i heard about the Alabama Shakes through a tweet. i’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but really, i’m just glad i heard of them. the Live from the Shoals video for “Hold On” was trending, and it’s no wonder why. it’s hooky, upbeat, and Brittany’s passion and pipes give me goosebumps. so back in November, when the show was announced, i picked up tickets immediately. the Media Club is small, and i knew it would sell out.
it was an *incredible* show, setting a very high standard for those to come this year… i find it truly amazing that Brittany is able perform with the same fervour night after night on the road. when they took the stage, she announced this was the first show they had played outside of America (hah, suck it, Toronto!). today, an @TimbreConcerts tweet quoted the band saying “Vancouver was the best crowd we’ve ever had outside of Alabama”. the energy was fantastic: the audience and the band fed off each other all evening. they actually got a Vancouver crowd to MOVE. (we’re infamous for our attentive, unmoving rapture whilst seeing a band perform…) the response for “Hold On” was tremendous: appreciative, awestruck and celebratory. it just grew from there. they rockabillied us with “Heavy Chevy”, wooed us with the a mind-blowing “You Ain’t Alone”, and stoned us with the cover of Led Zeppelin’s (well, Howlin’ Wolf’s…) “How Many More Times”, which capped their encore. every song in between evoked something different and fantastic from the crowd. if you have the chance, SEE THIS BAND LIVE. you will not regret a moment. here’s a video i found on YouTube from last night’s show. it’s a little blurry, but the emotion’s still there.
and here’s a performance of “You Ain’t Alone” that, for me, got blown out of the water last night in Vancouver…
the opening band was Quiet Life, an indie folk outfit from Portland OR. they gave their all readying the crowd for the Alabama Shakes, and by all accounts, were successful. they started off with a couple of acoustic numbers, building up song by song to a fully electric band. kudos to them for performing a great set despite the absence of their bass player, who had to leave for New York yesterday due to a family emergency. Styrofoam Jones from the Alabama Shakes got up and helped them out with a couple of songs, having learned them about an hour before the show. here’s a video of my favourite song from their set, “New London”.
- Alabama Shakes On World Cafe (npr.org)
- Alabama Shakes Sign to ATO Records (silentuproar.com)
- Interview: The Alabama Shakes (kexp.org)