Better Than: The Super-fly doppelganger of Adam West performing the Bat-tussi on Soul Train.
In support of their third independently released album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, funk revivalists Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, played a vibrant and smooth variety-style hour and a half set to an eager Granada audience.
Shortly after 9 p.m., the eight-piece funk band (responsible for many of the rhythms backing Amy Winehouse on her 2007 album Back to Black) took the stage with a four-song set that lacked a bit of verve. If the crowd had been draped in petticoated chiffon dresses or sporting pompadours, the first 15 minutes may have proved to be a bit more interesting. Or, maybe, the Dap Kings, who are quite strategic in their music hype chess moves, intentionally started of sluggish as to hype the climactic moment when their superstar vocalist shimmied onto the stage.
Sharon Jones boasted immediate moxie with her passionate gospel-rooted swoons, covering classic rhythm and blues themes of love, loss and demand. The soundboard crew seemed to be confused as to the desired sound of the vocalist because several songs into the set, she gasped in frustration, “no monitors?” and “more vocals!” Some adjustments were made to her approval as she dived right back into her musical voodoo. Jones shook her shapely hips and silver pumps across the stage feverishly without ever allowing her gorgeous voice feel the strain of her physical workout. Aside from her sweat-soaked skin, the entire performance was an effortless homage to the glorious days of get-down, hardcore funk music.
Jones spent the last third of the show tugging enthusiastic patrons on stage to dance beside her. (Felix, a cute little hipster with a dope tie, dropped the best moves to out-dance Charlotte, the odd, intoxicated wiggler.) The highlight of the crowd participation went down during the sassy single “Genuine,” in which Jones handpicked three male “victims” to grind with her before reaching their ultimate demise of being booty-bumped off stage. Everyone in the theater was joyful and bobbing.
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Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings closed out the set with an encore sermon of James Brown covers, including the moody mantra “It’s a Man’s World.” Historically true, but on Sunday night at the Granada, (despite the eight talented men on stage) the world certainly belonged to woman. -- Krissi Reeves
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I loved the merch table. It was a vinyl mecca of funk, soul and afro-jazz.
Random Detail: The percussionists were quite peculiar. The fella on the congas looked like a tenured Systems Analyst for Texas Instruments and the guy on the kit held a stoic, catatonic face the entire set. Hmm.
By the Way: Dap Kings bassist Gabriel Roth (a.k.a. Bosco Mann) pioneered Daptone Records, the independent, Brooklyn-based record label that is gaining infamy for its growing posse of musicians committed to the production of old-school analog recordings.