The next band you need to know about is Chicago's JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, a sharp-dressed quintet that purveys self-styled "post-punk soul," drawing on ferocious blues-fused garage rock, Stax-funkified soul, and heavy-grinding R&B to get to their high octane aesthetic.
Frontman Brooks is a tall, lean, afro pompadour-sporting force who leads the pack with powerful pipes and impressive reach, his throaty lower-register tone soaring to impressive heights in raw outbursts of emotion and sometimes remaining in the smooth falsetto range for his more romantic, grooving interludes. Tight instrumental support comes via guitarist Billy Bungeroth, drummer Kevin Marks, keyboardist Andy Rosenstein, and bassist Ben Taylor, who are joined by a horn section in the studio and for select live dates. The band issued their hard-hitting second album and debut on Bloodshot Records, Want More, last year; it's the first-ever soul album from the alt country-leaning label, but ironically includes a re-imagining of Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart."
If you like Otis Redding, you'll love JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. Get ready for a sweaty dance affair.
"Baltimore Is The New Brooklyn" from Want More below.
Video for "Everything Will Be Fine" from Want More below.
And finally, video from a gig at the intimate Black Cat Cub in Washington D.C. last year.
TROPICAL HEATWAVE DETAILS: Sat., May 12, 4:30-1 a.m., Centennial Park, Collage Ybor, Crowbar, New World Brewery, The Bricks, Orpheum, The Cuban Club, The Ritz, The Roosevelt 2.0, El Pasaje Plaza, Ybor City, $30 adults advance/$40 at the door ($12 youths ages 12-20, available by phone or in-person only). Click here to buy online or call 813-238-8001. Stay tuned for further picks from CL along with our own page featuring details about the fest, its performers, stages and schedule...