Europe: part V

30 06 2014

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

After a quiet winter and spring, and a few warm up shows to get things rolling again, the Uptown Machine is ready to roll and we’re going big for Summer.  DoDivision and the Double Door were tons of fun, and now it’s time to get on a plane and show Europe what’s up.  JCBUS will be playing the Cognac Blues Passions Festival on July 4th, then making a quick run into Holland for our Dutch premiere at Conincx Pop Fest in Elsloo, NL.

For those keeping tabs at home, here’s our international touring check-off list; 8 down, only 187 more countries to go!

  1. USA – 08/07/07
  2. Canada – 07/16/10
  3. Spain – 09/16/10
  4. Italy – 10/04/11
  5. France – 05/02/13
  6. England – 10/17/13
  7. Belgium – 10/19/13
  8. Netherlands – 07/05/14

SXSW 2013: The Verdict Is In

29 03 2013


Before I begin, here’s a quick anecdote about bull fighting. If you ever go to a bull fight, you should know in advance that they kill the bull.  They drug it and then slowly kill it dead in the center of the ring.  So if you choose to go to a bull fight, I suggest you come to terms with and accept this grisly truth in advance.  If you can’t do that, then don’t bother going.

If you plan on going to SXSW, you need to accept that you will be dragging your equipment and wares through crowded streets of sweaty people, that you will have your first drink around 11am everyday (at least if you consider yourself only a moderate drinker), that every corporation or trust fund BKLYN hipster either A) wants you at to attend their party/concert/orgy to enjoy their product, or B) does not want you at their party/concert/orgy because the guest list is full and you are not a taste-maker and Kendrick Lamar is going on late anyway and by the way, have you tried Honest Tea or POP CHIPS, they’re sensational they’re changing America as we speak, we’ll give you two if you download the app and like us on Pinterest.

That’s the deal.  So own it.  And accept it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Headed Off at the Pass

23 03 2013

SPOILER ALERT: Sunday’s show at Off Broadway in St Louis (03/24/13) has been postponed due to inclement weather sweeping across the Great Plains.  Our apologies, we’ll reschedule ASAP.

JCBUS @ KDHX Twang Fest day party, photo by Nate Burrell,

JCBUS @ KDHX Twang Fest day party, photo by Nate Burrell,

It’s been a whirlwind tour, a week in Austin for SXSW followed by a quick run through New Mexico and Colorado.  Everything has been fairly smooth sailing, up until now. Despite a crazy blizzard on our way from Fort Collins up to Snowmass (I’d never actually seen cars spin out on the highway), we made it to the gig (outdoors, at the bottom of the ski slope) and afterwards waited out the closure of I-70 East at the Vail Pass.  That was fine, unexpected, but fine, we always decide it’s less stressful to stay put and comfortable, rather than barrel on through and run the risk of getting stuck somewhere in the van.

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The Road to SXSW

5 03 2013
Photo by Clayton Hauck

Photo by Clayton Hauck

Busy week preparing for tour and three JCBUS-related shows in our hometown Chicago this week.

Last Wednesday night, JC and Andy did a Steely Dan wine pairing/tribute at City Winery.
The 6 song set included killer versions of Pretzel Logic and Peg.

Friday was a two set show on the Southside for a great crowd at the Beverly Arts Center.

Photo by Mike Sosin, courtesy of

Sunday – An intimate SXSW send off with another awesome hometown crowd plus fellow Bloodshot artist Jon Langford‘s Skull Orchard at the Cobra Lounge, sponsored by Third Shift Amber Lager.

And yet we also found the time to shoot a promo for the new record featuring World Air Guitar Champion Nordic Thunder and a photo session with Clayton Hauck at the world famous Beauty Bar.
imageWe’re still nailing down final SXSW details, we’ll have the schedule posted shortly.  Considering that it’s been snowing all day in Chicago, 70 degrees and sunshine in Austin can’t come soon enough.


Milwaukee: Most Underrated Town in the Midwest?

18 02 2013
Poster by Kristopher Pollard,

Poster by Kristopher Pollard,

Warmed up for the Spring Tour with a pair of gigs in the freezing Wisconsin winter.  But this is not me complaining; in fact, we love the Badger State.

We started up the weekend by playing the luxurious Majestic Theater in Madison on Friday.  The last time I remember being there personally, we opened for Peter Bjorn & John at an outdoor show and Andy and I came into the Majestic for some sort of Michael Jackson dance party. It was sweltering hot and at that point in the evening, our Uptown Sound uniforms had been deconstructed to a pair matching black tank tops.

It’s a tough sell trying to meet girls in tandem while you’re dressed like you’re on a gay wrestling team for guys under 5’10.  That’s what I learned at the Majestic last time.  This time I learned that Madison knows how to bring it dance-wise.  Amazing crowd.  We played on a double bill with the prime-time Prince/Shuggie/Sly funk of Pimps of Joytime, so those kids danced for 3 hours straight.

On the way in to Milwaukee we stopped in Bay View.  One of the thriving underground neighborhoods of hip shit in the Midwest.  I cannot recommend Acme Records and The Brass Rooster hat shop enough.  As it turns out, the Rooster’s owner is a JCBUS fan and invited us to come by and hang out. Pictures from our impromptu photo shoot should be up shortly.

Biggest plus about Milwaukee was a completely sold out show at the equally hip Hotel Foster.  Folks who’d driven from all over Chicago, Eau Claire, Davenport, made our first headlining show* in Milwaukee a classic. There was a ton of love in the room.

Plenty of Wisconsinites hate Chicago.  But no Chicagoans hate Wisconsin.  You get what I’m sayin’ here?  Let’s build this state up!  Alpine Valley 2014! – Billy B

* We’ve previously played MKE opening for Kings Go Forth, JJ Grey & Mofro, Flogging Molly, and Maroon 5.  Yup, that Maroon 5.  God bless Summerfest.

Flu Season Sucks

27 12 2012

Hate to have to announce this, considering how hard we work and how seriously we take this, but we’ve had to cancel this week’s Denver shows.  Everybody knew about us opening for Trombone Shorty on Friday at the Ogden Theater, and we were just about to announce tonight’s surprise show at Larimer Lounge, our Rocky Mountain home away from home.  But we had not one, but TWO Uptowners fall prey to the flu over Xmas.  So instead of being on a plane to Denver, we’re laying low, eating soup, while snows falls on the Windy City.

St Louis and Chicago NYE are still on, we just need a few extra days to rest up.  Sorry for anyone that was waiting for us in Denver, but we’ll be back in the spring.  Mile High Soul Club is still spinning and the Pocket Protectors are still playing, so go have a good time, stay warm!

End of the Year/World

26 11 2012

photo by LessThan3Pi

It’s already late November and the band leaves for Montreal this Friday.  We toured pretty steadily from March through October, and we’ve now been home for a solid month, working on new material, and successfully blew out the Metro the night before Thanksgiving (still waiting for some pics and video to post, JC did a bang up job on the backdrop projections).

Yeah, we said we’re leaving for Montreal.  Read the rest of this entry »