The Bobby Lees — Rumba Café, March 31, 2023
Rumba Café is a small, dark venue with an inside and outside stage on the edge of the Ohio State University campus. Here, I have seen an intimate lounge-style performance from Adia Victoria; thanks to a power outage, the Unlikely Candidates perform outside in blazing heat; Jared Corder of *Repeat Repeat jump into and perform from the crowd; and even Langhorn Slim dance on the bar. It is a venue with no holds barred from the performers. Hardly a scene is made even with a sold out crowd, but when The Bobby Lees arrived with support from Ohio artists the Wastemen and Space Kid, things got a little wild!
Like John Lydon’s inability to find any redeeming qualities in most music since Public Image Ltd, I often find myself underwhelmed by today’s rock scene, especially in live shows. Sometimes you find a band that really moves you, but to see them live can be a disappointment. One band that shall remain nameless broke up as soon as I discovered their sound. Several years later, they reunite, only to put on a slow, lack-luster performance. Maybe they were just out of practice.
Based on the studio recordings from The Bobby Lees, I was hoping for a lively show. It did not take long to reassure I was in for more of the unexpected. Space Kid was up first. Their set was short, but moving. The vocals were strong but not strained, and everyone was rooting for them. The bassist was reserved, so when she felt the need to use her mic, the crowd was drawn in.
As soon as the Wastemen started their first song, half of the standing audience at this sold out show took to moshing. At a metal show, this circle is relatively safe. This pit was unexpected, unorganized, and in a small venue that made it difficult to not become part of the circle yourself. I’m certain this was the first mosh pit experience for many there. A fellow photographer near me, fell into the stage while holding his gear close. With thousands of dollars of camera gear on me, being much shorter than him, I braced myself and held my own. It died down by the end of their performance.
The first thing to note about the Bobby Lees was that the drummer Macky Bowman entered the stage in nothing more than a loose pair of tighty whities. Next, it should be noted that the bassist Kendall Wind, was not at all reserved. She gave us a solo performance of hair and bass. The rest of the band kept their distance, as she performed on her own stage. Activist, actress, and frontman for the Bobby lees Sam Quartin had her own performance to give too. They answer the age-old query — can the unstoppable force and the immovable object co-exist? The answer is simple. Yes, as long as they stay on their ends of the stage. The Bobby Lees are on tour at least through the end of July.
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