The fans are hollering for the hits, of course. While the band tunes up the crowd calls out favorites from classic.ghetto.soul, the debut album local hip-hop mainstays Mojoe released in 2003, then reworked and re-released in 2006. But they have a new album to promote, this year’s Dirty Genes. Fortunately, emcees Tre and Easy Lee — backed by the Family Band, a tight jazz combo featuring keyboard, guitar, drums, six-string bass, and a DJ — aren’t the Eagles, still touring on glory days long gone and forcing mediocre “fresh material” on an unwilling audience. Upbeat new song “Silver Line” rides the smooth swell of Tre’s classic soul voice to a fast break in which Easy spits double-time. The house lights go up mid-song, and the asses shaking to the rhythm confirm Mojoe’s continued vitality, while some severely out-of-sync head bobbing reaffirms the material of a million BET stand-up hacks.
Afterwards Tre takes pity on the longtime fans and takes requests. “If we could do just one song, for you,” he asks,” what would it be?” The response is far from unanimous. Some fans shout for down-tempo childhood reminiscence “Sweetwater,” but many others opt for the song Mojoe eventually plays, fiendish club track “Voodoo Coochie.” Last time through, Tre invites the audience to spell the complex hook, “V-double O-D-double O-C-double-O-C-H-I-E” then chuckles when they inevitably flub it. “After all this time, y’all still fuck it up.”
Following a verse of UGK’s “Living This Life,” last call comes over the intercom and the crowd groans. Mojoe launches into radio-ready single “My Favorite Cut” for a finale, then follows it up at 2 a.m. with a bouncer-baiting encore. The band initially attempts to appease the “Sweetwater” contingency, and Easy drops a few lines from the spoken-word intro but quickly waves the band off. “I can’t do ‘Sweetwater’ tonight,” he says and the band plays a faster track from Dirty Genes, “Carried Away.” The audience obliges, lingering after the emcees exit to dance while the band jams until the lights come up for good.