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Ebb and Flow

A couple weeks ago, we played a thank you reception for The Big Table. A man approached us afterwards and said he saw us perform six years ago. He said that he was in a car accident a few days after that performance, putting him into a weeklong coma, and that the first thing he [...]
Danny Hamen

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A couple weeks ago, we played a thank you reception for The Big Table. A man approached us afterwards and said he saw us perform six years ago. He said that he was in a car accident a few days after that performance, putting him into a weeklong coma, and that the first thing he remembered when he woke up was seeing Mojoflo, and that he had a damn good time.

Yeah, Mojoflo is kinda that good.

In many ways, this somewhat unbelievable anecdote epitomizes the raw power of Mojoflo’s music, a band that has become the apex of Columbus neo-funk—their trumpeting melodies and soft, delicately crooned hooks reminiscent of an art-damaged James Brown tinged with an Erykah Badu swoon. Their sound is luscious and smooth, funky and raucous, and, as demonstrated above, sincerely unforgettable.

“It’s high energy, party music, but there is newness to it. It’s all of our experiences as musicians coming together,” said vocalist Amber Knicole. “What we are doing is classic funk music filtered through the 2000s.”

And lately she’s been doing all that from roughly 20 feet off the stage.

It’s the latest installment from a band that prides itself on coma-busting concert presense: Knicole, on an aerial hoop, belting out notes with each hypnotic swing, mesmerizing the crowd with her funk-meets-performance-art.

“Yes our music is great, and you can throw the record on the player and have a good time,” Knicole said, “but I always wanted to be that band that you just have to see in person.”

And that is the case in many ways—Knicole is fierce and hypnotizing live, her voice booming off the same ceiling she’s dangling from.

“Performing live is such a communal experience,” said saxophonist Walter Kolhoff, one of the three core members of the group. “It is all about taking everybody in the room on a journey, and once we are finished everybody feels a little better—well, at least until you wake up in the morning.”

Or, after a weeklong slumber.

They have had plenty of time to perfect their presence—eight years to be exact—cutting their teeth in campus-adjacent dives five nights a week during their inception, a grueling task when splitting $100 seven or so ways (depending on the night) means doing it for more than the money. Nowadays, they have earned the right to call themselves career musicians.

“I was filling out a form for jury duty the other day, and when asked my occupation I answered ‘musician.’ That was a really weird feeling, to see how far we have come,” said Knicole. “It is extremely validating; Columbus has always shown us a lot of love. I think it something that we had to earn; nothing has ever been handed to us. We have never been a ‘what’s hot right now’ band. We have always been this slow burn.”

Lots of love is right—our dear readers voted Mojoflo Columbus’s Best Band of 2016. Their momentum has gained them a sponsorship with Gateway Film Center, who recently premiered their most recent music video, Crazy 4 U, this past February.

In many ways, this partnership demonstrates the full turnaround of the band, as one their first gigs was a street performance playing Christmas covers outside of the theater in the middle of the winter. Now, PromoWest has brought them into the fold, putting them up at the iconic Newport Music Hall December 2.

Talk about a serendipitous full circle.

“We did things just for the hell of it back then,” said Kolhoff. “Now we have schedules, debuts, and recording session. It is just crazy.”

In addition to the upcoming show, the band is working on their first full-length album, arguably one that has been eight years in the making.

“The point of doing this album is so that we could take everyone on a journey, “said Kolhohf. “Our EPs have always been little 30-minute tastes, but now we are finally ready to take people away. That is the existential side of things at least.”

Mojoflo will be debuting songs from their new album at Newport Music Hall December 2. Their first full-length record will drop next summer.

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Arts & Culture

Loop Daddy invades Columbus with first-ever drive-in tour

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The return of live music is going to be one of the trickiest industries to transition back into business as usual, if that will ever be the case. We’ve seen people getting creative, building concert stages within their own homes via live streaming. Some have participated in virtual festivals, probably the sector of live music to take the biggest hit.

But when an industry made up of innovative creatives always trying to come up with the next big idea is faced with incredible hardships, they respond with quick-witted imaginative solutions.

One of the first trends that popped up in the revolution of bringing back live music was the implementation of drive-in lots. Luckily for Columbus, the darling of the internet DJ scene Marc Rebillet aka Loop Daddy will be taking his first-ever drive-in tour through the Buckeye state in mid-June.

Captivating audiences with his participatory DJ scratching and immature antics, extremely goofy sex appeal, and sleazy porno stache, Rebillet was an act poised for a breakout summer before the pandemic shut music concert venues down. If you have access to a car, though, you’ll still have a chance to catch the wild virtual sensation.

On June 14, Rebillet will be pulling up to the South Drive-In for the third stop of his Drive-In Concert Tour. Rebillet will also be showcasing short films as part of his drive-in experience.

As far as sound is going for these events, a lot of drive-ins are opting to go the radio transmission route to encourage people to stay inside of their vehicles.

A very few grouping of tickets remain, which include three-person and four-person car passes. Tickets are running $40 per head (plus additional fees), which seems to be the average across the new wave of drive-in concerts. Two-people/one-car tickets have already sold out.

If you don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity, act right now. Tickets can be purchased at:

https://nightout.com/events/marc-rebillet-drive-in-tour-columbus-ohio-south-drive-in-presented-by-hotbox/tickets.

Social distancing guidelines are outlined at the point of purchase.

The South Drive-In is located at 3050 S. High St. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show beginning at 9 p.m. Attendees need to arrive before 8:45 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

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Live music allowed again in restaurants and bars: how will these establishments respond?

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A major step forward in the return of live music in Ohio took place over the weekend. The Ohio coronavirus guidelines were updated to reflect the new COVID-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order.

The order outlining the guidelines on live music in restaurant and bars is as follows:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

DJ's are included along with musicians and bands in the order.

Something that was on the mind of a lot of musicians with the reopening of restaurants and the indefinite closing of large venues was how restaurants and bars were going to respond to the immediate venue demand. Places like Woodlands Tavern that already have an infrastructure for live music will have no problem complying with the updated order, but will restaurants and bars that depended on jukeboxes before pivot to a live music model?

With a lot more space available in restaurants due to capacity cuts, does this leave more room for a live music set up? Or will restaurants have to get rid of even more tables if they want to make room for a performer?

The thought of live music in a venue setting is alone enough to get excited about. How these places that now have the ability to host live music execute freeing up space for a band to set up or a DJ to bring his rig in while practicing social distancing is what makes this situation a tricky one.

Not being able to get down in a MojoFlo Soul Train line will be pretty tough, but it’s a tradeoff we’ll have to accept for the return of live music.

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(614) Music Club: Sarob

Julian Foglietti

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Every week (614) Music Club teams up with your favorite local artists to build a playlist of what they’re listening to, and what’s inspiring them. This week’s playlist is brought to you by the R&B artist Sarob.


Photo by: Wyze

Tell me about some of the songs you’ve selected.

"The first one is Sobeautiful by Musiq Soulchild. So every week with my vocal coach, I have to learn a song. And I've been trying to figure out how to do vocal gliding. Which is not a strong point for me, and I remember hearing that song and being like, OK, this is it. The song is just beautifully written and composed, so when you add the technique to it, it’s just great. The other song was Workin On It by Dwele, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. Workin On It uses this J Dilla beat that just feels really timeless."

Have the past few months changed the direction or mood of the music you're creating. 

"So I have been making stuff here and there, and then I'll go into something creative for like two days. I'll just be making like a bunch of songs and then I'll stop for two weeks, not even want to look at a microphone or anything. I mean, it's a lot more inward, so I’m learning how to better communicate the things I'm experiencing, and set the scenes for people and talk about what is going on. Also not having my band has been a challenge. I’m more of a thinker, I play the keyboard, and I can build a song, but I’m not the most gifted musician so having to build a lot of it on my own is tricky."

Do you have any plans or releases coming up? 

"Yeah, so I had a song Pleasures U Like that was made for my last album, but it didn’t quite fit the story of the album. So I just forgot about it until recently and I finished the vocals just before the lockdown, and now I’m releasing it on Bandcamp as part of a fundraiser for The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. All of the proceeds from the song are going to go to support their Pandemic Emergency Fund, and it just felt like a good way to do something that would impact everything going on."

Sarob's Playlist

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