Home Live Review Live Review: Brittany Howard @ 9:30 Club — 2/20/24

Live Review: Brittany Howard @ 9:30 Club — 2/20/24

Live Review: Brittany Howard @ 9:30 Club — 2/20/24
Brittany Howard brings an incredible performance to the 9:30 Club on Feb. 20, 2024. (Photo by David LaMason)

“We’re gonna play some new songs, we’re gonna play some old songs,” Brittany Howard recently told the crowd at the first of two sold-out nights at the 9:30 Club. What followed was nothing short of incredible. I had seen her perform at the venue back in 2019, on tour for her first solo album, Jaime. It was a great show, but it must be said that this time around there was something about the energy that was off the charts. 

When I was a kid there were certain songs that had that feel of waking up on a Sunday with the light streaming in through the window. A lot of those 1970s pop songs had that sound where you could the warmth. As I play Brittany Howard’s new LP, What Now, I get that same feeling. A song like “To Be Still” and the opener, “Earth Sign” from What Now are perfect examples of songs that embody a mood. It’s like that feeling you get when you listen to Nina Simone. It demands your attention. Written during the Covid pandemic, What Now covers a lot of territory — falling in love, losing love, and making it through to some new place.  

Opening for Howard on this current tour is Becca Mancari, who had performed with Brittany Howard as part of Bermuda Triangle. At 9:30 Club on Feb. 20, Mancari fired up the crowd with a manic performance. But that was only the beginning. As Brittany Howard’s band made it onto the stage they went right into the opening song from the new album, “Earth Sign,” and with its layered harmonies and lush instrumentation you could tell it was going to be a great night. Howard’s touring band, which she’s had from the previous tour, was incredibly tight, keeping an unending groove that was tireless.

Speaking of tireless, it must be said, and loudly, that Brittany Howard’s presence on stage is a gift. I’ve mentioned how Howard’s music can evoke a mood, but it was also a mood elevator last week. You couldn’t help but have a smile on your face when the band played songs like “Stay High” from Jaime.

“Many years ago… maybe five or six years ago,” Howard started to laughs from the crowd. “I can’t tell anymore. I found myself at the bottom of an 80/20 relationship.” She went on after some sympathetic reaction from the crowd, “I’ll explain everything. So what happened was…” and then she went into the song “Baby” with the lines “I tried to be everything you’d ever want / you would ever ask me to be, baby.” An incredible song that went from the song, a slower tune, into the unexpected funk groove of “History Repeats.”

Watch the official music video for “Prove It To You” by Brittany Howard on YouTube:

Rolling between gospel, funk, soul, and more than a suitcase full of rock ‘n’ roll, Brittany Howard and her band felt like they were more than comfortable having fun. And that energy was reciprocated in the packed crowd.

Definitely one of the highlights of the night was the expansive “13th Century Metal” and the following drum solo by the brilliant Nate Smith. Then to turn around to the beautifully delicate jazz chords and shimmering harmonies of “To Be Still” was enough to knock you on your heels.

Brittany Howard finished her regular set solo on guitar with “Short and Sweet” before coming back for a rousing encore of “Another Day” and “What Now.”

It’s no wonder both this show and the following night at the 9:30 Club were sold out. Brittany Howard and her band put on one of the best performances so far this year. She continues her USA tour through the Spring.

The setlist included:

Earth Sign
I Don’t
He Loves Me
Stay High
Red Flags
History Repeats
Goat Head
Prove It to You
13th Century Metal
To Be Still
Every Color in Blue
Power to Undo
Short and Sweet

Another Day
What Now

Here are more photos of Brittany Howard performing at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.

And here are some photos of Becca Mancari opening for Brittany Howard at the 9:30 Club.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here