Show Review of Blacktop Mojo, Joyous Wolf, and Locust Grove in Joliet, IL – ALSO – Interviews with Blacktop Mojo and Joyous Wolf! Check it out here!

Show Review of Joyous Wolf, Blacktop Mojo, and Locust Grove – ALSO – Interviews with Joyous Wolf and Blacktop Mojo!

By Cathy Moore of Moore Rock Shots & Reviews

When two of your favorite bands are playing a concert together – you find a way to go. So what if it’s a five-hour road trip to the venue?  So what that it’s on a Tuesday night and you have to take two days off work? Despite those obstacles I was determined to get to The Forge in Joliet, IL last week to see Blacktop Mojo and Joyous Wolf – and I even discovered a new favorite band, Locust Grove, in the process. It was a stellar night of live music.


Blacktop Mojo with special guests Joyous Wolf and Locust Grove were about a week into their national tour when they rolled into Joliet. They were joined on this stop by local rockers The Dead Hands and Dead Harvest – both of which were energetic hard rock bands who got the crowd pumped and ready for a long night full of great music.


I was really excited to see Locust Grove after my friend had raved about them and guaranteed I was going to love them. She was so right! This band of badass rockers from Oklahoma consists of Zain Smith (vocals/guitar), Vincent Charles Lindstrom (guitar/vocals), Quentin Williams (bass), and Joey Mandigo (drums). These guys have such a great chemistry and seasoned sound – full of raging guitars, thrumming bass, and aggressive drums. Smith’s voice has such a rich tone and their show is energetic and engaging. I’m definitely a new fan.


Speaking of energetic and engaging…next up was Joyous Wolf. Wow. If you have never seen this band live you are really missing out. They might be young, but their musical talent and stage presence reaches way beyond their years. Fusing together influences ranging from heavy metal to Delta Blues, Joyous Wolf creates an expressive, high-energy fingerprint that separates themselves from their contemporaries in the realm of modern rock.


Hailing from southern California, Nick Reese (vocals), Blake Allard (guitar), Greg Braccio (bass), and Robert Sodaro (drums) have mastered the art of putting on an amazing live show. Reese is constantly moving – dancing, flipping, moonwalking, doing splits, jumping off the stage – and doesn’t slow down for a second the entire set. Allard is an incredible guitarist and is very animated when he plays making him fun to watch. I had an opportunity to talk to the guys in Joyous Wolf before the show and learn a little more about them. Check it out here!

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and I can say that is definitely true when it comes to Texas rockers Blacktop Mojo. They have a big sound, big personalities, and big talent. I’ve been a “big” fan for over a year and this was my first time seeing them live and now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. These guys are just everything a rock band should be – real, rowdy, rousing, and really, really talented.


Matt James (vocals), Nathan Gillis (drums), Ryan Kiefer (lead guitar), Matt Curtis (bass), and Chuck Wepfer (guitar) played songs from both their 2014 album I Am and their 2017 release Burn the Ships.


They opened their set with the title track from that album and then played “Where the Wind Blows” which spent 11 weeks in the top 40 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. They threw in an impassioned cover of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Life by the Drop” and even shared a new unrecorded song called “It Won’t Last” with the Joliet crowd. And to end the show, they played their incredibly impressive version of Aerosmith’s “Dream On”. It damn near brought me to tears – first because it’s a song that moves me every time I hear it and second because that meant the show was over. I really didn’t want it to end.


I spent some time getting to know the guys in Blacktop Mojo in a pre-show interview that you can check out here.

It really was a night to remember. Impressive venue. Amazing music. Fun people. There’s nothing better than that. You have to get out and see this tour. It can’t be missed.




Connect with Blacktop Mojo:

Connect with Joyous Wolf:

Connect with Locust Grove:





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