Monday, September 23, 2013

Alabama Shakes bring powerful soul to Booth Amphitheatre

All photos by Kevin Norris
Soulful roots rock band Alabama Shakes have experienced an unlikely launch into superstardom in the last few years leading up to and following the release of their 2012 debut album Boys & Girls. That rise brought them to Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre on Friday night, a massive step up from the Cat's Cradle, which they played last year.

The band came out swinging, opening with "Rise to the Sun" and following it with the fiery "Hang Loose" and the band's hit single, "Hold On." It's a tricky strategy to front load the set like that and some of the crowd definitely got really chatty pretty early on, but the band continued to deliver a fantastic set.

The entire band sounded solid but the real star of the stage was frontwoman Brittany Howard who belted out the entire 18-song set with her huge, soulful voice, confident swagger and stellar guitar playing. She is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the music world for many years to come.

The band filled out their set with some new songs which could end up on the band's next album and some non-album tracks like the catchy "Always Alright" from the Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack and the blistering non-album track "Heavy Chevy," which was the second song of the encore.

Howard didn't have too much to say throughout the set but during the encore she repeatedly said "I'm going to go to Cary and I'm going to aaaaaah!" It was an odd thing to repeat but strangely charming as well. The band ended the show with rollicking extend jam of "You Ain't Alone." It was a solid closer.

The show certainly did feel like it may be the one time the band may play the area in a venue this large. The next time around it would be good to see them in a big indoor theater like DPAC or Memorial Auditorium which would give them superior sound and a more focused crowd. Even though things have improved at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in recent years, it still doesn't really work for rock shows.

Set list
Rise to the Sun
Hang Loose
Hold On
Always Alright
I Found You
Making Me Itch
Worryin' Blues
Boys & Girls
Be Mine
Gimme All Yo Love
I Still Ain't Got What I Want
On Your Way
Heat Lightning
I Ain't the Same
Heavy Chevy
You Ain't Alone

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