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So Overdue, Alabama Shakes: Show and Album Review

This is rather late, but you still care about my opinion. Right? 

The Alabama Shakes are one of my favorite bands out right now. They've been around for several years but are currently getting the pickup they've always deserved. 

Naturally, I wanted to see them live. But they were only playing Coachella (never going) a show in San Francisco and a show in Las Vegas. Though were were *this* close to heading to Vegas, it never materialized, and I feared I'd miss out on seeing this amazing band until they release another album. Panic set in!

So when I noticed a tweet from Amoeba Hollywood with a message promising the chance to see the band perform in Los Angeles with the purchase of an album, I paid attention. Luckily, Jersey Mike didn't have work Tuesday. So he set out to Amoeba first thing in the morning. He was one of the first five in line, and they were only giving tickets to the first 100. The good people at Amoeba Hollywood opened the doors two hours early and gave the people in line their chance to buy albums and score tickets to the show. He called, told me the good news, and I was ecstatic. 

I left work early and scurried to Hollywood where the Alabama Shakes would be performing on Jimmy Kimmel live. This was exciting for two reasons: I'd never been to a taping of a show, and I'd never seen the Shakes. 

We stood at the outdoor stage behind where they tape Kimmel.

 The Alabama Shakes came out for soundcheck and there she was in all her glory. 
Brittany.



If you've never heard the Alabama Shakes, 1) WTF? 2) I'll have song reccos from the new album coming up, and 3) let me clue you in on one thing:
The lead singer/lead guitar Brittany is the equivalent of what would happen if Janis Joplin's and Aretha Franklin's talents had a musical love child. Her voice is powerful and distressed. It will make your blood boil. It will make all the butterflies lounging in your tummy flutter all over the place. 


Jimmy came out to intro the band and it was on. They were amazing and perfect. First came Don't Wanna Fight and that initial high note from Brittany rocketed through my entire being. Then came Gimme All Your Love and I honestly think I left my own body for a moment.


Though they only played two songs on air, they went on to play two more after just for us: Dunes and Over My Head. It wasn't a full show, but it was the taste I needed. I finally got to hear Alabama Shakes live! We walked back to my car, and even the parking ticket I got couldn't dampen my world. 

Then we tripped over to Amoeba (but not before stopping at the Hollywood Chick-Fil-A) to meet the band and get our records autographed.


They were the chillest most down to earth peeps. I had so many things I wanted to say to all of them but I was all tongue-tied. I asked the bassist how he was not once, but twice. But they were all so nice and it was cool to get the added bonus of saying hello, thanking them and getting autographs. 


So, Sound & Color. It's gorgeous. Where their 2012 album Boys & Girls was playful, Sound & Color is explorative. Sounds are more refined, movements are now calculated. But experimentation in harmony and rhythm still exist. Sound & Color includes so many hints of gospel and soul. It feels like we start in a church and end up somewhere completely different.

Fave Tracks:
(for sure go back and listen to Boys & Girls if you haven't! Try: Hold On, Hang Loose, and You Ain't Alone)
1. Gimme All Your Love
In which the Alabama Shakes grab your heart, rip it out of your body, cuddle it and then leave it in wrenching longing to fend for itself. 

2. Future People
Great guitar stuff in this one. Also, Brittany's incredible cries. 

3. Miss You
The breakdown on this one is unexpected and much appreciated. 

4. Over My Head
I swear when they played Over My Head everyone in the crowd cried a little bit. Those harmonies are the stuff of angels. 

Bonus: listen to Gemini because it's biblically erotic, and how often does that happen? Really the whole album is good. But mine is better because it's autographed!

Just kidding.

OK, it might be better.


*


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