Tonight, Mo’Ju came to Adelaide to rock the Summerhouse at the Adelaide Festival late on Saturday Night. The showcase tonight is her most excellent album Native Tongue which she has showcased before in Adelaide in 2019 at both WOMADelaide and Woodville Town Hall.
On stage with Mo’Ju and her guitar is her younger brother Stevie on the drums. I really love Mo’Ju’s humour and talkative nature. I felt that the crowd found her very endearing. She stated that she was socially awkward but, in my eyes,, she was so cool, oozes charisma and her incredible blues voice was a joy to hear for the entire set. Some of the music is from a backing tape and the funniest part of the concert was when after a song was played with a bass guitar solo Mo’Ju asked us to applaud the bass player and gestured to the other side of the stage. We were all looking for the bass player until she advised us she was just joking with us and that the festival only let the two best-looking band members at the festival.
She started with what I think is a new song with lyrics “we’re only here for the now. I want to stand right here” which was echoed when she told us it was nice to be here on a stage and thanked us for coming out in the cold weather. Two songs from Native Tongue were next Something Wrong and Think Twice. The latter “dedicated” to politician Peter Dutton. Mo’Ju then sang two older songs from the 2015 album Seeing Red/Feeling Blue, They Come and They Go and A Heart Is Not A Yo-Yo and both gave off an Amy Winehouse vibe. The next three songs were from Native Tongue and formed a trilogy about her family and life experience. (Far Too Late, I Just Wanna Know and 1000 Years) 1000 Years is her favourite song to sing and with little instrumentation on this track it showcased her powerful voice.
She played the fantastic Bound To which was about and dedicated to her late grandfather and is the story of when he met her grandmother. She only had one track to choose from as she had run out of time and she chose the title track from Native Tongue which was a glorious end to the night. Mo’Ju has come a long way since I first saw her at the Grace Emily and I look forward to seeing what she brings us in the future.
Adelaide Festival Review By Richard De Pizzol