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Author: Subject: Mofro Rocked Atlanta on New Year's Eve :)

Universal Peach





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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 10:49 PM
A few days have passed, the buzz has faded, and I still feel impelled to heap some praise upon JJ Grey and Mofro for the excellent show they put on at Variety Playhouse on NYE.

I've pretty much been a fan of JJ and Mofro since I became aware of them, and wrote several articles for Hittin' the Note about them, but this was by far the best Mofro show I've seen. They were absolutely on fire and in the pocket, and electrified a packed house at Variety for well over 2 hours.

Atlanta had no Derek/Susan show for New Year's, no Widespread Panic, no Col. Bruce, when in many years past we had all three to choose from. Honestly, I can't remember such a lean New Year's in Atlanta. There was a big hole in Atlanta's NYE offerings, but Mofro stepped up and delivered in a big way.

JJ seemed happier than I've ever seen him. No dark clouds overhead, none of the air of the troubled, tortured artist that I always seemed to catch in the past. He seemed like a completely fulfilled human being, doing what he was born to do with gusto and enjoying every minute of it. His vocals were passionate and powerful, and his guitar playing seemed better than I've seen before. There is no better frontman in music today.

The band seemed tighter, more together, as if something clicked and it all fell into place. Former DTB member Todd Smallie was holding down the bass admirably with his usual grin, the horns were on point, and a new guitar player whose name I didn't catch was quite good. He played lap steel as well as regular electric guitar, and JJ was generous in giving him solo time.

If you are already a Mofro fan, better eat your Wheaties the next time they come to town. If you have dismissed them in the past, they might be worth another look. Maybe it was just a good night, but if what I saw this weekend is the "new normal" for Mofro, they have moved up a notch or two in my book and are now one of the best live bands in America.

Here is a pretty good audience recording, judge for yourself and tell me what you think...

http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=551376

 
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Peach Master



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  posted on 1/4/2012 at 11:14 AM
Amen to that Rob.
I don't know if its cool or not, but I'm sure JJ would appreciate a small plug here.

A cd (12 songs) and dvd (2hrs) package of Mofro's January 2011 performance at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta called "Brighter Days" is available now at www.alligator.com for the modest price of $17.98.
Heck, they'll even ship it to you free!

Good value for the money, so help a hard working brother out, and pick one up.
You won't be disappointed.

[Edited on 1/4/2012 by Efus]

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 1/4/2012 at 12:19 PM
well, zac brown band at phillips was pretty good too that night, plus a solid list of opening acts from his southern ground organization. it helped to have a guest pass to the hospitality room too!
 
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Zen Peach



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  posted on 1/4/2012 at 01:10 PM
Thanks for the review Rob. I have most of JJ's stuff and need to catch him live.

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 1/4/2012 at 03:00 PM
We went over to the 5-Spot for a little while after the Atlanta Hootnanny, the band there was called the Greyhounds, and they were REALLY good. I saw Todd Smallie, asked him about them. He said it was basically Mofro without JJ. I've never seen the full band, but saw enough to know the full band is something I want to see.
 
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Universal Peach



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  posted on 1/4/2012 at 06:46 PM
You really should make a point to see them, Randy. Seeing Mofro without JJ is like seeing Wet Willie without Jimmy Hall--still a damn good band, but not remotely the same.

Glad you enjoyed Zac at Philips, Pat, I didn't even know that was going on. Even if I had, no doubt I would have made the same choice. Zac Brown is pretty good, but he's got nothing on JJ and Mofro.

I've seen many great NYE shows at Variety, from Aquarium Rescue Unit back in the 90s to Derek Trucks in the mid-2000s, and this one stands up proudly. Variety is always such a good time. It really is a great venue and we are lucky to have it here in Atlanta.

 
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Universal Peach



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  posted on 1/7/2012 at 04:12 PM
Listening to this show again right now and decided to bump this up one more time. JJ is so soulful, and the band is just so tight at this show. A must for any Mofro fan!
 
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True Peach



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  posted on 1/7/2012 at 04:48 PM
quote:
Amen to that Rob.
I don't know if its cool or not, but I'm sure JJ would appreciate a small plug here.

A cd (12 songs) and dvd (2hrs) package of Mofro's January 2011 performance at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta called "Brighter Days" is available now at www.alligator.com for the modest price of $17.98.
Heck, they'll even ship it to you free!

Good value for the money, so help a hard working brother out, and pick one up.
You won't be disappointed.


I have that and haven't watched the DVD yet, but man, just the first track on the CD, Country Ghetto, SERIOUSLY kicks ass.

I had seen them a few times before, first time opening for the NMAS in Milwaukee around '03 or so and wasn't real impressed...they were better when they opened for the ABB in '07, I think, but something was still missing. They sound like they have figured it out on Brighter Days. Maybe it was Todd Smallie! Glad he landed on his feet. There isn't a nicer guy in the music biz - except maybe for Oteil....

Thanks, as always, for the great review, Rob!

[Edited on 1/7/2012 by brofan]

 

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  posted on 1/7/2012 at 04:52 PM
quote:
Glad you enjoyed Zac at Philips, Pat, I didn't even know that was going on. Even if I had, no doubt I would have made the same choice. Zac Brown is pretty good, but he's got nothing on JJ and Mofro.


I wanted to say this but I make enough controversial statements....

 

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Peach Bud



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  posted on 1/7/2012 at 05:55 PM
Saw them in South London in May and absolutely loved them. Rang my wife as soon as I stepped out of the venue and told her it was one of the best gigs I'd ever been to. While I was on he phone I could hear someone calling out "hey" and come running down the road behind me still calling out. Heard him say "Are you on the phone?" Turned around at this point and it was Todd Smallie chasing me down the road. He hunted me down because I was wearing a Gov't Mule shirt. Talked to him for a few minutes and even passed the phone over for him to talk to my wife. Couldn't hang around as I had a bus to catch.

When I went to see them I didn't own any of their CDs. Had only heard of JJ as I have a copy of a show where he plays harp with Gov't Mule on 32/20 Blues. I streamed a couple of shows working the night shift the week before I saw them and liked what I heard, but nothing prepared me for how flipping good they were live. Bought a copy of the Lochloosa CD on my way out the door and left it in the CD player of the wife's car. She's now a fan as well. Bought tickets for their upcoming headlining date in London and still debating whether to catch a couple of shows of them opening for Jack Bruce in the UK or fly to Germany or Holland to see them headlining over there.

 

Peach Master



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  posted on 1/7/2012 at 06:05 PM
Really I don't find you controversial at all. More like predictable. You do make a lot of posts to this site though.

I personally don't like JJ. He reminds me too much of Joe Cocker in his style and I say, forge your own style. He isn't bad though. I am sure the show was fine for those who attended.

quote:
I wanted to say this but I make enough controversial statements....

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 1/7/2012 at 06:06 PM
Ahh, the signature thing is fixed. Sorry I had to make another post to see.

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 1/7/2012 at 07:34 PM
I never would have thought to compare JJ to Joe Cocker. His music is so deeply Southern that to compare him to an Englishman seems like a stretch. If anything, Cocker was emulating Southern bluesmen he heard on records, while for JJ, it's in his blood.

I also don't believe Cocker plays any instruments, and JJ plays 3 different ones quite well.

To each their own, but I just had to respond to that one....

 
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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 1/8/2012 at 09:37 AM
I saw JJ Grey & Mofro in a tiny club ( Haven Club ) in Edmonton this past fall , I brought my brother with me who had never heard of them and after 3 or 4 songs my brother turned to and said " this guy is unreal " it was a great show . JJ told the crowd he has spent quite a bit of time in Alberta fishing , he said there is a picture of a bridge in one of his albums and that bridge is in Alberta , thought that was pretty cool for a dude from Florida .

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 1/8/2012 at 10:01 AM
Great review, Rob, as always. I've been a fan of Mofro for many years and have seen the group numerous tmes. I love JJ. The man's got soul - plain and simple. Thanks for the show link. Downloading now!

 

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  posted on 1/9/2012 at 12:59 PM
Thanks to this thread I went out and bought Country Ghetto. I'm totally hooked! So good. I think I'm going to try to catch a show at the end of the month in VA.

Thanks for all the info from everybody!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 1/9/2012 at 04:33 PM
I must admit, I became aware of them through my friendship with Todd but Lee Ann and I are hooked on this band.

easily my two favorite shows of the last two years have both been by this band..

Georgia Warehouse is a spectacular disc

JJ is a Mofro !!

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 1/9/2012 at 06:40 PM
Lefty, I think you mean Georgia Warhorse It's a great album, no matter what you call it.

Brendan, glad you are digging Country Ghetto! My work here is done....

 
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True Peach



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  posted on 1/10/2012 at 01:40 AM
quote:
Lefty, I think you mean Georgia Warhorse It's a great album, no matter what you call it.

Brendan, glad you are digging Country Ghetto! My work here is done....


You know, back in the day (or decade - as in 4) i used to buy records sometimes by the way they looked or even by the title. And I can tell you that Country Ghetto is such an intriguing title with such limitless possibilities to it that I would have have bought it just for that alone.

And like I said, the song JUST KICKS ASS.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 1/10/2012 at 08:58 AM
quote:
Lefty, I think you mean Georgia Warhorse It's a great album, no matter what you call it.


LOL..ya know Rob I used to be able to multi task..not anymore

 

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  posted on 1/30/2012 at 03:28 PM
Dudes!!! I caught these cats on Saturday night at the State Theater in Falls Church. HOLY SH!T were they smokin'!! Easily one of the best shows I've seen in a while. Really good music. Thanks Rob! Wouldn't have happened without this thread.

 

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  posted on 1/30/2012 at 05:04 PM
Rec'd my dvd/cd package from Alligator.

I have to say, the cd sounds phenomenal, and the dvd is a great film.
Not a regular concert deal, but a 2 hour documentary, that mixes in plenty of live footage from the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta.
It also looks and sounds great, and gives you a pretty good insight into what JJ is all about.
Highly recommended.

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 1/30/2012 at 11:22 PM
Glad you liked the show, Brendan! They really are on fire right now. Even having seen Mofro probably 20 times over the past decade, I was stunned and shocked by NYE. If they keep playing at that level, they won't be playing places like Variety and the State for long. Even in a world where musical quality isn't always rewarded, you can't rock the house THAT hard without people hearing about it and wanting in on the party.

Efus, I was also at the show where the DVD was recorded JJ mentioned the DVD at the recent Variety show and complimented the Atlanta crowd for being so enthusiastic. They were singing along very loudly to some song, I forget which one, and JJ said "that's why we recorded the DVD here, y'all are the best" or words to that effect.

 
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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 1/31/2012 at 09:15 AM
quote:
They were singing along very loudly to some song, I forget which one, and JJ said "that's why we recorded the DVD here, y'all are the best" or words to that effect.

There was a lot of singin along on Saturday night. One song, I forget which one, he sat out about half the song and just let the crowd sing it. Very cool vibe.

 

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  posted on 1/31/2012 at 11:42 AM
quote:
quote:
They were singing along very loudly to some song, I forget which one, and JJ said "that's why we recorded the DVD here, y'all are the best" or words to that effect.

There was a lot of singin along on Saturday night. One song, I forget which one, he sat out about half the song and just let the crowd sing it. Very cool vibe.


I too dig the album - however, I have a different 'take' on the crowd in the audio mix: I can't stand it! I found myself screaming "SHUTTHEF-UP" (to myself) to a couple people in particular. (sure, I have some problems...)

Very passionate and powerful show though! I enjoy the band a lot. Fave album: Georgia Warhorse.


(ha, Lefty - I call it Ga. Warehouse too! lol) Never looked too hard at the title apparently!

 

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