John Moossa Band at Miller's

Corona Light. It's a summer-time beverage– takes me back to junior high. It's cheap, it's watery, and it's easy to down a good number of them. And while you'd rather not stake your fame on calling it the best beer ever, you're not too embarrassed to drink it in public.
And it's in this way that the John Moossa Band makes for good listening on a steamy summer Charlottesville Saturday. Assiduous musicians and an innocuous sound make for a perfectly good soundtrack to an evening beer at Miller's– we've graduated to the Harp, thank you.
There was a time when I considered the booking at Miller’s to be impeccably excellent, but since the day I stumbled in to find Sharif belting out Tom Petty’s “Free Falling,” a seed of doubt has taken root in my soul. I was nervous about this John Moossa character: maybe it was the double-o-double-s that I found disconcerting, but in the end, things came out all right.
John Moossa et al. hail from Richmond, which makes you figure they must have seen the (hiatus-ing) Agents of Good Roots their share of times, and their sounds aren’t dissimilar. It’s not that often you hear a well-played sax in rock and roll these days, and the JMB and the AGR have that in common. The John Moossa Band takes a jammier approach, tossing in a fair share of Phish-y harmonies and Panic-ky off-beat hits. 
The show was in the midst of some drivingly funky numbers when I rolled in, and as night drifted towards the following day, the pace chilled with a more languid set of extended soloing sessions. Aside from a kind of gratuitous Doors cover, the JMB had a highly unified– maybe too unified– sound.
John Moossa crams a lot of people up on Miller’s none-too-roomy stage (four or five at a time), which gives them a degree of musical and textural versatility. It wouldn’t hurt them at all if they used a little more of it. After being distracted by someone dropping a chunk of hamburger into a gin-and-tonic, and an unexpected visit by everyone’s favorite mescaline addict, I’d essentially forgotten that I was there to review the show.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you just want something in the background.

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