As the clock was striking midnight April 21 on Columbus Music Day, MojoFlo, the headlining act for In The Record Store's celebration at Ace of Cups, was yet to be summoned.

As chatter in the audience echoed, "When's MojoFlo coming on?" one thing seemed certain through their voices.

MojoFlo was going to be there.


One of the city's funkiest outfits, MojoFlo has risen to the top rung of the Columbus music scene over 10 years thanks to the infrastructure founded by Amber Knicole (vocals), Walter Kolhoff (saxophone) and George Barrie (guitar) a decade ago. Akin to the Ohio State Buckeyes or Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, MojoFlo worked hard to become a local treasure by filling a void.

"We came around when there weren't a lot of bands doing anything funky," Knicole said.

Just like any venue MojoFlo now steps foot in, the group had heads swiveling five days a week by turning several local bars into weekly get-downs. During this hectic stage in the band's evolution, the band soldiered on for the same reason many committed career artists sharpen their swords without much monetary gain: to play on bigger stages for rowdier crowds.

Inspiration struck in year six, causing the band to make a notable switch.

The group's pilgrimage to Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival opened MojoFlo's mind to what it really meant to perform -- and to do so on a big stage.

"Every band we saw had a handful of crowd interactions, and when you're sitting with 60,000 people all doing this one thing at the same time, it's really powerful," Barrie said.

In 2015, more full-time members came aboard when Will Strickler (bass), Robert Mason (keys) and Nathan Parker (drums) joined the group. The hosts to Columbus' hottest ticket were assembled; now it was time to get a city on board.

"Columbus needs a little bit more prodding, that's the biggest thing, as far as getting people to actually loosen up and actually dance and let go of their inhibitions," Kolhoff said.

MojoFlo had no problem doing that at Ace of Cups. After several funky riffs and Kolhoff urging the audience to get on its feet for the main attraction -- Knicole -- MojoFlo was there.

Don't miss your chance to dance in a MojoFlo Soul Train line at 7 p.m. May 19 at Notes, 520 S. High St., Columbus.

Zak Kolesar is executive editor for In The Record Store. ThisWeek publishes a weekly feature from the organization, which focuses on central Ohio music discovery and involvement.