Saturday, September 22, 2012

EOTR 2012 - Thoughts on new music 2

The reformed Grandaddy and Grizzly Bear were both awesome and some of my friends might have regarded one or other as their own particular highlight of the festival but were I forced to do so, and somebody just posed this question, the highlight of End of The Road Festival 2012 for me was Alabama Shakes. This is, in some ways, a justification for buying an 'early bird' ticket. Just like trusting labels it is a convenient opt in - I know that I can trust the EOTR organizers to put on more bands that I want to see/hear than will actually be possible - and so I already have a ticket for EOTR 2013 (and NDH 2013, too). This means that as the booked artists become known, over the ensuing months, the excitement is purely that of anticipation. When I came to know that EOTR 2012 had Alabama Shakes on the list anticipation started to take full control. I had pre-ordered the d├ębut album 'Boys and Girls' on vinyl and at the first opportunity, so I already knew the songs quite well, and then this happened...

Alabama Shakes, the Woods Stage, at about 19:45 on Saturday.
Songs that do not appear on the album were awesome too.
This is soul-blues of the of the highest order and they are generous with it too appearing for a second time, on the Big Top Stage on Sunday evening and also various other unadvertised performances. This is another picture from the Woods Stage on Saturday.
Simply astonishing
Brittany Howard does have a phenomenal voice on the recording and yet still chooses to wear glasses while performing live, simply out of choice.  It is quite the statement of who she is and this authenticity is at the heart of Alabama Shakes. When heard live that voice makes the vinyl recording sound rather ordinary and, good-as-she-is with guitar and there is no doubt about that either, live the band is tight as hell.
Live music probably doesn't get much better than this but please feel free to prove me wrong.

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