“Y’all wanna dance?” the titular frontman of Durand Jones & The Indications calls out to a crowd bobbing with excitement.
Packed shoulder to shoulder, the floor of the 9:30 Club condensed into one massive huddle as eager fans pushed closer and closer to the stage.
Saturday night of the venue’s opening weekend was an evening of dance. Durand Jones & The Indications brought soul and romance to a sold-out, merch-clad crowd who were more than willing to be active participants in the performance, eagerly singing and dancing along throughout the entirety of the set.
Easing into the night, the band kicked off with “Don’t You Know,” as Jones whirled out onto the stage with a giant grin on his face. Shrouded in a haze of fog, the seven-piece band was backlit, providing the perfect backdrop for their smooth, sexy soul-jazz.
Celebrating the release of their third studio album, “Private Space,” Durand Jones & The Indications appeared eager to hit the road and debut their new sound. Bursting with explosive sounds and creative surprises, the album strays from the band’s roots in ‘60s funk and soul to a more modern take on disco-pop, proving to be the perfect reintroduction into live music.
Vocalists from opening band 79.5 provided backup vocals for Durand Jones & The Indications, and the 79.5 front-women swapped their silvery dresses for black sequins. Debuting yet-to-be-released songs, 79.5 incorporated a myriad of non-traditional instruments and sound effects to complement their decorative vocals and melodic beats, effectively warming up the crowd.
About a quarter through the main set, the spotlight shined on Aaron Frazer (drums, vocals), who took lead vocals on “Private Space,” completely stunning the crowd with both his enchanting falsetto, as well as his ability to simultaneously jam out on the drum kit.
“The band wouldn’t be half as successful without him,” Jones gushes later on. “He has the voice of an angel.”
Although he and Frazer frequently swapped turns as lead vocalist, the best bits were when the pair played off each other, harmonizing and belting in tandem.
With songs like “Circles,” “True Love,” and “Can’t Keep My Cool,” Durand Jones & The Indications have the power to reassure any skeptic romance is very much alive. Listening to them is like stepping through a portal back in time to the sounds of Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and James Brown, among numerous other musical legends. Although they can often walk the fine line between inspiration and imitation, they’ve managed to establish an original sound which has the power to fill even those who never lived through the ‘60s with deep nostalgia.
“It’s beautiful to see a full audience,” Jones exclaims before turning toward his band as the show wound down.
Introducing each member with a loving anecdote, Jones paints intimate portraits of each, rattling off compliments and details as though he were performing a slam poetry piece.
“Thank you for loving us and not forgetting about us,” he continues before launching into “Witchoo,” a more modern-sounding hit from their latest release which sends the crowd into fits of movement.
When the band returned for the encore, Jones lingered in the wings, allowing Frazer a moment in the spotlight for “Too Many Tears,” as guitarist Blake Rhein took his place on the kit. The amount of musical talent on stage was astronomical. And with members moonlighting on different instruments throughout the night, the end product was even more impressive. The sense of community and camaraderie fostered by the band was felt and appreciated by all.
While Durand Jones & The Indications may seem “old school,” they provide a sound that’s meant to be eternalized.