REVIEW: Mojo Juju

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POWER AND EMOTION: Mojo Juju nailed it in the first show of her new tour Picture: Simone De Peak

MOJO JUJU

Lizotte’s Newcastle

June 11

LET’S get straight to the point: the last 15 minutes were the price of admission alone.

The well-travelled Mojo Juju has carefully carved her niche in the Australian music scene with several years of hard work. Her gypsy-cajun-blues-voodoo stage show is legendary when she’s fronting a big band full of horns and strings of all sorts.

Tonight it was just her on guitar and her brother on drums. She still brought that huge voice that goes downtown like it was Tom Waits’s mama telling him to get out of the house, but there were no other foils blasting out big notes.

The duo were dressed immaculately, as always. Showmanship is important to Mojo, understandably so.

While it was the first show of a new tour, Mojo was at ease, in front of a crowd familiar with her as a resident player in Newcastle for quite a spell.

But nervously at ease: this wasn’t a party, this was a formal show.

She offered a dozen songs in a 75-minute set, grinding out the blues on Must Be Desire, adding her twist to Billie Jean, winding back to the gutsy Switched to Drinkin’ Gin, powering on with Psycho.

So we come to those final 15 minutes and the last two numbers.

Mojo absolutely killed it with I Put a Spell on You, dedicated to late Tommie Fingers. Her voice soared, and trembled with power and emotion.

And she came back for an encore, Drive On.

From the smoky opening line Everything I have fits inside a suitcase … the sultry, lonesome, pulsating song pulls you in. It takes you to a different place, lets your imagination take over.

It was a beautiful way to end the show, a lasting memory.

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