No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

“You see, some nights when I can’t sleep, I still think of you Of all the promises, all the dreams we shared I know those lights still call to you, I can hear them now…” – The Alarm

September 9, 2019

The Alarm


With Mike Peters of the Alarm

Gene Loves Jezebel

“You see, some nights when I can’t sleep, I still think of you
Of all the promises, all the dreams we shared
I know those lights still call to you, I can hear them now…” – The Alarm

Anyone who knows me or is even a casual reader of this blog, knows that I am a huge music fan and that I go to see live music as often as I possibly can. Of the thousands of bands that I have seen live, there remain a relatively small and select few that I rank as my all-time favorites and that I will regularly travel sometimes great distances to see perform. 

Modern English

Gene Loves Jezebel

For some reason, there is one band in this group that I just have not had the opportunity to see in thirty years. From the time that the original members of the Alarm broke up in 1991 until now, I have not been to see any of the bands different incarnations or the solo work of those original members. So it was with great excitement, tinged with a bit of fear that I bought tickets to see the Alarm’s return to South Florida for the first time in thirty-four years. The current band, led by lead singer Mike Peters was to play a show in Miami along with openers and fellow 80s stalwarts, Gene Loves Jezebel and Modern English, neither who I had ever seen.


I had seen the Alarm a lot during their 80s heyday, starting in 1983 when I saw them open for U2’s “War” tour and about 25 additional times both as the opener for bands such as the Pretenders, Pat Benatar, the Police and Bob Dylan as well as on their own headlining tours. Many people have no idea how big they were at one time, certainly rivaling U2 in popularity in the early 80s, but for whatever reason they just never were able to maintain and hit the superstardom that some others such as U2 achieved. 


I was a little afraid because those 80s shows remain some of my fondest memories and their live shows were legendary and I was afraid that it would not be possible to match or really even come close to the power and energy that I remember the band displaying. I arrived early at the Ground at Club Space in Miami to attend the VIP meet and greet with the band and my fears were almost immediately allayed.


The small group of VIPs were taken in at 6 PM and lead to the basement of the club where a special performance space was set up and each band was there with an all acoustic set-up and each band played three acoustic songs, chatted with us and then we had time to mingle and get photos etc. In spite of the poor lighting, it was one of the best meet and greets ever as you really felt like you were getting a private intimate performance.

Meet & Greet

All the bands sounded amazing and it was a fun and relaxed hour just hanging out and hearing some great music in a truly intimate setting. I was able to request personally two of the three Alarm songs that Mike played including “One Step Closer to Home” and “New South Wales”, which he sung the first verse in his native Welsh. After the hour we went upstairs to the main performance space and caught the last part of the Sound Check before the crowd was allowed in.

Modern English- “I Melt With You”

Kathy did not make the trip from Key West as she wanted to stay home and oversee the landscaping project we are having done at home, but there was a nice group of Key West people including my friends Kathy, Liz, Eileen and Graf who were on hand for the show, which was pretty amazing all around.  Both the opening bands were terrific and sounded great. I now wish that I had not waited until now to see them live.

The Alarm- “Spirit of 76”

As great as Modern English and Gene Loves Jezebel were, the Alarm showed why they were the headlining act and why my concerns about them having lost the power and energy of their youthful shows were misplaced. Even with a totally different line-up, with the exception of Peters, the band was spot on in their performances that ranged from a great collection of their classic songs and some from their latest release that came out earlier this year and really holds up well with the classic material. As much as I loved the original members, it was Peters who is and always has been the heart and soul of the band and his voice and playing is pretty much unchanged from the early years. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” ― Oscar Wilde

September 6, 2019


“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”
Oscar Wilde

The arrival of fall is someone subtle in the Florida Keys, temperatures continue to hover in the 90s many days and if you don’t have a calendar sometimes it can be hard to tell that the summer has ended and the fall season is upon us. September is typically one of the slowest months of the year in Key West as far as tourist and activities as the height of hurricane season and back to school tend to keep a lot of vacationers away.


This year marks the second anniversary of when Hurricane Irma hit the lower Keys and people were already jittery as we all monitored the path of the most recent Category 5 storm Hurricane Dorian. We were in its path in some of the early models but thankfully for us, it stayed north of here, instead devastating the islands of the Bahamas before turning North along the coast and heading to North Carolina.

The scenes of utter devastation coming from the Abacos have been absolutely heart wrenching. During the years that I worked at Reef Relief we maintained an environmental center at the Captain Roland Roberts House in Green Turtle Cay, which happens to be a sister city to Key West and felt the brunt of the storm’s impact. I certainly wish for nothing but the best for our friends there. 

Thankfully the Key West and Florida Keys community has been quick to respond with a group calling itself Key West Cares forming almost immediately to raise funds, collect donations and offer to assist in any way possible for those in distress in the Bahamas. We here are keenly aware, but that for a simple twist of fate, that could be us facing total devastation.

While the approach of Hurricane Dorian did cancel one of my favorite annual events over the Labor Day weekend, the annual Brewfest, I am in no real position to complain much as that is just a slight blip on the screen in the totality of the carnage that the storm wrought. There were still a couple of brewfest events that went on as scheduled and I attended a couple of very subdued pool parties. 


The high school football season has kicked off and I always enjoy attending the Key West High Fighting Conchs games. They have split their first two home games of the season beating Dade Christian fairly handily 49-20 before dropping the game to Baron Collier 29-17 to open the season 1-1. Football games are a slice of Conch life as much of the community turns out to cheer on the home team and I always run into a ton of friends attending the games, even though I like to watch the action from the opponents sideline as you can get much closer to the action there.


Of course the onset of the Fall season means something else entirely in Key West as the run-up to our largest annual celebration Fantasy Fest which is held at the end of October, begins in earnest. Kathy has joined a group of artists and creative types in creating costumes and the float that will lead this year’s big Fantasy Fest parade. The group, Mozart’s Orchestra, has already been busy designing elaborate costumes and working on float preparations at the Armory building.


They will be the opening float of this year’s parade and have already gotten off to a great start in creating costumes and more for the musically themed float. It is a big honor and responsibility to lead the parade and they could not have selected a more talented and dedicated group who will be working hard for the next two months leading up to the parade.