Alabama Shakes in Toronto – A Review

October 10, 2012 at 2:02 am (Uncategorized) ()

I’d been excited about this one for a while. The Alabama Shakes are this year’s buzz band on the basis of a great blues-rock debut and an apparently electrifying live show. Oh yeah and the fact their last show was at Lee’s Palace and this one is sold out at the Kool Haus says people are hyped too.

I arrived at about 8:45, and the venue was already full – so no chance of a seat tonight. At 9 catl. took the stage. I’ve seen catl. a couple of times, but this was the first with their new drummer. catl. are a Toronto three-piece who play a greasy punk-blues – they’re terrific. I was supposed to do an interview with them for them for this blog once upon a time, but somehow it never came together. catl. did not disappoint. They played a rocking set to an appreciative crowd – Pick up their third album, Soon All This will be Gone  –  hell, pick up all their albums; you will be glad.

The Alabama Shakes hit the stage at 10:15, and for the next 55 minutes, we were treated to tight musical selections from their debut album, Boys and Girls. As great as the album is, the songs seemed more, er, intense live. Front person Brittany Howard commanded the stage alternately growling and crooning the songs. And yet, I couldn’t help but be a little bit disappointed. Maybe it was the hype, but it wasn’t quite as transcendental as I’d imagined it would be. Of course, it might also have been the sound at the Kool Haus, muddy at the best of times, a lot of the Shakes’ sound seemed lost in the mix.

But whatever my minor quibbles, it was a great evening and everyone went home happy.

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