Alabama 3

The Waterfront, Norwich

It's not quite clear why supplying the Soprano's theme tune didn't propel the Alabama 3 into the big time.

Perhaps they are just too bizarre after all, previous gigs have featured extras dressed up as mummies, along with blondes in stars-and-stripes bikinis.

If, as Grayson Perry observed this week, it's time a transvestite potter won the Turner Prize, perhaps its time that pop stars calling themselves The Reverend Doctor D, Wayne Love and Larry Love became global superstars.

Perhaps, more to the point, the songs are catchy, the sound is original and the lyrics aren't bad either. Subject matter switches between religion and drugs without a pause, not letting tales of substance addiction stand in the way of a good tune.

The album this tour promotes, Last Train To Mashville, is an assortment of acoustic retakes of their back catalogue — a fact that might lead you to wonder if this outfit has run out of steam.

Last night saw a shortage of new material but plenty of energy. A short acoustic set early in the evening shows that reworkings of old songs could be a success. While Woke Up This Morning never really got off the ground, we had a relaxed, beautiful version of Caged Bird. It was certainly more laid back than your typical Alabama 3 gig.

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But not for long the band returned, complete with trademark cowboy hats, for a fully plugged in set.

By Mao-Tse Tung Said, the Waterfront was a seething mass of young and old, having a great time. It could have been a greatest hits tour. No one seemed to mind, though.

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