Review: Alabama 3 at HMV Forum
Published on December 5th, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
With new album Shoplifting 4 Jesus set for a February release, Alabama 3 reaffirmed their long-standing status as underground royalty with a rapturously received, tour-concluding show at north London’s HMV Forum on Friday night, with support from fantastically barmy punk veterans Ruts DC (formerly The Ruts).
As much of a dereliction of journalistic duty as it seems to be not to mention the Sopranos-soundtracking “Woke Up This Morning” when discussing Larry Love, The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love and co., the new material showcased here showed the hermetic mini-universe inhabited by Alabama 3 and their devoted followers to be a still fruitful and darkly compelling one. “We Stole the Moon” drags the usual smoky funkiness into euphoric, hands-in-the-air territory, “Saved” is a delightfully wonky anthem-in-the-making featuring a guest rap from a pantyhose-clad nun, while “I Blame Kurt Cobain” is as sleazy as anything you’re likely to hear in 2012.
Elsewhere, old favourites such as “Peace in the Valley”, “Bad to the Bone” and (of course) “Woke Up This Morning” were given run-outs, while “Mao Tse Tung Said” fully justified the use in live venues of plastic drinks receptacles, insomuch as actual glass might have shattered under the strain of its pounding beats. Let it not be said that these relative veterans of the game aren’t still capable of whipping an audience up into a frenzy through sheer grit and energy.
By now, Alabama 3 are something of a sovereign state but, with so much concession to marketability tainting the UK pop landscape these days, we should all be thankful that the likes of this lot are still around to remind us that singalong choruses, funky beats and a celebratory atmosphere can still be conducive to soulful and experimental music.