LIVE: Alabama Shakes

When anything is good and new, there tends to be a certain amount of hype surrounding that thing. With music these days, it seems to happen early on. The internet is making things faster and a solid band seems to catch on a lot quicker. It happened recently with The Civil Wars, who were on a late night show before they even released a record. They just met each other in 2008 and they’ve already won two Grammy awards…for their SOLE album. 

Well there’s certainly an enormous amount of hype around the Alabama Shakes. I went to see them at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Sunday night and someone who worked there told us the show sold out in ONE DAY, before their debut album Boys and Girls was even officially released. Well I’ll say right now, this band lived up to their buzz and then some. It’s easy to say a band is tight and that their vocalist is a beast, but what sets these guys apart is this – the music I heard live Sunday night in that packed club was some of the most REAL music I’ve ever heard.

There’s a good chance the first song you’ve heard (or will hear) from this band is the single “Hold On”. Let’s stop to observe that this tune is incredibly simple lyrically. Yet, singer Brittany Howard is sharing a personal struggle…one that we ALL go through:

“Bless my heart
Bless yours too
I don’t know where I’m gonna go
Don’t know what I’m gonna do

there must be someone up above
Sayin’ come on Brittany!
You’ve got to get back up

You’ve got to HOLD ON
You’ve got to HOLD ON

Yea, you’ve got to WAIT
Yea, you gotta WAIT
but I don’t wanna wait!
No I don’t wanna wait!”

Howard’s performance was so incredibly genuine, the entire crowd was simply captivated. Between songs, the cheering was literally defeaning. When the band left the stage, the applause lasted for what seemed like 10 minutes, until the band, completely humble and in awe of the love, came out and did three more tunes. They ended with a dynamite cover of the Led Zeppelin tune “How Many More Times” (*check it out below) and I swear, everyone who walked out of that club was a believer. The band is headed overseas and the majority of their UK dates are already sold out. I’m guessing those audiences will be just as pleased when the reality lives up to the rumors.

Alabama Shakes

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