Alabama Shakes – In Concert at Eurockéennes de Balfort – July 1, 2012 – Radio France Le Mouv –
Alabama Shakes in concert this weekend. From their show-stopping performance at the 2012 Eurockéennes Festival at Balfort, France – broadcast live by Radio France Le Mouv.
If you can get past the nearly constant banter between songs, often stepping all over the introductions, this is a pretty stand-out show by one of the truly stand-out bands in recent years. Ten years since they got started, and currently on hiatus (while singer Brittany Howard takes care of some solo work), Alabama Shakes is one of those bands that follow in a lot of legendary footsteps, while offering a fresh and vibrant new take on things, compliments of Brittany Howard, who pulls it all together and tears it all apart all at the same time with one of the most moving and expressive voices to be heard in years.
You can draw a lot of comparisons to legendary artists of the past, but Brittany Howard is a force unto herself – she follows a tradition, while putting her very own, very personal stamp on things. She holds nothing back, keeps nothing in reserve – what you hear is what you get and she gives 110% if not more for the cause of a song.
The band began its career touring and performing at bars and clubs around the Southeast for two years while honing their sound and writing music. They recorded their debut album, Boys & Girls, with producer Andrija Tokic in Nashville while still unsigned. Online acclaim led ATO Records to sign the band, which released Boys & Girls in 2012 to critical success. The album’s hit single, “Hold On,” was nominated for three Grammy Awards. After a long touring cycle, the band recorded its second record, Sound & Color, which was released in 2015 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and won four Grammy Awards.
In 2018 the band won a Grammy for their performance of “Killer Diller Blues” in the multi-award-winning film The American Epic Sessions directed by Bernard MacMahon. They recorded the song live on the restored first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s. In 2018, the band went on hiatus due to Howard’s focus on her solo project Jaime, which led to a solo tour in 2019.
Early critical reviews of their debut, Boys & Girls (2012), noted that the band borrowed from mid-20th century rhythm and blues. Alongside Howard’s voice, the songs were compared to artists such as Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin. Howard herself took inspiration from Bon Scott of AC/DC in her vocal style, praising his “soulful” way of singing. As the acclaim mounted, “reviewers speculated” that their sound was in homage to the music produced in Muscle Shoals, Alabama nearly five decades prior. Cockrell and Fogg were aware of the Shoals legacy, but Howard was more influenced by bands such as Led Zeppelin and artists like David Bowie. The success of debut single “Hold On” led some to believe the group “[was] trying to pass themselves off as revivalists, something they never aspired to be.
Their second record, Sound & Color (2015), is steeped in several different genres, and touches on everything from shoegaze to bands such as MC5
Alabama Shakes has been cited as an influence for artists such as Drake, Childish Gambino, and Beyoncé.
Hit the Play button and dive in.