your cock out” (if you know, you know) heavy metal, specialising in the type of metal Hell’s Headbangers would have (dismembered?) kittens over, so perhaps that’s what initially threw me. Although knowing who is behind the unholy (yet rather splendid) racket Charger produce is neither here nor there at the end of the day, because if you like early ‘80s metal (think Motorhead, think Anvil, think early Tank and think Chariot) then you are going to absolutely love the band’s 11 track full length debut album, ‘Warhorse’.

“Fast and frantic” is the default setting for Charger, and for most of this record I’m in serious danger of having the worst case of headbanger’s neck I’ve had since the Youth Club Discos of my early teens. Tracks like opener ‘Devastator’, ‘Will To Survive’ and ‘Running Out Of Time’ simply thunder along, middle finger in the air and taking no prisoners in the process. Elsewhere there’s a whiff of early ‘80s Saxon in the riff that introduces ‘Rolling Through the Night’ and just a hint of Nashville Pussy at their dirtiest during ‘Stand Fight or Die’, all custom built to soundtrack your wildest of parties.

Its only when Charger switch direction slightly, venturing more into the dungeons and dragons world of metal, via album closer ‘Sword Of Dio’ and (with the aid of the air raid siren guest vocals of Jake Nunn from Hell Fire) on ‘Summon The Demon’ that I find myself drifting off. It’s not that the tracks are bad you understand, it’s just I’m not really a huge fan of that metal sub-genre, and I’d much rather have preferred to have heard a few more four to the floor barnstormers along the lines of ‘Forsaken Soul’ or the Motorhead chug-a-thon of ‘Black Motor’ instead.

Released on multiple formats on 18th March 2022 via Pirate’s Press Records, ‘Warhorse’ is a fierce slice of metal and perhaps one of the most radical sounding Rancid associated side-projects to date. Now someone get Charger out on the road with Midnight and give us THE metal gig of 2022.       

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Author: Johnny Hayward