Mike Peters on the Strength Tour 2015 in Winchester at The Railway. (Photo courtesy Mike Peters Organization)
Mike Peters of The Alarm spent much of 2014 celebrating the 30th anniversary of his band’s first full-length album, Declaration. In doing so, he made a solo visit to Gypsy Sally’s in Georgetown.
“All in all, Peters put on an incredibly satisfying and entertaining show in a venue well suited for his solo performance and witty recollections,” I reported for the sadly defunct We Love DC on the show, held August 7, 2014.
A little over a year later, Mike is back, celebrating another anniversary! This time around, it’s the 30th anniversary of The Alarm’s second full-length album, Strength. And the celebration takes place locally in a solo show at the Hamilton Live on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
As a “one-man band,” Mike will play the album Strength along with other songs while sharing stories and images to honor the album, his band and their history. The album includes such beloved classics from The Alarm as “Spirit of ‘76” and “Walk Forever by My Side.” The album and much of its material is inspired by Mike’s own fight against cancer.
Watch a somewhat recent acoustic performance of the “Spirit of ‘76” in a video for the song on YouTube:
Mike continues his own cancer fight, but he also fights to help others. Over the last four years, Mike’s Love Hope Strength Foundation:
- found over 1,500 potentially life-saving bone marrow donor matches;
- built the first ever children’s cancer center in Tanzania;
- supported the Bhaktapur Cancer Center in Nepal with life-saving equipment; and
- registered over 90,000 donors through its “Get On the List” program.
Tickets are available online.
The Hamilton Live
Tuesday, Sept. 8
Growing up in Moscow, singer-songwriter Marina V eagerly learned English in part from a mix tape she received with Beatles songs.
She thought she had discovered a whole world of music all her own with The Beatles, Marina told a very full house at the Hamilton Live Tuesday night, and as a child she would listen and learn the words to the songs voraciously.
Later, she discovered other bands that were contemporaries of The Beatles in the ’60s, and harboring a fondness for the period, she wrote a new song “Sunshine Guaranteed,” an ode to what it may have been like to have been alive and making psychedelic music during the period.
The song provides the listener with the “happy mindset of an LSD trip without the drugs,” Marina V quipped when introducing the song. No less than Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash appreciated the song and lent his studio and guitar to her for the making of her 2008 album, Modern Fairytale.
In performance Tuesday, Marina V made a bit of a medley with her song and The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” to the delight of the audience.
Martha Davis of The Motels
The song “Party Professionals” moves with a little bit of a faster cadence than the typical number by Martha Davis and The Motels, but otherwise it captures a lot of the essence of the band.
Ms. Davis sashays onto the stage and breaks into its celebratory lyrics, which include refrains like, “And we will dance/’Til the dawn’s early light/And I will drink to you/And you to I.”
In a musical interlude, Marty Jourard, the band’s other remaining original member, takes to the saxophone for an extended solo that leaves the audience feeling quite romantically wistful during a performance of the song, which opened a show at The Hamilton Live in DC on Tuesday night.
Marty has a penchant for writing sad, romantic songs like “Take the L,” from the band’s third album “All Four One,” which comes up later in the set. “Take the L” is representative of the kind of wordplay for which both Marty and Martha have an affinity as she croons, “Take the L out of ‘lover’ and it’s ‘ooooooover.’”
And of course nostalgia for lost love is a regular visitor to the lyrics of The Motels, whose signature songs include “Suddenly Last Summer” (which they hit early in the show) and “Only the Lonely” (which appeared in the encore), both written by Martha. The Motels hit perfect notes of sophistipop in these numbers, effortlessly blending calypso, blues, rock, jazz and new wave (certainly a genre that initially gave Martha a lot of inspiration when starting out).