Music » Critics' Picks

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

10 p.m. Friday, March 26. The Gramophone, 4243 Manchester Avenue.



The soul revival led by Daptone Records, upstarts such as Black Joe Lewis and veterans such as James Hunter is no longer new, although it continues to take unexpected turns. What's most surprising about JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound is how disinterested the group seems in reviving anything, even when deep in the pocket of a Wilson Pickett groove. Lifted by the scratchy wail and fragile falsetto of singer and songwriter JC Brooks, the Chicago band can tear down the garage on a song such as "Baltimore Is the New Brooklyn" and shatter jaws with a cover of Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart." On the latter, the band attacks like the rockers they are at heart, playing to break the rules rather than follow them and get into a soul historian's good graces.

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