It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the retro soul and ’60 doowop pop sound that’s making huge waves in the indie music community these days; I almost love it more than boys with beards and banjos. (It’s close, but I’m a sucker for a banjo.) But it’s hard to call what electric frontman JC Brooks and his Uptown Sound do “retro”, because it’s just straight up soul — soul music that could have come out of Detroit or Muscle Shoals at the height of the original sound.
They put on an absolutely flattening show for about 40 people at Kings last night, and if you weren’t there, holy crap, you should have been — I’ve seen a lot of fierce and captivating frontpeople this year, including Alabama Shakes powerhouse Brittany Howard, but nobody, nobody, who comes close to Brooks for charisma on stage. They burned through an hour plus set without their energy flagging a single bit, and it convinced me that last year’s Want More wasn’t a fluke of brilliance or just a vehicle for their scorching cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”. It’s just flat-out brilliant, and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound are on their way up. You best pay attention.
Full set, including shots of opener Ronnie Levels & His Genius Band (who played excellent Buddy Holly style pop songs), is here.