Sharon Jones Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford
“The show must go on.”
–Sharon Jones, from the film documentary Miss Sharon Jones!
Earlier this year I saw Daryl Hall and John Oates in concert, which fulfilled a dream of mine. Growing up as a child of the ’80s I was a huge fan of the duo but never saw them perform live. That was until they headlined at at Madison Square Garden for the first time in over 30 years last February. As eager as I was to see them, I also wanted to check out the opening act, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. I love old-school R&B music from the Motown, Stax and Philadelphia International Records eras. So I wanted to see the Brooklyn-based soul group for myself and find out what everybody was talking about.
At times, the Dap-Kings set felt like a church revival, and I became one of the converted.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings weren’t your conventional soul band–this was a large ensemble with both rhythm and brass sections, reminiscent of something you’d see at a James Brown show or a soul revue on the Chitlin Circuit in the ’60s. The guitarist in the Dap-Kings also served as the MC-–a throwback to the old days–who in a booming voice introduced the main focal point, Sharon Jones. I never realized how petite Jones was in person, but underneath her small physical frame was a feisty high-octane performer who, along with the band, projected joy, energy, and of course soul. I knew at the time she was recovering from treatment for cancer, but you couldn’t tell as the band delivered one hot number after another. At times, the Dap-Kings set felt like a church revival, and I became one of the converted. (more…)
Folks, it’s that time of the year when New York is bombarded with free concerts. A stellar mix of top-tier acts and up-and-comers of every imaginable musical genre will be hitting the stages soon, from the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival at Prospect Park, to Lincoln Center Out of Doors. It’s time to get out of the house, leave the wallet behind, and rock on. We’ve made this neat Google calendar to keep track of all the free shows around the city this summer, and we’ll keep adding to it as more concerts are announced. Here’s a sampling of what’s in store.
Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park Bandshell Prospect Park West & 9th Street
This year’s installment of Celebrate Brooklyn! is the most supurb lineup in quite a while. It’s book-ended by two amazing performers who are guaranteed to draw huge crowds–R&B sensation Janelle Monae and indie rock goddess St. Vincent–so get there early. In between are some terrific acts, including roots trio Nickel Creek, punk-pop band Dum Dum Girls, a tribute to jazz giant Ornette Coleman, traditional Irish collective Altan, and Latin singer Bebel Gilberto. (By the way, if do you have spending money, there are also some benefit shows featuring The National and Neutral Milk Hotel–not only will you hear more great music, but you will also help fund more free shows at the park.)
Wednesday, June 4, 8pm: Janelle Monae
Saturday, June 7, 7pm: The Soul Rebels/Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen/Lost Bayou Ramblers
Thursday, June 12, 7pm: Celebrate Ornette: The Music Of Ornette Coleman Featuring Denardo Coleman Vibe
Saturday, June 14, 4pm: Ozomatli’s Ozokidz
Friday, June 20, 7:30pm: Amos Lee/Lake Street Dive
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