KFAI Presents Sonny Knight & The Lakers

Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 7:00pm to Friday, December 19, 2014 - 9:30pm

KFAI is proud to present Sonny Knight & The Lakers at The Dakota on Thursday, December 18th and Friday, December 19th. 

Sonny Knight & The Lakers

Twin Cities Funk & Soul Powerhouse

Sonny Knight & The Lakers


About Sonny Knight & the Lakers

For Sonny Knight and the Lakers, 2014 was equal parts unexpected and deserved. The creation of their debut album, I’m Still Here, nearly 50 years after a young Sonny recorded his first single, began a tidal wave of accomplishments that includes a successful international tour, critical attention from NPR’s World Café and WBEZ’s Sound Opinions, and plenty of love from their hometown of Minneapolis.

Sonny Knight and the Lakers celebrate their fabulous year with shows at the Dakota Jazz Club on Thursday, December 18th (7:00pm and 9:00pm) and Friday, December 19th (7:00pm and 9:30pm).

For the final show on Friday night, all tables and chairs will be removed from the main floor to allow for maximum dance space. Fans will have a chance to be a part of an upcoming live album as local record label Secret Stash will record all four shows and release the best set next year via double lp and cd packages.

Secret Stash Records Founder and Lakers’ drummer Eric Foss says, “The exciting thing about doing this live recording is that we have performed the show around the world for the last year, and it has slowly developed into something that can’t be contained in a studio recording. We want to bring that energy back to our hometown and to our first and most loyal fans.” Keeping with the band’s aesthetic, the label will record the shows straight to ¼” 2 track tape, meaning it will be mixed live and whatever they leave with Friday night will pretty much be the finished product. “We’re looking forward to setting up shop for a couple days, playing as hard as we can, and then taking away a very real representation of the show and putting it on a record.”

From headlining spots at local festival favorites such as The Red Stag Block Party and The Lyn-Lake Festival (among many others), to being deemed one of the “The Best New Minnesota Musicians of 2014” via the City Pages “Picked to Click” poll, soul connoisseurs to novice music listeners alike have embraced the band.

City Pages called their I’m Still Here album release party at the iconic First Avenue Mainroom in May “truly spectacular…joyful and spontaneous, largely thanks to Knight’s beaming personality,” and critics from The Star Tribune, KFAI and other local media outlets have all spilled ink and filled airwaves about Sonny Knight and the Lakers’ rollicking live shows.

The story of Sonny Knight is an unexpected narrative. While most people’s careers are wrapping up by the time they hit Sonny’s age, this 66 year old has only just begun his reinvention. Sonny recorded his first single at the age of 17, only to find his chance at success halted by a stint in the army and later, a steady, full-time job as a truck driver.

Unbeknownst to Sonny, that lone 7” record he cut as a teenager (“Tears On My Pillow” B/W “Rain Dance”) had become a prized item in R&B collector circles in the ensuing decades and his powerful voice had not been forgotten. The opportunity to push the reset button on a long and interrupted career arrived in the form of an invitation to join the reformed Valdons as part of Secret Stash’s Twin Cities Funk & Soul release party in late 2012.

After six months of touring and performing to promote the compilation, Eric and Sonny decided to form Sonny Knight and the Lakers. Months of gaining ground in their hometown and touring regionally was followed by preparations for their debut record. I’m Still Here is the product of many hours of collaborative thought and crate digging for and listening to forgotten ‘60s and early ‘70s soul and funk records that clearly permeate all the album’s tracks. The album covers a wide range of tempos and soul forms ranging from upbeat booglaoos to beautiful ballads.

NPR’s World Café called the album “wonderful” and noted that “it captures the singer sounding as vital as ever,” while WBEZ’s Sound Opinions proclaimed that Sonny Knight is “a vocal powerhouse.” Sonny’s exuberance and energy, pushed by the hard-soul grooves of the Lakers—as he, in turn, pushes them to new heights as well—are what grab the listener; there’s never any doubt about what feelings he wants to convey.

Nearly 50 years have passed since his first recording, but for the first time he feels like the center of attention. He says, “Sometimes I wonder, why me? Why are all these great things happening now? All I can say is thanks. These are dreams that I had forgotten. Only now that they are starting to come true do I remember that I had them at all.”



Venue Information

United States