Concert Review: Alabama Shakes

The Pearl, July 19

Photo by Edison Graff Alabama Shakes perform at the Pearl, July 19, 2013

Photo by Edison Graff | Alabama Shakes perform at the Pearl, July 19, 2013.

After fans braved a storm to arrive in the venue, they welcomed Alabama Shakes with applause that—unlike the thunder outside—hardly stopped throughout the evening. Opening with “Goin’ to the Party,” from their 2012 debut Boys & Girls, the band delivered their soulful sound at an understated level before riffing into the lead single, “Hold On.” An organist accompanied the foursome, all playing a supporting role to singer Brittany Howard. She wailed with the force of a female Joe Cocker and showed every range of emotion as she sweated through her dress. Belting out their album’s titular track, her heart-on-sleeve storytelling about a bygone friendship motivated sympathetic sways. On the cheerier notes of “Hang Loose,” her words comforted like a warm blanket of sunshine. Though the band paused for very few song breaks, Howard took every opportunity to thank the crowd profusely for their attendance. After she sang “Ooh, you make me feel so good” during the encore, thousands oohed back in mutual appreciation. With more shows such as this one, the humble Athens, Alabama-based band will soon become a household name. ★★★★☆

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