As enigmatic frontman Larry Love is wheeled on stage sporting a hospital gown and IV drip, it was then that I knew that we were in for a memorable night exploring the hallowed domain of Alabama 3.
There is a tangible union between Alabama 3 and their steadfast disciples – a noticeable devotion to the band and all it stands for – and this was clear to see tonight.
Despite starting off relatively slowly, the crowd were alive by the third track following slight encouragement from The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love, and by the second half of the set, the crowd were unrecognisable to that of the first ten minutes – maybe the mixture of excessive alcohol (on several accounts) and country acid house had finally kicked in.
I would perhaps question the demographic of the crowd though as I was genuinely surprised not to see many young fans present if any at all. I truly believe Alabama 3 could triumph amongst young adults as the interest of the youth turns back on time and diverts its attention to where it’s best suited.
Having said that, it was refreshing to attend a gig which wasn’t tainted by ineffectual chants of political leaders (ironically from those too young to vote) and where each and every audience member was in attendance purely to appreciate the music and the band.
Supporting Alabama 3 were Newcastle based outfit The Sandboys who really impressed with their unique blend of country, pop, folk and bluegrass. As far as ukulele-cello bands go, I have to admit they’re probably the best I’ve ever heard; even if they are the only ukulele-cello band I’ve ever heard.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Alabama 3 is one of the most exciting live acts active in the UK music scene today. Their performance at the O2 Academy, Newcastle is one that I’m sure will linger in my mind for some time and has already left a profound impression on me.