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ALABAMA 3 ACOUSTIC AND UNPLUGGED LIVE AT TRINITY BRISTOL

Alabama 3: Acoustic and Unplugged  Live Review
Trinity, Bristol (Fri 20 Apr)

The blues came down to Trinity... and blew it away. Alabama 3 walk the line of country, gospel and deep-down dirty delta blues and deliver it with the kind of gritty intensity that would make the dead dance. Tonight their line-up is pared down to their powerfully charismatic vocalist Larry Love, harmonica player Harpo Strangelove, guitarist Rock Freebase and the soulful larynx of Aurora Dawn.

The big, acid-house-meets-country-blues of the full plugged-in band is instead given the acoustic treatment, but the clout and the tongue-in-cheek anarcho irreverence is still there in spades. There's an edge to the Alabama's sound, a knowingly drug-soaked outsider stance that's electrifyingly compulsive when it kicks in. Love's deep nicotine-stained growl and Caaardiff chatter lead the blues assault, Strangelove's mouth-organ howlin' and the pluckin' of Freebase melding into a dynamic whole. Aurora Dawn's voice is the cream topping.

They open with 'Too Sick To Pray', go into 'Horfield Prison Blues' (with apologies to Johnny Cash's Folsom), a copy of Blind Willie Nelson's 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' – aided and abetted by another band member, Sister Francesca Love – their house eulogy 'U Don't Dans 2 Tekno Anymore', the famous ‘Sopranos’ theme tune 'Woke Up This Morning', other gems and occasional rambles (this is the Alabamas, after all), and a big-up to the rioters with 'I Wanna Build A Barricade'.

Love delivers his stuff almost into – literally at one point – the audience, and pays respect to women in general regularly as this is a benefit for local charity Womankind. The Alabamas lean left, hard and proud, and keep the spirit of sharp, sleazy, politico rockin' alive and dangerous... not to mention humorous. Plugged or unplugged, they spark... (Elfyn Griffith)

FROM VENUE MAGAZINE

Copyright Elfyn Griffith 2012