Had a rough week? Maybe a rough few years? Nothing helps you reach a cleansing catharsis like some good blues music – and maybe a beer or two.
Tonight (June 21st), an up-and-coming band from the south will stop at the Crunchy Frog in downtown Green Bay (301 S. Broadway Street) on their way to perform at the Deep Blues Festival in Bayport, Minnesota. John the Conqueror will be joined by The Bell Weather and Dead Modern Villains.
John the Conqueror plays heavily blues-influenced rock similar to the sound that shot The Black Keys to stardom. You might say blues music became the band’s focus thanks to the hand of fate.
Cousins and Jackson, Mississippi natives Pierre Moore and Mike Gardner left the University of Mississippi to pursue their dreams of starting a band. The problem was – the lead singers they teamed with didn’t exactly share their same vision.
The band’s story on the John the Conqueror website explains that two different singers decided to “skip town when things were rough.” So Moore and Gardner chose to stop relying on others. Pierre picked up a microphone and started singing. Mike had been playing bass, but sold his to buy a drum set.
Not long after, they met Ryan Lynn of Philadelphia, and the three started jamming and drinking together…playing the blues, of course. It was something Moore and Gardner did often when they were growing up in Jackson, and it may have been just the catharsis they needed too.
Lynn was just learning the bass. Gardner wasn’t experienced on drums. And Moore (who also plays lead guitar) “couldn’t sing.” But that’s the magic of blues music. It’s often the first thing a rock musician learns to play. It’s how a band starts to gel as members learn to play off each other.
In fact, blues music is truly the basis for all American music, and the majority of popular music created over the last century. We’d have no rock and roll if it weren’t for the blues. Music from artists like the legendary Muddy Waters is what inspired the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimmi Hendrix and Bob Dylan.
But pure, raw blues never gets stale. And you’ll get a healthy dose of that from John the Conqueror.
The band takes its name from an African-American folk hero. John the Conqueror was a slave who was once an African prince. He was known for tricking both his masters and even the Devil himself. It is believed he was the inspiration for the character of Bre’r Rabbit.
No doubt – it’s the perfect name for a trio that calls upon its roots to create music that Brian Green of the UK’s Happening Magazine describes as “all smokestacks, greasy ball bearings, mudslides, and corn liquor swilled from mason jars; raggedly scorching guitar riffs, a thunderous rhythm section, and howled vocals.”
Hear it for yourself in the video from a recording session below. There’s also a live video featuring Wisconsin band, Dead Modern Villains. Tickets to the Crunchy Frog show are $7. We’ve written a lot about the Nearwater Concert Series – but that’s not the only place to catch amazing independent bands in Green Bay. The Crunchy Frog offers old-school style rock shows in an amped up atmosphere packed with energy and attitude.
John the Conqueror – Ain’t Comin’ Home
Dead Modern Villains – Romance