Review: Alabama Shakes Big Day Out side show in Sydney
It’s the kind of soul music that makes you want to pout your lips and shake your bowed head in whole hearted agreement.
Alabama Shakes - powered by the vital force of Brittany Howard’s heartfelt howl - left no audience member untouched at Sydney’s Metro theatre last night. Their Australian debut not only brought a smile to the lips, but a laugh to the belly and tears to the eyes. Lead singer Howard addressed the crowd with southern hospitality in her endearing drawl, while bassist Zac Cockrell sauntered out in denim overalls and stood, blissed out, entertaining the crowd with his euphoric expressions.
The ‘Shakes performed with a fervor that had the sacred feel of Southern Gospel one minute, and the honky-tonk melody of good old fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll the next. The gyrate-inducing ‘Hold On’ became a joyful sing along, and later in the set Howard’s emotive storytelling became heart wrenching when she sang ‘Heartbreaker.’
“It’s a shame I had to write this song, but that’s life...” Brittany revealed, before she laid her trampled heart on the stage floor, giving the impression that it had been broken only yesterday.
The band’s on stage presence had an improvisational feel, while Howard’s full bodied voice pulled you into the bosom of the band, carrying you through each song’s journey. Even though she addressed the crowd as a finger-waving preacher, Howard exuded sass and sex appeal, at one point even proclaiming, “I sure hope I meet some nice Aussie tonight, who wants to rock and roll with me...” which certainly caused a fantastic flurry.
The Alabama Shakes’ live performance was a truly intimate, relatable one, which left you with the most humbling knowledge that they themselves had been moved as much as each and every member of the audience.
Written by Tori Clapham