Sharon Jones and the Dap Tone Kings recently visited Australia for Peats Ridge, and Sydney Festival’s Daptone Soul Review. The soul legends also add some side shows in their hectic scheduled including tonight’s first of three sold-out gigs at The Corner Hotel,
Supported by fellow Daptone artists The Menahan Street Band and special guest Charles Bradley delivering vocals to rival James Brown. It was clear from the onset that tonight would be a night of pure American soul music.
The Dap Kings warmed up the crowd with some tight instrumental funk, and then welcomed each member of back up singing duo ‘The Dappettes’. Each showed off their equally powerful voices that were clearly worthy of sharing Jones’s stage.
The long but enjoyable warm up left the audience in adoration of the lady, so when she set foot on stage The Corner crowd went berserk. Jones delivered from the get go, each song was more that solid from her and band, yet she adds that tinge of sass
Yet things weren’t sailing as smoothly as it seems, so when she said a few songs in, “This is really bad, I’m straining here,” to her sound technician side of stage, it was an uneasing sight.
I had heard Jones really cares about her live sound, which is really a credit to her, because in the moment of a live gig, everything may sound tight, but the live setting allows for some leeway, which isn’t always a good thing.
However her showman ship took over, and she went on with the set. It’s a sign of a band at the top of their game, to not only sell out shows, but to care about the sound, the atmosphere, and deliver an entertaining and memorable show to their audience.
Jones moved on by pulling young, bearded men up on stage to dance in ‘Be easy,’ then again with six women for another song, then danced them each off stage one-by-one. Tacky as it might sound, it was surprisingly entertaining and I (and everyone else I’m sure) secretly wished to be up on stage dancing with Sharon.
The Dappettes bought the band back on stage for the encore, then Sharon treated us with an elongated encore edition of ‘When I come Home.’ Including a dance break where Sharon taught the crowd the boogaloo, the jerk, the chicken and something called ‘the four corners.’
Australian soul acts really could learn from Sharon Jones and her band. Their fresh approach to audience participation and how they go about delivering their songs, with the sass, attitude and meaning that soul music is all about really set them apart.