The last time JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound made their way to Central PA was a pleasant, mild summer day in the middle of July in 2012.
In front of a small but vocal crowd at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, the neo-soul group who makes their home in Chicago blazed through 13 songs off their first two albums – 2009’s Beat of Our Own Drum and 2011’s Want More. They played everything from the 9-plus minute jam “75 Years of Art Sex” to their breakout hit – a cover of fellow Chi-town luminaries Wilco and their song “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”
Brooks, who originally grew up in Camden, NJ, before relocating to the Midwest, bantered with the audience who didn’t hold back their appreciation for the band’s sound reminiscent of the classics of Otis Redding, Al Green and Booker T. & The MG’s.
“Come for the soul – stay for the screaming,” Brooks laughed as the crowd got louder.
Now for the first time in three years, Brooks and his band made up of guitarist Billy Bungeroth, drummer Kevin Marks, keyboardist Jeremy Tromburg, bassist Theodore Berry the IV and percussionist Jovia Armstrong return to Lancaster, headlining the Long’s Park Summer Music Series on Sunday, August 16.
One song that’s sure to be heard is Brooks’ ode to our metropolitan neighbor to the south – Baltimore – in his song “Baltimore is the New Brooklyn.”
“How about writing a song about Lancaster?” someone yelled in the crowd at the show at the Chameleon.
“Come on, give Baltimore some props,” Brooks answered. “I haven’t spent enough time in Lancaster to speak about it and write a song. Y’all just got to invite me back and make sure we’re playing here again. That way I can get a feel for Lancaster and maybe write y’all asses into a tune – Baltimore loves it. They’re just happy to have something besides the theme to The Wire represent them.”
We’ll see if Brooks makes good on his promise and has a Lancaster song in his repertoire for Sunday.
<<Stream the full JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound show at the Chameleon Club in 2012 to get a better sense of what the band’s live show is all about.>>
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound play at Long’s Park in Lancaster on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The summer concert series is free.