(Photo by John Bull)
There is always something mystical and spiritual about performing in such a beautiful venue as The Union Chapel in the English capital.
Even for a consummate performer like JJ Grey, to enter this spectacular church, which is occasionally converted into a music venue, must have felt really special. On a beautiful starry evening like today, to be here at this venue and to see a powerful and poignant show played by JJ Grey & Mofro makes the right combo for any music lover.
The Music Maverick from Florida enters the stage in an elegant suit and as always, JJ Grey and his Boys take the house down with their powerful, passionate mix of R&B and Soul. The shorter setlist chosen by the American artist for tonight's performance offers many pleasant surprises.
JJ Grey cleverly picks and chooses tonight's setlist from his whole discography and that decision reveals to be a winning one. There are some true gems from an underrated album from JJ Grey's discography like Lochloosa, which are a true joy to listen to live. Tonight's opener How Junior Got His Head Put Out, Six Ways From Sunday and the album title-track Lochloosa are delivered by the Florida's singer/songwriter in such a powerful way and they sound as fresh as they were written yesterday.
The atmosphere at The Union Chapel must have packed a punch into JJ Grey's heart tonight. He repeatedly refers to The Union Chapel as "One of the most special venues I have ever played in" and when it comes to the moment to perform Brave Lil' Fighter ("a song about someone that went through many unfortunate circumstances in life"), the intensity of the song catches the American Artist by surprise and he steps briefly away from the microphone during the bridge of the tune, like he was feeling that song on his own skin.
The Mofro are in terrific form tonight as well and it's a must to mention the stellar performance especially of the Horn Section of the band. JJ Grey's ability to lift up the audience in moments of the show like Orange Blossom or Country Ghetto, craftly balancing with beautiful ballads like Every Minute or Light A Candle is second to none.
Due to local rules and restrictions, all artists performing at The Chapel have to finish at a certain time and it is a real shame because JJ Grey & The Mofro and the crowd would go gladly on for an hour still and even more.
Ol' Glory is the encore that bring the whole crowd to their feet, dancing the night away through the infectious sound of a fantastic band and a tremendous powerhouse singer.
JJ Grey & The Mofro delivered one of their most intense, soulful and splendid musical sermons of their career. No better places than The Union Chapel to do so.
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato