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Concert Review by Nick Morgan


Carling Academy, Glasgow,
May 21st 2005 - by Nick Morgan

Normally the thrill of the gig is that marvellous sense of being there. In this instance however it’s possible that it was getting there that provided the greatest excitement, the A3 being the final icing on the cake of a fantastic journey. And instead of cats and dogs my companions were Maniac (Malt and otherwise) shipmates on a voyage that started a week earlier on the West Coast of Scotland.


Alabama 3

Sailing to Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides to view the site of the SS Politician’s sinking we then (after a few weather-foiled attempts) made an overnight dash for that island on the edge of the world, St Kilda (‘Ann is as ro do bhracaist!’ as the ancient motto of the St Kilda Yacht Club would have it). Our return – in the teeth of the gale that had pursued us like a pack of hounds on our outward journey – was suitably epic, and we finally blew into Glasgow on Saturday evening like Outlaws from the frontiers of hell. Or at least that’s what we thought. Our taxi driver said, “St Kilda? Nice beaches eh? And bloody hot at this time of year”. As Vivian Stanshall once said, “sometimes you just can’t win”.
Alabama 3
Robert Brown and Paddy Hill
  Paddy Hill, a member of that other numerically handled and well beaten-up combo, the Birmingham Six, has no doubt endured worse journeys than ours. Tonight he’s on stage, along with Glaswegian Robert Brown (cleared for murder after serving 25 years in jail) appealing for support for MOJO, the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation in Scotland, and a favourite cause of the Alabama 3. And perhaps he’s the right sort of guy to introduce an evening dedicated to showcasing the new A3 album (it’s out now folks) Outlaw.
So from a content perspective the gig was divided between some raucous renditions of old A3 favourites – ‘Mansion on the hill’, ‘Mao Tse Tung said’, Peace in the valley’, ‘Hypo full of love’ et al. – and a selection from Outlaw, including ‘Last train to Mashville’, ‘Hello…I’m Johnny Cash’, ‘Have you seen Bruce Richard Reynolds’ (the previously reported homage to the Great Train Robbers featuring – on the album - BR himself), the remarkably mellow and soulful ‘Honey in the rock’ and ‘How can I protect you’ (surely not a hit single boys – steady on) and a full band version of the previously recorded acoustic gem ‘Up above my head’. All great stuff struggling against a recalcitrant sound system that fell apart at the seams as the volume was inexorably pumped up as the evening wore on.
The night belonged partly to the diminutive and feisty singer Devlin Love (Zoe Devlin), member of the Larry Love Showband and regular support singer with the A3. Her singing is really quite remarkable and she stole the show on ‘Up above my head’ and ‘How can I protect you’. But of course, back on his home turf (“Its great to be back in Glasgow, Scotland, my favourite part of London”) D Wayne Love moved into surreal overdrive, regaling us with head nodding narratives about his early years in Glasgow, football, sectarianism, boy meets girl romance Glasgow style (“I met a girl in Buchanan Street and said, ‘hey baby, let me get into your pants’ – and she said, ‘why should I when there’s one arsehole there already’”) and just about anything else that came into his mind - or mouth.   Alabama 3
Deranged and demented D Wayne (and the band) provided a suitably diverting and bizarre entertainment to draw our Odyssey to a close, when five minutes after everyone else he finally left the stage with the Trojan phrase “My name’s Mr Fancy Knickers. Goodnight”.
Editor’s note: the St Kilda 7 refused to be photographed for this review. The St Kilda Yacht Club is a registered trademark. Nick Morgan (photos by Nick's Nokia)

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