Alabama 3 – Gospel Night

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Album Review by Samantha Rochford

The Camden Underworld, London – Monday 19 March 2001

The Brixton boys Alabama 3 moved North for their second show of four at Camden’s Underworld. The crowd/fans were mixed: from pig-tailed girlies to bearded bikers, they all strolled in, rolled up, and waited for enlightenment from “preacher man” Jake Black aka The Very Reverend Dr D Wayne Love (DW) and entertainment from the dulcet tones of Rob Spragg aka Larry Love.

The gig was opened by a rendition of TWISTED by David McAlmont and the Street Angels. The roadie then appeared, checked a few microphones and strategically placed sweat mopping towels by them leaving us to wait for our message of love from the First Presleytarian Church Of Elvis The Divine aka Alabama 3, that is, not before a house call for Johnny and Orlando had to be made.

All seven of the Alabama 3 rolled onto the stage kicking straight into TOO SICK TO PRAY from their second album LE PESTE . DW’s stage presence can only be described as a cross between Bez of the Happy Mondays and everyone’s favourite evangelist Billy Graham. Larry growled and ‘DW’ preached – starting as they meant to go on. After a few words on the state of our present government the anthems of SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS and MAO TSE TUNG SAID from EXILE ON COLDHARBOUR LANE were belted out; much to the joy of the crowd. As the music and political ravings were at fever pitch they moved onto the Irish Mid West favourite of ‘U don’t dance to tekno anymore’.

The pace was brought down a little with slow song SAD EYED LADY OF THE LOWLIFE. Then the awaited WOKE UP THIS MORNING. We were then treated to their new single (release date April) MANSION ON THE HILL which ‘gospel addled’ DW announced was originally a Marvin Gaye song then proclaiming the absence of his glasses, when in fact the song was penned by Alabama 3.

The gig was a mix of social comment – albeit in a dodgy deep south accent – Gospel, Techno and Country making you almost believe the Alabama 3 hype or at least believing they believe their own hype. A great gig and a top night out.