I sometimes wish that every single reader of MTC could be with me at a show, because words and pictures can’t always convey the emotions felt at a show. But as always, I’ll do my best to put you in the moment. So here it goes!
Being more than just a casual fan of the Florida-based JJ Grey and Mofro but having never seen them live, this stop in St. Louis gave me the opportunity to satisfy all of my senses. JJ and company immediately made one feel at home with their stage setting, casually decorated with assorted table lamps and a backdrop of two deer silhouettes under a tree. Wasting no time in showing the large Pageant audience where he was coming from, JJ opened his nearly two and a half hour set with the swampy, “Mississippi”. JJ Grey & Mofro have cut their teeth and earned their stripes as performers by playing any place that would have them. These attributes shine through as every band member was smiling cordially throughout the night and acting like there was no other place they wanted to be!
JJ Grey is out there promoting his latest effort, Ol Glory which combines all of the elements he is famous for: soulful horns, a bluesy guitar, and the splash of Florida swamp. The band performs the highlights of this album throughout the night. With every song I kept thinking to myself, “man those studio albums are good but this band live is as tight as tick!” A couple of treats from the evening included local disc jockey and Vintage Vinyl co-owner, Tom “Papa” Ray, joining JJ onstage for a harmonica duet and Todd Smallie, Mofro bassist, smiling relentlessly throughout the night as he was returning to his roots in St. Louis.
The most appreciative St. Louis fans acted on the cues of the performers onstage, bouncing as needed or swaying slowly as the tempos fell. A couple of fans must have peaked at previous setlist as they produced two battery-operated candles, which Mr. Grey took and held throughout his performance of, ”Light a Candle” from the new album. The main set was concluded by an older song I had never heard before but many sang along to the funky groove of, “Slow, Hot, and Sweaty”. The soulfulness and honesty of this night were best brought to light through one of two encore songs, “The Sun is Shining Down”. This song is a heartfelt account of Grey’s take on his grandparent’s last interaction as his grandfather was passing. Soaring horns and a slowly plucked guitar make this song rise in a fashion similar to Elvis Presley’s, “American Trilogy”. As the show ended I was standing by the soundboard another gentleman and myself looked at each other and simultaneously said, “Wow”. Nothing more needs to be said! Thanks, as always, to our gracious hosts at, The Pageant and to JJ Grey and Mofro for having us. Photos of the show are below:
Contributed by Duane Clawson
JJ Grey & Mofro @ the Pagaent, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 2:00:00 PM Rating: