In the sweltering heat of Pride Weekend, I sat in traffic and watched the colorful rainbow outfits pass by me up and down the streets. Columbus had a lot going on that Friday night. Of all the numerous events taking place, Bava Choco had their new EP release show. Their event page on Facebook promised the show would melt my face off, and that is what I was expecting.

Upon arriving at Ace of Cups, I smelled barbeque coming from the back of the venue and made my way inside. The house was pretty much empty at this point, but there were hours remaining until the main act came on. I sat around and sipped on beer, waiting on our photographer, Tom Bauer, who showed up shortly with his friendly demeanor. He seemed very excited to hear what the band had in store for us.

Lizard McGee, Moodshifter, and The Damn Thing graced the stage one-by-one, and with each passing act the crowd grew. The artists seemed in good spirits this night, despite a hippie yelling angrily for his hat in the middle of Moodshifter’s set. By the time Bava Choco started their set, the place was mostly full, and the angry hippie was gone.

They opened with a song called Nailed. This is also the opening track of their new EP Clowns. They presented plenty of energy and movement for crowd. The song has a good build-up and well-constructed, fuzzy, riffs. Unfortunately, I noticed immediately (and during the opening bands as well) that Ace of Cups has mediocre sound engineering, at best. This aside, what I could pick up from the vocals sounded good.

They followed this with the title track from their previous EP release, Death Ride. This song has the sound of strutting through a biker bar. The riffs provide a good strut, but the song is missing something and felt partially empty. Even with this, the band kept actively moving around on stage.

Following this was Awake, which showed some diversity in the band’s sound with its more creepy-than-hard vibe. Think about creeping through Dracula’s castle. While this was being played, I noticed that the lighting at Ace of Cups was lacking as well. The equipment was outdated and provided little-to-nothing for the performance. Afterward, our photographer noted he had a difficult time getting good shots with the poor lighting.

The band then played So What, which displayed very well their tightness as a group, despite the sound quality in the venue. This also came through on the title track Clowns, which gave you the vibe of driving alone in the desert at night.

Bava Choco continued to play energetically their entire set, despite a portion of the crowd disappearing. The band displays a type of heaviness that harkens back to heavy metal’s earliest days with Black Sabbath. However, they manage to still sound modern (perhaps some Godsmack influence?), enough to avoid antiquity in their sound. The guitar work stood out with good riffs, with sometimes long, drawn out instrumental sections.

They have also improved greatly from their previous EP, “Death Ride” with better written and preformed songs. Bava Choco seemed to have a good time playing on stage and that can always be contagious to an audience (even with poor venue sound).

Credit all images: Orange Attic Creative/MIMC

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Setlist

  1. Nailed
  2. Death Ride
  3. Awake
  4. The Night
  5. Say What
  6. Evil (Cactus cover)
  7. Clowns
  8. Firehose
  9. It’s Over
  10. Space Truckin’ (Deep Purple cover)

Bava Choco – Firehose