JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
“The Real Deal” – Chicago Tribune, 05/29/09
In his 1970 Playboy Interview, Ray Charles described soul as “people who do things from the heart.” In performance and on record, there is no question that JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are 100% soul. Like Otis fronting the Stooges, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound get crowds twisting and writhing on the floor, something that’s been sorely missing from live music.
Brooks knocks out his audience with heart and raw emotion, while the Uptown Sound’s post-punk attack updates the MG’s and JB’s groove model, resulting in pure and unrelenting soul music that ranges from sweaty on-the-one workouts, dance-punk booty shakers, garage-rock thump humps, and aching R&B ballads without a missed step in between. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are not just another throwback group, they came to be during an age of war, manifesting their style of aggressive dance music with lyrics that dig deeper than the standard “baby, baby” fare.
Born in the great melting pot of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood in 2007, guitarist Billy Bungeroth, drummer Kevin Marks, and bassist Ben Taylor (Beat Down Sound/September Sessions soundtrack) lay down a ferocious foundation for the soulful shouts of Mr. JC Brooks. The son of a Jersey funk diva set adrift by the disco era, he’s renowned for his take-no-prisoners stage style, leaving audiences with no other choice than to get up and move!
Brooks & co. kicked off 2009 with a bang, playing to an ecstatic SRO crowd at Chicago’s historic Park West Theater, where they were MC and house band for the Numero Group’s critically acclaimed Eccentric Soul Revue. They’ve collaborated with greats like Syl Johnson, the Notations, the Impressions’ Nate Evans, and Tortoise’s Dan Bitney. They’ve appeared on WGN-TV and BBC 6, cut a live session for influential independent radio station WFMU, and been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, TimeOut Chicago, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Now armed with their explosive debut album Beat of Our Own Drum (with Fall ’09 European release via Vampisoul Records) these intense young soul stirrers are bringing it to your door, ready to tour, score, and not be ignored.
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are for the people remaining awake through a great revolution… for people who want to move and not just sit tight...
for soul people!
“Neo-soul glory” – New York Times
“One of the most energetic, joyful live bands going on today… like if Otis Redding individually whipped each member of the Velvet Underground off of heroin, and transformed them into a disciplined, show-stopping Stax soul band.” – minneapolisf**kingrocks.com
“It’s not hard to see the appeal of the quartet’s modernized old-school soul sound, which spans influences from Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to Led Zeppelin. That combo requires a lot of firepower on stage, so when Brooks says he performs each show like it’s the last, you believe him.” – Metromix/Chicago Tribune
“They play a mix of Motown and soul, mixed with a bit of Fugazi. Which means you’re a total a-hole if you’re not into this music.” – annalemma.net
"On album closer “Berry Please,” Brooks states confidently that his band has “the sound of young America.” Forget the youth: If Brooks and company make another record as strong as Drum, they’ll have the ear of the entire country. Grade: A-" - The Onion/Decider