When the weather finally picks up in DC, so does H Street. Up and down the block, people are out enjoying the air and nightlife, and on April 16, Rock & Roll Hotel was packed with people there to watch Durand Jones and the Indications. The night was just short of warm and there couldn’t have been a sweeter way to celebrate it than the Indications’ 70s soul-inspired music.
The Indications are touring their sophomore record American Love Call, a best R&B record nominee for the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) Libera Awards, alongside artists like Blood Orange and Charles Bradley.
The Indications have so many things going for them. They have the instrumentation and arrangement style of their inspirations down pat. Think Curtis Mayfield’s “So In Love” or Brenton Wood’s “I Think You Got Your Fools Mixed Up.”
They can also play funk, like they showed Tuesday on their song “Groovy Babe.” More than that, Durand Jones strikes a great balance as a frontman. He’s a happy medium between performers like Meg Remy of U.S. Girls and BadBadNotGood.
In the two times I’ve seen US Girls the only thing Meg Remy said was that there would be no encore because “there are no encores in life,” and if I ever see BBNG again it’ll be too soon, because their frontman almost never shuts up.
But more than any of that, it’s the voices of the Indications that make it for me, particularly that of frontman Durand Jones and drummer Aaron Frazer. Jones may not have Frazer range (not that he’s that far off), but he emotes like an Otis Redding or James Brown, and Frazer’s falsetto could put him into The Delfonics or The Emulations.
The best songs of the night were the ones that had these two playing off each other, like “Don’t You Know” or “Circles,” both off American Love Call, though Frazer’s solo ballad “Is It Any Wonder” might still be my favorite of theirs. They played it as an encore, and it’s quite the song to have in your backpocket.
It was also the first Indications song I heard. I didn’t really like it at first because it sounded so much like music was made 50 years ago, but a lot changes in a month. I spent the weeks following in Colombia hearing almost only cumbia and to come home and hear American music, and American music like Durand Jones and the Indications was the sweetest thing.
Sorry for being a prude about it at first, guys, you’re beautiful, can’t wait to see in DC next time.
For more information of Durand Jones and the Indications, follow them on Twitter.