Bobaflex at the Monkey Bar, Huntington, WV
The show was Friday, June 10th, an unusually hot day in Huntington, West Virginia, very humid. I entered the Monkey Bar through the front doors, courtesy of the club manager who was also just arriving for the evening. This was the first time I had entered the bar since the move from 3rd Avenue. The stage where Bobaflex was setting up was bigger than the entire old instance of the club, with an all new truss filled with lights and a new sound system. I was excited to see them indoors in such a large venue, a home state venue to boot.
I have seen Bobaflex play three times prior to this night, twice at the old Monkey Bar and once at X-Fest on the Ohio River, all in downtown Huntington. They put on a hell of a show all three times, but the past indoor shows had been a little tame, I believe because the small space of the old club. Though the outdoor show, during X-Fest, was insane and the fans were in full force. How many people would turn up for this show, as Marshall University had let out about two months earlier and the new space could easily fill five hundred in the showroom alone.
Smoking, Mike (lead guitar) and Martin (guitar, backing vocals) talked about all the new happenings in the world of Bobaflex. Their touring with Sevendust, their new record label and the new album were all spoken of at length. My 7:00 interview went excellent, with Jared (bass) inviting me to stay for sound check to get a taste of the new stuff before the show. Not only did I get to hear some of the new material I also got to hear Jared and Thomas (drummer) jam out some old Primus (which kicked major ass) along with watching Thomas throw down a five minute drum solo. They were all soaked in sweat and it was only their sound check. Bobaflex was not scheduled to go back on stage until midnight, so they had time to rest and rehydrate. I was amped to see a full on live performance from these guys on the new stage.
The show didn’t start until about 10 pm, almost three hours after I had arrived at the club. There were two opening acts scheduled, both of which I had never heard or seen before. First on the line up were 13, a local act, followed by Agents of the Sun who originate from Baltimore. Before 13 started to play the lead singer said, “We are 13 and we’re going to lull you to sleep.” They almost did exactly as he stated, the audience was obviously ready for something more up beat than 13’s brand of mellow space rock. If the college had been in attendance there would have been a crowd of stoned rockers here to see 13, but this was not the case, so I headed to the bar for a Jagerbomb to wake me up. Agents of the Sun came on within ten minutes of 13 leaving, seemingly ready to pick the pace up. The bar had started to fill up by this time; there were about a hundred and fifty people in the showroom. The Jagerbomb was kicking in about the time Agents of the Sun started into their second tune. They didn’t have the dark edge and pump Bobaflex has but the band succeeded in waking everyone up, with the audience starting to get a feel for something new. Agents of the Sun played a good set of hard edge punkish metal, with smooth vocals and kicking drums. I’m not going to run out and buy the disc, but I was happy to have seen them play. The audience seemed to have the same sentiment, giving the band a big cheer as they exited the stage to make way for the headliners.
Bobaflex came on to stage to find more than two hundred people cheering them on and more warriors walking in as the band broke into song. They started with a familiar tune from the first album, a smart move which provoked the audience into singing along and really getting into the spirit of the show. A half drunk crowd of two hundred plus was ready to start moving to the sounds of Bobaflex. The band had sweat dripping from them, as they played, even with stage fans blowing on high. Their live performance has defiantly matured with all their recent touring. They seemed tighter and more focused than any other time I had seen them. Still these guys never seem to stop having fun on stage, with Jared and Mike making silly faces at the crowd and all of them dancing about in stupid fashions while they belted out their defiant brand of rock’n roll.
At one point in the show Shaun asked all the ladies in the showroom to get up on stage and dance. With about a hundred sweaty half naked bodies on stage the band jammed. Some of the ladies got super freaky and toke off more clothing than was legal, the club manager stopped them from completely stripping on stage. All the while Jared was getting his green Mohawk patted down by sweaty girls. Again, I say the band jammed. Their stage presence, which by the second song had fully taken hold of the audience, was intoxicating. There were two backdrops, with the faces of Bobaflex Warriors on them, strategically placed in front of the amplifiers on both sides of the drum platform, leaving the ever moving band members as the only visual on the stage. The lighting truss was put to good use during their show, changing up as rapidly as the parts of a Bobaflex song. The crowd never stopped moving, enjoying the new material as much as the old. The band played for about two hours, covering almost all of the material from their first album and all the material on their new release. This audience saw just about all the Bobaflex they could handle and they still wanted more. It seemed to me this band was primed for success and had been honing their skills, from their nit picking during sound check to their energy on stage, live and loud. The now three hundred sweaty people in the showroom seemed to fully agree as they yelled and cheered while the band gave their thanks.
I suggest making time to check these guys out on the second stage of the Gigantour and keeping an eye out for Bobaflex’s second album due out this summer.
You can check out live photos of the band in the Photo Gallery.
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