Live Review / Photos: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens @ Ramshead Live (2009.05.07)


All photos: Greg Szeto

Editor’s Note: If you look closely, you’ll see one Victoria Legrand from a little band called Beach House, playing backup dancer for Ms Sharon Jones.

Even though I have read about the history of now defunct Desco Records in the newspaper of record, I had never really heard of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings before. A name like that is like a secret code for soul, and they proved that they’ve got it in spades.

Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens kicked off the night by moving directly into the religious material. It is a fine line to walk as a gospel entertainer when it comes to performing praise and worship music in front of a mixed audience. “Let me hear you say, ‘praise Jesus!’” went over like a lead balloon with this crowd, but I bet it kills on Sunday. Still, the band was tight and the performance was solid, perhaps owing to the fact that the band is seeded with members of the Dap Kings.

Sharon Jones is a true entertainer, a real triple threat. She can sing, she can dance, and she can work an audience like a taffy puller. As a performer, she has incredible stamina. I don’t believe she ever stopped to rest or have a drink of water.

And what a voice!

Jones’ energy must stem from how long she waited for her break (40 years). As the Dap-Kings vamped, she told the crowd: “When I was 19, 20, 21 years old I went to sing for Sony records. They told me I was too fat, too black and when I turned 25, too old. Look at me now, I turned 53 this past Monday. Never give up on your dreams.”

The Dap Kings themselves consist of drums, bass/bandleader, guitar, horns and MC/hype man. For many people, the Dap Kings are as much of a draw as Sharon Jones, and it’s easy to see why. They are a nice soul combo, extremely tight, but they’d really be served well to have some kind of keyboards in the future. It’s important not to upstage your singer, but I thought there was a lot more room for them to stretch on rhythm breaks and use syncopated hits.

The sound lacked bottom end that should be a hallmark for this type of music. This is a shame because the bass player was well-qualified to groove. Just because you can’t hear any bass on old James Brown recordings doesn’t mean it ought to be played that way live.

Soulful, saucy, sultry, it was all there and when I count to four, give the drummer some more.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings


Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens


Related posts

  1. Contest: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings @ Rams Head Live[Audio clip: view full post to listen] MP3: Sharon Jones...
  2. UnDetectable Genius: Hello, My Name is Bob! aka Live Review: BoB, Almost Kings @ Jammin’ Java (2009.07.31)Concert Review: BoB & Almost Kings 07/31/2009 @ Jammin' Java...
  3. Photos / Live Review: The Cranberries @ Rams Head Live (2009.11.12)What a pleasure it was to be able to see...
  4. Live Review / Photos: Dance Music Reflections – Deep Sugar @ Paradox (2009.01.10); Martyn and Joe Nice @ Hour Haus (2009.01.09)All Photos: Josh Sisk Dance—some Western creation myths favor a...
  5. Photos / Live Review: Frodus, Sick Weapons, Caverns, Solar Powered Sun Destroyer @ the Talking Head (2009.05.08)Flickrshow will appear here. var frod = new flickrshow('frod', {set:'72157617920335796'});...

Leave a Reply