You can’t miss Jonathan Lee Tolliver. Tall, skinny, and donning an epic fro and black-rimmed glasses, the “J.T.” and lead singer of J.T. and the Sloppy Seconds has the laidback, artsy vibe down. Dude looks like a musician. But it’s his voice—at once soulful and hard driving, chill and intense—that makes him one.
J.T. and the Sloppy Seconds got their start back in summer 2011 when Jon and his friend, Mark James (vocals), decided they wanted to start a band. Some Craigslist perusing led them to Josh Gottlieb (drummer) and Mitch Sigurdson (lead guitar), with Lindsay Collins (vocals), Mugsy (Maggie Keller, vocals), and Shaun (keyboard) soon to follow. From there, they chose a name, booked a gig (their first show was at Coles in Chicago—30 people showed up), and set to writing more music and meeting more fans. The rest, as they say, is history.
The band’s sound can best be described as “sweaty soul,” says James. “Our writing process is pretty spur of the moment. Jon writes most of the songs, I come up with the harmonies, then the rhythm section pieces the rest together during practice.” The result: true-to-life lyrics set to sorta funky, sorta poppy, can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it-but-makes-me-wanna-dance melodies.
After just a year and a half, the band has gone from playing crowds of 30 to booking such venues as the Fine Line Music Café, Triple Rock Social Club, and Nicollet Avenue’s newest music joint, Icehouse. This is a band on the rise if ever there was one, and Thursday is your chance to say you saw them first. Go, dance, sweat, and repeat. Soon you’ll have to pay much more than $5 to boogie down with this funky bunch.