Monday, January 25, 2010

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings(!) and Nittany Valley Symphony

While I did not accomplish anything related to my work over the past weekend, I did have a fantastic time attending two very different concerts.

On Friday eve, I attended a show featuring Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings at The State Theatre here in State College, PA.  If you have never heard of her and her band, then you are seriously missing out!  Hubby and I got the chance to see her over the summer during our travels to Oregon (see:  Out West for a Bit).  I would say that she is the equivalent to James Brown regarding her energy, funky sound and soul, but she is just as dynamic, classy and polished as I would imagine Tina Turner is live...even though at 4'8" her legs aren't quite as long as Tina's.  I first heard of the amazing Ms. Sharon Jones during my early days of Pandora circa 2004 thanks to Grad School - on a side note:  all hail to Pandora for helping me discover some really awesome music!  You've probably unknowingly heard her band, though, on Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" album, which (I'm just gonna say it) is all about the Dap-Kings' contribution...they KILL on that record.  Winehouse has on OK voice (in my opinion), but it's the music (aka the Dap-Kings contribution) that is more memorable to me.  Of course, Winehouse wrote the music (I think?) so I suppose she KILLS, too :-)

Before the show, hubby and I had dinner at India Pavilion (yummy Chana Masala for me!) with one of my former roomies and her hubby who were also attending the show with us.  I have a little crush on Ms. Jones, so I bought the tickets for the show literally seconds after they went on sale.  With that, I was able to score front row "seats".  I say "seats" because I really didn't expect to be sitting the entire show, and I was correct.  DJ Roman Oakwood from local station The Lion @ 90.7FM  "warmed us up" with his enthusiasm and funky spins...totally fun and appreciative guy.  Then soon after, the Dap-Kings came out and got us on our feet (after some initial uncomfortable eye contact associated with being so close to them) to introduce Ms. Jones.  The whole show was so entertaining - she's pulling people up and performing her ass off!  Two lucky ladies - me and my former roomie(!) - also got pulled onstage during "My Man is a Mean Man".

Yup, that's US!  (thanks to hubby)

We danced a bit, introduced ourselves, and then "shimmied" off the stage.  It was so fun!  Of course, she has to end the show at some point, but (of course) there was an Encore.  She performed "Answer Me" and also told us about enduring some of the criticism that she faced when trying to get signed - e.g., too black, too fat, and too old (she's 53!).  I would say she has prevailed, and I'm sure those music executives are kicking themselves.  We all got to meet her after the show, and she graciously signed two records for me.  I would definitely recommend all of their albums, and you should see them perform live if you can.  In fact, all of the Daptone Records artists are amazing.  On another side note - Grooveshark is another awesome online music site that I use to listen/sample several different artists and bands.  You won't be disappointed buying her albums, though.  I almost forgot to mention, too, that Ms. Jones will be singing a duet with Michael Buble on Saturday Night Live on Jan. 30!

Just for fun, here's another photo from Friday eve.

Yeah, I see you!

Hubby and I also attended a Nittany Valley Symphony concert on Saturday eve.  My former roomie (yes, the one dancing on the stage with me!) plays the violin in it.  While I do not have tales of dancing on the stage this time around, it was definitely a great performance.  I grew up listening to a lot of classical music, mostly due to my many many years of ballet dancing, so it's still fun for me to hear it live especially when you know someone playing.  They performed pieces from Dvorak and Bartok.  I love me some New World Symphony, so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B Minor (Op. 104).  I really (sadly) don't know Bartok, but enjoyed his Concerto for Orchestra, which seemed extremely difficult to play.  Nevertheless, the NVS performed it and Dvorak brilliantly.  It was a good change from the previous night, but still very enjoyable - two date nights for me and hubby in a row!  It's also fun to attend their performances, because I always recognize someone new in the symphony that I "know" - either they are professors or I just see them around the community at random places.

Overall, it was a very lazy weekend for me - we also managed to watch the last 5 episodes of Lost (Season 5) after the concert on Saturday.  I'm slightly ashamed of myself for spending so much time in front of the TV - but only slightly as we really don't watch anything else and it's taken us an entire year to watch all five seasons (I know people watch them over 5 least we spread it out!).  For now, though, it's back to work work work!  These experiments and dissertation aren't going to finish themselves!!!  All the best to you and your work - work hard!

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