Sharon Jones and Gogol Bordello live: Not your dad’s indie rock

Anyone who’s followed me knows the kind of shows I normally hit.  I’m about watching emerging rock bands grow and am usually happier in clubs than in arenas.  This was a week with two gigs that were all about fun, and so inspiring.  There was no need to overanalyze–we just enjoyed.

I now understand why people are crazed to see Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings live.  She’s lovable, has a great voice, and is backed by 15.  The Dap-Kings would be straight out of the best soul reviews of the 60’s if they were old enough.  The showbiz factor is very high, and it’s hard not to have a great time.  Interesting that the Wiltern crowd was heavily dominated by white hipsters with few blacks on hand.  She’s been targeted to the indie crowd, having had a large SXSW presence this year.  The Heavy opened.  These Brits are good live but we were hoping the energy-level would have been up another notch.  Their long trek on the road might have taken its toll.  See their Letterman appearance here, where he actually had them play “How Do You Like Me Now” twice.

Gogol Bordello turned the Mayan Theater into the punk version of a Greek wedding, far from the chin-stoking LA vibe one often encounters.  It was like 1,000 people were imported from Wisconsin, where hipsters will break into a polka without a second thought.  If you see them, you’ll probably want to wear tennis shoes but beware because the frolicking women near you just might be wearing sharp heels.  I was happily mauled over and over, and I was nowhere near the stage.  For the uninitiated, a video is worth two thousand words so check out their Jimmy Fallon appearance if you can find it.  Otherwise, watch ’em here on Jools Holland.

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