Saturday, April 15

Neko Case / Kelly Hogan / Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings

So I saw Neko Case for the first time tonight and really enjoyed it. Her voice just fills a room. I have a feeling I'm going to be listening to her a lot in the coming weeks. I didn't tape because Neko's management asked me not to... but you should really go download the live DC show that So Much Silence is offering if haven't already. Sorry I'm not up for a full review, but I'm damn tired and don't know her catalog well enough to do a good job. A favorite moment of the evening was when Kelly Hogan covered the Magnetic Fields song "Papa was a Rodeo" during her opening set with Neko on guest vocals. I happen to have an mp3 of a studio version handy:

Kelly Hogan - Papa was a Rodeo [Magnetic Fields cover]

Now, speaking of ladies with tremendous voices... I'd like to introduce you to Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings.

I've found my taste in rock has lately taken a turn toward the psychedelic pop and garage rock of decades long past. However, my friend Joe recently brought to my attention a current artist who evokes an entirely different sound from days gone by. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings play a blend of funk and soul the likes of which is seldom heard on contemporary radio. This music is more like that of James Brown, Mahalia Jackson, and Wilson Pickett than the formulaic, processed, and watered-down crap that often passes for soul and R&B these days. Unfortunately, radio's preferences for such swill have delayed the success of Sharon Jones for too long -- she was once a venerable studio performer in the 1970s and '80s but was working as a corrections officer at Rykers Island by the mid-1990s. Fortunately, she was driven to perform again in the last few years and has just released her second album, Naturally.

The album's funkier tracks work better for me than the ballads, but that's probably just a matter of personal taste. If you've been reading a while you've probably picked up on the fact that "sad bastard music" doesn't always keep my attention very long. On that note, check out these tracks:

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - How Long Do I Have to Wait for You
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Your Thing is a Drag
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Fish in the Dish

Nice, huh? By the way, Sharon does have a Georgia connection. She was born in Augusta and lived there for a while before moving to her long-time home in Brooklyn. I'm guessing Georgia would claim her anyway.

You can buy releases by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings from Daptone Records.

For more on the band, check out their MySpace page.


Blogger Erin said...

curious to hear what you thought about the high dials. my band (the volta sound. i'm not afraid of shameless plugs!) has done a couple shows with them and they'd have to be one of my favorite live bands. i mean, who else has a sitar?

(if you actually know of bands that perform live with a sitar, let me know. taht's awesome.)

2:15 AM

Blogger Paulie said...

Well you didn't as *me* but I'll chime in anyway.... I was underwhelmed with The High Dials. First, I thought they were a poor fit for this bill (of course that is not their fault). Through their entire set I felt like it was five guys producing the sound of three. With every song I waited for a change, in sound, in tempo, anything. It wasn't until the sitar song that I actually noticed that there was a real band on stage.

Rich, kudos to you for honoring management's request for no recording. I also noticed a sign asking that no photos be taken, although some people (not me as I left my dead-battery camera at home) decided that they were above the request.

7:55 AM

Blogger Mike said...

That Sharon Jones album was one of my favorites from last year. Nice to see it get some attention. I've heard she's killer live.

8:39 AM

Blogger Rich said...

I hate to say it Erin, but I pretty much agree with Paulie re: the High Dials. I also didn't perk up until the song with the sitar, and it was their closer. I also agree re: the bill... Kelly Hogan played with members of Neko's band and has a similar sound. The High Dials sandwiched between Kelly and Neko just didn't make a lot of sense.

Don't give me too much credit, Paulie. I've certainly stealth-taped a number of bands in my day. I just didn't want to deal with the hassle and have to get to the venue early. When I stealth a show I don't really get to enjoy it in the moment. Plus, it allowed me extra time for a couple more pints of Bass at Brewhouse. Heh.

Mike, I've heard the same about her live show. I understand she was in ATL fairly recently but I didn't know about her yet.

10:00 AM

Blogger Bawston Sean said...

Hey Rich,
If you dig the Dap-kings you should check out The Dynamites from Nashville, they play the same variety of deep soul and put on a great live show.

I played a show with them a few weeks ago and they were incredible.
They're playing at the Earl on April 29th.

3:24 PM

Blogger Rich said...

Thanks for the heads-up Sean. I hadn't even heard of 'em. Unfortunately, I'll probably have to miss it because the Masters of the Hemisphere reunion show is the same night.

3:42 PM

Blogger Erin said...

i'd agree that it matters who's on the bill, but that's true with any show. when you go to one show, and a totally mismatched band opens up or gets on the bill.... it doesn't sit well. not really sure HOW that bill got put together, but you're right, it's out of place and therefore probably un(der)appreciated.

but when you have three psychedelic drone-ish rock bands on a bill, and people who are much more willing to participate with their end piece, it makes for a totally different atmosphere. we have a milk crate full of tamborines and shakers that we bring to shows, and we use about a third of that on stage. when you get a crowd who's already into it, and willing to jump in and be a part of the show.. it's a lot more fun.

i also know that the high dials are way past burnt out on touring, they're probably just -done- with it. that can also make for a less than inspiring show.

i'm also not making excuses. if you just didn't like it, then you didn't like it. -shrug- i've always had a blast with them.

three chords good, two chords better, one chord best,


6:32 PM

Blogger Rich said...

FYI Erin, they'd apparently also been stuck in ATL traffic for hours prior to the show because a semi full of tires was laid out and on fire across the interstate. Not an excuse, but related to your mention of the rigors of touring.

8:34 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home