You know it’s going to be a good show when you squeeze your way into the main room at the Troubadour five minutes before set time and the floor is jam packed, the upstairs is completely full (Including the standing spots on either end of the seats), and the usually-less-crowded left side is 100% occupied. Soul group Durand Jones & The Indications brought that kind of excitement to the Troubadour on Tuesday night.
As Southern Soul Spinners DJ wrapped up their set the energy level in the crowd kept rising as the band hit the stage and exploded when the man himself came down the stairs. The rise of Durand Jones & The Indications hit a new Los Angeles peak Tuesday night, and it looks likely it’s only up from here. So expect the El Rey next, followed by the Fonda Theatre, and you might as well start planning to buy tickets to the Wiltern.
The sound is classic and rich and full of so much soul. Jones’ Louisiana-raised gospel background paired with the Indications’ traditional Midwestern soul sound, organ rich, sharp guitars, grooves for days, and a brass section of perfection, first gained notoriety on sought-after singles from Ohio’s Colemine Records.
By 2016 their self-titled debut LP came out. I caught them for my first time at Long Beach’s Music Tastes Good Festival last year when PTA blog-meister Mark Ortega was all “These guys have been rehearsing in my garage and you GOTTA go see them”. And he was right. And I wished I coulda been in the garage for rehearsals too! Since then, the band has added two brass players that gave the group a little more depth to their already full sound.
At the Troubadour, Jones belted out a flow of songs that grooved so hard and had the whole room swaying, jumping, and singing along, especially on the infectious “Groovy Babe” and all-time classic “True Love” where the choir really was about 500 people deep. A few times in the set, drummer Aaron Frazer takes the lead vocal duties and sings with a stunning falsetto, with the highlight being the stunning “Is It Any Wonder”, a song that sounds so right in Los Angeles, where you can imagine it coming out of the car radios in all the 1960’s cruising spots along Sunset, Whittier Blvd., or Van Nuys.
The encore was a long one! Which was great. Including a rousing, and perfect, version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”.
What a great night! Looking forward to the next time Durand Jones and the Indications are in town, and already scanning the Los Angeles calendar waiting for it. You can catch them at BottleRock Napa and Bonnaroo this year if you’re hitting the festival circuit!
One aside: I didn’t want to get to the Troubadour five minutes before set time. I left with plenty of time but the parking lot across from the Troubadour has closed and FYI for anyone who likes street parking, it’s impossible to find in that area on a popular night. Thanks a lot Craig’s. And Gracias Madre. And Catch.
Words and photos by Tim Aarons