We love music here at WORLD OF HURT World Headquarters. Especially soul music. For this week’s blog, my wife, Noelle, was kind enough to provide a review of a concert we saw in Augusta, GA last week. She (mostly) has good taste in music and I completely agree with her assessment of the concert. Enjoy!
Let’s just get to the point on this one. Sharon Jones puts 99.9 percent of today’s young hip/hop and pop stars to shame.
At 53, the woman can dance for two hours, belt out soul song after soul song and never lose her breath. No AutoTune. No DJ. No “entourage” standing in the background to offer distractions while she catches her breath.
Sharon commands attention. The audience gives it. And they are rewarded for plunking down $20 to see the spectacle.
For those who don’t know about Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, let’s go to class. The band is made in the image of classic 1960s soul bands. Their sound is a lively mix of gospel, soul and funk. Jones is clearly the star of the show. But the Dap-Kings, which includes a three-piece brass section, two percussionists, a bassist, two guitars and two back-up singers, holds its own against Jones’ stage presence.
Last Saturday, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings put on one hell of a show in Augusta, Ga., which happens to be her hometown. James Brown’s influence was in the air. The Dap-Kings show opens like those of the Godfather of Soul. The band takes the stage and plays a couple of numbers to warm up their audience. The two backup singers got a chance to sing on center stage. Then, amidst the hype of the band leader, Binky Griptite, Jones emerges from the shadows. The energy doesn’t let up until the final note.
The band could not leave Augusta without paying homage James Brown. The encore that featured his music with Sharon Jones demonstrating some of Brown’s signature dance moves.
The audience was filled with Jones’ friends and families. Her’s is a classic Southern biography for African-Americans. Her family migrated to New York to escape the Jim Crow South and to find job opportunities up North. Before finding success with the Dap-Kings, Jones worked as a correctional officer at Rikers Island and sang at weddings. Last weekend, she clearly was happy to be home in Augusta. And we were happy to be there, too.
Other notes from the night….
The opening act was a pleasant surprise. The Howlies hail from Atlanta. These four white guys are a throwback to pop groups form the 1950s and 60s with their skinny ties, skinny jeans and narrow-cut suit jackets. And they can harmonize (Harmonize!). While their sound is old school rock-n-roll their lyrics reflect modern day sensibilities. The four-piece is lead by the drummer. I’m always impressed with someone who can keep the beat going with both arms and legs and sing and keep the rest of the band in check. I recommend you look for them in your area.
The concert was held in Augusta’s Imperial Theater, a charming venue that needs a little love. The theater was built in 1918 on Broad Street. Its ornate interior is beautiful in spite of the peeling paint. The seats are upholstered in red velvet. The neon marquee winks and blinks to passersby. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate venue to see Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
Finally, it’s rare for me to arrive anywhere early but somehow we got to Augusta with time to spare. While strolling on Augusta’s Broad Street we discovered Pyramid Records and Video, a hole-in-the-wall record store. It may be small but Pyramid is filled top-to-bottom with CDs, vinyl, movies and T-shirts. If you’re looking for the latest Arcade Fire release, you best keep walking. But if you’re in the mood to prowl for gospel, soul and rap gems, this is your place.