[Photos] Abbey Exclusive: Alabama Shakes LIVE at End of the Road


Photos by Abbey Braden
End of the Road Festival
Larmer Tree Gardens
Wiltshire, UK
September 2012

So as you might have gathered from our gratuitous jet-laggy banter on air last week, I recently made my way 2 hours out of London for Day 1 of Bella Union‘s takeover at End of the Road. 30 bands from their record label played all the stages for their 15th anniversary. We laughed, we cried, Beach House and Midlake headlined, and we easily could have gone home. But if there’s one thing that will propel me out of a happy sleepy time place for Day 2 of a festival (promptly smacking my head on a ceiling beam in our Tudor rental cottage) it’s the promise of some dirty blues infused guitar licks with southern accents. See my mom is from the South, and therefore I am biologically predisposed to chant, clap and stomp in support of any band that mutters the word “Y’all.” Even better if it is used in the phrase “Y’all better figure that OUT” by a front woman such as Brittany Howard. That, ladies and gents, is how I found myself somewhere south of Stonehenge, front and center for the Alabama Shakes.

Oh. Oh hell yes. South-of-the-Mason-Dixon was represented in full force that day, and HOW. The band is touring the UK in support of their debut album Boys & Girls, and they are MASSIVE over there. In fact I think they might have been signed to Rough Trade records before anything else. I’m pretty sure the crowd would have kissed her feet had they gotten close enough. The Alabama Shakes work on so many levels, and at its crux is Ms Howard. She’s got this enthralling dichotomy of coming across as both incredibly tough yet vulnerable if given the chance. Apparently she’s 23 but it sounds as if she’s lived several lifetimes (and picked up several guitars along the way). Whatever the case, she – and her bandmates – have obviously worked it OUT. Needless to say we are looking forward to their set at Virgin Mobile Freefest on October 6th! More photos after the jump (y’all)!

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