Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Journey To The Old School!

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles 26 June, 2010

Saturday night in downtown Los Angeles was the place for an object lesson in Soul Music, old school style, courtesy of Sharon Jones and the one and only Dap Kings. They were in town at the Wiltern Theater, with the emphasis on the newest record, "I Learned The Hard Way".

Opening duties were handled with great aplomb by The Heavy, an English group that seemed to draw heavily from the wellspring of Fishbone. They handled ska beats and Stooges stomp with equal dexterity.

Showtime finally arrived as the Dap Kings hit the stage, their ranks rapidly swelling to 'Lyle Lovett/Large Band' proportions. Their sound was bouyant and propulsive, easily filling the theater, but not at the expense of dynamics. One of the tighter bands on the road now, it seems like their finally getting their due.

Nowadays it seems like the art of the introduction is lost, but below, the Dap Kings work through their newest theme, 'The Reason', (part one), and then proceed to bring on Sharon Jones, (part two), in a style befitting, as only Binky Griptite could put it: "That super soul sister with the magnetic je ne sais quois..."

With the spotlight on her, Sharon did not wilt or disappoint. I'm deep with the albums, and I've heard a few different live shows, but when she hit the stage, it was a detonation...Nothing quite compares or readies you for the sheer 'in your face.ness of it'.

It was definitely a people's show, with Sharon calling out audience members to come up and share the love. At one point, she had to wrangle a pack of girls that took advantage to obtain their less than fifteen minutes...She showed great patience in herding, and the band never missed a beat.

Highlights of the night included a rousing take on "Let Them Knock", (below), and the Dap King's horns showcased the new tune: "The Game Gets Old".

They never ran out of steam, and word to the wise, when the old school carnival hits your town, be sure not to miss it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

...Our Henry

Henry Rollins
Soho Santa Barbara
09 June 2010

World traveler, self described troublemaker, and all around bon vivant Henry Rollins made his return to the stage at Soho. Can he really be 49? Sigh...To say the least, he wears it very well. He started the evening with some local observations before launching into The Riff, his patented take on what currently is going down...

Tonight's version ran though 'Touring Canada At The Same Time As Ann Coulter', 'Henry's Personal Relationship With The US Constitution', then segued into the de riguer travelectomy in which Henry is let loose on the world at large...Tonight, it was Spotlight on South Africa!, the highlight of which had Henry breaking down South Africa's Constitution for us...

Bringing it back home, he touched on the Mississippi prom that was cancelled because (Gasp!) two girls wanted to Go, Together. (Duh..Dun....) He went on to work in a story of high school homophobia from his own days, and it's here where he really shines, weaving in the light and the dark in looking at this rollercoaster called life.

What I would declare the high water mark of the eve was his journey to Sonoma St, where he was the Commencement Speaker. (True Story, and i'll let your imaginations take it from there...)
Finishing off, it was a one/two media punch of his adventures as a character on season two of 'Sons of Anarchy', and a spot as a judge for Rupaul's tv show!

Never ceases to amaze how quick a few hours passes in his company, but as the physical reminder kicked in, he made a point of thanking our collective asses for putting up with him...

I'm sure the comparison would horrify him, but he works the same observational turf as most stand up comedians, and that's precisely where it ends. For starters, he is actually funny, and his line can be traced back to Mark Twain, ignoring all the Seinfeld clones so prevalent today.
He's our generation's Lenny Bruce, but his smack is work, and he keeps on working...