show review: sharon jones & the dap kings live in dc

February 24, 2014

She kicked cancer’s ass then came to DC to kill a stage. When Sharon Jones announced to a roaring Lincoln Theater that she was really happy to be there, she really meant it. Just months before her triumphant return to the stage, she endured a difficult battle for her life. The love her devoted fans showed strengthened her will to fight through rounds of painfully invasive treatments to submit the cancer that has already taken too many of our heroes.

By Le Black Star, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Ms. Jones is finally out of the hospital and back where she belongs – on the stage with the mighty Dap Kings and surrounded by her great fans. Opening the show for the second consecutive night was another powerful sister, from the dirty.

The room fell silent as Valerie June relayed the story of a poor country girl in the rural South. The rich west Tennessee twang delivered by her distinct voice carried a realness that made the auditorium feel smaller and more intimate. ‘Workin’ Woman Blues’, the first track on Pushin’ Against a Stone, set the tone for what would be a captivating organic moonshine roots experience.

Pushin’ Against a Stone is Valerie’s first album with legit producers and a studio with a reasonable budget. After performing her mix of appalachian folk, blues, gospel, soul, country and bluegrass, for a decade, she was able to raise funds through the support of dedicated fans and three boot-legged recordings. Her talent is undeniable. With similarities to Erykah Badu, she attracted Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys to collaborate on this album. As she swayed to the rhythm of her finger picked mahogany guitar, her face concealed under her big coiling locks, it was impossible not to fall in love with her compelling voice.

The only visible battle scar of Sharon’s ordeal was the hair loss. But listen to me, saying that she was full of life would be a gross understatement. This woman was possessed by life, reviving the soul/funk sound as she channeled the energy of James Brown in her shiny silver dress.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings’ latest album is humbly titled, Give the People What They Want. But this title is inadequate. With uplifting tracks like ‘Stranger to My Happiness’, they don’t quite deliver what the people want. They bring us what we need – some soul!


* Le Black Star’s Blog | Twitter @le_blackstar