BLACKTOP MOJO, OTHERWISE & LULLWATER @ Green Bay Distillery – Green Bay, WI

BLACKTOP MOJO, OTHERWISE & LULLWATER @ Green Bay Distillery – Green Bay, WI

November 1, 2019

Review by Makena Betler
Photos by David Urmanski

Matt James – Vocals & Guitar
Ryan Kiefer – Guitar
Kenneth Irwin – Guitar
Matt Curtis – Bass
Nathan Gills – Drums

As the famous saying goes, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.”  Blacktop Mojo’s concert at the Green Bay Distillery Friday night proved the statement to be 100% factual.  The feisty, hard-driving, Southern rock group of five based out of Palestine, Texas produced a massive sound akin to an Alice In Chains meets Lynyrd Skynyrd type vibe. Though the crowd wasn’t exactly boot scootin’, they were definitely boogying…and head banging!

Touring in support of their latest studio release, Under the Sun, the band started their set with “Lay It on Me” followed by title track “Burn the Ships” from their sophomore album immediately proceeded by “End of Days.”   Due to technical difficulties associated with the bass rig, without skipping a beat, vocalist Matt James and guitarist Ryan Kiefer took it upon themselves to serenade the packed room with a last-minute acoustic addition of Black Crowes classic cover “She Talks to Angels.”  Once the technical issues were resolved, the band continuing with a trio of originals, included title track “Under the Sun,” as well as second cover tune for the evening “In the Air” by English singer, songwriter and drummer Phil Collins.

Each member of the band brought something special to the stage both as contributors to their unique sound as well as during their individual performances which translated into an undeniably strong bond between the bandmates.  This was further demonstrated by the tom foolery and stage antics taking place to include “inadvertent” bumping and making faces throughout the set keeping the crowd of concert-goers amused between sing-alongs and cheers.  Toward the end of the set,  Blacktop Mojo played their most recognizable song to date “Where the Wind Blows.”  By the end of the tune, one might think the band would have burned out from the barrage of activity on stage to include relentless running and jumping but, as it played out, the band showed no signs of wear or inertia right up until the end.  If they were tired, they certainly did  not let the fans in attendance Friday night know it.  The entire performance, sustained a plethora of excitement and emotion from the second Blacktop Mojo emerged from the shadows until they waved their final goodbye.

Lay It on Me
Burn the Ships
End of Days
She Talks to Angels (Black Crowes cover)
Under the Sun
The Void
In the Air (Phil Collins cover)
Can’t Sleep
Where the Wind Blows
Come Get Your Coat
It Won’t Last

Adrian Patrick – Lead Vocals
Ryan Patrick – Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals
Tony “The Beast” Carboney – Bass Guitar
Brian Medeiros – Drums

Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, Otherwise brought a high-intensity performance of their own to the Green Bay Distillery Friday night. Although the event brought the band to a north-eastern Wisconsin venue, don’t be fooled, as it was like watching a show straight from the Las Vegas Strip with high stamina, bright lights and an abundance of crowd involvement and stimulation. Exposing a healthy mix of songs from their three albums to date, Otherwise encompassed a variety of heavy topics to include the pitfalls of wealth, depression and PTSD.

Lead vocalist, Adrian Patrick, was open and honest about the band’s intentions to create music that is cutting edge. “Rock ‘n’ roll was always meant to be dangerous. We grew up in the last era where nineties bands were Soul Rebels. They stood for something. They didn’t conform. Since the greatest risks yield the greatest return, why play it safe? We decided to swing for the fucking fences this time. In between the last album and now, we changed everything.”

The band exuded energy, passion and affection throughout their entire 45-minute set. During their final song, the barefoot vocalist leaped into the crowd and literally reaching for fan support. Exhausting every last ounce of breath, Patrick sang “Soldier” while a number of fans in the front row held him in place while the audience sang the lyrics in unison as if to echo their endorsement of the evening’s performance. Otherwise has a well-rounded, multi-dimensional hard rock sound with lyrics crafted toward topics that may be difficult to discuss but relevant to showcase.

Dark Money
Bad Trip
Meet Me in The Dark
Ain’t Done Yet
Pickin’ At Bones
Don’t Even
Sleeping Lions

John Strickland – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Daniel Binnie – Lead Guitar
Roy “Ray” Beatty – Bass & Backing Vocals
Joe Wilson – Drums & Backing Vocals

A tasteful blend of grunge with a subtle touch of southern twang kept heads banging and arms waving as Lullwater executed a solid and enticing performance. From Athens, Georgia, the quartet has been writing and performing music for over a decade with three studio album releases since 2013. Their latest album, Voodoo, took the band’s sound to a whole new level keeping the gritty vocals of Strickland in place while incorporating heavier guitar riffs and a chunky rhythm section.

Touring in support of their latest release, the band started their set with three tunes from Voodoo before transitioning into “Albatross” from their debut album. The intro to “Godlike” reminded me of the late, great, infamous Kurt Cobain’s rendering of a low minor chord prefacing a praise-worthy beat. Lullwater ended with “Holy Water” and “This Life,” thus setting the bar high for direct supporting band Otherwise and headliner Blacktop Mojo.

Curtain Call
Dark Divided
Into the Sun
Holy Water
This Life

1 = Poor
2 = Average
3 = Good
4 = Excellent
5 = Extraordinary