MoJoFlo to play Village IdiotWritten by Betsy Woodruff | | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of Walter Kolhoff’s formative experiences came at age 6 when his father played a Beatles record for him.
“I just went crazy,” he said. “It stuck with me ever since.”
When he was young, he played air guitar instead of football.
“Now I can’t play football, but I can play saxophone,” he said.
Kolhoff is a member of MoJoFlo, a band made of eight people who met while attending Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
He described their music as an eclectic blend of soul, Hip-Hop and jazz.
“It’s like Shuffle on the world’s greatest iPod,” said lead singer Amber Knicole. “That is our style; that’s what MoJoFlo sounds like.”
Like Kolhoff, Knicole wanted to perform since she was young. One summer, she worked at Cedar Point Amusement Park performing in a 30-minute musical called “The Misadventures of Molly and Maverick.”
She performed in the show five or six times a day, six days a week. The performers were not allowed to change anything about the show.
“By Show Number 200, you’re pretty bored,” she said.
Over the course of the summer, she performed in 384 shows.
“I kind of was like getting, ‘Oh my god, this is crazy,’” she said. “Then I was like, ‘Are you complaining about singing, dancing, and getting paid for it?’”
As a member of MoJoFlo, she still gets paid to sing. But unlike “The Misadventures of Molly and Maverick,” each of her band’s shows is different.
One particularly memorable performance, at a huge music festival in Columbus, had to be cut short because of the crowd’s inebriated enthusiasm.
“There were literally thousands and thousands of people, as far as the eye could see,” Kolhoff said.
MoJoFlo was the last band to perform. Some of the audience members were jumping on tables, climbing on each others’ shoulders and drunkenly pushing against the stage, making it sway.
“I was totally oblivious to most of it,” Kolhoff said. “We were so in the moment and there were so many people, I didn’t even realize that the situation was getting out of hand.”
Their back-up singers noticed, though, and jumped off the stage.
“Our audiences drink,” Knicole said. “If you come to a MoJoFlo show, you’re gonna leave not so good.”
Other shows were less bacchanalian.
One of their first performances was outside of a shopping center in Columbus one December when they put their own spin on holiday tunes, including a reggae version of “Silent Night.”
“They wanted Christmas carols outside, so we did it,” Kolhoff said. “At the time it was a little rough, but we had fun.”
“I’ve definitely had a couple heaters at my feet at a couple different gigs,” Knicole said.
“It’s bad for the instruments, it’s bad for your voice, but these are the things that you suck up,” she said. “You do it. You put on a scarf and you perform.”
Kolhoff, who described himself as “kind of scrawny,” has faced greater dangers than frostbite for his music.
Once he said he was confronted by an angry bouncer who demanded $250 “for security” –– a fee that was never mentioned when they arranged for the show.
The burly man dragged him through the club by his shirt and into a back kitchen, where he was surrounded by bouncers and managers.
“You have to give us this money, or we’re going to beat the shit out of you,” they told him.
“I ended up handing over the cash, ‘cause it wasn’t worth it to me to get a broken jaw and nose and shit over 250 bucks,” Kolhoff said.
Ultimately, though, Kolhoff said he believes the club got what it deserved.
“Their club is gone now and we’re blowing up, so I guess we got the last laugh,” he said.
The band has released two EPs, “Waiting” and “Whatcha Think About That?” MoJoFlo will perform at the Village Idiot on July 31 at 10 p.m.