Wow...just wow. I don't know why it took me so long to experience the stunning Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, but lawdy, I'm sure glad I went to the concert that closed out a great summer of Celebrate Brooklyn! at the Prospect Park Bandshell and finally got to witness the phenomenon that she is. Sharon Jones blew my mind with her energy, singing, dancing -- you name it, she was a solid gold MVP, James Brown heir-apparent. For 2+ hours, she and her stellar bandmates (including members of the Bushwick Philharmonic) kept the 20,000+ crowd on their feet, grooving along to a wonderful retro-soul/funk sound that did not let up. She was also assisted on a few songs by the charming Lee Fields.
(More words, pics and a video after the jump.)
Though it is difficult to isolate particular highlights, I really dug their version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" and most of all, a longer segment during which Jones described her family tree which gave rise to the amazing performer before us. I loved how she took off her shoes and really danced hard for that one. I also enjoyed the moments she took a break from singing to address her hometown crowd (having grown up in nearby Bed-Stuy), calling out her niece in the audience.
It has been a long journey for this former corrections officer at Rikers, and I hope we gave her the reception she deserved. I felt like I could have danced all night!
Here's Sharon Jones with a stripped down band performing the last cut from their latest album, "Mama Don't Like My Man":
The evening kicked off with another local act and labelmate, The Budos Band (some of whom I actually saw a few nights prior backing up Spoon at the Arcade Fire concert at MSG). This all dude band played a good hour of jazz/funk that had the crowd bopping along in their seats, heavily promoting their third and latest release. I liked their loose style (especially that of the bassist, who seemed to be the instigator/clown of the bunch) but I thought their music could have perhaps used some vocals to mix up the set a bit.
Update: Brooklyn Vegan quoted me and used my video here.