SXSW 2012, Day 1: Allen Stone

photos by Jim Bennett

It’s getting to the point where Allen Stone no longer needs an introduction. No longer an up-and-comer, the Seattle soul phenom’s appeal has spread well beyond the Northwest, and it’s no longer a secret how amazing his live performances can be. With the help of a performance on Conan O’Brien, he has gained a good deal of national buzz in a very short period of time, and though the hype has been spreading, Stone has still yet to receive considerable widespread national recognition. A few memorable performances this week at SXSW might be just what he needs to breakthrough.

Mellow Johnny’s was “crowded” for Wednesday’s performances leading up to Allen Stone at 5:30, but the heartthrob of the Northwest soul revival had women and men alike sitting cross-legged to stake out spots before the show began, and as soon Stone took the stage, viewing space became extremely limited. His sweet melodies and heart-melting voice are tailor-made to bring members of the fairer sex out in droves, and the crowd at Mellow Johnny’s was no exception. After the conclusion of every song, wild cheers rang up from the predominantly female crowd, swooning in the heat of Stone’s music, which — let’s face it — is a prime soundtrack for getting it on. After warming up the crowd, Stone and his extraordinary band laid it on thick with “Satisfaction” to close out the set. With the energy ratcheted up, they brought the song home with an emphatic jam that got the entire crowd clapping along, followed by a series of otherworldly wails from Stone himself.

Portraits by Brittney Bush:

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