As our regulars well know, yesterday evening was spent in the capable hands of Dr. D. Wayne Love and his band of ministers of The First Presleytarian Church of Elvis The Divine. The misfits, Vagabonds and big-damn-heroes of Alabama 3 rock the HMV forum, smooth us out, then rock us again.

We hadn't seen A3 before live(Fans since Exile on Coldharbour Lane, the band's first album), but knew from other sources to expect the 'This band have to be experienced live to get the full package' scenario - So rarely is it that a band produces a sound that is just as, if not more exhilarating as the album work.

First, i shall talk on the support act - David Ford.

Now we love 'em a bit different. and they don't come much more different than this. David is a genius in that, he records the sounds he makes with the mic, and then layers and loops it throughout a song - so basic percussion on a cardboard box looped with the hitting of several other objects of varying density, and a rhythm guitar track, all of this done in front of the audience as the song gets started, makes for a brilliant one man band.

Matter-of-fact, political lyrics combined with this intriguing approach to making music makes this guy pretty cool - but with a finale that included looping his voice over and over and stamping up and down on the keys of a piano, Creating an increasingly powerful cacophony, you could not help but love it.

Alabama 3

We wait for the main performance to start, and tech-guys in orange 'Guantanamo bay' jumpsuits(Something in our heads ticked the box 'Deliberate') check the instruments and clean the stage.

Larry Love, wearing a hooded military jacket, Leads his personal militia onto the stage, and they burst into song. Mr. Love moves like Jagger crossed with the deliberate smooth moves of Michael Stipe, moving from side to side with the music with a predatory bounce, As Vietnam-era photos are projected either side of the stage.

The music Thumpin', their bodies pumpin', and the audience getting just as into it(the less sober of the crowd are moving about a minute late, but that just adds to the 'Tide of human followers' effect...) as the band. The new album tracks are everything we expected them to be live - They sound like hits a band would have to have been playing them for years to reach the level of awesome they achieve here.

"it's Mickey Mao!"

The new tracks make the room jump up, but Hell, it's still all about the Exile songs. We might have never seen a live song as good as Hypo Full of Love(The Twelve Step Plan). the band move in unison, as one every five seconds, save for D. Wayne, who is doin' the talkin'. You can't not love shouting out the Steps as the band do, and each of the the revolution-bringers get their own solo. Also, another obvious crowd favorite was Woke Up This Morning, Where Larry Love proceeds to put a Blue Moon in our eyes, and a jovial 'Mickey Mao' version of Mao Tse Tsung Said.

Between the Very Reverend's angry gospel and the crowd and band giving the communist salute, this is the place you have to come to forget about all the recent political upset - or even come as a massive 'f*ck you' to the government.

What we see before us is a band that should always have been bigger. They should have been playing stadium gigs, and this album should be one of the biggest releases of the moment - But they aren't. They don't care that they aren't - they are just there to bring you the glorious acid-house country bodymovers they always have done, and do it with style.

We urge you all to see Alabama 3 next chance you get. They could well be britains most exciting, colourful, different and best live band, and they don't look set to change anytime soon.

We also spoke to some fans after the gig, to see what they thought.

"...they... were... really funky..." -as i turn, his wife tries to punch me in the back of the head, but misses.

"They blew goats! Good goats."

"I like Alabama 3!"

To see our interview with 'The Spirit of Love', the band's awesome keyboard guy(definately the quiet brains of the operation), follow this link!