Modern Alarms: L-R David Fraser (guitar); Andy Gledhill (drums); Dom Barber (vocals); Colm Feeley (bass)
Twice in as many months I've been told by comedians that Mancunians are a cocky lot. Well it's easy to be cocky when we've got the musical track record we've got. Despite the assertion by the late Tony Wilson that the Manchester original music scene was dead and buried I am pleased to report that it is more than alive and well in the form of local tunesmiths Modern Alarms who saw a return to form at the Ducie Bridge on Saturday, 12 November after an enforced hiatus. Four months have elapsed since the band last played as a four piece live due to a hunt for a bassist and you could forgive them for being a tad rusty - not a bit of it. Bouncing onto (and all over) the stage for the opening song "Voodoo Dancing Monkey Man", almost their anthem, singer Dom whipped the appreciative crowd into a frenzy (and some very dodgy dancing off a bloke in a coat near me). Reminiscent of the rawness of The Undertones in the late 1970s they moved seamlessly on to cover stalwarts "Plight of Blighty" and "Super Soul" and the small matter that they were playing in a pub on a Saturday night belied the energy and obvious star quality this Manchester band has. Quite how the swaggering Dom stays on any stage is a wonder with the new bassist, Colm Feeley, showing no signs of any first gig nerves and when asked by Dom for their opinion on him the crowd roared their approval. Backed up by David Fraser on buoyant lead guitar (and mixing desk) and the very effective Andy Gledhill on drums two tracks further in and it was time for a change in tempo with the dedication of the heartfelt "Pride Aside" to a member of the audience with "I don't even like this" being added for true rock'n'roll bravado. Then came a real treat; a new track "The Matador in Red" with subtle hints of a Kasabian-esque quality about it and one that I'm sure the Mighty K themselves would be pleased to have on an album. Ending with "Freak Factory" after "Show Time Smile" and "S.O.B", at the end of an energetic and ear bashing 9 track playlist Modern Alarms provided a noise wrenching finale to a well constructed, presented and played set. There's no doubt about it, the fact that this band are playing small venues albeit to a loyal following is a travesty and the sooner they get to the top of the bill the better. They have the bravado of rock stars in waiting, the musical style and above all the talent and ability to do so. Their new EP is due out sometime in the New Year and would be a more than worthy addition to any record collection as surely it cannot be long before this band are picked up for greater exposure.
Their next gig is as support to City Reign at Gullivers in the Northern Quarter on 26 November and if you're a music fan you must see them. For those not able to make it you can check out their music on SoundCloud and their recently launched website www.modernalarmsband.com (not to mention the ubiquitous FaceBook and Twitter tie ins).
As Dom said "We're Modern Alarms and it's f*****g good to be back"........