KINGS OF THE ROAD: I first caught wind of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings midway through Coachella in 2008. Stumbling into a stifling tent just before sundown, I was immediately enamored of Jones and her brass-wielding cohorts. They churned out dizzying, multipart orchestrations that perfectly channeled the Motown, soul, and Apollo Theater sounds of the mid century. They brought an energy and infectiousness to their live performance that demanded to be danced to. And they had Jones, a mighty presence who exuded genuineness even as she shook and shimmied with the expertise of a consummate show-woman.
Since that fateful April night, Jones and the Dap-Kings have been a regular fixture in my record rotation, not to mention my go-to way to turn cocktail hour into a living room dance-off. Needless to say, when the band announced a Santa Barbara tour stop (they’ll play SOhO this Saturday, November 19), my heart leapt. While Jones and the Kings lay claim to some sumptuous recorded offerings (2007’s 100 Days, 100 Nights is a great place to start), it’s that three-years-past live set that I still recall with immense fondness. Onstage, Jones’s big, soulful voice can fill a room, even in its quietest modes. And backed by a full band, not to mention one of tightest horn sections currently working in pop music, she soars. Stylistically, the group can maneuver easily between James Brown-esque funk, gospel-tinged soul numbers (think Mavis Staples), and roots-reggae–inspired jams (see “How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?”). And energy-wise, well, let’s just say you can expect to sweat.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Allah-Las play a 21-and-up show on Saturday, November 19, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) at 9 p.m. For tickets and info, call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com.
POTENT POISON: Also this Saturday, the Fresno folkies Poor Man’s Poison make an S.B. stop at the Brewhouse (229 W. Montecito St.). Melding a potent — and bar-ready — mix of alt-country, honky-tonk, and folk-pop balladry, these four pen tunes that fit comfortably in between the worlds of Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show. Better still, they come bearing an arsenal of traditional Americana instruments (stand-up bass, mandolin, slide guitar, banjos) that guarantee you’ll have something to gawk at while you sip your brew. (I recommend grabbing a partner and two-stepping along, though.) The free show starts at 9 p.m. Call (805) 884-4664 or visit brewhousesb.com for info and reservations.
CARP’S NEWEST ADDITION: Since Carpinteria Plaza Playhouse Theater’s daily film schedule got eighty-sixed back a few years ago, the little venue has undergone some big changes. Now, in addition to hosting the occasional movie screening, the Plaza has opened its doors to a whole new world of arts endeavors, including last month’s run of DIJO’s The Exonerated and this weekend’s open-house concert event with Jonathan McEuen. A longtime Santa Barbara music-scene staple (and recent Sings Like Hell alum), McEuen will be joined onstage by some of the county’s more notable players (Bucket Baker and Jesse Siebenberg, to name two). The free show will also double as an introduction party of sorts for folks who’ve yet to check out the space. I highly recommend stopping by and peering in, as the venue is sure to be booking more — and upping admission prices — in the coming months. (Word on the street is a real-deal concert series is already in the works for 2012.) Jonathan McEuen plays the Plaza Playhouse Theater (4916 Carpinteria Ave.) on Saturday, November 19, at 8 p.m. For more info and a full schedule of events, call (805) 684-6380 or visit plazatheatercarpinteria.com.
ALSO THIS WEEK: The Dirty Heads soldier on sans tour mates Gym Class Heroes and round out their national run with a show at UCSB’s Hub on Sunday, November 20, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 893-2064 for info. And this Friday, November 18, L.A. rapper, singer, and notorious party-starter Mickey Avalon takes to the stage at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) to make good on his canceled New Noise date earlier this month. For info, visit newnoisesb.com. All tickets purchased for the earlier date will be honored at the door.