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Bumbershoot Review Day 1: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

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Say what you will about a cover, when it’s done right, it can be a real hit. Such was the case for JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. For many, their first exposure to this Chicago soul band’s music was with this video:

The folks at KEXP were also enthusiastic, and gave the band a lot of play. This fact was not overlooked by the band when they gave their shout-outs at Bumbershoot today. They knew what got them here, and they showed and received love in equal measure.

After a couple of tense moments of amp switching, the band started their set this afternoon, and then out came JC Brooks. He was sporting a sort of afro-pompadour. It was quite incredible. His stage presence is pretty remarkable; his voice and his dancing and the way he looks right into your soul make for a show that you kind of have to watch without even wanting to blink.

They are as much a funk band as a soul band, but they also have songs like ‘You’re Not Alone’ that sound like jams that could have easily come from a David Bowie record. Brooks is the kind of performer that won’t let the audience fail to participate, and it’s every bit the enjoyable experience. Of course they finished the show with the Wilco cover, and of course we were all dancing in that self-conscious Seattle way. Come back any time JC Brooks, and bring that Uptown Sound.