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So you are a fan of "The Sopranos" and every week you hear the opening theme song, "Woke Up This
Morning," and say to yourself "Self, I wonder who does
that song?" Maybe even one week you actually watch all of the
credits to see if they say who does the song, but sadly, it isnít
A Concert Review
You, however, are not as anal as I am, so you just let it go, as
opposed to me who starts doing internet searches up the wazoo and
finally finds that the song is by a band from across the pond called
Alabama 3, for some legal reason called A3 here in the states, and
then the challenge is to hit all of the local stores around me to
find their CD because I canít wait a couple of days for it if I
order it over the internet.
I buy the CD for one song and find a band that has such a strange
mix of influences that I canít help but like this band.
With that it was with much anticipation that I made my way to The
Metro in Chicago to catch a band with so much sound that I wondered
how it would fit on the little Metro stage. It was a tight fit on
the stage, but sadly not as tight a fit in the audience, and for a
band that was able to draw two dudes all the way from Indianapolis,
Indiana at this show, as well as one dude from overseas who says
that A3 can fill a place five times the size of The Metro back home,
it ended up being an intimate show for not too many people by a band
that you could see was slightly disappointed in the audience
showing, but still gave the show their all.
A3 opened with "Woke Up This Morning" and I, at first,
was kinda worried. The crowd wasnít that big in the first place so
I figured that having heard the song they wanted to hear, well, the
audience might begin to thin as the night went on, especially since
it looked like most of the crowd didnít really know any more of
the bandís songs. But you know how I know A3 did their job?
Because it didnít seem like anybody left until the lights came on
Me, I knew a good majority of the songs because "Exile on
Coldharbour Lane" had been on a high rotation in this dudeís
CD playlist. They didnít disappoint me with the likes of The First
Minister of The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine, Dr.
D. Wayne Love, leading the crowd through "Hypo Full of
Love", then a rousing "Mao Tse Tung Said", and later
"U Donít Dans 2 Tekno Anymore" showed some of the
country in this bandís mix of country, acid, house music with
funky blues mixed in. But this hour and a half show also highlighted
much of A3ís new material from "La Peste" which has
quickly gone to the top of my "must get" list of CDís.
"Too Sick to Pray" hits that great mix of techno and blues
that A3 does so well, a nice tribute to the country side with the
Hank Williams cover in "Mansion on the Hill," and at first
I thought, as D. Wayne said "I wanna play one we didnít
write," and the band went into John Prineís "Speed of
the Sound of Loneliness", and the crowd reacted so well, that
"SpeedÖ" should have been the show closer and not
"Sinking...", but as "Sinking..." wrapped up the
show, well, itís just as good a show closer.
Some other highlights included another new song "Wade Into
the Water," which they labeled as REO Speedwagon crossed with
Merle Haggard (D. Wayne said he liked REO Speedwagon for their album
covers), and I really liked "Sad Eyed Lady of the
A3 is a band that to me seems hard to market in the radio
environment of today, at least here in the United States. Youíve
got techno with your traditional looping and house beat. Then youíve
got some classic country mixed in, the inspirations of people like
Merle Haggard and Hank Williams. Now add a touch of gospel. And
finally take the inspiration of a bunch of blues greats. All
together you get A3, a mix of sound that sadly wonít make the
dance stations, is tough to add to the rock stations, is almost too
alternative for alternative, and you couldnít put the country
sounding songs on a country station today if God said so. But A3
puts on a great live show and if you like "Woke Up This
Morning" from "The Sopranos," well, I highly
recommend picking up their latest CD and trying to see them
live. Who knows, maybe they'll make it on the radio anyway.
Letís wrap up my preaching and just say that A3 preaches just a
little bit better than I do, especially this night at The Metro. The
crowd stayed, had a good time through songs they didnít seem to
know, and when a band can do that, well, the band is doing their
job. Itís TWO "Iím Converted!" THUMBS UP! for A3 and I
really hope more people find them because I look forward to their
return to Chicago.
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!