JJ Grey and Mofro arrive in the UK for a whistle stop tour in support of their latest offering Ol’ Glory, which was released last year.
28-May-2016: The setting for tonight’s show is one of the most beautiful concert venues you could have the privilege of visiting, the Union Chapel in London. The venue is still a working church, but rather than the customary sermons and choir music, the congregation gathered here are treated to an evening of southern fried rock and soul.
The sold out audience is anchored in the pews in front of the stage. Stained glass windows adorn the walls of the chapel all around. JJ Grey and Mofro take their position in front of the pulpit, and blistering blues harp licks from Grey fill the room as the band open the show with “How Junior Got His Head Put On”.
Some may think a church is an unusual choice of venue for a rock or soul concert, but it feels right for the songs of positivity and hope delivered by the band this evening. Tracks like “Brighter Days” and “Everything Is A Song” when performed in this surrounding are effectively modern day hymns.
The stage lights illuminate the intricate details of the chapel walls and ceiling creating a truly magical atmosphere; the band are feeling it too. JJ is beaming throughout, with a smile constantly on his face; he has most certainly brought his church singing voice as he tests the acoustics of the Union Chapel.
Grey is no stranger to London, having lived in the city for a couple of years, several of the songs included in the set were in fact written here; he reminisces about those days. JJ quips how he traded a Country Ghetto for an English Ghetto and even attempts a Cockney accent.
However, there is no doubt where Grey’s heart lies, he sings with such passion and authority about his native Florida state, particularly during the likes of the beautiful “Lochloosa”, which is enough to set the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. Grey could make even the most hardened Anglophile scurry around Expedia for the next flight to the Sunshine State.
The seven-piece band including Grey each takes their moment in the spotlight during a foot stomping rendition of the groove-heavy, funky number “Ho Cake”, each artist respectively taking a solo, whilst Grey beats out a frantic rhythm on his tambourine.
The band closes out their main set with “Everything Good Is Bad” from their 2008 album Orange Blossoms, which gets everyone on their feet. The soul choir in the audience is hanging on every word. But they aren’t done yet, as the evening closes with the title track of the band’s latest album Ol’ Glory.
Tonight, JJ Grey and Mofro took London to church, quite literally.