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“The Best Gig I Ever Saw” is a weekly column that will see us ask a musician to chat about their favorite concert thus far. This week it’s new-wave queen Josie Cotton…
When I was a little girl one of my first 45s was by James Brown. It was my secret world. So when I was 14, my girlfriend and I got tickets to a James Brown concert in Dallas, Texas. I didn’t get to see much of the show as we were way up in the cheap seats but I do remember there being some serious dancing going on like I had never seen. We were the only white people there and I had never had so much fun.
Fast forward to Los Angeles, 1982. I had the chance to go see him again and even meet him. He had become an icon in the punk rock world but I was still shocked it was an all white audience that night. No one danced their dances off as punk rockers weren’t known for their dancing but I got to stand at the very front of the stage looking up at him from the audience like he was a god from another planet. And to me he was.
He never once looked at the audience but it was the most visceral electrifying thing I had ever seen in my life and probably to this day. I could have touched him he was so close. His life force was so in your face, his dancing, his voice, his insane wardrobe, the tightness of his band. It was theater of the absurd and it was inspiring to be human. What he had gone through. His genius. Even the staged parts you knew he had done a thousand times before. You knew it was coming and you wanted to be a witness anyway.
But I have to admit it was a lot more fun when everyone was dancing.
Josie Cotton plays with Missing Persons at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 13 at The Canyon Club, Montclair; then at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 14 at The Canyon Club, Agoura Hills.