Alabama 3: Manchester Academy 2 – live review
Manchester Academy 2
13th December, 2013
Alabama 3 devotee Dom Walsh catches the country acid house trail blazers in Manchester, leaves the gig euphoric.
Having followed Alabama 3 for many years, it was a no brainer to get involved with the latest tour from the finest purveyors of “sweet-goddamn-country-acid-country-house” music! New album, The Man From W.O.M.B.L.E. is a pounding affair with a more blatant dance backdrop than in previous years. Manchester’s rich dance music background is the perfect foil for Alabama 3’s new sound.
Opener, W.O.M.B.L.E./This Is How We Build It, whipped the crowd into an instant frenzy with its step by step guide on how to make your own house music. The lessons soon continued with Hypo Full Of Love (12 Step Plan) dusted off very early in the set – previously this song has always been towards the end of the set, so it was refreshing to see them mix it up – a confident move that paid dividends.
The band followed this with a roll of well known tracks including Mansion On The Hill (from La Peste) and Power In The Blood from the album of the same name. The John Prine cover, Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (from Exile On Coldharbour Lane) is another early highlight. The crowd were more than willing to turn proceedings into a gig of sermon-like proportions and the whole night passes of as a ritualistic coming together, D Wayne Love and Larry Love cajoling the crowd perfectly in unison.
With newer tracks such as Sugarman, I Am A Deterrent, Count Your Blessings and main set closer, Following Rainbows smattered throughout the set Alabama 3 band find the perfect blend of new and old material.
The band visited most of their back catalogue whilst blazing a trail through a near two hour set. Hello…I’m Johnny Cash from Outlaw, The Sopranos’ theme Woke Up This Morning, early singles Ain’t Goin’ To Goa and U Don’t Danse To Tekno Anymore plus a mini medley of Reach Out/Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife added to the eclectic proceedings.
A four song encore was capped in magnificent fashion with a truly glorious rendition of Too Sick To Pray. As the crowd left to a ska version of Ring Of Fire over the PA, it was evident that Alabama 3 have got everything in their locker. The stage swagger from the nine strong band is unrivalled, the sounds swish and sway in a superb fashion, and the message is one of exultant unison. Afterwards in the foyer they were happily signing anything people wanted, clearly so very thankful of the support.
If you get chance to see Alabama 3, do it. The band dish out the hits ad infinitum and leave you completely satisfied!