The Almighty @ O2 Forum Kentish Town, London – 02 December 2023

The Almighty’s original line-up are back in force for the first time in 32 years, with three UK shows that have been beckoning and titillating us old school fans for the last 11 months. After storming Glasgow and Manchester, London now gets to welcome this long overdue resurrection.

Legends of Brit rock, from the glorious late 80’s and early 90’s, The Almighty were always a cut above the rest. With a little more edge, a little more punk, and a little more cool, these are the traits which have accompanied Ricky Warwick ever since. Supporting his numerous projects over the years, this is the band to associate him with the most, and it’s the intro we’ve been waiting for … “From Glasgow, Scotland. The ALL Loud. The ALL Wild. The ALL-Fuckin’-Mighty!”

The Forum goes nuts, as Ricky, with drummer Stumpy Monroe, bassist Floyd London, and guitarist Andy “Tantrum” McCafferty burst into a career retrospective and celebration of their 35th Anniversary. The aptly titled ‘Resurrection Mutha’ from the debut album ‘Blood, Fire & Love’ gets the show underway, and the crowd are flung headlong into an electrifying set. Just for starters they are swept up into the contagious energy of ‘Over The Edge’, ‘Power’, and ‘Addiction’.

“Let’s get fuckin’ destroyed!” enthuses Ricky, before the band take us back to their first single release ‘Destroyed’. You’d never believe it’s been so long since these guys played together, as they pour full power and exuberance into every note of every track. They get the place moving and the balcony shaking with the bouncing riff that is ‘Wrench’, before a change in pace for the heartfelt ‘Little Lost Sometimes’ from the classic ‘Soul Destruction’ album.

Introducing ‘Devil’s Toy’ Ricky recalls the band filming a video at this venue on the ‘Soul Destruction’ tour, and prior to ‘Bandaged Knees’ he reveals the song was delivered in response to a record company request for a Christmas single .. albeit “the most depressing fucked up Christmas song ever!” Otherwise, there’s not too much time for talking, as song after song is rattled out. Safe to say they are all fan favourites, and the band enjoy playing each and every one.

We all know Ricky is the seasoned, lean, mean, rock n roll machine, but it’s great to see Stumpy, Floyd and Tantrum give a really good account of themselves. For Tantrum, his time with the band was only the first two albums, so I guess he’s had to learn and play a bunch of songs for the first time on the run up to these shows. Kudos for that, and also to the band as a whole, as they sound bang on the money for every track they gift us with tonight.

‘The Unreal Thing’, ‘Blood, Fire & Love’, ‘Jonestown Mind’ and ‘Crank and Deceit’ propel the audience with passion and some mild mayhem. It feels like everybody has been waiting to expel their last breath on ‘Free ‘n’ Easy’ as the chorus elicits joy on every face in the house. For the encore, Stumpy kicks out the intro to ‘Crucify’ before the track is unleashed with fervent ferocity. ‘Jesus Loves You… But I Don’t’ and the standard ‘Wild & Wonderful’ then close out the show.

Ricky had given thanks to everybody who make up and support The Almighty, and explained how brilliant this comeback has been for the band. He asked “Should we do it again?” and the reply was loud and unanimous. I imagine the possibility has always been on the cards, so as we leave the Forum there is a feeling of hope, that there will be more to come from The Almighty.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston

The Almighty