What does Paul Simon, Dubuque, Iowa, a flying cup of ice and four bands have to do with a music blog? When wrestling with that eclectic list I would imagine that for some of us might reflect back to the time that Illinois once had a Senator named Paul Simon and his stupid bow ties. That could be a bit of a stretch but if I could think it, so could someone else. What would the backdrop of the movie "Take This Job and Shove It" (Dubuque) and a cup of ice have to do with Paul Simon? Well...
On March 3rd, 2012 I ventured to Waterloo, Iowa to see the band Cornfed Bruiser and at that time I was introduced to a band called "Bobaflex". With the impression Bobaflex made with me I was excited to learn that they would be visiting "Courtside Sports Bar and Grill" on June 30th, 2012. Dubuque has an interesting music scene, much of it being driven local bands and musicians as well as some famous acts. Although there are many acts that perform original music, there are also many that rely on "covers".
Cover acts and I generally are not friends but with the opportunity to see a great original act, I knew I could watch the other three acts before Bobaflex without trepidation. The exposure that a band like this gives to the music scene is priceless. Yes Dubuque gets great acts at the Mississippi Moon Bar (as well as other venues) and yes acts like "Foreigner", "Asia", and "REO Speedwagon" have recently performed within the city limits but Bobaflex brings something else, something different. The differences aren't night and day but the biggest difference is that this band provides an entirely different take on their craft.
As I sat through a staple of the Dubuque music scene (Johnny Trash), I began to look about at the crowd, watching for a change in energy. Although Johnny Trash was dynamic, full of energy and a crowd pleaser I knew that everything would soon change. I wandered to the Bobaflex booth and told one of the members of the band standing in the booth that I really loved the show I saw in March. I was taken aback a little when he told me that he wasn't at that show, and that following that show he replaced a member pf the band. Its interesting when you think about something like that happening, I knew what I was expecting from the band before that conversation.
I know, I know its only one member of a band and its the same music so really the change shouldn't be that dramatic. Really? A change of talent can be either a boon or a bust for a band as the not only can a bands attitude change, but artistic differences can be crippling. So yes there was a brief amount of apprehension and yes it was completely unnecessary (more on that in just a bit).
Slightly before the band came out on stage the crowd began to amass near the stage and the energy level seemed to begin to bubble to the surface. As the band came forth onto the stage, their energy immediately exploded and the crowd fed off it. As with the first show I saw (in March) the first song, "Chemical Valley" kicks you in the gut with this beginning that just grabs you, The beginning of this song is the equivalent to the classic beginning of A Tale of Two Cities "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" (I'm serious). The power in which I speak has nothing to do with written or spoken word, its just the perfect amalgamation of guitar, bass and drums.
Bobaflex's music has an intelligent characteristic across the entire body of work. Vocally, musically and lyrically their songs have a reason, a purpose and it is void of "fluff". There is this quality to their music that grabs your attention and it was front and center this evening.
And so it comes to the part of the story that may confuse me (as well as you) but stick with me please. Earlier I made mention to Paul Simon and a flying cup of ice so lets add to that witches brew Guns N' Roses. Bobaflex does one cover that is absolutely brilliant and that would be "Sound of Silence", written by Paul Simon (not the Senator) and the thing that makes it so brilliant is not the fact that they follow it in such a way that it isn't an attempt to make an exact copy. What Bobaflex does, with reverence I might add, is take the song into the world that is hard rock. The version almost feels like a synopsis of Bobaflex itself. With peace and tranquility and then this bounding energy begins to take over, its brilliant.
As Bobaflex performed the song to what was a crowd they held in the palm of their hand, a lone cup of ice flew through the air, hitting the bass player (and the singer of the song) in the face. Before I continue let me say that anyone that would do such a thing should be taken outside and beaten with the spare tire of a '49 Ford. What kind of imbecile does that? Do you not realize the possibility of not only physical injury to the performer but the danger to those people on stage that are carrying these large electric apparatuses from whence sound emanates (their guitars)? Visions of Axel Rose jumping into the crowd after he was pelted with something on stage bounced through my minds eye as thr guitar player dove off stage (followed by everyone else in the band and security) to find the perpetrator. Unlike the aforementioned Mr. Rose, the band returned to the stage without injury to themselves or those around the fool that did it and they continued the show.
The band reacted in a way that one would expect a close knit group would, thus proving to me that the band and its new guitar player haven't missed a beat. I think the band actually showed great reserve in their actions and they showed their true professionalism by going back to the same place in the song they were before the idiocy of throwing the cup.
As Bobaflex ended the show (and announced "Let's drink some beer") I think for those that may have heard Bobaflex for the first time understand how great this band really is. As a fan (hey its my blog so I can be biased) Bobaflex didn't disappoint. The bands was spot on (until the stupid cup thing), they had incredibly high energy, and they treated those in attendance to a phenomenal show! If you haven't done so yet, find the music of Bobaflex (or call your local radio station and demand that they play their music), and sit back and enjoy. If you haven't seen the band in concert yet, then do it. Don't sit back and wonder what is out in the world of music, find out for yourself.
The answer to the opening question (I am NOT typing that thing again)is simple: Bobaflex.