Thursday, 21 February 2008

Alabama 3

As I walked into the Astoria, I was hit by some truly sweet muthafuckin country acid house music. No matter that I didn´t know the actual song, I was hooked...

On paper it didn´t look like this was gonna be my best concert ever. I was there on my lonesome; familiar with just the first of the band´s six albums; and my only buzz was from lack of sleep. But bear in mind my previous concert excursions have generally involved two or more of the following:
a) American rappers;
b) the Belleville Velodrome;
c) the company of drunken adolescents;
d) a parking problem;
with only the lure of freebies to sweeten the experience (thanks Moral Squeeze!).

On this occasion I had spent my own money to see a band of my choice, and at a decent venue, nogal. If Irvine Welsh could dance to the boys from Brixton without chemical assistance then so could I. I promptly befriended some middle-aged men wearing cowboy hats; they hoisted me up onto a conveniently placed ledge; and I partied the night away from the best view in the house, at least until the belligerent security guy flashed his torch in my eyes and told me to get down.

I knew a few of the old favourites ("Woke up this Morning"; "Ain´t going to Goa"); and discovered some "new" ones ("Too sick to pray"; "Hello... I´m Johnny Cash"). The evening ended with a triple encore: the sublime "Holy Blood", "The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness", and "Sweet Joy", which gives "If you were the only girl in the world" a 21st-century makeover.

And then the show was over, bar the after party. As I drifted out the theatre to the strains of "Sweet Home Alabama", I contemplated whether to continue my night in Brixton. I wanted to, I really did. But I was by myself, had no idea as to the exact location of the venue, and was about to collapse due to lack of sleep, so I wimped out and caught the next train to Bedfordshire.

I haven´t really told you about the music yet, have I? I tend to agree with whoever it was that said "writing about music is like dancing about architecture", if only because I am a) lazy, b) intimidated by my lack of musical knowledge, and c) all too aware that my measly words won´t measure up.

But what I love about Alabama 3 - apart from their gravelly vocals, their irony-laden personsonae, their intertextual lyrics, and the fact that they have all the right politics - is the way their songs seamlessly provide a musical education. Their mishmash of country, blues, and gospel over techno beats has got me hunting down influences, references and sequencers all over the Interweb. Oh, and my CD collection is sounding rather different than it did a year ago. Long live Presleytarianism!

8 comments:

Bec said...

Ooh, very well described. I like the sound of them no end.

TM said...

I´ll bring some tunes with me next time I visit.

SG said...

found your site quite serendipitously, actually. if you really dig the Alabama 9, soz, the Alabama 3, why don'tcha come on over and join us at the unnofficial Alabama 3 fansite?

Mark, rather, MS Freebase has been known to grace us w/his presents of original music, witty (to him) rejoinders to our dissing (we just humor him for our own nefarious reasons) and occasionally one of us will be good enough to post up the band's rare remixes – w/their permission (which a few of the lucky ones amongst us have). right now, there's a DVD going round (it's free), taken from their TV appearances and a few of their London gigs (in 2001 - 2003) plus bits from their Brighton gig last october.

we're a friendly buncha ppl and always on the lookout for even MOR fans of the band to eventually meet in meatspace. i met all my best friends at that site even before i moved here from the States, thanks to the band.

TM said...

Thanks for the pointer, SG. Btw, how did you actually find my site - am always interested to know how people stumble across it...

SG said...

yup, i know whatcha mean, tm. before my real site got hacked, i was the same. now? i don't care. anyway, instead of bugging Mark, i went looking for the exact lines mentioning Jean Baudrillard in Sweet Joy to illustrate one of my recent posts on teh pink site ('a tawdry autobiography written by a nobody') and found you via Google.

warning: shameless self-promo coming up: they won't do The Klan onstage cause i'm the American chick who rants and raves on it (and sings in two voices at the end) and in the words of D Wayne, 'I ain't doin' it' which's what i told Rob when he asked me, ages back. *snigger*

TM said...

I´m all for shameless self-promotion ;)Playing "The Klan" as I type this...

slum_goddess said...

LOL, where to begin? all i can say w/o besmirching the family friendly nature of your site is that my real speaking voice isn't as ragged as in there. but there were reasons... heh.

but where are you? there are 3 dif locations on your profile page. if y'all wanna continue this in mail, feel free. TIA/

TM said...

I see ;) I am currently in Vaduz (Liechtenstein), but going back to Jozi (South Africa) next week. Quite busy before I leave, but will mail sometime when I´m home!