Mofro cooks up the Southern soul in Memphis

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JJ Grey and Mofro
The Hi-Tone
Memphis, Tennessee
September 4, 2008

What do you get when you mix down home southern food references, funky swamp sound, a dynamic front man, and a thundering horn section? JJ Grey & Mofro in Memphis, of course!

mofro-1.jpgJJ’s “open door” band member policy, once again, has brought about the rotation of yet another drummer. Gone sadly is five year veteran George Sluppick from Memphis. Replacing Sluppick is Nat King Cole’s nephew and jazz drummer Anthony “AC” Cole. The stage at the Hi-Tone could have been enlarged, but the decision to provide more room for the patrons was a wise one. JJ had enough room for his organ, but “AC” was playing a stripped down kit with only a kick, snare, high hat, and two cymbals. As in true jazz form, “AC” made the most out of the most minimal of tools.

Promoting their new album Orange Blossom, JJ Grey & Mofro satiated a packed house at the Hi-Tone; Unfortunately, due to severe weather along the Gulf Coast, the Louisiana show for the prior evening was cancelled. Fortunately for the Memphis crowd, this gave the performers some down time and it showed. When JJ Grey & Mofro took the stage at midnight, they were raring to go.

This evening’s set ran well over 1hr. 45 min, and focused heavily (and predictably) on the new album. It featured tracks like "On Fire," "She Don’t Know," and "Everything Good is Bad."  The band didn’t neglect the older material though, and the seet featured JJ’s signature sing–a-long pleaser "Lochloosa," the rowdy "Dirtfloorcracker," and Country Ghetto‘s stand-out lead-off track, "War."  The fans were determined to get as much music as possible from the band by literally creating a stockade of the stage and forcing additional encores.

The evenings show came off with out a hitch and was by far the most enjoyable one in their past few visits to Memphis!

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