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Alabama Shakes Blahs

The Crowd At Arizona State Fair

Image by Jeff Moses.

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Bluesy Rock Four Piece From The Deep South Seems Seems Not All There At An Arizona State Fair Concert That Could Best Be Described As Uninspired


By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Oct. 27, 2013 — Brittany Howard of blues/rock band Alabama Shakes is an extremely impressive front woman. She’s the complete package thanks to expressive facial mannerisms and a rockstar look that emanates from her fashion choices and hairstyle.

So when she and her cohorts rolled into Phoenix on Oct. 24 for a date at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in a State Fair headliner slot, optimism ran high.

The rest of the band, though, is pedestrian at best. There is nothing wrong with Alabama Shakes. The music is good and easy to sing along to as well. But something about it is just not tight.

It all seems too agreeable.

Local jazz/rock band Sister Lip opened for Alabama Shakes somewhat by playing an outdoor community stage directly before the state fair headliner, and for the $10 admission to the fair, Sister Lip was more worthwhile.

Sister Lip seems to always give their all, and even though the crowd size left much to be desired for the Tempe-based four piece, the shouts, cheers, and applause of the 20 or so people who were seeing the band for the first time spoke volumes of their talent.

Shakes was on tour, and heading full steam toward the Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas and perhaps they did not bring their A-game to the Arizona State Fair. Because even the sweat trickling down Howard’s forehead and the amazing sounds coming out of her mouth failed to connect. The band just did not seem as if they were all there.

Fortunately for Alabama Shakes, there were only 400 to 500 people in attendance to see their uninspired Thursday night State Fair set. There were probably more people in attendance to see Cheap Trick last week then went out to see Alabama Shakes.

But that does not have to be a bad thing. Cheap Trick are purveyors of megahits and have existed for decades, but were only able to attract a meager amount fans. Alabama Shakes have only existed since 2009, and are already pulling in those big-time festival shows.

They really are a band on the rise and perhaps seeing them at one of their own headlining shows as opposed to a state fair set would provide a more impressive show.

Maybe, maybe not. True professionals would turn it on no matter where they are when the lights come on.

Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at
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