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Mojo Rising Independent Texas Rockers, Blacktop Mojo, bring their “Can’t Sleep” Tour to Pittsburgh

Review by Greg Fristick

It’s a Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are playing at home. Ted Nugent is in town. However, the main attraction in the city that night was in Station Square at Hard Rock Café, where Blacktop Mojo, an independent band from a small town in Texas, made their way to The Steel City with Special Guests Lullwater (Athens, GA), as well as local rockers Moses and The Trash Bandits (Slippery Rock) and Redson (Irwin). For the lucky few in attendance, they witnessed one helluva show.

Moses and The Trash Bandits kicked the night off with a blend of Neo-Classic and Progressive Rock. They offered a mix of both classic rock covers and original material. The crisp, clean vocals and amazing guitar playing of Chuck Moses, along with the distorted bass tone of Len Gregory reminded me of classic rock at it’s finest. However, the highlight of their set, in my opinion, was the bone crushing drum solo performed by Johnny Compton. Moses and The Trash Bandits know how to command the crowd. Their set was full of energy. These guys are proof that you’re never too old to rock.

Next up on the bill was Redson. Led by vocalist/guitarist, DDee Bullets, Redson gave the crowd at Hard Rock Café a taste of their in your face, teeth kickin’ hard rock ~n~ roll sound. Throughout the set, Bullets commanded the crowd with his powerful, raspy vocals. I’m not quite sure who their influences are, but I heard Bits and pieces from old school Social Distortion, late 80’s/early 90s Blues rockers, The Four Horsemen, to Godsmack. Redson’s set was highlighted by “Where Were You?” This song, about the struggles with depression, really hit home. I hope to get the opportunity to check them out again soon in the future.

Added note: Redson is currently seeking a new, energetic bassist. Anyone interested in filling the role, hit them up.

On to the touring bands.

Next up, Lullwater. Hailing from Athens, GA, Lullwater, a grunge influenced four piece, rocked the crowd non stop through their seven song set. Heavy riffs, thunderous bass and drums, along with the powerful vocals of John Strickland, Lullwater commanded the crowd throughout their set. They performed songs from their catalogue, including “Curtain Call,” “Dark Divided,” “Godlike,” and “A Forgotten Name.” The band is out on the road in support of their most recent release “Voodoo.” Look for big things from these guys. They are definitely a powerhouse band and are a force to be reckoned with.

Closing out the night was independent Texas rockers Blacktop Mojo. Not taking anything away from the rest of the bands on the bill, but they stole the show. Touring as they get ready for the release of the upcoming album “Under the Sun,” Guitarists Chuck Wepfer and Ryan Kiefer, Bassist Matt Curtis, Drummer Nathan Gillis, and Vocalist Matt James were all over the stage from start to finish. They performed songs from earlier releases including “Where The Wind Blows,” “Underneath,” “Prodigal,” “Pyromaniac,” and my personal favorite “8000 Lines” as well as their current Top 40 single “Can’t Sleep.” In between song, James told stories of living in a small town. By far the highlight of the night was during their acoustic cover of “In The Air Tonight” from Phil Collins. James and Curtis walked out into the crowd, sat down on the floor with the audience and belted out this classic.

If you ask me, Blacktop Mojo will become one of the biggest bands in the world and playing bigger shows before you know it. They will be around for years to come. I can’t wait for the new album and can’t wait to see them live again in the future

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