Saturday, 19 May 2012

Alabama Shakes Birmingham - Gig Review

Alabama Shakes: HMV Institute
Gig 24 11 May 2012

Another Gig in Brum and just arrived for the support Childhood, who looked pretty good. The initial songs were poorer as the singer just looked to shout the lyrics, but I liked the image more when they slowed down a little. Then the voice was more measured and went nicely with the guitarist's quiff, Hawaiian shirt and cap, brought me back to the 80's.

Looking round the audience it was interesting to see they were predominantly older, presumably a Radio 2 and 6 Music listening crowd, funnily enough the reason that I was there, as the Alabama shakes had been getting quite a lot of hype and the show had been upgraded to the larger room. Whilst I had heard a lot of the singles, I hadn't seen any photo's of the band so it was interesting to see them come on, and probably the most musically credible whilst stylistically not caring lead singer I have ever seen.

How would I describe the singer, a spectacled guitar wielding Mom in comfortable clothes, but the guitar wielding was then supplemented with an amazing voice, not one that I could place straight off but an amazing American voice that bugged me throughout the concert. Whilst on the topic of the visuals of the band the bassist seemed to be Romeo from the magic numbers hiding underneath a cap.

A stand out (apart from the single which landed early) came later when the hammond organ player got to really show his stuff at the side of the stage. The songs were pretty good as a whole, would have been at home on Beale Street in Memphis and no doubt far more so in Alabama. They then launched into a new song, which was a real old school rock and roll number and finally let us know they had one more number Y'all and they were gone.

They were a proper band, remind me of the brilliant holidays taken in America before kids and in particular the driving tour round the south, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and others.

Finally on the way out it clicked where I recognised the voice from, and I was really amazed because the songs kept resonating with  I ain't never, never, never loved a man the way I love you.....which was Aretha Franklin and a phenomenal voice.

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