Fronting a rootsy rock band is harder than it looks. Done poorly, it means singing the blues in an infinite loop of beer-soaked dive bars. Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes doesn't have that problem. Her raw, soulful delivery feels at odds with the band's striking youth — they're all in their early 20s — but the combination has lifted the group from an after-school project to a globetrotting festival headliner. The band drapes an easygoing veil of traditional rock 'n' roll around Howard, rightly letting her voice provide the fireworks that mark Alabama Shakes as a spectacle that deserves to be witnessed live. The outdoor plaza at the Cabooze is a summer-only approximation of a festival atmosphere just steps from downtown — all of which amounts to a setting that's perfect for the Shakes. They'll make it look easy, but it takes a special alchemy to turn blues into gold. With Eleganza! 18+. (Photo by Autumn de Wilde)
Sun., July 28, 6 p.m., 2013
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