Alabama Shakes at Riverside Theater
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First the good news: By all accounts, Alabama Shakes is the sort of hard-working, no-nonsense band whose seemingly overnight success sits atop years playing sparsely attended bars and backyards. Their songs are physically hearty, technically deft, and refreshingly independent of hashtag genre trends. In other words, they’re the kind of band you might actually root to see raved about in the New York Times or playing a post-Fiona Apple slot on NPR’s SXSW showcase.
Now the not-so-good news: the group’s debut album, Boys & Girls, is not quite there. Alabama Shakes play songs that draw heavily on Memphis soul and Southern rock, in line with the fine tradition of artists from Al Green to CCR. It’s music built to be played live, and Alabama Shakes’ performances dwarf their rookie status. (Even a recent radio session for Santa Monica’s influential KCRW sounded thunderclap-heavy enough to wake up every out-of-work actor west of La Brea.) But bottling that kind of electricity is easier said than done, and Boys & Girls reveals the band’s limitations along with its considerable potential.
Limitations aside, The A.V. Club is thrilled to help welcome the band back to Milwaukee for a show at Riverside Theater Friday, Nov. 30. General admission tickets are $25, and go on sale Friday, Sept. 21 at noon.