JC BROOKS & THE UPTOWN SOUND at the Horseshoe, Friday, July 12. Rating: NNNN
On record JC Brooks sounds like a singer with years of training behind him. Perfect. Like he could star in any number of musicals. Turns out, physically, he possesses that same theatricality, making a rollicking JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound club show with mostly tipsy, dancey twentysomethings, the kind of thing you could also see working as dinner-theatre for patrons of the arts.
The Horseshoe stage was almost too little, in fact, to contain Brooks and the remainder of his five-piece, who had all stripped down a sweaty layer or two by set's end. But Brooks worked with what stage he had, gesticulating and spinning and reaching out to the audience like a classic soul man should. His voice is a touch more ragged live, which is a great thing: a soul band they are, but they also rock out, with punk influences popping up here ane there - most effectively on a brilliantly punkified version of Blackstreet's No Diggity. They started and finished with the best from their new album, Howl, encoring with Married For A Week and glasses full of Canadian Club - gifted to them by the venue, but also the drink of choice of Brooks's pop-pop.