Concert Review by F Piralla
The Astoria, London – 14 December 2003
For those of you who don’t know, Alabama 3 are an 8-piece British band with a bad reputation and an even worse American accent that also happen to be the authors of the soundtrack to the US TV series THE SOPRANOS.
The self-declared ex-rehab patients come on stage at 9pm accompanied by two female dancers in skimpy red costumes and get the show rolling. Eight dishevelled and not-so-clean looking blokes raise the roof of The Astoria with a repertoire that includes WAKE UP THIS MORNING, TOO SICK TO PRAY and YOU DON’T DANCE TO TECHNO ANYMORE, which seem to be the audience favourites. With a blend of rock, soul and country you would imagine them playing in a dingy little saloon in the South of the USA, but they are in London and they attract an audience, which is a mix between the tough lorry driver stereotype (tattoo, cigarette and can of beer included) and the girl next door who sneaked out of the house behind her parents back. The Christmas decorations surrounding the hall don’t quite match with the rough image the band wants to produce, however when the lights are turned off and the stage comes alive the decorations are barely noticeable.
They play with no interruption for more than 90 minutes during which you see cowboy hats flying, guests and their dancers coming on and off the stage, people dancing, clapping and shouting while Larry Love and co. go through their routine. The only adornment, apart from the Christmas decorations, is the Alabama 3 logo projected onto the stage background. When you think the show has come to an end the audience asks for an encore and the band obligingly regale us with a couple more songs before finally leaving the stage at 10:45pm.
They are a band that’s good at keeping up with their fans’ expectations and they’re better live than on CD, but I would get rid of the fake American accent. Ok, you take the name from a US state and are bigger in The States than in Britain but I don’t think that a return to your origins would compromise an already established success.