Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at Cannery Ballroom, 5/14/2010



  • Photos by Steve Cross

It was a long, hard week. Not the longest or the hardest — or even the soggiest. But still quite a slog regardless. While things are getting back to normal here in Music City, it's not like our problems have just evaporated like a puddle on hot concrete. For one thing, it's been, like, 800 degrees Fahrenheit every day, but our air conditioner still hasn't dried out, and we're guessing that it's not supposed to be shooting sparks. We know that Middle Tennessee weather can be volatile, but Mother Nature's attempt to brine and braise us is just getting a bit ridiculous. Whatever. The train keeps a-rollin' — as the old song goes — and we rolled out to the Cannery to catch Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

Let us say that we totally meant to check out Fitz and the Tantrums’ material before the show, but, obviously, there was some other shit going on in the last few weeks that had us distracted. This, of course, was a huge mistake on our part, ’cause Fitz and the Tantrums freaking rule. Think '66 Sunset Strip mod stomp mixed with Northern Soul and you get the picture. Honestly, they kind of reminded us of Max and the Troopers from the world's greatest youth-in-revolt movie, Wild in the Streets, but with a touch less psychedelia and way more blue-eyed soul. Imagine Tom Jones channeling Scott Walker channeling Jacques Brel covering Wilson Pickett, or maybe P.F. Sloan and Steve Cropper sitting in with The Seeds, and you're in the ballpark. And just to sweeten the deal, toward the end of the set they announced that the badass filling in behind the drum kit was none other than Music City's own Ken Coomer. Needless to say, Fitz has moved to the top of our Righteous Dudes List, and we can't wait for them to come back to town.

What follows should come as no surprise to regular readers of this fine publication: We thought Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings frickin' killed it. There are two things a person can count on with SJ & The DK: First, they'll release a record and come through town a bunch of times in support of it, and second, each time they come through town will be better than the last. Since this was the first time through in support of their fabulous new platter I Learned the Hard Way, the crowd did seem a bit, well, unsure of the new songs. Which is funny, since they're the best and most accessible tunes of the Dap-Kings’ careers. Whatever. The crowd’s loss. Not ours.

Now we have to apologize for our lack of detailed note-taking and set-list recall, but The Spin had a dancing partner, and our dancing partner had no interest in standing still. Yep, we ended up dancing our collective ass off instead of rocking our bookish, nerd-ass note-taking stance, and it was a blast. Seriously Nashville, you should try it some time. We can confirm that they played our personal theme song “Money” and that righteous version of “This Land Is Your Land” from Naturally that always makes us wanna get all Daily Worker up in a mother fucker. Other than that, it was just great song after great song and a sweaty, sweaty evening of pure, unadulterated fun.

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