Tornadoes, a car crash, drowned sound equipment — MojoFlo has been through it all and has come out alive enough to perform for an Athens crowd once again.
“All of a sudden they were hollering, ‘Evac!' and we, like, had to book it … We definitely legitimately almost died together more than once,” Amber Knicole, the band's vocalist, said about the time a tornado occurred while performing on an airstrip at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Such events have only brought the band closer together, and it “totally” shows on stage, Knicole said.
“People have said, 'We can really tell you guys are all really happy together and that you enjoy each other.' I think it absolutely shows,” Knicole said.
The neo-funk band, MojoFlo, will return to The Union on Saturday for a night that will feel fresh even to someone who frequents their shows. Admission is $8 in advance or $10 the day of the show.
Knicole said 40 percent of the band's set Saturday is made up of new, original songs that an Athens crowd has yet to hear.
“It’s just been a while, and we’re constantly evolving,” Knicole said.
Saturday is certainly not the first time for the band is in Southeast Ohio, as Athens is a familiar and fond stop along the road for MojoFlo, playing at events such as the PawPaw Festival, the Athens Halloween Block Party and places such as Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery and Casa Nueva.
David Lurie from the band Love Alive is keen on both Athens’ music scene and MojoFlo’s performances, as his band has opened for the group in Columbus venues.
“Actually, the first Love Alive show that we played in Columbus was with the George Barrie Band, George is a vocalist and guitarist for MojoFlo … it was pretty clear that (MojoFlo were) one of the big bands that everybody knew in the scene, so we tried to get to know those dudes as well as we could,” Lurie said.
Lurie said he can attest to the energy MojoFlo packs into each venue at which it plays.
“I think it’s just the unique talent of all the individual members,” Lurie said. “Amber, she’s got such a powerful voice, and sometimes they’re playing songs where, you know, the original songwriter doesn’t have that kind of powerful voice … You can just tell they’re a band of professional musicians, and that’s what sets them apart.”
MojoFlo is stepping into their ninth year performing together with their first full-length album to be released in 2017. Averaging more than 120 nights a year onstage, the group has solidified its bond and brought together contrastive musical backgrounds to become the soulful funk, rock and jazz band it is today.
“It’s so diverse because we are (all) so diverse,” Knicole said.
Knicole and two others in the band of six met and started playing together while attending Capital University in Columbus. Although their MojoFlo endeavor might have begun as a college-party band, Knicole said they are serious about what they do while still bringing the “party” vibe to their shows.
“We practice once a week. We really keep that consistent, we’ve kept that consistent through our beginning,” Knicole said.
Knicole said the time commitment is well worth it for the group. The reward comes for her when she can see the effect shows have on people in the crowd.
“I feel my best when I feel really connected to everyone in the room … when I look and you can see the people behind the bar getting down with the door-guy getting down … I’m like yeah, that’s awesome. That’s the top,” Knicole said.
Staying later than expected, having more fun than planned, that is the show MojoFlo has planned for Saturday, Knicole said.