Alabama Shakes made a pit stop between Coachella weekends to wow a sold-out crowd and kick off the 2015 concert season at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. They were accompanied by opener, Neko Case (The New Pornographers), who’s alternative country sound resonated well with the mix of old and young fans there to kick back and take it the sights and sounds on this warm spring night.
Already establishing a reputation for one of America’s best live bands in a little over three years, there was a lot of hype and anticipation for the new tracks they would be debuting live off of their sophomore album, Sound & Color, which is set to release April 21 via ATO records.
Playing as a six-piece band including three backup singers, the band sounded as loud and crisp as ever. Lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s powerful vocals connected with the crowd in a way that made you feel the pain, joy, and raw emotion spilling out of her. Highlights off the new album included “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “Gimme All Your Love,” and “Future People.” All songs that give a glimpse into their revamped sound that incorporates funkier and psychedelic elements but doesn’t entirely abandon their blues-rock and southern soul roots. Surprisingly missing from their setlist, was the band’s biggest hit, “Hold On”, which everyone seemed to expect them to close out the encore, but were treated to a newer unknown track that left the crowd wanting more.
Hopefully, we’ll be seeing another Shakes performance come through the Bay Area later this year. With the hint Ranger Dave dropped yesterday on the Outside Lands Instagram yesterday, I think our chances got that much better…