I'm back! Did you miss me? Oh, babies, I missed you all so much. Tell me, were you nice or naughty? I hope Santa took care of you all, but only in a non-coal way.
I've been baking away in Florida post-Christmas which explains my tardiness in posting. The weather has been phenomenal, with air temps in the low 80s and ocean temps in the mid-70s. There were even waves! I was boogie boarding and body surfing like a youngster out there. Nice!
Being down here also gave me an opportunity to catch JJ Grey and Mofro at Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale. I have to tell you there is nothing better than spending a relaxing day at the beach and then getting in a live show as a nightcap.
For those unfamiliar with Mr. Grey, he is from Jacksonville, Florida and plays music in the southern blues/soul genre. His real name is John Higganbotham (understandable that he would change that name for the stage - he wanted to go with John Cougar, but that was already taken). And Mofro is the band that cranks out the tunes. Like a lot of terrific bar bands, Mofro has 8 members, with horns, keys, drums, percussion, and the obligatory guitars/bass. They are tight, focused, having a good time, and masters of the club scene. And they are very dapper. Here's a great track that I think will convince you - and a freaky video to boot:
And another one just because I'm a good guy:
Hey, Tedeschi Trucks fans (I know you're out there), note that Derek Trucks has played on an album with the boys, and their sound is somewhat similar to TTB. In other words, if you like TTB, you're going to like JJ Grey & Mofro. Doug had told me about them before and said that they were very fun to see live. Doug has now risen in my estimation because he was right.
The show was good - about a 2 hour set, highlighting the best tunes of their repertoire, and light on the non-musical shenanigans. And the crowd was totally into it, too, singing along and hollering at the band. It was a very party-hearty atmosphere, and the band was grooving on the energy coming from the crowd.
But I have to comment further on the venue and the crowd.
Let's go venue first. RL is a warehouse-kind of space. It has certain amenities that are good - multiple bars, an elevated stage of about 5 feet which allows for good viewing from anywhere on the floor, and a sizeable stage so that the band can move about. Acoustics are good, and lights are professional.
It also has a lot of dubious qualities. Want to hear about them? Of course you do.
First, the place was PACKED. I don't know if the Fire Marshall was off-duty this particular night, but I had the willies all evening about a fire. Not to mention that moving around was a hassle and that if you grooved to the music at all, you did so in tandem with the person standing next to you. And God help you if the person next to you was a person of substance, or a woman constantly flipping her hair, because you were going to get your fill of that.
Next, while the floor is ample, the elevated areas surrounding it are tight and claustrophobic. People were everywhere, and only about 50 of them had a place to sit or lean against. It was a mess. Third, when you entered the place, there was a room with a bar and no sign that pointed you into the club itself. Rather, you just followed the crowd in line at the women's room ... and then go around them. You magically pop out at the club on the other side. It was the strangest entrance to a club that I've ever seen.
What about the crowd? Well, if you used to go to southern rock shows in the 80s, I've located most of your fellow cohorts from that era. We stood next to a dude named Mike who had a chaw of tobacco in his cheek (I have no idea where he was spitting), and a cold Bud in his hand. He was with his wife and 20-something tube-top wearing daughter. I kid you not. The women were vintage, too, albeit dressed like women and a bit more, shall we say, considered in how they looked as compared to those in Philly. Lots of long hair and makeup.
Plenty of weed going around, too, including a lit joint being passed around which I hadn't seen inside of a club since the e-cigarette thing came into existence. Everyone came because it was a southern show, and ooh baby, did this show ooze southern, right down to the weed hospitality (no, I did not partake, but respected the offer).
You'll note that BRP pushed right up to the near front and got some pretty good pics of the band as they went through their stuff. I hope you like the shots. I wasn't in the mood to take a bunch of pics because of the confounded crowding, but did my best to satisfy my demanding readership.
Hey, I've been working on a sort-of "salute to Philly bands" thing, and will pop that up in a few. And if you're reading this still, I've been challenged to develop a BRP playlist for Aaron. That is going to take some thought, for sure, but I've got plenty of good licks in line for him. With that, I'll wish you and yours the Happiest New Year ever, and hope that your 2019 is full of peace, good fortune, live music and happiness!
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.