Mojo Dragonfly: A Rare Breed
We’ve been in Pasco County, just north of Tampa, for almost a year now. I’m embarrassed to say how little I have explored the local color. Our home is beautiful and my schedule is demanding. I don’t get out much.
This past weekend our community held a band bash; three local bands, beers and BBQ on a Saturday afternoon. There was a time in my life that would have been an average Saturday. Now, it’s something special.
All three bands were wonderful. The one I want to talk about is Mojo Dragonfly.
Mojo Dragonfly has an amazingly line-up. They are two women, three men and more instruments than you can count, including mandolin and flute. They sing five-part harmony. The lead female vocalist, Carolynn Street, has enough rock cred in her voice to carry leads that are traditionally sung by men and make it work, without having to sound overmuch like a Wilson sister.
I’d heard the name of the band a few times in the past year. Many people have said “You’ve got to see Mojo Dragonfly; you’ll really like them.” I didn’t pay attention, because most people don’t really get what makes me like a band.
They opened with some classic rock numbers from the 1970s; Styx and Led Zeppelin. Then Michelle Basch pulled out her flute and launched into some Marshall Tucker. This got me thinking. They’re playing seventies rock and they have a flautist. Could it be? Is it possible that they might do some Jethro Tull? Anyone who knows me knows that my love for Jethro Tull rivals my love even for the Grateful Dead.
Just as I was thinking this, they launched into a very respectable “Thick as a Brick” that segued into an absolutely rockin’ “Living in the Past.” I was in heaven!
Mojo Dragonfly can’t be pigeonholed as simply an efficient classic rock band with two hot chicks and a bunch of fun instruments. Their rendition of Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” was stellar. At one point three band members were playing the drums, laying down beats worthy of Imagine Dragons’ fresh drum style.
That Mojo Dragonfly so competently moved from 1970s prog rock to cutting edge pop impressed me. I think it confused some of the old rockers in the audience. I appreciate a band that can find the best music of each decade, and play it with some depth.
After Imagine Dragons they played another of my favorites from another decade, Prince.
Mojo Dragonfly separates itself from the yawnfest of standard regional cover acts in a number of ways. They’re not a “chick band,” but they leave no doubt that women rock. Each member is uniquely talented and charismatic, although they function together flawlessly. Each band member plays a number of instruments, so the talents of each individual are showcased in a way that is visually interesting. Their combined vocal talent is epic. And, they manage to walk the line between respectful cover and creative interpretation of some of the best music of five decades.
Pasco County is lucky to have such a rare breed of band playing regular live shows. Like them on Facebook, and get to a show!