The evening started slowly at The Greek. A very small group of mostly 20 to 30 somethings huddled in front of the stage to experience opening act Blake Mills. The rest of the theater was sparsely populated while singer / guitarist Mills and his band gave an admirable performance, featuring a powerful, minimalist arrangement of Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece." Roughly an hour and a half later, the entire theater had filled to its 6000-ish capacity, and the audience had begun to dance and rock in anticipation of the main act. When Alabama Shakes took the stage, any remaining beer-chugging, yahoo blowholes were swallowed up by a wave of energy that did not recede until the show ended.
Alabama Shakes performing at The Greek Theatre, in Los Angeles. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
Alabama Shakes's lead singer / guitarist, Brittany Howard, does not look like your run-of-the-mill rockstar; she looks more like the kind of person who bogarts the microphone at a PTA meeting, but to experience her stage performance is to be transported to another world where spiritual, blues rockers can capture your soul with their spasmodic facial contortions and the sound of their wailing. It may not sound pretty in print [or on your screen], but that's the point. The sound of Alabama Shakes transcends other modes of perception.More »