Fusing the genres of acid house and country blues, Peckham-formed band Alabama 3 returned to Brighton. Inspiring everyone from the likes of US hip hop star Nas to the producers of the renowned television series, the Sopranos, it was no surprise that this was a sold out show. Despite being a household name among many, I was not that familiar with their music. However this did not take the fun away from the gig and made me want to investigate their back catalogue in more depth.
The name Alabama 3 is a misnomer; especially when you consider the huge number of special guests who took the stage on every other song. Aside from that, there seemed to be three main vocalists, a guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboard player and programmer. Each member seemed to have their own alias, such as Larry Love and the Very Reverend Dr. D Wayne Love, being the group’s founders Rob Spragg and Jake Black respectively.
Another confusing aspect of Alabama 3 is the fact that they are not actually American. Although there are many bands which aren’t from the same place as their name implies, such as La Roux and Bombay Bicycle Club, without knowing, you would expect them to be an American band. This could be due to their southern-state influenced blues riffs and their charming narrative between some songs, spoken in a convincing American drawl.
There was a much older audience than the usual Concorde 2 crowd, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of the gig. Enthusiastic howls were heard from near the front row in between and during songs, which gave Jake Black the opportunity to share a few jokes with the audience. The band’s stomping beats gave the audience a chance to sweat out their mid-week stresses.
High points of their 90 minute set included the well-known ‘Woke Up This Morning’ and the drug- influenced ‘Mansion on the Hill’. As well as the rambling and mumbling of the Reverend Love, other political influences were voiced in the samples used in some of the band’s songs. For example, in ‘Mao Tse Tung Said’ they fill the first minute and a half of the track with the voice of cult leader Jim Jones ranting about political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John F Kennedy.
By the end of the night, it seemed like all musical bases had been covered. Even the most diehard of Alabama 3 fans present seemed to be satisfied, along with those such as me who were unfamiliar with the bands unique live show.