Hang Loose: Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr. burn down BB&T for XPN Fest night two

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Alabama Shakes | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Alabama Shakes | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

We might have been various degrees of soaking wet. But Alabama Shakes made it easy enough to forget.

“Here’s how it’s gonna work,” frontwoman Brittany Howard told the crowd. “I’m gonna give you a bit, and you’re gonna give it back.

And so it went: the band tore across a blistering 90-minute set that worked in most of the songs at the band’s disposal – including a thundering “Always Alright” from the Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack, the contemplative “Joe” (a live cut from an Austin City Limits comp), and a heaping handful from 2012’s Boys and Girls and last year’s Sound and Colour.  

“Future People” took the gripping vibe of the album version to new heights – “Gimmie All Your Love” slayed. The hits sounded great – “Don’t Wanna Fight,” along with “Hold On” and “Hang Loose” from Boys and Girls – sounded tremendous. As a volcalist, guitarist and songwriter, Brittany Howard is among the best in rock right now, and last night her and her bandmates in the Shakes totally shone.

Gary Clark Jr. | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Gary Clark Jr. | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Speaking of best guitarists in rock, ladies and gentlemen, Gary Clark Jr. His set was about an hour long, ten songs and lots of powerful jams. It was guitar force in force, and though Clark and his band aren’t the most animated players – they kind of stand in place and concentrate on destroying – the sounds they channel from their instruments is formidable, drawing on blues, dub, and hard-hitting rock. “Ain’t Messin’ Round” from 2012’s Black and Blu was impressive in how it wandered into a propulsive boogie, wandered for a long stretch, and dipped back, ending on a note that left the crowd breathless.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band | photo by Steve Garfinkel for LiveNation | garfinkelphotography.com | courtesy of the artist
Preservation Hall Jazz Band | photo by Steve Garfinkel for LiveNation | garfinkelphotography.com | courtesy of the artist

Earlier in the night, two other impressive sets were turned in. One came from Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose earlier appearance at Wiggins Park was rained out – their Nawlins brass style raised the spirits of the BB&T in a big way. And Chicano Batman opened the show, giving the XPNFest crowd a taste of the psychedelic and soul-infused rock the LA band would bring to the Marina Stage on Sunday.

Chicano Batman | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Chicano Batman | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Check out a gallery of photos from the whole show below.

Alabama Shakes setlist
Future People
Dunes
Always Alright (SLP)
Heartbreaker (BG)
Rise to the Sun (BG)
Guess Who
Miss You
The Greatest
Hang Loose (BG)
On Your Way (BG)
Joe (Live ACL)
Hold On (BG)
Be Mine (BG)
Gimme All Your Love
Don’t Wanna Fight
You Ain’t Alone (BG)

Encore:
Gemini
Sound & Color
Over My Head

Gary Clark Jr. setlist
Bright Lights
Can’t Stop Loving You (Elmore James cover)
Next Door Neighbor Blues
Don’t Owe You a Thang
Cold Blooded
Ain’t Messin ‘Round
When My Train Pulls In
Our Love
The Healing
Shake

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