By Leslie Witt

It was the band’s first performance in their namesake Chicago neighborhood last Saturday night and it was a blast.

Brooks and company deliver a fresh fusion of post punk R&B soul rock& roll with showmanship that would make James Brown smile. Their songs break new ground, but with echoes of Curtis Mayfield in mellow conga driven grooves, Otis Redding rants in some choruses and Funkadelic bass/drum/rhythm guitar breaks that compel you to jump from your seat to your feet.

With three albums under Brooks’ silver hip-hugging belt, concertgoers were treated to two sets including favorites like “Rouse Yourself,” and the Wilco cover “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” plus six new songs in the works for the band’s upcoming Bloodshot Records release.

The stage at the Preston Bradley Center on W. Lawrence, backed by a vintage mural featuring Jesus, gave credence to Brooks’ passionate preaching on the virtues of love, enhanced by the band’s holy rolling keyboards and gospel harmonies, in songs like “Don’t Lock the Door.”

And all this for free! The concert was part of the Uptown Saturday Nights series, with more on the way every 2nd Saturday of the month in the Uptown Entertainment District, organized by the community group Uptown United. More info at

JC Brooks at Preston Bradley Center, Chicago 4/9/16 (Photo: Dave Suarez)

JC Brooks at Preston Bradley Center, Chicago 4/9/16 (Photo: Dave Suarez)


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