LIVE REVIEW: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings + Valerie June @ The Fillmore, SF 3/28/14
Sharon Jones hit the Fillmore stage dancing and singing and didn’t stop for nearly two hours. Despite surgery and chemotherapy last year for cancer, she was completely energized for the entire performance. At 57, Jones still puts on an amazing show.
Jones’ gritty voice led her 10-piece band through song after song of timeless R&B, old school yet fresh. While it would be easy to become a novelty revival act, Jones and the Dap-Kings instead took the essence of what used to be called soul music, making every song sound new. She paid respect to Tina Turner, another timeless R&B queen, using Turner’s intro patter for “Proud Mary” on one song. And she never stopped dancing.
Not only did she keep her body moving through the entire set, she brought audience members on stage to dance with her and even gave lessons in dances from the 60s, including the Funky Chicken, the Boogaloo, the Tighten Up, and, of course, the Twist. Three ecstatic women from the audience followed her moves in front of the band through the lesson. And for the first encore, the Dap-Kings played as people came on stage to dance, until there was nowhere left for more to join in.
Jones drew songs from her extensive catalog, but also supercharged Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” That she was able to bring an old folk tune into the world of rhythm and blues showed the power of her voice and the skill of the Dap-Kings. Some of the songs, such as “New Shoes,” were obvious lead-ins to her dance skills.
Rising star Valerie June opened the show with a 35-minute set showcasing her infectious reedy voice. June spins country songs into blues and blues into country, no simple feat. Accompanying herself with acoustic and electric guitar, banjo and banjo ukulele, sometimes alone and sometimes with a small band, June performed songs from her most recent album, “Pushin’ Against a Stone,” and some of her best-known earlier material. Performing old blues standard “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” as a country-like tune demonstrated just how well June, like Jones, turns old standards into something new and different.
Check out a full gallery of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings dance down the house at the Fillmore HERE!