- Published on Thursday, June 28 2012
- Written by Halee Bernard
When I first heard of the name The Alabama Shakes, I half-expected it to be either a country band or a degenerative disease. Luckily, my keen instincts were quite off. My first discovery of the American rock band was actually at their live performance in Boston at the Paradise Rock Club. While I personally had never heard of them, a group of friends bought me a ticket and insisted it would be the perfect encore to my own send-off… and right they were.
The Alabama Shakes’s live concert was absolutely the appropriate way to be introduced to such a rock band, which is composed of four members: lead singer Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, drummer Steve Johnson, and bassist Zac Cockrell. Their artful mix of soul, funk, and old-fashioned rock and roll has classic roots that are irresistible — and only further enhanced by the band’s energy on stage.
What is so rare about the Shakes is their production of music that is refreshingly relatable. With a sound akin to Janis Joplin or even the earlier works of Kings of Leon, The Alabama Shakes have a widespread appeal. This isn’t something that can be said about much music these days: teens and tweens are screaming for Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, while Generation X is still holding onto Dave Matthews for dear life. But whether you like jazz, rock. or pop... whether you are 16 or 54... you will inevitably love the Shakes. Check out "Hold On" or “Hang Loose" and try to not tap your foot -- really, I dare you.
The band, which was formed in 2009, has already hit some high notes. Their launch to success was lightening fast -- their first EP came out only in September of 2011, and shortly following were signed by Rough Trade Records. Boys & Girls, their first full-length album, dropped in April, and earlier this month, The Alabama Shakes played a closing set at Bonnaroo. Beyond just popularity, the band has also received praise from just about every music publication out there. Other accolades include performing on the "David Letterman", "Conan", and CMJ.
While seeing The Alabama Shakes was one of my last experiences as a student in Boston, it was surely the first of many experiences enjoying this killer band. Seeing the band live really reminded me of what true rock and roll bands bring beyond the album: not just good lyrics and a great sound, but a full-on, sing-your-heart-out, feel-it-in-your-bones musical performance.
- Halee Bernard, YH Staff
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