Friday, June 14, 2013

Music T Friday: Oh the Divine Ms. Jones...

I'm always amazed by how seemingly random things turn out to have significance. Picking a music tee for today was a process centred mostly on "I'm wearing black slacks today. I don't want to wear a black tee as well". So I pulled out the Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings shirt I picked up at the Commodore Ballroom show in 2010. It's also a very nice fit still. At the time of the show, I was a contributing freelance photographer for the Guttersnipe website (rebranded The Snipe News a little while ago) and parked myself up close to the stage to get my shots in.

There are certain shows where the tableaus are the thing, where the act holds a still frame in the audiences mind, where there are certain iconic "flashbulb" moments. Those photog opportunities are all about timing, and have a generally satisfactory pay-off because if you can capture that one definitive picture, you've done your job. This was not one of those events. The SJDK performance was all movement, all energy, all power and verve and not at all suited to the fairly pedestrian still photography that I was capable of. Instead, it was all I could do to get a series of images in focus that might one day make a good flip-book recount of the evening. The gallery I submitted to Guttersnipe/The Snipe News is still up (sorry, the browsing function is a little slow) and still doesn't do justice to the fantastic performance Ms. Jones and her Kings put on for Vancouver. There are 26 pictures in the gallery. There are 153 in my Facebook album from that night.

The fangirl and Ms. Jones

The next day, the show was touted one of the best of the year by several industry friends and music concert aficionados, many who had attended with no idea what to expect of the show. The next time Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings played Vancouver, the show was in Malkin Bowl, an outdoor amphitheatre venue and Stanley Park came alive with their unique sound which claims the "territory between ’60s soul and ’70s funk".

Live video of "Let Them Knock" (2007)

I haven't followed the SJDK news over the last half year, being otherwise distracted by life events, so it was a sombre revelation to me today (in researching this post) to discover that, as of June 3, they had had to cancel their most recent tour appearances (and the August CD release) due to Ms. Jones seeking treatment for stage-one bile duct cancer. Her message to fans on the website was hopeful and spirited as the doctors had deemed her situation operable and curable. According to her Twitter-feed, she went in for the surgery on this past Tuesday. She was out the same day, all "tubed up" and tweeting on Wednesday and declaring Life to be good yesterday. Sincerely, I send her best wishes for a speedy and total recovery.

So, there you have it, a seemingly trivial morning shirt selection leads me to a contemplative post on life, cancer, and the joys of music - making it, appreciating it, photographing it. All our lives are all soundtracked by our internal orchestras. It's when we recognize our soundtrack in the music around us, in front of us, that we know we are where we are meant to be.