I listened to the Mojomatics for about 2 hours before I played. The band is a tight quartet of bass-drums-guitar-harp; the rhythm section has been playing together since 1979(!). As always, it’s very satisfying to hear a group that long ago learned how to play together. The style is blues, R&B, and early rock–the stuff I grew up on.
Manny’s harp playing up front is very Chicago-oriented–tube amp with bullet mic, strong amped tone. After the first set, when I went to set up my gear, Manny offered me the use of his backup amp, a Fender Super Reverb, and I was sorely tempted. But I decided to go with my Digitech RP200, and I’m glad that I did.
I had some volume issues at first, but I solved that by diming the volume control in the RP200, increasing the PA mains volume, and dropping the monitors (which were the only thing feeding back). After that, I had plenty of volume, and a olot of solid sounds to work with. The great thing about the RP–as opposed to any killer tube amp, like that Super Reverb–is that I have a lot of different sounds available, not just one. So I was able to switch from hard amped sounds to clean sounds to my Taj Mahal tone at the touch of a button, and it all worked musically.
I was in very good form on Saturday night, the result of lots of recent practice, a really good rhythm section to play with, and a steady exercise regime. Harmonica is very physical, and it should go without saying that you’re better off being in shape before you pick it up. But I was really surprised to see how little effort it took to play for an hour and a half now that I’m working out regularly. Who’da thunk that exercise was good for you?