We were a little excited yet skeptical to see JJ Grey & Mofro this past Tuesday at Capital Ale House in Richmond. Not because Grey and his friends were an unknown but wondering how the Capital Ale House could support a show. The band didn’t disappoint. The venue held up ok too.
Props go out to Tracey for turning me on to JJ Grey. She tripped across them a couple of years ago on iTunes. I heard her playing some smooth new music, checked the artist, and have enjoyed their recorded stuff since.
I actually planned to cruise down to the Queen City a while back to see them but had something come up. I dunno. Work. Family. Travel. Could’ve been that whole commuting 800 miles thing. Can’t quite remember. At any rate…
We missed the opener while eating at the Ale House; food was basic. Bear Republic’s Racer 5 chased with a Two Hearted Ale warmed us plenty for the show. The 300 person capacity hall was about a quarter full when we entered and huddled close to the stage. It was small with all the amps and instruments crowded in a wide “U”.
I remember thinking when they came on the stage “whoa where did all those guys come from?” Then I heard the sound. Big, real big and loud. “War” was the opener and set a marvelous pace of rockin’ soul as only Mofro could provide.
I was amazed at the energy of the whole group with the exception of guitarist Daryl Hance who leaned against a wall most of the night and showed little emotion. I note from other sites that perhaps this was personality and not to be mistaken for a lack of passion. Organ and horns were totally on point. Guitarist Andrew Trube was a joy to hear live.
Aside from the opener, tunes that stood out in the 17-song set list were “Everything Good”, “Move It On”, “Brighter Days”, and “Sweetest Thing” off the upcoming album. I was happy to hear the monster rock sound guided by soul and blues. Jacksonville roots were evident yet the organ and horns provided a richness that no hall of fame band from Florida can supply.
We’re already watching the touring list for their next show close. They are at Floydfest this weekend. That’s shaping up to be a great lineup. Unfortunately for us, we’ll be recovering from DMB in DC Friday. No excuses for you not to make that one though.