The Artists on Brooklyn's Daptone Label to Record Live Album at the Apollo

Categories: Sharon Jones

Henry Strauss
The Gospel According to Sharon Jones: "It's almost like I'm preaching. I get to do that onstage."
At first glance, the two black doors folding into a backstage corner of Harlem's Apollo Theater are a mess of marker — a two-pane graffiti tableau bearing a constellation of white and silver scrawlings hastily etched over a hurried paint job. Upon closer inspection, the doodles weren't left by anonymous vandals, but pop-culture heavyweights: Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, and Paul McCartney, to name just a few. The autographs spill over the doorframe onto the wall flanking a staircase that leads up to the dressing rooms. On that wall — just above the signature of actor Chadwick Boseman, who played James Brown in this year's biopic, Get On Up — is a note in curly script with the slightly faded touch of a silver pen running out of ink: "Love ya! Sharon Jones."

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Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 2/6/13 - Beacon Theatre

Better Than: Pretty much everything.

About a month ago, Sharon Jones was finishing up her final chemo treatment in an attempt to trounce the cancer that threatened to silence her. Two weeks ago today, she announced that she was cancer-free. Last night, she launched her 10-week comeback tour at the Beacon Theatre by kicking off her shoes, pulling members of the audience up onstage to dance with her and powering through two hours of a flawless, nonstop soul marathon.

See also: Sharon Jones Rebounds After Cancer

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Watch Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, "Stranger to My Happiness" Video

Categories: Sharon Jones

Jesse Dittmar
Back in early November we found ourselves in a long-closed pool hall in Sunnyside, Queens, a sprawling--just guessing here--1,000,000 sq. ft. party warehouse that the owners rented out on occasion. We were there for a Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings video shoot. The song, "Stranger to My Happiness," was performed and shot in a tiny corner of the warehouse made up to look like a wedding reception. They needed to get done before the sun went down, they were told, as the operators of the warehouse were fairly certain unsafe elements from the surrounding neighborhood broke in frequently at night to sleep and ... do other things. (A spent condom in one of the ballrooms was a hot topic of conversation.)

It was Sharon and the band's first video back after the singer's cancer diagnosis, and not only is it a testament to the power of aiming your camera in the right direction and SET PRODUCTION MAGIC but also Sharon's boundless spirit. Watch the vid after the jump.

See also: Sharon Jones Rebounds After Cancer

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Live: VH1 Brings Out The Divas At The Hammerstein Ballroom

via VH1
VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul
Hammerstein Ballroom
Sunday, December 18

Better than: Whatever Ryan Seacrest is going to cook up for VH1 Soul.

Last night's VH1 Divas taping existed both as a performance and self-contained, 24-hours-out advertising opportunity for its broadcast. (Tonight at 9 ET!) TV tapings are always strange to experience first-hand, given the way they're designed for after-the-fact consumption; there are lots of long lulls in the action for the purposes of commercial breaking/set redesigning, and in "let's all get together and put on a show" scenarios like this one there are TelePrompTers with lyrics ready to assist the under-rehearsed. Despite the breaks and assists, though, this taping didn't have the hermetically sealed feeling of ones I attended during the pre-social-media era—people were encouraged to tweet and Foursquare check-in and let their pals on social media know what they were experiencing via corporately provided hashtag. In the 21st century, after all, all publicity is.

The night's bent toward soul meant that most of the acts on the bill had pipes and cred—Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Martha Reeves, and Wanda Jackson represented for the pre-music-video era, while the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Ledisi, Jill Scott, and Jennifer Hudson were among the new-schoolers. Jessie J's tireless, apparently unending promotional campaign also continued here; her new party trick involves her stuttering out words instead of singing them in toto, a tic that serves to both illuminate the bleatiness of her voice and make her seem even more malleable and annoying. She's the opposite of a diva, her jet-black-dyed artifice doing a miserable job of covering up the void within; I expect either a turn to Christian rock or the "mysterious" leak of a sex tape within the next 12 months.

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Ariel Pink, Titus Andronicus, the Butthole Surfers, Drive-By Truckers, and More Headline Your New York City New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is next Friday, which means you probably already missed out on Patti Smith tickets. Wait much longer and there won't be much left to choose from. So, in the interests of being servicey, and in honor of the news that 2010's Most Important Singles Artist, Ariel Pink, will be in a 10,000 square foot Brooklyn warehouse when the clock rolls over to 2011, we thought we'd mention a few (read: a manageable amount of) SOTC-sanctioned shows. One of these is indeed Ariel Pink's; tickets for that--it's at 234 Starr Street--can be got here. $20 buys entry; other selling points apparently include a "$300,000 custom built, all-analogue sound system" and a bunch of Altered Zones-type dudes working it. Your flyer:

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Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings Are Playing New Year's Eve At Best Buy Theater

sharon jones.jpg
Add another possibility to your NYE Excel chart or however you're organizing this: Everyone's favorite Brooklyn-soul queen is playing everyone's favorite recently rebranded Midtown theater December 30-31. Tickets are on sale here Friday at noon; play your cards right and you could ring in 2011 while dancing with Sharon onstage, as long as you don't get too fresh or anything. For example:

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Sharon Jones On Her Rikers Island Prison Guard Days: "If Another Inmate Had Sang That Song To Me, I'd Have Punched Him In The Face"

Try and guess which song she's talking about. Fun eMusic Jukebox Jury piece by Michaelangelo Matos (they sit in her car, he plays a bunch of tunes, she sassily free-associates), particularly when they get into her oft-discussed stint as a Rikers guard:

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Oh Rad, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Showed Up on Saturday Night Live

Not to draw your attention away from the Grammys' cornucopia of bizarre onstage pairings, but here we have Brooklyn's finest, onstage at the behest of mom-beloved crooner Michael Bublé, flirting only semi-awkwardly through "You've Got What It Takes." Wouldn't have pegged Mike as the dude to get her there, but we'll take it. Beats the hell out of Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks.

Not-Technically-CMJ: Sharon Jones Boogaloos Through The Daptone Soul Revue

Daptone Soul Revue
Knitting Factory
Friday, October 23

Greetings from the R-for-Retro wing of Slate's infamous DORF matrix, which chides NPR for only spotlighting black music made by those who are Dead, Old, Retro, or Foreign. Verily, Daptone Records has the R on lock, with multiple backing bands conjuring up a slick, lithe, suitably greasy, and only occasionally ill-mannered classic-soul whirlwind, often with a stupendous and wizened singer out front who might well be older than any two dudes in the band put together. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, of course, are your star attractions, but there are other belters to consider, of equal verve and vintage; we've miles to go before Sharon saunters out to do the Mashed Potato.

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The Obligatory Coachella Photo Post

St. Vincent celebrated Prince's headlining set by turning into Jennifer Beales.

Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27
all photos by Timothy Norris

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