I WAS THERE . . . Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings @ Nokia Theatre, 2.13.09

For those that aren’t hip to this funk and soul’s classically retro but never outmoded styling, the Dap-Kings are about eight Brooklyn based musicians; some of whom have a part in Daptone Records, the group’s label. Since adding the heart aching depth of Sharon Jones’ howling voice, the band and their front woman have only continued to gain notoriety and momentum.

The first of a two-night engagement at the fully subterranean Nokia theatre, the band’s leader took time to pay tribute to the long years of effort this New York based band had put in to achieve the land mark performance. The joy and enthusiasm of the event and the act itself seemed to suffice the crowd as the Lady of the hour made her way on stage to howls of adoration. Enamored with the pint sized powerhouse singer, the crowd moved hard to the sprawling band’s up-tempo rhythms, their transitions perfectly seamless.

Playing for well over an hour, it seemed every other song was announced as a ‘new one’ and I realized that this act was sitting on dozens if not scores of unrecorded material and that more to the point, the live experience was sure to be totally enjoyable in a completely different manner than normal. That is, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are composed to be a live band; their musicians are involved in other projects and deeply within the community of musicians located in their local scene.

Even the opener, Menahan Street Band has members of the Dap-Kings (along with Antibalas and Budos Band, check em out!), reinforcing the sense of community the band really shared with the crowd. Jones even was hollering about the sheer volume of her people in the house; tugging her niece up on stage along with three other random gals to engage in some impromptu boogaloo.

With unrivaled stage presence, an act that stands almost alone in the genre of contemporary funk and soul, and the fact that this woman sheds her shoes to dance her ass off in sheer groovy joy…well, I’d advise anyone to catch this hot act sooner rather than later.

Kenneth Joachim

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