Columbus Funk comes to Cleveland


Photo courtesy of Mojo Flo

Zac Younkins

There are a plethora of local bands in most college settings. However few stand out like Columbus natives MojoFlo. They’re a neo funk band whose style is upbeat and contagious.

MojoFlo has an unusual sound, with a combination of jazz-fusion, funk, soul and even hip-hop. Their song “Sho Would,” available for listening to on Mojo’s website, epitomizes their feel-good, funky style. Their new album, “Right On! (Back Around),” guitarist George Barrie explains, focuses on their soul influences.

“For the new album we’re doing our take on the vintage soul, but it’s still our sound of up-beat, in-your-face funk,” he said.

Barrie and other members, Walter Kolhoff, saxophonist; Jake Levy, drummer, and a group of other musicians got together in college five years ago, just jamming in their free time. They saw vocalist Amber Knicole perform live and asked her to join. When it came time for the studio, the members’ individual musical tastes influenced the unusual sound of the group.

They’ve played the All Good Music Festival along greats like FURTHUR (featuring original members of The Grateful Dead), Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Primus and Trombone Shorty.

“We played an earlier slot at 11 a.m. It was on the Grass Roots stage, which was way out by the campsites, pretty far from the main venue area, which worried us. The thing we found out about shows at 11 a.m. and noon, though, is that people are just getting up from the night before and they’re all still around that campsite, and we ended up with a huge crowd,” Barrie said.

Footage from that show can be found on YouTube and on

They’re busy now playing shows and promoting their new release, and they have a gameplan for the future.

“We are slowly building a large regional following and branching out. Then, our big focus will be the next CD, which will incorporate more of a hip-hop influence and a more current sound,” Barrie said.

They have upcoming shows at the Lincoln Theater in Columbus on Jan. 31 and at the Cleveland Agora on Feb. 21, a show where several diverse bands will jam all night until 4 a.m.

Their latest album, “Right On! (Back Around),” is heavily influenced by the stylings of James Brown and Aretha Franklin. “Home To You,” is a more up beat funk track that sounds like a lost instrumental from Brown. “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” is more of a classic soul track and lament of past love where singer Knicole shines with her amazing vocals. The album can be found on iTunes and

Contact Zac Younkins at [email protected]