Ya’ll should know by now that I’m a lover, not a fighter. Not because I’m all sensitive and shit. I am afraid that if I actually get into a fight, I will end up seriously maiming or killing someone. Seriously. So it’s taken me a week to recover my sensibilities enough to write this review – as I have never attended a show where I literally almost caught two cases and had to be rescued by an artist in the midst of a performance!
Before I get to the drama, let me focus on the music because that’s what’s important here. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are nothing to play with. This is true grown folks music. This music harkens back to a period when lyrics were saying something. Back to the days when our parents were grinding under that blue light during those basement house parties. The Evans clan would probably have thrown on music like this during a rent party for a down-on-their luck neighbor. This is the ‘music’ that Leela James and the Brand New Heavies yearn for. Let’s go back to the days…indeed.
From the moment the Dap-Kings took the stage to get things warmed up, I knew we were in for a funky good time. I think you’ll agree.
New music, “One Time”
That Binky Griptite is one cool cat.
Before she even took the stage, we felt Sharon’s presence.
They say you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. Those shoes let me that she was about to take that stage, kicking ass and taking names! Hell no, Amy CrackWinehouse ain’t got nothing on her. If this industry made sense, their names wouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence. I’ve seen Amy sing and while her voice is amazing, she doesn’t perform. It’s like watching the polish dry on my toes. She doesn’t command the stage like Sharon does. She connected with each and every member of that audience (especially me, but we’ll get back to that later). That’s not a skill many artists master. I certainly hope now that Amy has said “yes, yes, yes” to rehab, she’ll come out of her crack-induced walking slumber and really get back to the business of music. Because we need more artists reminding us of how it used to be and can still be if we support this kind of music. Meantime Amy, Sharon got this.
Not Gonna Cry
Check out those moves and the crowd reaction. They love her.
How Do I Keep A Good Man Down (Claudehamercy!)
I love how Sharon engages the audience and even when they get foolish with their antics, she still commands her stage. All eyes are still on her, even as she makes them feel like they are the star for that moment they are up there.
Keep On Looking
Tell Me (one of my faves)
As you can see from some of the videos here and over on my YouTube channel, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings draw a very diverse crowd. Because of the music I like, the crowd tends to mostly be my people…or your people, depending on how they acting because I don’t claim them everyday (this means you, Kwame Kilpatrick and your “Negro Nonsense”). I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show at a spot like the Black Cat where I was rocking with white men of Social Security-collecting age. This was a new one on your girl.
Anyhow, I’ve been joking for the longest that I need to diversify my friendship portfolio a bit and get some white friends. My black female co-worker has white friends whose parents have beach houses. They got tickets to the games. Become one of the family and you might get a piece of that. However, by the end of the show I had completely changed my mind.
Some white folks do not know how to handle their liquor. I knew this, but it had never affected me before. The venue makes some extremely strong drinks. I’m a drinker and I’m one and done there for the most part. They don’t know nothing about one and done. So these folks were lit by the time the show started. And of course, they get real happy and want to dance and carry on and they have no regard for who is around them. They feel like you should be lit right along with them. Party on dude!
I vote no.
So that was the beginning of my rough night. They were “dancing” wildly and bumping into me to the point that I was being shoved into the person next to me…while I was holding my precious camera. Remember, I’m a lover not a fighter so I tried several approaches before I completely lost it and and pushed back…harder. They were too drunk to really notice.
Once things had calmed down a bit, I felt another shoving match begin. I’m in the very front and getting shoved against the stage. I turn around to see this crass little number complaining that she couldn’t see and trying to force her way to the front by pushing against anybody ahead of her. By this time, like Latifah, I had it up to here and she was about to catch a bad one. I let her know as much and of course she starts to pop off at the mouth. I glanced up at the stage, as I knew the situation was disrupting the show. Binky Griptite shook his head and gave me a “let it go” look.
Sharon Jones to the rescueeeee!
She comes over and pulls the chick on the stage with her, telling her she can’t be doing all that pushing and shoving. Sharon knew me against her would have been as simple as me stomping on a pesky roach. And yes, this chick was black…ya’ll can claim that mess.
So after all I had been through, I was trying to just get through the rest of show without conflict. I was capturing 100 Days, 100 Nights when I felt someone grip my shoulder rather roughly. I didn’t turn around at first because I’m serious about my video. DON’T interrupt me. The tugging became more insistent but the crew around me was also getting wild again so I wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t turn around at first. When I did, briefly, it was one of the staff commanding me to stop taping.
Mind you, I had been standing in front of the stage taping practically every song. This was my fifty eleventh time at the Black Cat, where I always record just about every song. There was no sign prohibiting video. There never is. This same man had actually come around before the show started and told us no flash photography, which I had complied with. I admit I was probably in the wrong, but I ignored him. The song was ending and I was not to be cut off in the middle, particularly since this whole thing didn’t make sense and there were other people recording.
He kept tugging on my shoulder for the next few seconds, finally telling me to come with him. I was not moving. I told him it was not happening. I had paid for my ticket and there was no signage that indicated I couldn’t record. I had been recording the whole show and I wasn’t new to the Black Cat experience. He didn’t care and kept commanding me to come with him or I would be “thrown out.” At this point, I figured out that someone had complained to him and he was moving me from the front. I was not having it. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere, as I felt that familiar rage building inside of me. I was literally two seconds off his ass. Seriously.
I have a history of sassing white men. Once, I roughly shoved a man who pushed me aside to get his luggage from the carousel at the airport. We hadn’t said a word to each other. He pushed, I pushed back…harder. Sorry, I exist. Had he complained, I would likely have ended up like Miss Sophia, sitting up in DC jail damn near bout to rot to death. So I turned away from the Black Cat errand boy to get my composure and there she was again.
Sharon Jones to the rescueeee!
She was trying to perform and had to save me from “The Man.” Thankfully, he disappeared.
Despite my harrowing experience, which marred my enjoyment of the show slightly, I will never miss Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings when they come to town. I will have to meditate all day before I go, but I can’t stay away. I got a jones for Miss Jones and those Dap Kings are the truth. I look forward to all the beautiful music they’ll make together.