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The Alarm at Saint Andrew's Hall, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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The Alarm charged out of Wales 38 years ago and took "The Stand" -- which frontman Mike Peters is still doing these days.

Save for an eight-year hiatus during the 90s, Peter has guided the provocative and populist Alarm through a large catalog of albums -- including this year's "Sigma," the group's fourth release in three years. A cancer survivor (as is his wife Jules), he co-founded the Love Hope Strength Foundation to battle the disease and has made a documentary about his own struggle as well as the film "More to Live For" to promote bone marrow donations.

Good music and good works are what keeps Peters, 60, going, and both were rewarded earlier this year with a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award from the British government...

The "Sigma" album came out in June as the follow-up to 2018's "Equals" -- and, Peters says by phone, is cut from the same cloth, with more material inspired by his and his wife's health struggles. "I just started writing things into my phone, just stream of consciousness. Anything I was feeling I was writing down. Jules said to me, 'Y'know what, Mike, that's your next album starting to appear there,' and she was right. And I had so much material I didn't know quite how to approach it. I realized I had a double album, which we were going to release as 'Blood Red Viral Black,' but after talking to people...we landed on 'Equals' and then a sequel, with is ('Sigma'), back to back."

'Sigma' features guest appearances by Billy Duffy of the Cult, a longtime friend, while original Alarm guitarist Dave Sharp also plays on the set as well as occasionally with the Alarm live. "He's a very different musician in this day and age, but Jules always fostered the relationship with him and kept the door open," Peters says of Sharp. "At the start of this project there was a song that's on 'Sigma,' 'Love and Understanding,' that I thought of Dave to play on; He didn't end up playing on that track, ironically, but when 'Equals' came out Dave did the whole British tour with as a special guest, and I said, 'You could come play on the record.' He said, 'I'd love to. I thought you'd never ask.' So the next day he was in the studio with us in Liverpool, which was great."

"Sigma" and the Alarm's current tour coincides with the 35th anniversary of the Alarm's first full-length album, "Declaration." "Obviously these anniversaries come, but it always still feel really fresh to me," Peters says. "With all that's happened to us in the last few years, every show we play now feels like the last chance we'll ever have. Same with the albums. But I never dreamt of just going to America once or just being on Top of the Pops once. I wanted to make the band my life, and it seems to be working so far. I just have to be mindful of where life's taken us and the signposts that we keep passing on the road. I don't want these to be the last opportunities we get to do these things. I want more, and I want it more than ever."

The Alarm, Modern English and Jay Aston's Gene Loves Jezebel perform Saturday, Aug. 17, at Saint Andrew's Hall, Detroit. Doors at 6:30 p.m. $29.50. 313-961-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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