Durand Jones and The Indications at The Regency Ballroom, by William Wayland
Durand Jones and The Indications (photo: William Wayland)

Words by William Wayland

It was one of those hot and sticky September nights when Durand Jones and The Indications hit The Regency Ballroom last week.

Soul music lovers young and old crowded the ballroom floor. Sweaty bodies moved to the classic-sounding grooves while some pressed against the industrial fans or hung around the doorway to catch a light breeze blowing in from Van Ness.

Though Durand Jones has some moves and he can make some members of the audience swoon, this isn’t a flashy show like the James Brown performances I’ve only seen on YouTube. You get the feeling this is a working-man's band, made up of students of soul honoring legends like Wilson Pickett, Al Green, and Sam Cooke, without sounding too retro.

The band stays true to the genre playing cuts off their eponymous album and their second LP, American Love Call, and it’s disappointing that the sound system didn’t seem dialed in at the Regency. It felt thin, maybe muddy, on the dance floor and even cut out entirely — for an eternal second — during “Circles.” A reliable source also complained about the sound quality in Santa Cruz as well. I'm not sure what the issue is.

The other disappointment was that drummer Aaron Frazer, who normally shares singing duties, was on doctor’s orders to give his vocals a rest. I look forward to hearing him when the band returns to San Francisco.

Anyone who skipped the opening act missed a band they ought to know. From Long Beach, California; Rudy De Anda plays high energy hard-to-define garage rock with Latin flavor. Before the first song was over — almost before it began — band leader, Rudy De Anda, was already in the pit and up on the barricade with the audience. Before they finished their set he had climbed the speakers and seemed to spend most of the rest of the time in mid-air somewhere. I don’t know if this is what their act is like every night or if that’s even possible, but San Francisco got a hell of a show.

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