In an attempt to shine light on local music, The Lantern’s “Columbus’ Own” is a weekly series that profiles a new Columbus band or artist each week.
Over the past few months, North High Street watering hole Scarlet and Grey Cafe has served as a second home to Columbus funk-rock outfit Love Alive.
The band has been performing a series of shows referred to as a residency, a tour-like schedule with monthly headlining shows performed at one location. Recently the group has been playing two to three gigs per week.
“We’re not just another band that you’re going to pay $5 to see,” said vocalist and guitarist David Lurie. “We’re like an experience, and (people) seem to want to see us again since we keep seeing a lot of the same faces.”
When Lurie and guitarist Michael Bohm officially began Love Alive in 2013, the goal was always to continue to play music without an end in sight. Today the vision still stands, but the band’s dedication has been tested frequently.
Despite juggling different bassists and drummers for a couple of years, Lurie and Bohm stayed motivated and encouraged by never taking a break from live performances.
“We’ve had some extremely talented musicians in Love Alive in the past, except the one thing they didn’t share with us and our vision is to go somewhere with this,” said Bohm, a fifth-year in communication technology. “We are in this for the long haul, and a lot of musicians that we’ve worked with seem to get lazy.”
As of just a couple of months ago, Lurie and Bohm said they believe they have finally found the collective that can produce the chemistry to take Love Alive the distance.
While growing up in Cleveland, Bohm linked up with drummer Billy Carrick and bassist and vocalist Chase Finley at the aptly named Camp Jam, a weeklong music playing binge that fostered the importance of playing in a band. Bohm said he looked up to Carrick and Finley when they met almost six years ago, and by fate they once again became musically united.
“It feels like a family for the first time really in the band, which is good,” Lurie said.
The drive that the current members of Love Alive have toward creating music is different than the devotion the group has had with past members.
“I’ve never been in a band where I’m out here and then I look back in and everybody’s looking over smiling on the same page and ready to go,” Finley said.
Carrick, a fourth-year in mechanical engineering at the University of Dayton, makes the nearly three-hour round-trip to Columbus two to three times each week to practice and perform. The trip does not seem to faze Carrick, who said the Columbus music scene motivates him.
“Columbus has always been inviting,” Carrick said. “I’ve been commuting up here for three years now almost on a weekly basis to play music.”
Columbus has also been warming up to Love Alive lately. The exposure that Weird Music, a local entertainment company that promotes and books bands around the Columbus area, has created for the band with the residency shows has helped the band establish a solid fanbase.
The Scarlet and Gray Cafe shows usually attract an audience of around 120 people, said Lurie, who credits the consistent turnouts to the band’s live dynamic.
“I don’t think there’s any bands that are putting out a live energy, like a full-energy live performance like we do, at least in Columbus,” Lurie said.
Love Alive prides itself most on its live performances because that is the most effective way for the group to share emotions with its fans. The band’s name is not only taken from the lyrics of a song by Jimi Hendrix, but Love Alive also hopes to encapsulate the live energy of Hendrix in its shows as well.
“I think one commonality among all the music that has inspired us is the soulfulness of every musician that has inspired us to play,” Bohm said. “We’re all about conveying an emotion into music.”
Although most of Love Alive’s work has been limited to the stage, the band is itching to get into the studio. Juggling multiple members before Carrick and Finley committed to the group made it difficult to lock down recording time as an ensemble.
But the band is in the process of channeling its live energy into a physical copy of its latest work. Keeping rock relevant and fresh in the 2010s is an overarching goal for Love Alive.
Regarding their upcoming music, the band members said they refuse to conform to a more prevalent modern sound.
“We’re kind of like the nerds that get to sit at the jock table,” Laurie said. “It’s cool. Nobody says anything, so we just keep sitting there and hanging out.”
Love Alive will continue to hang out at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe, with its next residency show scheduled for Feb. 26 with The Greens and The Mainstays. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $5.