Alabama 3 - Manchester Academy 2 - 3.6.05

Dressed all in black, Alabama 3 look like outlaws with an unhealthy obsession over Johnny Cash. It makes sense that the first song the Brixton collective launch into is "Hello Im Johnny Cash", a country song spruced up with techno bleeps for the acid house generation. Alabama 3 have always existed outside the mainstream despite forays into the American and British consciousness with the Soprano's theme tune "Woke Up This Morning", which saw these rebels preach on Jay Leno of all places. Now with little or no press coverage the band still manage to pack out the Academy 2 to dangerous levels of over capacity.

Based around the core of son of Welsh Mormon parents and the son of a trade unionist the band set out to satirize the TV Preachers of America with their country, blues, gospel techno fusion. A few years later Rev D Wayne fuelled up on alcohol and class A's resembles Shameless's Frank Gallagher rather than a mesmerizing preacher man, but as they say in Manchester - they know how to throw a paarrtttyyyy!!!

"This is for all you hoodie wearing ASBO's holders with electronic tags" they shout out at the bourgeoisie before launching into "Mansion On The Hill". Their world is concerned with the divide between rich and poor, the fake salvation of religion and drugs and it's the earlier material that stands out. "U Don't Danse 2 Techno", "Ain't Going To Goa", "Too Sick To Pray" and "Hype Full Of Love" are all staples of the back catalogue. While "How Can I Protect You?" samples Aslan's "Crazy World" with new female vocalist Siobhan Parr joining in for the new songs. If Alabama 3 were concerned with bothering the charts she'd be the Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) of the group, but underground she's more Stereo MC's Cath Coffey or Rowetta to the lads machismo.

Alabama 3, what can you say. They put the party back into politics!!!

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride


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