Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Second Coming

After a brutal 24 hours I made my way out to Brooklyn Thursday night to restore my body and soul. The house of worship for the evening was Brooklyn Bowl.

For those who haven't been, Brooklyn Bowl is a bowling alley as well as music venue. It is clearly inspired by the legendary Rock & Bowl in New Orleans. Rock & Bowl is one of my all time favorite venues/houses of worship. It is should be on your list of places to go before you die. So you know I hold Brooklyn Bowl to a very high standard. It delivers.

BB is a massive, cavernous space in Williamsburg. It's industrial character is complimented by a carnival like atmosphere that is part country fair, part Coney Island. The sounds of the sixteen bowling lanes mixes with the music from either the house DJs or bands to keep the energy high.

The bar features local beer on tap from Brooklyn Brewery (just around the corner), Greenpoint Brewing and Six Point. Fans of brown liquor will be happy as well.

A nice Brooklyn Weisse in hand, it was time for a little sustenance. Once again BB delivers. This is because the good folks behind BB had the the good sense to have the folks from Blue Ribbon take care of the food. The menu is chock full of bowling alley, southern and comfort food classics, but none of them have come from a box in an industrial freezer.

Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and sauteed greens is better than you could ever expect in a place with shoes for rent. An Oyster Po Boy usually isn't this good so far north of the Big Easy. Pork Ribs, Mac & Cheese, pizzas and burgers will easily put a smile on the face of everyone on your league team. Fresh pork rinds, Calamari, blackened salmon. The Blue Ribbon menu will satisfy both the pro bowler and devout foodie in your clan.

Body revived, it was time to revive the soul. The real reason I was here, the main event, was Alabama Shakes.

I saw the Alabama Shakes at CMJ (you can read my post about them). Halfway through their set I knew had to see them again. As soon as this show was announced I bought tickets. I have been singing this band's praises insessantly. Tonight I brought a few potential converts with me. Would the band live up to my hype? Of course.

The profile of Alabama Shakes has grown rapidly since the CMJ show. NPR profiles, MTV interviews. From a half sold Bowery Ballroom appearance (with a heavy music industry presence) to a packed Brooklyn Bowl, the question would be how does the band handle it. The answer would be, like pros.

The band took the stage and proceeded to blow the place up. As good as they were in October, they were better tonight. Stronger, more confident. It is rare to see a band grow as artists and performers as quickly as their hype. Alabama Shakes are one of the few who have. Brittany Howard is rapidly becoming one of the most captivating, dominating band leaders around.

The band tore through an hour long set, making the crowd dance, sing, move and yell. The Alabama Shakes are a Rock & Roll, R&B and Soul band wrapped up in one, playing at a tent revival. There is no artifice. No angle. This is just great music made by real musicians. I am here to testify. Mine eyes have seen the glory. The glory of the Alabama Shakes. Do your soul a favor and get to the revival near you.

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