Alabama 3 prove they have the rockin’ ‘Ability’ to help

His name is Larry Love, and despite his husky voice and somewhat vulgar tongue, his name says a lot about the man. I am enthralled as he expresses, with unashamed passion, why he and his band, Alabama 3, a group you may have heard of once or twice, are coming to Galway next month in aid of the Irish charity Ability West.

Better known to his friends and family as Rob Spragg, Larry Love is the stage name of Alabama 3’s frontman, and he and his bandmates will be live on stage this Sunday December 14 at the Loughrea Hotel using their genius performance skills to raise much needed funds for Ability West.

As a good friend of Galway’s well-known Allen family (their manager is Jonathan Allen, whose sister Miriam runs the Galway Film Fleadh ), Spragg and the rest of the band have become close friends with little Dervla, the daughter of David Allen, since Ability West took over as her provider. Having witnessed the transition that took place now that the family has a care system set up for the young girl, Spragg said the group wanted to put their weight behind this fundraiser in order to help the organisation expand its respite services to help other families like the Allen’s.

“There is a lot of pressure on the parents of children with disabilities,” said Spragg. “We wanted to take part to help raise awareness about this. These families need taking care of as much as the children do.

“We’re doing this to celebrate these families,” said Spragg. “They possibly love their kids more than anyone else loves their kids because of their disabilities, and we want to celebrate that. We want to celebrate their joy.”

Founded in 1962 and formerly known as The Galway Association, Ability West-Éirim an Iarthair, is a voluntary organisation that provides a wide range of personal, high quality, community-based services to people with intellectual disabilities, as well as their families, in Galway city and county. Recognising that “each person has the same rights and needs as other members of the community”, the organisation strives to ensure that all individuals, regardless of intellectual ability, have the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way in their local community.

Described as “the best live band in Britain”, Alabama 3 are a uniquely brilliant band who offer up an “intoxicating and heady mix of acid, techno, country and western, and blues combined with their insatiable appetite for rock 'n' roll decadence”. The nine-member superband have been playing together for over two decades in various shapes, sizes, and forms, all of which have led them to become who they are; a socially conscious band, with crazy pseudo-personas, and an overly ironic intent that is laced through nearly all their music. Oh yes, and then there is that theme song from award-winning, American series, The Sopranos, but no one likes to brag.

Joining the band at the Loughrea Hotel on the night will be the Irish funk rock band Republic of Loose, who have a reputation for being one of the country’s most scintillating live bands, and Sligo up-and-comers Túcan, whose unique mixture of flamenco, jazz, trad, and heavy metal, will ensure a night to be remembered by all.

“You will have a goddamn good time,” said Spragg, returning more to the foul-mouthed music bad boy we know and love. “And with all this recession speak, everyone deserves a night like this.”

“We’ll put on a good show, we will pervert the converted and convert the perverted,” he promises with a husky laugh. “And all in the name of raising awareness.”

The band will also stick around Loughrea the following day to play an acoustic and unplugged free show for the children of Ability West’s Buddy Programme, as well as the secondary schools in the area. Opening for the group will be local band Transgress, an award-winning rock quartet made up of four teens from the Loughrea area.

Tickets for the Alabama 3 concert in aid of Ability West are €35 and are on sale now from Zhivago and the Loughrea Hotel. Buses to and from the show will be available from Supermac’s in Eyre Square on the night, call Tommy on 087 2413691 for bookings. All proceeds from the event will go to support Ability West and its work with people with disabilities.

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