You Can’t Stop Sharon Jones

December 14th, 2011

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – The Bowery Ballroom – December 13, 2011

We waited together, packed shoulder to shoulder. The band was onstage but its fundamental element was missing, the SJ to the backdrop’s SJDK—because, quite simply, Sharon Jones makes Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. It’s her presence and voice that give the band an identity. Without her, the Dap-Kings are a talented nine-piece band in similar suits. So when Jones finally appeared, wearing a golden brown ruffled sequin dress, the collective mood noticeably shifted. We finally saw whom we came to see.

For her part, Jones performed with abundant focus and energy, harkening back to soul singer/performer extraordinaire James Brown. Even before the music started, guitarist Binky Griptite announced each of Jones’s notable songs to a short band review, identical to the sequence of a Brown show. And, like Brown, Jones sings, dances and emotes herself to the point of exhaustion. After a performance of the ancestry dance song, a long narrative explanation of her dance style, she huffed and paced. But like Muhammad Ali in the ring, her display seemed as such a part of the performance as it was a breather. She quickly recovered. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Alexis Maindrault |

(Tonight’s Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings show at The Bowery Ballroom is sold out.)