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Concert Reviews:
Sharon Jones, Dap-Kings Rock For Soul Lovers At The Majestic

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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DETROIT -- It takes a little moxy to come into Detroit to play soul music. And some talent to pull it off.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings had plenty of both on Tuesday night (May 18th) at the Majestic Theatre, where a couple hours of the troupe's "super soul revue" levitated a room packed with everything from first-generation R&B fans to youthful, late-night TV-watching hipsters ready to shake it up beyond the midnight hour -- even on a school night.

Jones and company certainly provided the soundtrack with a soul melange that mashed together Motown, Stax, Hi and other vintage soul connections with its Brooklyn-bred attitude, flaunting tight, brassy arrangements that drove Jones' commanding vocals. After a three-song warm-up set by the eight-piece Dap-Tones, with guitarist Binky Griptite singing, a black-dressed Jones and her two Dap-ettes strutted onstage to the sultry strains of "If You Call" before adding some octane for "Highway of Lost Lovers" and its mid-song break into a bit of "When the Saints Go Marching In." Jones then brought the first of several fans -- all pretty good dancers, by the way -- on stage to serenade him with "Give It Back."

Tuesday's focus was, not surprisingly, on the group's latest album, "I Learned the Hard Way," as the Dap-King crew rolled through sharp renditions of "Better Things," "She Ain't a Child No More," "The Game Gets Old," "I'll Still be True" and a particularly sublime take of "Window Shopping." The group's souled-up version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," popularized by the "Up in the Air" film soundtrack, was a highlight, as were the earlier favorites "How Long Do I Have to Wait For You?" and "How Do I Let a Good Man Down," during which Jones let each of the Dap-Kings take a few bars in the spotlight.

The energetic peak, however, was a long, lusty romp through "When I Come Home," during which a frenetic Jones demonstrated a "Soul Train" series of famous dances, including the Boog-a-Loo, the Pony, the Tighten Up, the Funky Chicken and the Hitchhike. She clearly knows her R&B history, but on Tuesday Jones and the Dap-Kings spun it in a fresh and fiery direction that surely made for some bleary eyes but satisfied souls on Wednesday morning.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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