Photos courtesy of Jim BennettSharon Jones and the Dap-Kings played Showbox SODO

Photos courtesy of Jim BennettSharon Jones and the Dap-Kings played Showbox SODO Monday, June 21Even though Sharon Jones doesn’t write the songs she sings, it’s easy to tell the powerful undercurrent of emotion that pervades her performances is drawn from a deep well of personal experience. Of course, pretty much everyone can relate to tales of love gone sour, which explains the vast appeal of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ music and the corresponding diversity of last night’s crowd. The gaggles of gussied-up young women on the prowl, the dweeby ponytailed balding guys dry-humping their much-hotter girlfriends, the brotastic dudes raising the roof like they were at an Atmosphere show…they’ve all been there. Smooth-talking Daptone Records fixture Binky Griptite functions like Sharon Jones’ hype man, of a kind: before Jones took the stage, the Dap-Kings played a few jams to amp up the crowd. Though this probably wasn’t the intent, it was a good way to make sure the band members got the recognition that is their due, because even though the Dap-Kings are unquestionably fantastic musicians, Sharon Jones commands the audience’s attention from the second she struts onstage. It’s safe to say that her larger-than-life stage persona tends to overshadow all of the impressive feats the band behind her seem to pull off without breaking a sweat. As expected, the Dap-Kings played songs almost exclusively from the new record, I Learned the Hard Way. On past Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings albums, Gabriel Roth wrote the songs, but the songwriting process was more democratic for this release, which made for a more adventurous collection of songs that strayed somewhat from the straightforward, vintage soul sound that made the band famous in the first place. Live, though, even the weaker tracks from the record exuded an infectious energy, though the highlights — “I Learned the Hard Way,” “Mama Don’t Like My Man,” “Better Things” and “Window Shopping” — tended to be the album’s faster numbers. Aside from running back and forth across the stage like a woman possessed, one of Sharon Jones’ trademark moves is to bring her fans onstage and serenade them. While most everyone up there seemed pumped to be onstage with Sharon Jones and expressed that excitement appropriately by shaking their asses with reckless abandon — big props to the guy in the North Face T-shirt and the group of buxom women that joined Jones later in the show — others seemed put off. One guy spent his time on stage standing stock still and looking so painfully uncomfortable he might as well have been passing a kidney stone. It would have been nice to hear a few more old songs — though the band did play “100 Days, 100 Nights” and the Dap-Kings’ funkified version of “This Land is Your Land” — but ultimately, the performance did its job by selling me on an album I wasn’t completely in love with before I went. I also managed to draw some conclusions about opening band the Heavy, a British neo-soul band that keeps getting inexplicably mislabeled as an indie rock band. This probably occurred because the band’s biggest single, “How Do You Like Me Now?” is a little more rockin’ than the pseudo-soul that actually dominated the band’s live performance, which was a lot of fun. Thing is, when you’re opening for Sharon Jones, you might as well just be the red carpet she strolls in on, because that woman is just about poised to snatch Aretha’s crown and take over as Queen of Soul. And after selling out the SODO on a Monday night, it’s safe to say that Sharon Jones’ next Seattle appearance will likely take place at a better, more spacious venue.