At the Williamsburg Hall of Music
A concert is never more enjoyable than when the performers seem to be having just as much fun as the audience, and I’ve never seen and more mutual enthusiasm than at The Eccentric Soul Review at the Williamsburg Hall of Music. Several one-time soul artists who peaked in decades past were there to share the stage with each other and today’s voice of soul from Chicago, JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound.
Both Brooks and Eccentric Soul will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, so of course I was quick to get a ticket. Also, as I may have mentioned before, a great friend of mine (since my long ago elementary school days) plays guitar and masterminds the Uptown Sound; it’s always a delight to see him strutting around the stage.
The show, which was quite crowded with eager, hip faces, began with my favorite act of the night, Renaldo Domino, who’s signature pleading song Not Too Cool to Cry is still playing in my head. Next out was Harlem rapper Miss Missy Dee who slammed through a brief performance with her MC and was once a rare female voice during the birth of hip hop.
The Notations, a white suited four man band who had a pretty big hit with the song I’m Still Here, came next and wowed the audience with their charisma and me especially with some impressive a capella.
JC Brooks, who really has a dynamite presence on stage, along with the band, which backed all the acts, delivered some particularly electric performances.
Syl Johnson was the headliner of the night, though, and he was one wild cat. Seemingly drunk, though I’ve since been assured that his rambling exuberance is simply his signature performance style, he sang many of his oft sampled hits, occasionally repeating just who sampled him (the words Wu Tang clan came up again and again).
The finale was a rousing rendition of You Can’t Always Get What You Want featuring everyone back on stage. It got the crowd so psyched that the artists had to return for one last song: The Tighten Up, originally by Archie Bell.