Tonight at the Crocodile marks the debut Seattle appearance of the Alabama Shakes, and it’s pretty unlikely that they will be playing a venue this size the next time around – like most dates on their current tour, the event sold out rapidly. Hailing from the small town of Athens in Alabama, they play an irresistible combination of soul singing backed up by swampy southern-tinged rock.
Since their debut appearance playing at a record store last April, The Alabama Shakes (formerly The Shakes) have had quite a run of successes. They were named Paste’s new band of the year, and received a lot of attention playing at the CMJ music marathon, followed by a run of dates playing to large audiences as an opener for The Drive-by Truckers. They also had a song licensed for a holiday TV ad campaign for Zales, appeared on NPR’s World Cafe, and have an upcoming late-night television performance on Conan. All of this comes from a band whose sole recorded output is a 4-song EP, On Your Way, that isn’t even available on Amazon or ITunes (but which you can stream and purchase here).
Why such a rapid rise? Credit goes to a bit of luck, a sound that appeals to a broad audience, front-woman Brittany Howard’s wailing voice and charisma, and most importantly, having songs as good as this one:
Opening for the Shakes are Portland’s Quiet Life. This band’s music combines rollicking Americana in the style of The Band with quieter folkier numbers. Their album, Big Green, is definitely worth a listen here.