After their fantastic cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” went viral in 2010, JC Brooks rose to the top of the indie soul scene with a fresh vibe than channeled the classic Chicago bluesmen of old. His vintage soul arrangements balance old-school complexity and bluesy builds with some professional showmanship to give a serious edge to his songs that’s amplified in his impressive live performances. Brook’s sense of attitude, flare, and unbelievable style seem to pour straight out of his soul onto his debut record Want More, released last year on Bloodshot Records.
Joining us live at the Bumbershoot Music Lounge with his outstanding four-piece backing band, the Uptown Sound, JC Brooks took the stage adorned in more casual attire than we’re used to seeing him in. Trading a suit for a more weather appropriate tank top and shorts outfit, Brooks proved that a truly powerful soul performance doesn’t rely on lavish dress and fancy antics.
Opening with the absolutely heart-stopping “River,” the B-side off their new single “I got high,” Brooks wasted no time demonstrating his unbelievable talent. Whether screaming gibberish or crooning about contemplating suicide, Brooks voice is as passionate as it is powerful, commanding the entire stage.
From a true showman, almost every word out of Brook’s mouth flowed either directly or indirectly into a song, bridging his entire set with lively and impromptu stage banter that delighted the audience. He also threw in plenty of stage shenanigans, practicing what he referred to as the “nickelback shuffle slide,” a dance move he had apparently tripped over earlier in the day.
Finishing his set with “Awake,” a track written prior to the 2008 election, Brooks dedicated the song to Howard Zinn and Martin Luther King Jr., struggling to remain radio-friendly as he urged listeners to register to vote at the risk of being “one of them.”
Check out JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound tomorrow night at the Sunset Tavern, booked under the name Bell Biv Devour featuring Tony! Toni! Robbins! Seriously, you won’t want to miss this.