Sharon Jones is the exact result of James Brown and Tina Turner having a love child. I was completely unaware of her until I went to a one-day music festival in Northhampton, Massachusetts called the Royal Family Records Getdown Festival. This is the record label created by the band Soulive that features the related band Lettuce and all of the individual artists’ solo-work. I have seen Soulive a bunch of times since my first show at the spring fest concert at my college in 2006 and have also been fortunate enough to have seen Lettuce everywhere from outdoor festivals to tiny clubs. They are probably the funkiest band on the planet and never disappoint.
So, when I heard about this show I was interested. I loved both bands and the headliner was Soulive and John Scofield, an amazing jazz guitarist. His collaboration with Medeski, Martin and Wood, A Go Go, was a major influence on the creation of Soulive and to see the band with this legendary guitarist was unreal. Charlie Hunter was also there, as well as Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, but the real find was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I had never heard of them and my mind was blown.
Just to give a little perspective on this show, I was realizing as we drove in that I had poison ivy. I had it basically all over my body and it slowly became worse as the show wore on. I had stupidly rolled in a patch while clipping back my grandmother’s lilac bushes. The only time I didn’t think about it was during Sharon’s set. She lights your world up. The energy on stages reminds me of James Brown but the dancing is straight Tina Turner. She crackles and pops with electricity her entire set, not a single falter for a solid hour. Apparently, she is over the age of 50 and only has experienced mainstream success as of late. She has previously worked jobs such as prison guard and armored car driver in NYC. This woman is badass. I could on and on about her but just watch the videos and that will explain it all. I have been lucky enough to see her twice now and she delivers 150%.
Lastly, her band is internationally recognized for their work on the late Amy Winehouse’s smash album Back to Black, as well as countless other contributions to the funk/soul genre and beyond. The power of the horns and tightness of this combo is absolutely stunning and unlike any other live band I’ve ever seen. Go see this band. You will leave the concert a person changed.