Sharon Jones, Avenue D, and More


Bumbershoot (Blues and Volkswagen Stage in Mural Amphitheater) at 4 p.m.

Mon., Sept. 1. $15/$20 one-day pass, $28/$35 two-day pass, $48/$55 four-day pass.

The third track of last year's Dap-Dippin' With . . . Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (Daptone) seems familiar enough the first time you hear it, for much the same reason the rest of the album doesit sounds like it was recorded in, oh, 1968 by one of the dozens of bands around the country for whom James Brown was the alpha and omega of music. A horn flourish, an itchy guitar fanfare, unstoppably funked-up drums, a shouting female voice . . . and then suddenly the words start sounding not just typical but recognizable, like a song you already know. Then Jones begins the chorus: "What! Have you doooone for me lately? Whoa-oh-ho-yeah!" YepJones and the Dap-Kings have transformed Janet Jackson's sharp-angled 1986 synth-pop hit into a perfect replica of the records Brown made in his heyday with singers such as Lyn Collins and Marva Whitney. Like Jones and the Dap-Kings' sweaty, skintight live show, the rest of Dap-Dippin' follows the same formula, though with original material rather than remakes, replicating the golden-age funk of both the band's stage presentationtheir choreography and costuming are impeccableand their records, which are engineered to have some of the warm, slightly muffled overtones of low-budget records from that era. Dap-Dippin' even replicates the era's taste in liner notes ("Brothers and Sisters, it's time to put aside that record you've been trying to get down with and get down with this!"), photography, and design. But these touches, while entertaining, hardly matter: These songs would have sounded good in 1968, and they sound good now. Jones can sing, but even better, she can shout, and the Dap-Kings are tight and loose in equal measure. MICHAELANGELO MATOS


Baltic Room at 9 p.m.

Fri., Aug. 29, with Adrien Barbeau, DJ Colby B, DJ Wesley Holmes. $7.

A friend of mine called Avenue D's "Do I Look Like a Slut?" the electroclash "Steal My Sunshine." I have no idea how well the comparison holds up under close scrutiny, but I think you get the point: bubbly, infectious, and utterly unlistenable after one or two spins. Electroclash is a great genre (no, really . . . in 15 years I guarantee it will be as highly regarded as another back-to-basics, retro-leaning, singles-focused movement: you know, that punk-rock thing), but it's made such a virtue out of crisscrossing the irony/pastiche/satire wires that no matter how clever a commentary it is on pop culture, it just leaves me with a headache from trying to figure out the angle. (Do our ultrabrittle times really need any additional irony? I can get my daily dose for free watching Fox.) Live, I'm sure it's a real forced Freaks-Come-Out-at-Night scene, all of the city's fashion phags, art-school kids, lapsed indie rockers, and ravers dressing to the nines (if the nines equal asymmetrical bangs and oversized shirts worn off the shoulder) and frugging like a listless Peanuts Christmas special. And onstage . . . oh, you know the drill by now: three or four nymphettes in colored Saran Wrap dresses they made themselves talking about hot pants and cocaine over Casio presets. The time has never been riper for a full-scale rave comeback (or reinvention), if only to reintroduce a bit of actual wide-eyed wonder and abandon into dance music. Smiles on the dance floor? Let it all go, whoa-oh-ay-oh. JESS HARVELL


Ballard Firehouse at 8 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 27. $12.50 adv./$15.

It's amazing that so many kids who listen to KISS 106.1 in 2003 are more clued in to the right now currents of Jamaican music than all the reggae nerds clutching their Wailers LPs combined. Dancehall is rapidly shaping up to be the "African music" of the mid-Noughties; all it needs is a Graceland to seal the deal. The difference, of course, is that instead of invading the underground and adult-contemporary markets, it's thankfully sticking to the reciprocal teen pop and hip-hop charts (cf. 90 percent of urban radio for the last five years and, um, No Doubt). Bounty Killer has long been reliable shorthand for the genre's essence: Not as poptastic as Beenie Man or Sean Paul (doubly odd, considering Sean Paul usually sounds like a robot who wonders aloud, "Why was I programmed to feel pain?"), nor as unhinged as Elephant Man or Harry Toddler. Live, expect the closest you can get to a true dancehall bashment this far north, with BK hopefully toasting overtop of the hottest riddims of the moment, like "Egyptian," "Sars," and the ubiquitous "Diwali" made world famous by Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, Lumidee, and, um, Ol' Dirty Bastard. Jamaica is the one place in the Northern Hemisphere where the massive block party never went out of style, where it remains the primary form of entertainment, in fact, and where even the biggest stars still rep for the hometown team over deafening bass. Be thankful the roving block party is coming to you. J.H.

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