Live: Alabama 3 @ Beat Generator, Dundee, 20/10/2017

The Londoners started their Scottish tour with a rousing acoustic set

STICKY floors and the stench of sweat in the air are the tell-tale signs of a good night had at a gig.

And as I left Beat Generator in Dundee last night it was Alabama 3 that had stuck to me.

Their unique brand of honky-tonk blues and country rock, toned down for a good-spirited acoustic vibe sat nicely with me.

And seemingly half of Dundee.

The 250-capacity venue on North Lindsay Street in the city centre hadn’t seen a night like it since the halcyon days of punk.

The ’70s saw bands like Dunfermline’s The Skids regularly stop by and pack out the place and Alabama 3, last night, brought the good times back as the City of Discovery got down.

Opening with ‘Hello…I’m Johnny Cash’ front-man Rob Spragg and co had a Dundonian chorus singing back at them from the get go.

Known for its use in hit US TV series The Sopranos ‘Woke Up This Morning’ united the hardcore Alabama 3 fans and the casual listener in song.

Spragg was buoyant for ‘Too Sick To Pray’ bellowing out “don’t call the doctor, I’m gonna get better” in his distinctive gravelly snarl.

“That’s where the blues comes from. The blues are Scottish – I’m the son of a preacher man.” – Rob Spragg.

Mixing in elements of rap, gospel and plenty of harmonica in an impressive musical display, Alabama 3 offer something for everyone.

And after the show Spragg was enthused by the mix of faces in the audience.

“My girl’s 17 and my boy’s eight so I like to pretend I’m a hip dad going around the country doing tours getting down with the kids,” he said.

“It’s a very interesting time to be a 50-year-old musician in the Alabama 3 working with young people.

“Young people want to talk to my generation who were buying vinyl records and I like to think Alabama 3 came tonight like a Saga holiday but ended up uniting the people.

“I’m proud to see there are youngsters below the age of 25 who were just having a laugh and think we’re cool and respecting us for references to music they’ve heard from their parents record collections.

“I think people respect us for our faith in music, it doesn’t matter how many records you sell, because Alabama 3 don’t give a f***!”

Spragg also reserved praise for support acts Saint Louie and Nick Shane.

He said: “What was good about Dundee was the support acts were sharp on it, they could do anything. They could do any genre or style so well, very hip.

“That’s what’s necessary in revolutionary times.”

Alabama 3 hit Edinburgh tonight (October 21) and then head to Dumfries tomorrow (October 22) to wrap up their Scottish tour.

Alabama 3 have two more Scottish dates.

And Spragg is looking forward to the rest of their dates after a great night in Dundee.

He added: “I’m Celtic, we experimented tonight and it was really enjoyable. It was great, we were very respectful of the audience.

“Someone spoke to me about how Bob Dylan mentioned Dundee in one of his songs.

“The lyrics are a special link for me, ‘The Road To Dundee’ is all about Dundee’s slave owners and how in America these Scottish Presbyterian hymns were put upon black people in the deep south.

“They had to go to church on Sunday and listen to the hymns, then they would add their own African beats.

“That’s where the blues comes from. The blues are Scottish.

“I’m the son of a preacher man.”

Tickets for Alabama 3 in Edinburgh tonight (October 21) and Dumfries tomorrow (October 22) are available here.

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