Alabama 3 - Manchester University - 10.4.01

Like the Manics, Alabama 3 attract a fanatical following bordering on the bizarre. At the front of the stage there's a man dressed as an evangelical preacher complete with the Holy Bible in the palm of his hand. Other fans are just content to wear cowboy hats like the band they've come to see. Alabama 3 tonight look like renegades and have a real edge of danger and recklessness in abundance. They may address their congregation in a lazy southern drawl and be known as notorious rock'n'roll yet the band live in Brixton. The techno bluesmen use traditional instruments with synthesizers creating a uniquely original sound.

Starting the set off with "Promised Land" a typical example of the magic Alabama 3 are capable of. Singer, rapper and all round cool dude Larry Love lays down his vocal so said back its almost possible to believe they do indeed come from America. "Woke Up This Morning" is instantly recognizable as the soundtrack to The Sopranos. It sounds even better live played in its entirety to an adoring crowd of thirty to late forty something fans.

After an hour and a half of entertainment and one encore I have a little problem. They don't perform "Ain't Going To Goa", arguably their finest song to date. They write their own rules, play the game in an unorthodox manner and are easily the most underrated band in Britain. their big break is hopefully just around the corner.

Nicholas Paul Godkin