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Alabama Shakes at First Avenue

Posted Friday, August 3rd, 2012 03:14 pm GMT -5 in Concerts, Music

After selling out in a few hours, the Minnesota debut of Alabama Shakes at First Avenue last night was one of the more hyped up shows this year. 23-year-old singer Brittany Howard was more than up to the challenge, though. As critic @JonBream tweeted:

best club show of 2012 & best new band of 2012. Brittany Howard was like Otis Redding in Mama Cass’ body

London-based Dry the River opened with a nice set, although I didn’t think the lead singer really should have been the one singing lead. The bass player had awesome rock and roll hair, though, and did most of the between-song talking.

With only one album from Alabama Shakes so far, it was easy to excuse a relatively short set (about 75 minutes, with a quick, two-song encore). I loved the cover of James Brown’s I’ll Go Crazy and they sang the two big radio hits early in the set (Hold On and Hang Loose).

Brittany was a very expressive performer, who reminded me at times of Joe Cocker. She was completely engaged in her performance and I loved her voice and passion. I don’t think it’s physically possible, though, for her vocal chords to keep that up for an entire career.

The City Pages Review posted the following set list:

  • Goin’ To The Party
  • Hold On
  • Hang Loose
  • Always Alright
  • I Found You
  • Rise To The Sun
  • Heartbreaker
  • Boys & Girls
  • Be Mine
  • Hurricane Strut
  • Mama
  • I’ll Go Crazy (James Brown)
  • Making Me Itch
  • I Ain’t The Same
  • Heat Lightning
  • You Ain’t Alone
  • ENCORE:
  • On Your Way
  • Heavy Chevy

The band visited The Current to record a few songs in the studio, which you can listen to here. Mark Wheat also did an interview, where Brittany said good audiences sometimes will get a Led Zeppelin cover, so I guess we weren’t a good audience. 🙁

Lastly, I have to mention the bassist, Zac Cockrell. That dude was soooo smoooooth on stage. Until he had to walk over to a mic to sing background vocals, I didn’t think he was going to move anything but his fingers all night. Big smiles towards the end of the show, though – just like everyone in the house…

Originally published by DK on August 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm

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