Walking into KOKO last night was like travelling in a time machine to the swinging 50s, where the music was soulful, heavy and funky… and you know what I could have stayed there all night. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings absolutely rocked.
The Dap Kings are a funk soul band of the highest order, echoing many of the greats from days gone by. They give a raw, yet rich sound coupled with funky be-bopping steps. Whilst the band is awesome it is the leading lady herself who really lights up the stage.
Watching Sharon on stage is like watching a female James Brown, this confirmed when she re-emerged for the encore and starting incoherent shouting, each chant met with a chorus of “yeah!” from her band. Her voice is distinctive and raspy like the late man himself, if he were still alive seeing the two of them on stage together would have been magical (if a little uncanny).
The energy Sharon brought to the set personifies the Dap Kings. Every time she would do an energetic wiggle, the baritone sax would ramp up a notch, or the trumpet would play that little harder; it was pure funk, it was sexy funk. Everything about it, even the slower songs, just oozed excitement.
The new songs sounded great live, however it was the classics, like 100 Days, 100 Nights that got the crowd rocking.
At over an hour and a half the set was long, and there were times it did wane a little bit. The sound, while great, does make for very similar records which becomes telling from time to time. However that is only a minor point on a great evening.
It seems finally Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are getting the recognition the deserve, a KOKO packed to the rafters is sentiment to that. Let’s hope they continue to get this recognition and grow because despite being a very authentic throw back to a bygone era, its that authenticity which makes the music so exciting and original. Viva la Dap Kings!