Monday, May 4, 2009

I Don't Wanna Burst Y'all Bubbles: Sharon Jones Shows Us How It's Done

Last night was Dark Was The Night: Live, a performance that I reluctantly plunked down $50 to sit in the cheap seats, if only because the triple threat of a Feist-David Byrne-Dap-Kings concert had to be worth it. It was a night of mini-sets and collaborations between a handful of the artists on the Red Hot compilation, a double-disc loaded with original material produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National.

The show was better than I thought it would be--none of the acts disappointed, and some bands I was neutral on (Bon Iver, the National, My Brightest Diamond) turned in performances so strong that I've been digging much deeper into their discographies (this Boxer record is really very good, eh?). And getting to watch David Byrne duet with Feist was worth price of admission alone.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings gave the most electrified performance of the night to close the festivities. Then came the encore: the indie clusterfuck elite (and I say that with adoration and respect, honest) took the stage to lead a singalong of Pete Seeger's "This Land is Your Land," a fine choice on the folk legend's 90th birthday. Then, halfway through, Sharon Jones returned to the stage to show these kids how it's done with the Dap-Kings' cover "This Land" (which you can find on their LP Naturally) Watch the video before it gets taken down.

The whole show stopping number became an embodiment of my love/hate relationship with indie rock today: there are interesting things happening and tons of great acts working, but even at the top of its game, it can't ever really be as much fun as Sharon Jones and the Dap- Kings. Luckily, there's no need to pick one or the other, something that Dark Was The Night highlights in its eclecticism and deft curation. Please pick up a copy--it's for a good cause and it's really much better than this sort of thing usually turns out.

This Land is Your Land @ Dark Was The Night [youtube]
Dark Was The Night [official site]
Red Hot Organization [official site]
Buy Dark Was The Night [eMusic]
Buy Dark Was The Night [amazon]

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