Oldfield’s on High Relaunches as KOBO on July 4th
In just a few weeks, the venue formerly known as Oldfield’s on High will be reborn as KOBO. New owners Jacob Wooten and Nick Wolak are keeping the focus on local live music, but making some improvements to the interior aesthetics that both musicians and music fans will enjoy. We recently caught up with Jacob to find out what we can expect at KOBO.
WE: I understand that you and Nick aren’t strangers to the local music scene. Tell us a little bit about your background.
JW: Around 12 years ago I started throwing shows in any room that I could rent out. That was in high school. We would do shows with 10 bands for $3 and pack the armory in Westerville. Nick and I first collaborated on the annual TRAUMA event in 2007. It was a huge success both in terms of the party as well as in the charity component. We then worked together at High Five where I handled a majority of the local bookings for the final two years before it sold. After that I started working with various other venues… I’ve done shows at the Ravari Room, Skully’s, Rumba Cafe, Park Street Patio, Sugar Bar and BoMA. I’ve also been playing in a few local bands for the past four years including Mr. Fahrenheit and the Loverboys, The Pinkertones and Saturday Giant.
WE: So what’s the concept behind the new space, and where did you come up with the name KOBO?
JW: KOBO is Japanese for “artist’s work space”, which is what we are going for with the stage. As far as changes from Oldfield’s goes, for now we are just trying to make the bar as appealing as possible with the current set up. Aesthetically, we have given the bar a new paint job. We also took down around 140 beer signs from the walls and are replacing them with posters from local shows. Some are from the old High Five and others are from shows that I have done through out the years at various venues. I have friends coming in and noticing little changes every week, whether it’s the color of the bar or the new beer selection that we’re working on changing up.
WE: Do you have plans for any major renovations in the long term?
JW: A lot of people are asking if we can take the middle wall out. The thing that has kept that from happening over the past 20 years, is that it is a support wall and you would have to shut down High Street, rent a crane, and put in a steel beam to replace it. We will be making changes but I don’t want to promise anything right now. We have a lot of ideas that will make the place function much better as a music venue. One thing that most people won’t notice, but the bands will love, is that we’ve lined the walls around the stage from the floor to the ceiling with Tectum – acoustical panels composed of sustainable aspen wood fibers that are made here in Ohio. It will help control the sound on stage for better monitor mixes and a better environment for being able to hear your band mates when performing.
WE: The stretch of North High where KOBO resides has a variety of other local music venues. Was that part of the appeal in this location?
JW: Yeah, the location of KOBO is great. Having neighboring venues like The Rumba Cafe and The Ravari Room makes it even better. I think that proximity will help all of us… having three venues that strongly support local music so close to each other will put more foot traffic in the area.
WE: What type of shows are you looking to book over the next few months?
JW: Right now we have been honoring all the shows that were all ready booked at Oldfield’s. On June 24th Afortiori will be playing their final show and on that bill we also have Ease the Medic and my Weezer cover band, The Pinkertones.
I do love all of the genres of the local music scene though. Most the music I listen to is out of Columbus. I’m still working out the details of the final lineup of a July 2nd show, but Andy Dodson from Central City and I are doing a Compilation Release show for Alix Reese. The album is going to feature 15 songs from various local groups and 100% of the sales from the albums will help pay for Alix’s medical bills.
WE: Very cool. And right after that you have the official grand opening week, correct?
JW: Yeah, our grand opening runs July 4th through July 10th and we have our regular weekly events scheduled along with 3 nights of unique lineups. Our weekly gigs include:
Sundays – Jimmy Riggs (Funk, Rock), Mondays – Jahman Brahman (Jam band), Tuesdays – Hip Hop, Wednesdays – Excess Karaoke hosted by Dave Casto, For Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, each night will feature a hip hop, rock and DJ group, July 8th we have The Compressions, Envelope and Dance or Die, July 9th we have Ill Atmospherics, Rosehips and Illogic featuring Ill Poetic, and July 10th we have LES Crew, The Receiver and roeVy to close the week out. All 7 nights we will be FREE, so it will be a great time to come in and see the initial changes, try new beers, and check out some of the top names in the local music scene.