If you want to see the energy drink equivalent of a musical performance, stop in to Durand Jones & the Indications’ next show. Jones and company held a riotous “soul evening” with Chicago R&B/funk band Fat Night as their opener.
Fat Night is a tight-sounding four piece whose energy and joy onstage are infectious. Lead vocals are split between the keyboard player Gabe Gundacker and guitarist Dan Hanson. Their chemistry as musicians is clear as they trade vocals, harmonies, and unison lines. Their sonic influences seemed to range from Tom Jones to Stevie Wonder and back again, as they delivered incredibly danceable tune one after another. They played songs from further back in their catalogue, such as “Things You Do”, as well as some unrecorded tracks. They switched between grooves easily, encouraging dancing and cheers from the sold-out audience. Chicagoans can look forward to more great music from this excellent band.
When Durand Jones & the Indications entered the stage, it was without Jones himself. His band filed onstage (sax, trumpet, keys, bass, guitar and drums) and began to play a fast-paced and punchy intro. Durand came onstage to cheers and yells, and began the single most energetic performance I’ve essentially ever seen. This man feels every moment of his performance—he had sweat dripping from his forehead by song two, and each song was complete with fist pumps and seemingly involuntary movements. I could not get a single clear photo of him, by virtue of his non-stop dancing. It was exactly what the crowd needed.
“Are you having a good soul evening?” he cried gleefully to the audience. They responded with enthusiasm. He repeated himself, even louder, with more energy—the audience went over the top. As they moved through their self-titled album, Jones’ energy became more palpable. He screamed, he roared, he got down on his knees, and he just about blew the roof off Lincoln Hall. He asked the same question many times throughout the night, and each time, the crowd seemed to be having an even better “soul evening” than before. At one point, Jones left the stage, and drummer Aaron Frazer told the crowd “I think he needs to catch his breath. I’ll take this next song.” He led the band through a beautiful rendition of a Smokey Robinson song, his strong falsetto ringing clearly. Durand came back, looking as excited as before. He told the crowd that for each city they have a special connection to on tour, they do a “soul dedication” to them. For Chicago, he chose Curtis Mayfield’s intense and uptempo “(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go.”
By the end of the show, the crowd was still dancing and screaming for more. Jones’ soulful and strong voice, though near-breaking point by this point, was something everyone couldn’t get enough of. Durand Jones & the Indications do not disappoint, and Lincoln Hall was treated to a truly special “soul evening.”
If you missed out, you can catch him on the rest of his tour.