Sharon Jones and Her Funky Dap-Kings

Club Nokia had the pleasure of hosting Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings on this fine Sunday evening. She, and the band, delivered a stellar performance…

What began as a seemingly slow, and not super funky night, quickly transpired into a groovy little soft soul funk party. The opening band, Ivan Milev band, just didn’t cut it for me. The accordion groove didn’t move me much and it just lacked the funky rhythm I was looking for and anticipating. After a 30 minute hiatus, the Dap-Kings came out to precede Sharon Jones. There warm up tunes were cute, but not super hardcore funk…and that is what I was aching for.

After telling the crowd they were going to warm up and get loose for Sharon, they barely broke it down before bringing her out to stage. Now, Sharon is obviously the spark plug of energy, but I was expecting a bit more (my expectations are certainly above average having seen them and spent personal time with them on Jam Cruise). She came out and looked cute, but she wasn’t reaching deep for that soulful voice she has. However, that quickly changed.

By the third song, Sharon was well into her groove – shaking her hips, doing the oohs and aahs, moaning, and figuring out who she was going to select from the crowd. Her first man guest was this obviously gay dude who just tore it up on stage. She was singing “How Do I Let a Good Man Down?” and this dude was dancing like a stage dancer more or less. He either has had some training, works as a dancer, or is the most flamingest fan of all time who watches a lot of ballet or something. Anyhow, he was wildly entertaining and it seemed that Sharon was surprised and enjoyed his entertaining dance routine.

Sharon dropped a few tunes from her forthcoming record, all of which I liked. She invited ladies onto the stage for a little dance off – there was a big black girl trying to flirt with the band mates and showing way too much flesh; the tall, athletic, gorgeous woman who broke it down with Sharon, running in place; the sparkle balls girl where Sharon told her to “work those balls”, and a few others who were not all that impressive. The highlight of guests may have been the kid she brought up on stage and reworked “Be Easy” for. It was very cute and charming, and hopefully a memory that kid will keep for a long time.

Unfortunately, the show didn’t last as long as I had hoped. They played a total of two hours, which is certainly not disappointing….but with 3 full albums of material, a forthcoming album, and a backing band that has recorded full length albums with Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse, I imagine they have enough of a catalogue to perform a full 2 sets. That is what I am looking for. Please give it to us next time…cause no one ever really wants a Dap Kings show to end!

Worthy to note that Cheme Gastelum is now playing barritone saxophone in the Dap-Kings. I spoke with him after the show – he said he has been touring with them on and off for 3 years. I asked him about recording with the 20th Congress again, and he said it may happen sometime this year. He also said the Congress was looking to put together some Jazzfest dates and some co-bills with The Tiny Universe. I will have to catch some more of that….