...this is couples skate, ladies choice - don't get fresh, fellas... ~ JC Brooks
Hey, blogspot readers, hump day was totally swingin' for SouthSide! The spring-like temps and hot music performances were an excellent combination for tonight's adventure at the Tonic Room. The stage had the audience groovin' to funk/soul sets by James Johnston (of Bumpus), IJ Quinn and JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. In between acts, DJ RC kept the party hopping with his lively array of soul/R&B tunes as well as rarely heard retro tracks. Also SouthSide sampled a preview of songs by Scott (Cealed Kasket's fearless drummer) who was working very hard behind the bar tonight. It wasn't the hard stuff he normally performs with Mortal Death (CK's Jesus Christ of Heavy Metal), Maurice (on the large guitar) and Sarsicus (the wizard on electric). It had a rockin' club/dance sound in which this reviewer cannot wait to hear the rest of Scott's upcoming album. For more information about live music happening at the Tonic Room, visit www.tonicroom.com.
James Johnston (of Bumpus) and a few friends kicked off the lineup with an energetic acoustic funk/soul performance. SouthSide enjoyed the lively music combination of bass and acoustic guitars, congas and soulful voices by Tina and Ava on vocals. This group electrified the stage with its retro soul sound yet keeping it funkifiedly fresh for all to feel that groove. Even while taking the momentum and tempo down for Don't Worry, James and friends still retained the energetic vibe felt in their earlier songs. The highlight of this performance came when they performed a moving cover song, Inner City. SouthSide was literally blown away by their take on this classic 70s track while sensing a deeper meaning within the lyrics as it relates now today. As they closed with a Bumpus song, Open, this reviewer was greatly disappointed. Not about the set, blogspot readers, but how it was already over just when it was really getting started with great music. In her opinion, it wasn't enough to fully enjoy this hip acoustic music. However, don't despair, James and friends shall return to the Tonic Room on March 24 for another intimate acoustic performance. For more information, visit www.bumpusweb.com or www.myspace.com/bumpus.
SouthSide had a mixed reaction while observing IJ Quinn's performance. Though enjoying his new songs with a keyboard pop sound, this reviewer felt more was needed than just his vocals and rhythms to carry the melody. For example, during Giving Up Your Love, she noted that backing vocal assistance was needed with the repetitious echo within the chorus. Otherwise, IJ's three new songs were favorably enjoyable - this reviewer liked the energetic vibe that had the audience grooving to his soundwave. On the flip side, SouthSide thoroughly enjoyed the acoustic half of his performance. She could feel the fiery emotion and passion off the lyrics especially during I Got A Hold On You. This reviewer also recommends listening to Think About It and Sweetest Talk which brought down the house to end his acoustic act. She does recommend checking out IJ Quinn and his music at www.myspace.com/ijquinn or live at the Lakeshore Theatre on March 28.
JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound - the hippest set of cats to ever rock a stage with swingin' soul/funk sound that will keep you dancing all night. And basically, blogspot readers, that's SouthSide's profound description of this group's solid performance. Yet, she's barely touching the tip of the iceberg about the entire show and the fun she had watching them perform. From start to finish as well as in between, JC Brooks and band had this crowd (packed house from front to back) groovin' to it energetic beat. The ladies were charmed by JC's debonair and dapper appearance as this charismatic crooner literally wooed their hearts aways with his smooth vocals. Men certainly did want to be like him - so suave and well-dressed like Marvin Gaye with all the right dance moves like James Brown. This animated front man kept the performance fun and lively song after song.
Yet what's a dapper front man like JC without great music backing him up? It didn't take SouthSide long to feel that funky soul groove provided by The Uptown Sound. Hot percussion, jammin' guitars and jazzy horn section rocked the tiny stage. Yes, they even had more cowbell sound to the mix too. Whew, blogspot readers, this band sizzled and popped while keeping everyone in a happy party mood. Though there were moments when the momentum was taken down for the slow jams, it still had SouthSide rockin' to the sultry sound and melting from JC's deep falsetto voice. Yes, once again, another band melted this reviewer in her seat especially during To Love Someone. Besides singing their other hits like 75 yrs of Art Sex (2010's version of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On with one hot sax solo) and Get It Together (a James Brown-esque song but done with fiery energy JC Brooks style), they also did a few cover songs as well. Songs like Groove Me Baby (by King Floyd) and I've Been Loving You Too Long (by Otis Redding) had this crowd swooning with fervor. JC Brooks' closer, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, rocked the joint as fans sang along with them.
Whew, what a set, blogspot readers! SouthSide did her very best to cover the high points of JC's set however she highly recommends experiencing this funk/soul sensation yourself live - up close and personal. They'll be rockin' the Tonic Room again on March 24 - so come ready to groove with them all night long. Also snag a copy of JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound's current CD, Rabbit Factory as well as their two-song 45 record. For more information, visit www.theuptownsound.wordpress.com or www.myspace.com/theuptownsound.
Until next time, support your local scene,