JJ Grey and Mofro are a septet southern rock fusion band from the sunshine state Florida. Merging Lynyrd Skynyrd style rock with a heavy dosage of funk, country and soul – with Otis Reading and Jerry Reed notable influences. Currently on a world tour in support of their ninth album “Ol’ Glory”, they stopped off at the 02 Academy in Islington, London on 18/03/15 to brighten up a rather grey day in the capital.
First up was the support act, who was another singer/song writer in the mould of JJ Grey, Marc Broussard from Louisiana. First thing that hit you was the show stopping voice coming from this bearded wonder. Stellar voice but musically it was a bit humdrum as it was just him and an acoustic guitar. Things livened up when four members of Mofro joined him, that’s when the action truly started. He warmed the crowd up wonderfully with funk infused rock of a similar ilk to the main attraction. A great surprise from a relatively unknown act.
Things were really kicked into overdrive when JJ Grey and the rest of Mofro came on stage, all seven of them – making an already cosy arena even cosier. Such an intimate setting suited this band to a tee, as JJ Grey worked the crowd with ease – a consummate showman on a similar level to Bruce Springsteen. Even his guitar string twanging off mid song did not deter him, or anyone else for that matter. Everyone put in a brilliant shift, adding to the jubilant atmosphere – especially the ecstatic joy etched on drummer Anthony Cole and bassist Tod Smallie‘s faces respectively. It’s hard not to smile when they sound this tight, and do so with an such infectious smiles.
They played a handful of songs from “Ol’ Glory”, including ‘A Night to Remember’, ‘Every Minute’, exultant ballad ‘Home in the Sky’ and ‘Light a Candle’. With the latter song’s query ‘Is anybody out there as full of shit as me?’ garnering a collective holler of agreement. Along with a smattering of fan favourites from previous records, ‘Brighter Days’, ‘Country Ghetto’ and my personal favourite ’99 Shades of Crazy’ amongst others.
Their brand of funk infused southern rock went down a treat, with everyone involved putting their best foot forward. The sense of joy was apparent and the atmosphere jubilant. The perfect antidote to those post winter blues.