Old-school soul with new-school vibes is the essence of Durand Jones and The Indications.
Their music takes you by hand and dances you through every emotion. Prior to the show, the DJ was turning out foot-tapping tunes that had the fans warmed up and ready for the night. Opening band Ginger Root gave me quite the surprise as a band of 3 unassuming twenty-somethings from the OC, who described their music as “Aggressive Elevator Soul.” Slightly pop-y but very talented, with modern soul and wit to carry us from song to song. I was digging their sound, and it was perfect for priming the audience for some smooth, soulful tunes.
The crowd went wild when Durand Jones and band stepped on stage, which included female trumpet and sax players, and Durand himself carrying his own sax. The hit “Make a Change” brought motivational energy and unity to the air with Durand’s focused and piercing gaze, looking around the room, singing about life’s hardships and urging us to love ourselves enough to make that change. When a song gives you goosebumps, walls are being broken down, inhibitions are being removed, and a sense of vulnerability becomes evident. I found myself in that space during the love-proclaiming tune, “Don’t You Know,” a song that lays all the cards on the table. Talk about breaking walls down and being vulnerable! That’s the thing about the new album American Love Call: it does exactly what it says. It calls to us as human beings living in a world where love, heartbreak, passion and relationships are sung as the foundation of our existence.
The night only got better and better as the show went on. Durand kept the spirit moving as he and drummer Aaron Frazer belted out tune after tune, with perfectly timed “do-do-do-dooo’s” from the remaining band members. What started out as a concert fast became a sing-along with the band as true-blue fans singing along to every song. That sing-along moved into a family get-together when Durand prefaced a song with a short history lesson on Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park, giving a shout out to the local community which was met with a loving uproar of cheers.
For a band whose fan base grew from independent record stores playing their Colemine released self-titled debut album, Durand and friends have already established fans who are family. Every sound is an extension of personal experience and observations that cuts deep into humanity and remind us that we are in this life together. Music is a catalyst for connection and communication, and Durand Jones and the Indications provide both through their heartfelt songwriting and passion-driven delivery . In the words of Jill Scott, “Soul music is about longevity and reaching and touching people on a human level – and that’s never going to get lost.” I guarantee every person at The Casbah that night had a personal experience they will never forget!