Last March I photographed Alabama Shakes at their Tennessee Theatre show. Like every venue, it has its own quirks when taking photographs and lighting impacts photographs tremendously – sometimes helpfully, sometimes not. Scale also impacts shooting a show and the Tennessee is large relative to the venues I’ve typically shot.
All that to say, this is a set of photographs in which I was learning. A number of them were blown out – the light so intense on lead vocalist Brittany Howard that the rest of the band disappeared into darkness while her image exploded. Hopefully the images I take now are better than these, but I still caught a few in this collection when the light was kind.
The show was absolutely stellar. Sound perfect, band spot-on and, of course, the lead vocalist is a force of nature. Part rock, part pop, part funky R&B, the band is all soul. There’s no way to avoid thinking of Sister Rosetta Tharpe who has to be a model for Brittany. While Sister Rosetta Tharpe stayed closer to the confines of church-based blues music, Alabama Shakes veers toward the more secular, but clearly there is a thread. And they both rock.
I’m posting a few photographs here and I’ll put more up later on the Inside of Knoxville Facebook Page. I’m also posting a couple of videos below – one of Alabama Shakes and another of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Clearly two artists with whom you should be familiar. Enjoy.