Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard roars as the new lioness of Rock

Alabama-ShakesPhotos by Marc Fong ~ View photo gallery & setlist below

Brittany Howard, the heart and soul of Alabama Shakes, affirmed her unmitigated eminence as the premiere lioness of rock and roll at Fox Theater Oakland Tuesday. Her raw, ferocious vocals and expressive demeanor mixed with her 50’s southern style, complete her cat eye glasses, gave her a vintage look that matches the Shake’s throwback sound. The only thing missing was an iconic unidyne microphone.

Alabama Shakes formed in 2009 while the members were still in high school (feel old yet?), and they have only been touring nationally for about a year. Recent Grammy nominees for Best New Artist, their astonishing rise to festival sub-headliner status hints Brittany and the gang are only at the beginning of a long and successful career.

The Shake’s breathtaking Brittany Howard somehow has already reached legendary status in this brief amount of time. In the tradition of American blues, Howard “ain’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve,” telling her life story through her music. Howard’s fervid vocals belt from the depths of her soul as she erupts with impassioned intensity. A native of Alabama (duh?), her southern roots are apparent in her quirky, grimy howls that reverberate from her brilliant spirit.


All the sold out shows should be attributed to the unparalleled vocal stylings of Brittany Howard. Her stage presence captivated and enthralled the ardent audience at the Fox Theater on this rainy night. Howard’s delivery gives her songs new life that’s isn’t apparent on their record, and perfectly timed smoke wisps float onto the stage to frame Brittany’s grit and determination.

Alabama Shakes satisfied the crowd by playing two of their more popular songs, “Hang Loose” and “Hold On,” early in the show, smartly getting the radio hits out of the way so the audience could focus on deeper cuts from their only album Boys & Girls. Brittany had strong command of the microphone as she belted out tunes like “I Found You,” “Be Mine” and “On Your Way.” Whether Howard was inspiring pin-drop silence during slower tunes, or creating upbeat, euphoric moments, Alabama Shakes sang to our hearts then rocked our souls.

Goin’ To The Party
Hang Loose
Hold On
Always Alright
I Found You
Rise To The Sun
Boys & Girls
Be Mine
Worryin’ Blues
On Your Way
You Ain’t Alone
Heavy Chevy

Gospel Song
I Ain’t The Same
Heat Lightning


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