While not quite the second coming of Noah and the ark, the rain that fell upon Columbus on Friday put a damper on outdoor activities. Ultimately, the organizers of the annual Community Festival (ComFest) were forced to cancel the evening performances in Goodale Park.

Inside the confines of the Big Room Bar, the only thing that was about to fall was an evening of great music. With Bava Choco, MOBILE HOME and Antiøch on the bill, the evening promised to be interesting.

Antiøch at the Big Room Bar 6/23/17
(Credit: J Laicy / Music in Motion Columbus)

As Antiøch took the stage, a steady stream of ComFesters began to make their way into the venue in search of dry accommodations, cold beverages and good tunes. They, along with the patrons already ensconced within the room, were treated to a varied lineup that meshed into a buildup of sound and intensity.

The opening quintet serenaded the crowd with their tight, rock-infused brand of heartland Americana, hitting just the right tone and tempo to warm the audience.

After a brief changeover, the MOBILE HOME trio turned up the temperature with their flaming take on “Bible Belt Devil Music” that you need to experience in a live setting, much to crowd’s delight.

MOBILE HOME at Big Room Bar 6/23/17
(Credit: J Laicy / Music in Motion Columbus)

It was also nice to meet MOBILE HOME guitarist Kyle Lewis Martin’s parents, who were in Columbus visiting family and friends. Hearing the story of Martin’s music-filled childhood from his mother was one of the highlights of the evening. But, that’s a story for another time.

By this point, the room was primed for the headliners.

The last time I had seen Bava Choco was in April, opening for the Bush League All-Stars on tax-day. The promise of new tunes from the rockers was intriguing.

Opening their set with the new song Nailed, they set the tone as the clock approached the witching hour of midnight. The down-tempo, heavy sludge-infused number reminded me of the Palm Desert era of stoner bands. With his bass slung low and booming, Mike Lovins was squarely in the moment along with Corey Gillen on the skins.

Mike Lovins and Corey Gillen of Bava Choco
(Credit: J Laicy / Music in Motion Columbus)

Tight harmonies rang out in The Witch, wrapped around a groove that had everyone swaying in-time with the beat. Once again channeling the desert sound of the 1990’s, the band quickly got into the “pocket,” marking their territory with a sonic edge.

The slower beginning of Balance assaulted our craniums, before picking up the pace with a solid rock groove. This transitioned directly into Dead Roses, with Eric French inserting a very nice little solo on his guitar.

Say What, a new song they debuted in April, was a heavy, Sabbath-sounding dirge-like number that sonically smoldered its way into their tried-and-true cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. And yes, there were a few in the crowd that were headbanging right along with the song. Patrick Baracus’ vocals carried an air of foreboding throughout their set, adding to the intensity of their music.

Patrick Baracus and Eric French of Bava Choco
(Credit: J Laicy / Music in Motion Columbus)

Uptempo guitar notes announced another of their new songs, Sundays. With a very nice groove, the tune had a Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age vibe to it.

The penultimate number on Friday was the faster-paced Firehose, from their forthcoming second EP. The band kicked it up a notch, settling into a sweet groove as Baracus walked off the stage. When he returned, the vibe got “Palm Desert weird,” with French noodling a tasty riff on his axe.

Baracus thanked the venue, the crowd and the other two bands for being there, as the band launched into Death Ride, the title track from their debut EP. The desert groover was the perfect way to cap-off the evening.

All told, it was a fantastic evening of varied styles and pace, with a little something for everyone in attendance. If you haven’t seen any of these bands yet, you really need to take the time to catch one of their next shows.

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Bava Choco Setlist

  1. Nailed *
  2. The Witch
  3. Balance >
  4. Dead Roses
  5. Say What * >
  6. War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
  7. Sundays *
  8. Firehose *
  9. Death Ride

* denotes new song

Bava Choco – War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)