CLINK MUSIC MAGAZINE: Alabama 3 – The Forum – 14 May 2010

 Kentish Town’s biggest music venue, The Forum, is very cold indeed when there’s hardly anyone inside. David Ford takes to the chilly stage cloaked in dense blue smoke and sings and plays his heart out to a sadly tiny number of people. David hops between a range of instruments including guitar, keyboard, harmonica and percussion and uses a looping effect to keep the sounds going whilst he changes instrument or sings. His bluesy, folky songs and impassioned performance go down well with the all too small crowd, whom he thanks for their “punctuality”.

By the time the main act arrives, the venue has suddenly packed out. Alabama 3 have been around some time and their fanbase haven’t let them down tonight. Alabama 3 are a bizarre concoction of sounds and personalities – they describe themselves as a “punk rock, blues and country techno situationist crypto-Marxist-Leninist electro pop band”. Nice and easy to pigeon-hole, then.

Tonight there are nine more or less main band members present and a number of other singers and musicians who appear and pitch in as required. For the most part, the band are wearing army-referencing clothes and the stage is strewn with camouflage nets, whilst screens on either side of the stage show black and white photos of military troops and war victims during appropriate songs such as “Hostage” and “Vietnamistan”.

Despite this, the mood is definitely more rave than grave. The crowd dances from the front line to the back of the room, whilst the overall vibe is one of a relaxed, good night out rather than fervent worship. Although the Very Reverend Dr D Wayne Love does his best to make us feel like we’re in church during his introductions to songs
(sometimes, unfortunately, the wrong song – but we forgive him).

Frontman Larry Love smoothly leads the band through a mix of older songs and tracks from the latest album “Revolver Soul”. The famous “Woke Up This Morning” (used in hit TV series “The Sopranos”) is thrown into the set surprisingly early, but it’s tracks like “Rehab” that really seem to turn up the heat.

On the strength of tonight, Alabama 3’s reign as kings of strange hybrid music and moods looks set to continue for many more years to come.

Support by David Ford
Words and Photo’s by Imelda Michalczyk