Alabama 3
@ Leeds Metropolitan University

Not a band with an outstanding recent recorded history, Alabama 3 still manage to sell gigs out. How’s that? Well, they kick arse and everyone is there to boogie. It is nicely refreshing that there is a place in the world for a band dressed as cowboys to play house music in a baggy style.

Arriving on stage to the recorded intro off the latest album, inviting us to fly with them to the outer rings of Saturn. The huge band (laptop, keys, drums, percussion, two guitars and three singers…) rolls off into some housey stomp, making the audience very happy. It’s not like the trademark sound of the Alabama 3 has changed much since their inception in 1997 at an acid house party. That fusion of house and country serves the crowd well as a dance party soundtrack and the general good vibes atmosphere is a rare and genial happening at a gig. They play another housey number, then another, followed by some country. You get the idea….

Huge amounts of dry ice, floating right to the back of the hall make for a party vibe. The songs all seem to merge into one to me, no big standouts (okay, so I recognise The Sopranos theme tune). There is the odd touch of country but it is more a visual colouring to the loved-up dance beat. The crowd is an older one – very Happy Mondays, relaxed and shuffling or dancing gently. Nicky Evans (Shane McGuire from Shameless) wanders past. The two front men and front woman strut and point and sing stuff – we just dance. Once in a while you feel safe and part of a community at a concert, no elbowing geezers or folks pushing for room or waving pints around. Events like The Grateful Dead, The Saw Doctors, String Cheese Incident, Here and Now – largely hippy bands. This is one of those evening and a nice time was had by all.

Ross McGibbon