The sparkling shoes singer Johnnie Brown wore were not the only things that lit up the Dakota Club at his recent performance. The musicians, background singers and, most of all, Brown’s voice and showmanship gave the audience a true musical experience.
Seeing live acts up close and personal at the Dakota is always a treat and Brown took advantage of the intimate setting. Not only did Brown’s baritone vocals dazzle at the Nov. 3 show, he danced and worked the stage to the classic songs of the late, great Teddy Pendergrass. At one point, he stopped singing and pointed the microphone to the crowd to help him finish a song — they knew the lyrics word for word.
The late Pendergrass got his start as lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes back in the early ‘70s. He later embarked on a solo career, continuing to do what he did best — deliver smooth love songs with his sultry and raspy baritone voice.
Brown and his band, the JB Experience, gave the crowd all of Pendergrass’ soulful ballads and duets, from “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and “Love TKO” to “Close the Door,” to name just a few. Brown’s voice reminds you of Pendergrass,’ and he actually resembled him a bit, too, with his beard, swag and stage presence.
Although Brown has mastered Pendergrass’ repertoire of hits, he also made a point of telling the crowd that he could sing other songs and appreciates the opportunity to share his talent with an audience who accepts him not just for sounding like Teddy, but for sounding like Johnny Brown.
You can catch Johnnie Brown in action next on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 9 pm at Bunkers, 761 North Washington Ave. in Minneapolis and Nov. 23 at The Mudd Room, 1352 State Hwy 13 in Mendota. For more info and concert dates, go to www.jbrownqc.com.
Nikki Love is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.