30A isn’t for the faint of heart during Fourth of July weekend. But with promises of the funky soul music that James Brown brought to the world, Mom and I carefully made our way down to the Hub.
The front parking area was already filled to the brim before the 7 p.m. start time. A security guard stood at the venue entrance, patiently explaining alternate parking. After a couple circles and a little luck, we landed on a spot within easy walking distance.
Although most of the chairs had long been claimed, Mom grabbed a quiet table to munch on chicken fingers and sides while I found an inconspicuous place to snap photos without standing directly in front of anyone.
With the sun still beating down on plenty of already-burned shoulders, the music kicked off on a patriotically decorated stage. There is truth in advertising with the name The James Brown Dance Party, as the heat didn’t dampen the band’s energy.
One of the things that makes this band a little different is instead of a steady lineup, they rotate musicians as needed—this includes members of James Brown’s band, as well as Galactic, the Bootsy Collins Band, and many more. The backbone of this band is the Chase brothers—drummer Adam and guitarist Matt. Beyond those two, though, the audience never knows who will grace the stage.
The Hub show provided a real treat with singer-keys player Jamar Woods. With a distinct nerdy chic, he stepped into Brown’s shoes and vocal flourishes with a genuine enthusiasm. Wood remarked on stage that although he now calls Asheville, North Carolina, home, he attended school at both Callaway and Crestview.
Some of the band members did not appear to be familiar with one another, which provided unforgettable moments for the audience. Woods put his whole soul and vocal prowess into a chorus, and the horn players lit up with excitement. It felt like we were in on something special with the band—not just watching them, but participating.
Ice cream was in high demand on that warm summer night at the Hub, but the coolest thing in the place was the very funky James Brown Dance Party.
– Nikki Hedrick
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