J.J. Grey in Melbourne Australia
Born and bred in Florida, JJ Grey presents an almighty mix of Southern rock, funk, soul and swamp R’n’B.
After a brief Australian tour in April this year (Bluesfest in Byron Bay and a single show in Sydney), JJ Gray & Mofro thankfully returned for a few more Antipodean dates later in the year. The show at the Northcote Social Club was the third in this short tour.
I’d had the pleasure of two live shows already from this outfit – one in Columbia Missouri last year and another in St Augustine Florida just last month (see above picture). Both were outdoor festival sets, on large stages and in front of sizable crowds. I was very interested to see how the band would be received at this smallish indoor venue (I’m guessing the capacity of which is around 300). In fact, how would the eight-piece outfit even fit on the stage?
My forecast was that it would be the best way possible to see them.
And so it proved to be.
The venue was not a sell-out but pretty full and Grey’s fearless and intimate stage presence sparkled throughout. He inspired, he uplifted, he was playful. Over two hours of that concoction of easy power where the groove is natural.
The set list featured five tracks from the band’s latest, excellent release Ol’ Glory – “Every Minute”, “Light A Candle”, a full-blast and extended “Hold On Tight”, “Night To Remember” and the title track whipped to a frenzy as the second encore. Just about every one of his previous eight albums was represented in some way or another, including “Ho Cake” from 2001’s Blackwater. Other songs performed were “99 Shaes Of Crazy”, “Florabama”, “A Woman”, “Brighter Days”, “Country Ghetto”, “Hide and Seek”, “Everything Is Good”, “Slow Hot Sweaty”, “On Fire” and “Lochloosa”. The band was memorable – Anthony Farrell (keyboards), Todd Smallie (bass), Dennis Marion (trumpet), Andrew Trube (guitar), new drummer Eric Kalb, Marcus Parsley (trumpet) and former Mofro member and Perth Australia resident Nathan Shepherd.
I’ve now seen JJ Grey three times live. I’m ready for another go!