Things got funky in a very good way at First Avenue Saturday night. Hometown soul band Sonny Knight & the Lakers celebrated the release of their new album “Sooner Or Later” (out on 10/14) and brought plenty of friends.
First up was Duluth’s Big Wave Dave and the Ripples. While Duluth has a lively music scene, it’s not exactly known as a hotbed of soul. That didn’t hinder Big Wave Dave to take to the stage like he was a long lost Blues Brother (no State Troopers sighted in the audience). Their set was classic, fast and tons of fun. “It sounds like you are having a good time, and that’s what it’s all about”, he said closing out the set.
Nooky Jones took soul in a more modern and jazzy direction. Singer Cameron Kinghorn has a smooth, cool stage presence. Nooky Jones members collaborate from other bands and bring a number of influences creating a very interesting sound. After a great rendition of “People Get Ready”, Kinghorn warned for one song “Sweet Lie”? that this would be the part where things get a little bit crazy. Overall a very fun and cool band to see live.
Sonny Knight & the Lakers started old school with Sonny being introduced as the “Lion of Lyndale”. This was a big production with as many as 16 musicians and dancers being on stage at a time. A full horn section gave the set a great sound and Sonny has a magnetic personality on stage. Not only as a showman but also as a band leader with him calling out parts of the band to step up. New songs were received well by the audience and favorites, like “Juicy Lucy” brought loud cheers. The energy from the stage was high and the chemistry between Sonny (who’s pushing 70) and his young band was evident.
The crowd at First Avenue was definitely had a blast. Not quite sold out, which meant there was more room to dance – and dance they did. In summary a great evening that once again reminded me to check our more soul/funk shows.
Set List: It Had to Change \ Stronger in the End \ Sonny’s Boogaloo \ The Cry \ Juicy Lucy \ Caveman \ I Could Never Get Tired \ It’s You For Me \ How Long ‘Til Someday \ Hey Girl, Why? \ Sugar Man \ Sock A Poo Poo \ Through with You \ Oh Mary Don’t You Weep \ Help Me \ It’s Over \ Sooner or Later