Playing to a SOLD OUT crowd, Blacktop Mojo and Evandale delivered one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed in the intimate venue. Having only a few inches to move around made shooting photos a bit of a challenge, but the biggest hurdle I faced was getting sucked in by the incredible music! I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to get some good photos. Hopefully you’ll enjoy what I was able to capture.
As I mentioned above the show was sold out so I knew I had to get there early. I showed up a good 45 minutes before the set time and hoofed it through the Benson neighborhood. If anyone has tips for parking in Benson please let me know!
As I got inside the venue I walked through the bar into the small room. My buddy Dean who was shooting for GoVenue Magazine was chatting with E. J. from Evandale. We were asked by someone on the Blacktop Mojo team to clear out for a VIP group coming in, but we just hung in the back and tried to stay out of the way. Eventually, after all the fans had been greeted Blacktop Mojo bass player Catt Murtis (Matt Curtis) came over to say hi. Dean and I got some inside knowledge about Catt’s early musical tastes and how the band’s sound came to be.
Dean: How would you describe your overall sound?
Catt: It’s a bit of Rock and Country, but if I had to put a label on it I would say “Southern Grunge.”
Me: What was the first album you ever bought, or were given by a friend, neighbor, etc.?
Catt: Oh it was probably Audio Adrenaline. I just remember going to one of their shows with my dad and rocking out and it was really awesome. From there, my Dad got me a Foreigner greatest hits album and started introducing me to a lot of classic rock like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and The Beatles.
As I got into high school I found all of the grunge bands like Pearl Jam (when I was shooting photos I noticed Catt has a Pearl Jam tattoo), Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Alice In Chains. When I heard Facelift for the first time and the chugging riffs of “We Die Young” my jaw just dropped. Plus, people say I kinda look like Layne Staley so there’s that, haha.
Me: That’s cool. I can see how that scene has affected some of the flavor you’ve developed in Blacktop Mojo.
Dean: What’s something on your playlist that people would think is outside of your lane or maybe a “guilty pleasure?”
Catt: That’s hard to say, I really don’t have any guilty pleasures. I just listen to straight fire I guess.
Dean: What’s something you like that maybe not a lot of people would know about?
Catt: The Temperance Movement. Unfortunately their lead singer Phil recently left the band but I really wish more people would’ve had the chance to get to know them because they were just awesome.
Thanks to Catt for hanging with Dean and I before the set. It’s always fun to learn more about new artists and how they got their start and what music helps shape their sound.
Not too long after my chat with Catt I got to the front so I could get some decent shots. First up was Evandale. This was my third time seeing Evandale and for a third time they absolutely killed it. People love to complain about “There’s nothing to do in Omaha” or “I only go to the really big concerts” but man, they are missing out. On any given night you can catch some of the most amazing music right in your own backyard and Evandale is living proof of this!
Playing seven originals and one Chris Stapleton cover Evandale got the crowd fired up! “Can I get a hell yea, Amen!” E.J. shouted over the crowd and they loudly answered back. Evandale’s wicked guitars and a twist of southern flair were the perfect way to get the buzz going for Blacktop Mojo. Evandale has a new album dropping on May 9. I highly suggest you give them a like on Facebook so you’ll be ready for when the new tunes hit.
After a quick sound check the dudes from Texas were ready to take the stage.
Straight out of the gate Blacktop Mojo blasted the crowd with their unique sound of heavy drop tuned guitars and melodic country-tinged vocals.
The band is on tour in support of their new album Under The Sun so it made sense that they opened with the album’s first track “Lay It On Me.”
Immediately the crowd reacted, singing along and pushing forward for that perfect picture. After the first song, Matt thanked everyone for coming out and making it a sold out show inciting wild cheers from the packed room.
After rocking a few more songs the band slowed things down a bit with a couple acoustic covers delivered by Catt and Matt. Being that these guys are from Texas it’s only appropriate that the first song was a Stevie Ray Vaughn cover. Being so close to the stage I could hear Matt clicking his boot to keep the beat.
Next, Matt belted out a familiar line and the crowd lit up “I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, hold on!” The crowd sang every word to the cover of “In The Air Tonight” and even clapped along to the drum solo, even if the first time around was a bit weak. Matt said “Come on y’all this is the most famous drum solo of all time, we gotta do it again!” Catt played the run again and everyone clapped along to the beat with force.
Blacktop Mojo went on to play seven more songs including their latest single “Can’t Sleep” and another standout track “Come Get Your Coat.” The band finished the night with “Pyromaniac” and a smoky ballad “Prodigal” also from their new album Under The Sun.
With cell phones and lighters in the air the crowd waved back and forth to the sultry rhythm until the final note was played.
After the show the band hung around to talk with fans and take pictures. I snapped a dimly lit selfie with Matt and told him the next time I see them they could very well be playing in an arena, so this might be my only chance!
After a sold out Reverb show it will be interesting to see where Blacktop Mojo plays the next time they come through. Wherever it is, you can bet on one thing, I’ll be there in the front row to capture it all.
Huge thanks to Blacktop Mojo’s management and TAG Publicity for the guest spot. Thanks to One Percent Productions for putting on such an amazing show.
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