Besides Tom Petty's scruffy, ghoulish appearance, two things struck me about his band's SNL performance: the swaggering bluesy cool of guitarist Mike Campbell's lead riff on first single I Should Have Known It and the overpowering volume of his guitar.
It was an apt introduction to the beloved heartland rock band's 11th album. Petty has said that he tried to write songs that allowed Campbell (usually a tasteful player) to play a lot this time around, and that's what's happened. Petty's classic pop knack, breezy melodies and laid-back drawl take a back seat to Campbell's meandering, jammy solos and the album's overwhelmingly old-guy-blues sound.
As on that aforementioned single, Campbell turns out some inventive lead work (even more impressive once you know Mojo was recorded live off the floor), but he's not who most of us are here for.
Top track: I Should Have Known It
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play the Air Canada Centre August 25.