“Born again of water…”
May 5, 2004
Everytime is like the first time. Everytime I am a convert …. Just like the first time. They come like a cross between The Clash (the furious politics, the military imagery, the utter unstoppable coolness), and Prince (the irresistible funky rhythms, the whole Jesus thing, and a love of swaggering rock). And just about every other good band too.
Enter then, the Alabama 3. Probably Britain’s biggest cult band, in so much as they don’t get any press, radio or TV play, and still stubbornly keep on at it. In fact, the less they do the bigger they get. Their gigs are sold out and packed to the rafters country wide, and – well. Let me put it this way, everyone I’ve introduced to them has become a convert. They’re catchier than SARS.
So tonight sees them laying waste, if you like to Docklands. In the shadow of the 925 ft HSBC tower, we gather at the Cabot Hall, London’s swankiest venue. A panelled conference room with a makeshift bar at the back and a balcony that enables you to oversee the falling of the sun in the shadow of a multitude of Yuppie Towers. An odder place for a congregation of Presleytarian Techno Bluesheads there is not. (Hell, the first time I saw them they were actually playing a church).
So what do we get? You get a veritable gang of misfits, miscreants, and mis-shapes. They take ‘em all sizes and creeds and colours here. Aside from the eight members on stage, there’s a floating vote of three guest vocalists, a fiddle player, a harmonica player, a toaster, and even Tattoo John, the bands silent, imposing, heavily tattooed Brixton park gamekeeper come Public-Enemy style Security of The First World. I don’t know exactly how many people that is, but it’s a lot.
So when I’m watching all this unfold around me, my mind is racing. The weird, manic hybrid of dance, techno, blues, country & western, Elvis Presley and rampant socialism. I’m convinced that the coolest white man since Joe Strummer is called Larry Love, that the shuffling hobo next to him, the Confused Confucious known as D. Wayne Love, is actually some kind of weird, otherworldly Shaman crossbred with Flavor Flav, and that the rest of them are some weird religious cult madly into pork pie hats and cool stuff.
There’s more, and pictures, but I’ve already strained fair use to the breaking point here—Mark’s descriptions are just too cool not to share with those of you who won’t click the damn link (you know who you are).
I have got to get to one of these concerts.
(via Rimone at Datumzeille:Bonn)