Pop review: Mojo B lights up The High Watt

MOJOI love a good horn section.

I mean it. I really love a good horn section. I love it even more when that good horn section is accompanying a solid band. I love a good horn section and a solid band even more when everyone on stage looks like they’re having a blast.

Thursday night at The High Watt (the latest addition to the Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom family) showcased exactly that: a good horn section, a good band and a high-energy performance by Mojo B, a relative newcomer to the Nashville local music scene.

Mojo B is a project fronted by Brent Shuttleworth, a Brooklyn-Native and Nashville transplant. The aforementioned horns were simply the three perfectly placed cherries on top of a 10—that’s right: Ten—piece band consisting of the horns, two electric guitars, a keyboard, a bass, a percussionist, a drummer and Shuttleworth himself.

The band came to the stage and started the set off with a dissonant, but precise and arranged, introductory song that set the audience up for a show steeped in some kind of strange orchestral prog-rock. However, what followed was not that at all.

The music was pop-funk. Good old fashioned, feel good, shake-what-your-mother-doesn’t-want-you-shaking-in-public dance jams. No backing tracks, no samplist, no triggered synth bass, no flashy effects—just a man with a fedora, some sunglasses, a great band and a whole lot of energy.

If anyone in the audience was stiff at the beginning of the set, they weren’t by the end of it. The music demanded movement, and every song bled into the next, allowing almost no silence to enter the room throughout the hour they played.  However, the lack of silence wasn’t a bad thing at all; every single song the band played brought more dancing to the room.

The audience was having a great time, but the band looked like they were having more fun than anyone in the room. Every member was smiling through nearly the entire set, and if they weren’t busy smiling they were either screaming and whooping along to the music or singing backup vocals.

The interactions between the band members throughout the evening were one of the most unique parts of the performance. There was an energy about them that was undeniably connected. The keyboard player would shoot the drummer a look, who would forward the motion to the bassist and the idea would spread as they all locked into a new groove together without ever saying a word.

Shuttleworth’s vocals jumped out of the speaker cabinets with an animated growl, and the character presented by the vocals matched the man singing them to a tee. There’s no part of me that could begin to understand how he played guitar, danced around the stage, yelled out a “whoo-hoo” and sang into the microphone, seemingly all at the same time. He’s easily one of the most entertaining people I’ve seen in town.

In one of the last songs of the evening, the group moved into playing the same chord progression for a few minutes. This allowed Shuttleworth to introduce the band members one by one. Each person in the band took a solo before passing the torch to another band member and allowing him to shine for a few measures. While this sounds like it could get monotonous (remember: 10 band members), it was executed gracefully with the last solo forming the introduction to the next song in the set.

The only problem I had with the evening was the ringing in my ears as I was leaving the venue. However, with so much sound coming from the stage and so much concrete reflecting it in all directions, that’s to be expected. The show was a blast, and I would recommend catching a live performance if you ever see Mojo B on a bill.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About Quinton Parker

Quinton Parker is a Nashville native, an upright bassist and has been an active part of the local music scene for seven years. He is currently in his last semester in MTSU's School of Journalism.