There are few performers who command a stage like Sharon Jones. At 55, the late-blooming soul star — and reigning queen of the Daptone Records label — can still belt like Mavis Staples and shake it like Tina Turner, and on Saturday night, she did both and gave fans nearly two hours’ worth of tunes to boot.
Fresh off their inaugural S.B. stop-through earlier this month, L.A.’s Allah-Las made a return trip to State Street to open for Jones & Co. And as in their first show, the quartet didn’t disappoint, dishing out a toe-tapping collection of lo-fi surf and ’60s-inspired psych rock that felt as authentic as the real deal.
After a lengthy setup and a snappy “warm-up” set by backing band The Dap-Kings, Jones emerged stage left, cloaked in a multihued fringed mini-dress and heels. Not surprisingly, the dance party kicked off almost immediately, and in no time, one avid fan had scaled SOhO’s stage to get his groove on alongside the songstress. Unfortunately, fan participation wasn’t the only reoccurring theme in Saturday’s proceedings; throughout the set, Jones struggled with her in-ear setup, no doubt due to the large size of the band — 10 players, plus an onstage engineer — and small stage space.
No matter, though, as Jones soldiered on despite the troubles, riffing through tracks like “Soul Train” and “Mama Don’t Like My Man” with spirited professionalism. Like her label mate (and recent S.B. stopover) Charles Bradley, Jones evokes the history and greatness of an otherwise forgotten era of showmanship, and in front of Saturday’s diverse and multigenerational crowd, the message resonated even stronger.