Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are one of the most exciting live acts around today. Strutting their stuff in Ottawa for the first time they levelled a packed house with a relentless set of mostly originals.

Ottawa soul duo Maya and Alanna opened the night with a capable set of mostly covers, including 'Take Me To The River' and 'Chain of Fools'. A tight and restrained musical backing was provided by local musicians Ben Mullin and Tristan Boucher. While not without emotional power, their turn on stage was nothing compared to the intense performance of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

Their set began with the eight-strong, besuited Kings taking the stage and running through three songs before calling Jones to the stage. Jones made quite an impression in a fuchsia dress, high-heel leather boots (“These boots were made for walking”) and braided hair, her compact figure frequently a shaking blur as the band roved and raved through songs from their two albums. Audience members were frequently called on stage to dance along or serve as the subject of some soul-sung lecture or to shake what their momma gave them. Apart from a brief mention of the current inhabitant of the White House in a song introduction, Jones and her band could have leapt from the stage of a 1960's soul revue.

The group kept the energy level so high it almost became exhausting – but not exhausting enough to stop the audience from shouting loudly for an encore.

Easily one of the best five shows I’ve seen.

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Commenting On: Babylon, Ottawa, 26/4/2005 - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

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