If you were among those who couldn’t get a ticket to the James Brown tribute of sorts ("Burnt Sugar Freaks the James Brown Songbook [An Opera in Progress]") at the Apollo in October, it’s happening one more (last?) time at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Friday, with a concert version of "Indomitable: James Brown The Music and The Man" from “Fela” director Patricia McGregor.
Here’s why you need to go:
1. Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (from The Color Purple, The Lion King, and soon, playing Ray Charles in the Broadway musical adaptation of “Ray”) "plays" James Brown. Yes, he wears a wig. It’s awesome. But he also never devolves into caricature—he channels the spirit of the Godfather of Soul in a way that gives goosebumps.
2. The Burnt Sugar Arkestra is a formidable 18-piece ensemble of funk/jazz/soul big band greatness. Do you know how hard it is to pay an 18-piece band these days? That’s why you only see that many musicians on stage at places like Lincoln Center—and those tickets start at $70 for nosebleed seats. These tickets top out at $25 at the cozy Poisson Rouge.
3. The music is compiled entirely from the three Live At The Apollo albums James Brown recorded—including nuggets like “Think,” “Say It Loud” and “Superbad.”
4. Tickets for the October shows sold out quickly, and popped up for twice to three times face value on Craigslist. This one will sell out, too. And we have it on good authority this is the last time this show will be performed for a while, if ever.
Indomitable: James Brown The Music and The Man; Friday, December 17, doors at 7, show at 8PM. Tickets: $15 standing in advance, $20 standing at door, $25 premium seating; available here.
What I'm listening to: Django - Quincy Jones