Alabama Shakes’ Howard admits to concert woes

Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard has reflected on some of the downsides of her band’s increasing success.

Their reputation received a massive boost with the acclaim that surrounded second album Sound & Color, released earlier this year.

But it’s not all been plain-sailing for the vocalist and guitarist – especially when she wants to watch other bands perform.

Howard tells Rolling Stone: “I’ll go see shows, but it’s getting harder and harder. I get recognised, and there are a lot of pictures, which is kind of hard when you’re just trying to enjoy the band.”

She’s also contending with the size of her own shows. “Sometimes it feels odd,” she says. “I consider us a club band – somebody you go see in a 500-capacity room. That’s where I’ve always been comfortable.

“Then you get these beautiful theatres and I feel a little out of place. But everybody gets to see us, so I guess it’s all good.”

Her sense of discomfort extended to when the Shakes came to work on the follow-up to their 2012 debut. “With Boys & Girls we just wanted to be a real band,” Howard recalls. “We never expected that album to get out like it did.

Sound & Color was such a different experience – kind of daunting. We had nothing but time and resources and we could do anything we wanted.

“I started thinking, ‘Maybe I should make a record like the first one, because that’s what people liked.’” I had a lot of trouble doing that, so I just did what I was interested in.”

The band play in Portland, Oregon on December 7, then a run of South American festival dates in March, before appearing at the 2016 edition of British Summer Time in London’s Hyde Park on July 9.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.