Sharon Jones, I Love You | Seven Days Vermont

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Sharon Jones, I Love You 

Published November 22, 2009 at 4:26 p.m.

Dear Sharon Jones,

I think I love you. But not in that way.

I, like most other white people, have never been to a soul show, so I wasn't sure what to expect Friday night when I went to see you at Higher Ground. Sure, I've liked your music for a couple years now and had a feeling what the live version might be like, but you never know. You could be a total clanger live, like Liz Phair or Bob Dylan.

When I arrived at the venue, having timed it just right to miss the opener, I was amazed at what I saw — a room full of white people. But not just one kind of white people — all different types of pale. Hipster white people and oldster white people. Fratty white people and conservative-looking white people. And then there were folks like me: boring-ass, garden variety white people. If you are not already on the list of Stuff White People Like, then we need to get you on it.

Of course, there were some people of color there as well. The seven black people who live in Vermont showed up, and for that I am grateful. It would have been embarrassing for all involved if the crowd was composed solely of a bunch of uncoordinated, pasty people.

But let's get back to you, Sharon. Can I call you Sharon? I feel like I should call you Miz Jones.

It was so exciting when your eight Dap-Kings played you onto the stage. At first I thought they looked a little stiff up there in their suits. The guy on the congas, Bugaloo Velez, looked more like an insurance agent than a member of a funky band. But when they started playing, oooh Lord, they were good.

Might I say that you looked radiant in your tangerine-colored dress. It was like a little ray of sunshine sent from Brooklyn to brighten all of our days. For the entire show, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I have never been to a show where the performer seemed to so thoroughly enjoy what he or she was doing. But I guess if you spent most of your career as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and then got discovered singing in church and are now touring the country, the joy in what you're doing couldn't help but come out.


Photo of Miz Jones getting nastee, courtesy of Jess Watt.

I can't decide what I liked best about the show — your inspiring pipes, your sick dance moves or your infectious sense of humor. I'm going to go with the dancing. Not only can you do the Mashed Potato, the Boogaloo and the Watusi, but you can do African and Native American dance. And you blended it all together to something you called the Shout. You, madam, are my dancing inspiration. Henceforth, I will try to model my moves after yours.

One quick thing before I sign off. Thank you for bringing so many folks on stage from the audience. It clearly made everyone's night to see their friends try to find rhythm in front of a sold-out crowd. You were such a good sport about it, even when that girl in the red dress put her arm around you, which is sort of a no-no. Do not touch the artist.

An extra thank-you for bringing City Councilor Clarence Davis on stage for a sexy slow dance. That was brilliant and I'm quite sure it made his night, if not his whole life. 

In closing, Miz Jones, I'd like to extend my gratitude on behalf of a thankful city. You didn't have to bring your sassy soul power to our little corner of the Great White North, but you did.  I hope you do it again. Like tomorrow. Or the next day.

Yours in funk,

Lauren Ober   

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About The Author

Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober

Lauren Ober was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2011.


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