Chicago, the big and bustling city that it is, has the capabilities of propelling quality talent to new and unimaginable heights or bury those who try to fake their way through the music scene. After catching the latest JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound show at the Metro in Wrigleyville, it was made apparent just how accepting Chicago is of this band. Originating back in 2007, their quick success has allowed for a nationwide tour, including performances at such notable events as SXSW back in March and Lollapalooza in August. And while I had only listened to these guys on iTunes and YouTube, there is nothing that even compares to the group’s live performance.
WXRT welcomed JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound to the stage on one of the many rainy nights in April. Although inside the venue was anything but gloom and dreary, as Brooks entered in a grey suit, meticulously styled hair and a symphonic scream that could be heard from outside the venue. The crowd could barely contain their excitement as a strong, deep and soulful JC Brooks spoke thorough the mic. Warming the crowd up he led the band in to their track, “River.” This rich gospel-esque melody was a miraculously beautiful mashup that complimented the Uptown Sound’s talent while bringing out the wonderful technique and control that Brooks has over his voice.
JC Brooks and WXRT fans alike were shocked at how glorious this show was turning out, going quickly from “Just something to do on a Friday night” to “Holy shit, I have to tell everyone about these guys!” This moment hit me when Brooks decided to slow it down and confess his love for “that little green herb.” His smooth “I like roll it up, light it up, smoke it up, inhale, exhale” had nearly everyone tasting that joint on their lips. Although this soliloquy was more than just a expression, but rather an incredible lead into their song “I Got High.” This fast paced song details the loving feeling and never wanting to come down, and came complete with his weed dance called the “Nickel Bag Shuffle.”
Giving themselves only seconds between the incredible performance of “I Got High” the Uptown Sound led into one of their most popular songs at the moment. Having nearly exhausted its play on the radio during the week leading up to the show, the crowd was overcome with anticipation as the familiar intro to Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” began. This song, more than any other, has led the group into their growing fame. As the show came to a close it was unmistakably clear how unique and proficient JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound truly are. They continue their tour leaving the Midwest and looking to overtake Florida with their punkish soul sound.