I had the honor of watching and photographing Blacktop Mojo, for the first time Monday night in Seattle. I had watched a couple videos and listened to some songs and was not sure what to expect. The crowd was a little light as can be expected for rock shows in Seattle on a Monday night, but that did not seem to matter to Blacktop Mojo. They went out on staged and brought it with everything they have. I have a tremendous amount of respect for a band that can do that.
The band itself is a hard rock band from Palestine, TX and has a bit of that southern rock vibe with some blues mixed in for good measure. Vocalist and band co-founder Matt James has the perfect voice for this type of music. A little bit of rasp and a lot of power but can also handle the softer parts just as well. He is a treat to hear live. The fantastic twin guitar attack of Ryan Kiefer and Chuck Wepfer kept the music blazing all night. The band was rounded out by Matt Curtis on bass and the other co-founder of the band, Nathan Gillis on drums. This band is very tight and professional and sounded rock solid all night. They are out in support of their last release from 2017, “Burn the Ships”. The album has produced two top 40 rock singles, Where the Wind Blows and the Aerosmith cover Dream On.
The show started with the title track from their newer album, “Burn the Ships”. It has a great guitar groove intro that leads into James smooth and inviting voice. All they way through the song it just has a great edgy rock vibe to it. They even throw in some quick little bass riffs that fit well into the song. We also get some great guitar work and spots where drums are featured as well. This first song had a little bit of everything and really showcased the whole band and what we were in store for on this night. Add a catchy chorus and this song was a great way to start off the night.
As the concert moved on we were in for a very special moment. Curtis the bassist came out with an acoustic guitar and joined vocalist James on stage for a great rendition of In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins. They sat on the edge on the stage and brought the crowd in very close and made it a very intimate occasion. It was a magical part of the evening. They pulled it off flawlessly, with the crowd singing along.
Another highlight was Where the Wind Blows. Once again it had that great bluesy rock groove to it. The song has a bit of a slow pace and chugs along perfectly with the feel of the song. It kicks it up a notch for the chorus and really sounds great. Kiefer gives us a blistering guitar solo in the middle that is well executed. It was another song that stood out on this night.
To end the set, they played their current single Dream On. The song vocally is different to Aerosmith’s version, but no less powerful. This is one of the greatest rock songs of all time and they did it justice in every way. It had a bit of that southern rock feel to it, but James on vocals just killed it. The crowd ate it up, singing along in the process. It was a great ending to a spectacular night of music. One of the things I love most about covering shows is nights like this. You go in with no expectation and come out completely blown away! These guys are the real deal with a great sound and some awesome songs to go with it. I highly recommend checking these guys out on You Tube and give them a listen. If you like this type of music, you will find some great music to listen to.
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Photos by Eric Pefley