Thursday 22 May 2014

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings [LIVE, 16th May 2014 @ The Roundhouse]

Back in August 2013, I was very sad to post the news that Sharon Jones had been diagnosed with cancer – a move that forced Daptone Records to halt the imminent release of the band’s sixth album, but more importantly, it was something that had friends, family and fans praying for Jones’s speedy recovery and a return to fighting fit health.

Incredibly, it only took less than six months before Daptone Records felt confident in rescheduling the release of ‘Give The People What They Want’, and it was a further five months before Sharon Jones, who Binky Griptite of The Dap-Kings introduced  as “the woman who kicked cancer’s ass”, was once again able to grace a Camden stage.

I don’t tend to feel confident in things that I write where I feel somewhat ‘emotionally invested’ in the person or event so I do usually shy away from such pieces as they can come off as too ‘fan boyish’, but the whole point of this blog is to enable me to bask in the pure joy that music gives me and in the hopes that someone reading this can in some way connect with that – so when I say that seeing Sharon Jones walk out to that stage (as I’m lucky enough to have seen twice before), it was one of the most moving and genuinely joyous performances that I could ever have hoped to see.  Other than her hair, which is now starting to grow back, there was no indication of the hellacious year 2013 would have been for her – if there was, then she left it backstage because as she swaggered out to met her fever-pitch audience, she sang better than she ever has and she performed better than she – or anyone else on The Roundhouse stage – ever has too!

Woah… y’see, now I have to reign myself in as I feel the fan boy starting to take over again!

Where was I? oh yes… songs from ‘Give The People What They Want’ were expectedly the main focus of the night’s playlist, but small dips into past hits, including ‘100 Days, 100 Nights’ and a cover of ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’ kept people entertained;  The Dapettes even took centre-stage a couple times to showcase songs from their new release, and even members of the crowd were pulled up on stage to shake their tail-feathers with Sharon – I kinda fell in love with ‘Beatrice’ a little bit, while ‘Monique’ looked slightly better suited for a One Direction concert (bless you Monique J); the guy who started unbuttoning his shirt kinda stole the show a little bit and may have had security taking a small step closer to the stage in preparation for the worst case, but it was awesome fun nonetheless.

If you ever have the chance to see Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings perform live, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not grabbing the opportunity immediately.  The most obvious comparisons to their stage show hark back to a James Brown or Tina Turner from decades previous which I understand can come off as a lazy comparison to make, and it also potentially discredits the charisma and personality which is quintessentially Sharon Jones and quintessentially Daptone.  While it can be said that had this group been making music together 40 years ago international superstardom would await and their name would roll off the tongues of anyone praising the greats like the aforementioned Brown and Turner, I actually think they’re served perfectly to provide a performance style and aesthetic to a generation that’s never experienced it and, quite frankly, are pretty hungry for it.

It’s great to have you back Ms Jones!

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