Discovery: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

JC Brooks is a 20-something singer, songwriter and Master of Rock ‘n’ Soul Ceremonies for a band called the Uptown Sound. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, to be exact. The Chicagoan formed the group after growing weary of watching indie rock kids stare impassively at his admittedly underachieving previous band. He didn’t point fingers. He dialed up his inner Jackie Wilson instead.

The Uptown Sound was in St. Louis on January 30, 2010 for a show at the Gramaphone, and while I missed that night, I’m pretty sure I know what the band can do on stage.

1) Lock in. 2) Turn up. 3) Snatch it back. 4) Hold it. 5) Destroy the joint.

What I like most about Brooks and the Uptown Sound is their utter indifference to playing soul or funk by the numbers racked up by the legends who’ve come before them (as exhilarating and impressive as that can be in the hands of the Dap Kings or the Diplomats of Solid Sound). They just sound like a garage band playing rhythm and blues by instinct and skill, never by calculation.

Witness their cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Break,” as performed live in the KDHX studios, and you may have met your new favorite band. I know I did.

More video and streaming audio from JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, Live at KDHX, at


  • Annie McCullough

    I was at the show along with a bunch of friends who all believed we were going to see a great show and we did.
    When the band got on stage and started to play the room exploded with dancing and it was impossible to sit down.

    Hope they come back to St. Louis soon.

  • liz