Monday, June 10, 2013

Music Monday: Dawes & Alabama Shakes concert review

This past Saturday night I was lucky enough to attend the sold out show of Dawes and the Alabama Shakes at Sloss Furnaces with my friend Amy. I say "lucky" not only because it was an incredible show, but because it sold out months ago in a matter of minutes. Super glad that Ames and I were on top of our game when tickets went on sale that day!

Anyhow, there was an opener before Dawes played, but I couldn't tell you their name. They were ok, and definitely ended up being better than the opening song they played. Amy said she didn't "mind" them as much as she thought she was going to and clearly they didn't make much of an impact on me either. Honestly, I could've done without them and heard Dawes play for longer.

I discovered Dawes through Daytrotter and became immediately obsessed with their debut album North Hills. I saw them live for the first time at Workplay sometime last year I think. I felt like an idiot for not doing my homework before this weekend's show because I had no idea they had a new album that was released a couple of months ago. So basically I got to hear several new songs that were unfamiliar, along with a few of my favorites mixed in, including "That Western Skyline." (which btw, if anyone knows the name of the girl that Taylor Goldsmith moved to Bham & wrote this song for, I would love to know).

Dawes at Sloss Furnaces • Birmingham, AL • June 8, 2013

They also played "When My Time Comes" and it was beautiful to hear everyone in the crowd singing it together. It made me happy to see that these guys have a bit of a bigger presence in Bham than the last time I saw them. They definitely deserve it. The lead singer (Taylor Goldsmith) gives off such a professional and gracious vibe that it's hard not to want good things for this band.

We had about an hour of waiting time between Dawes and the Alabama Shakes. It started to feel like the longest hour of my life. About 45 minutes in, me and the majority of the crowd started to get really antsy and frustrated.

I have to agree with my friend Amy that a concert at Sloss is a great idea in theory. It's this cool historic landmark that you have turned into a place for special events. But after you stand on the sloping cement floor for a couple of hours in an Alabama summer, you begin to hate life just a bit. And if you don't get in a sweet spot on the slope, it's hard to see over everyone's heads. I will say that the sound was probably the best I have heard at Sloss in a while.

Alabama Shakes at Sloss Furnaces • Birmingham, AL • June 8, 2013

Anyhow, the Shakes finally came out a little before 10:30 p.m. and the crowd went wild—especially when Brittany took the stage. After just one song I knew that this show was going to be worth the (literally painful) wait.

I have to say that this band is definitely one that is meant to be seen live. Believe it or not, I think they have improved a good bit since I saw them a year ago in Portland, somewhat in their sound, but mostly in terms of stage presence. Brittany is definitely one to watch. Girl just has charisma. Watching her sing makes you feel like you are witnessing history in the making.

Everyone in the audience, including myself, seemed to be pleased with the set list. It was pretty amazing to be with hundreds of people singing "Hooollllllddd On" and then to see Heath Fogg kill the guitar rifts on "Hang Loose." Oh and they definitely tore the roof off the place with "Be Mine." There were also a few unfamiliar songs to me, which gives me hope that a new album might not be too far off, and it is sure to be one that won't disapoint.

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