Live Reviews: Bobbing For Apples

Midway Café - Jamaica Plain, MA

Contact: bobbingforapplesmusic@gmail.com

Web: bobbingforapplesmusic.bandcamp.com

Players: Paul LaPonte, drums, vocals; Rob Weston, bass, vocals; Kevin Kvein,  guitars, vocals

Material: When considering a band with the name Bobbing For Apples, it’s difficult to imagine what type of sound they’ll make. Therefore, it’s an appropriate handle for this trio from North Brookfield, MA, as their music remains tough to categorize. Their title, a reference to local attraction Brookfield Orchards, is intended to suggest the players’ varied influences, although who those acts are remains unclear. Whatever they may be, the result is a psychedelic rock-based concoction that’s sometimes tough to absorb. Listeners no doubt experience difficulty clicking with their looking glass time signatures and experimental approach.

Musicianship: While moments of beauty can be found during quieter moments, the band’s best bits happen when they grow heavy. It’s a rush when there’s an unexpected roar of passion, each player walking their own path and the instrumentation of one crashing into the others. Guitarist Kvein employs a number of styles that keep things compelling. Bassist Weston excels most when emitting his ultraviolet brand of bombastic fuzz. Impressively, all three players switch duties on lead vocals. On the other hand, this variety of singing flavors makes their sound even tougher to grasp. 

Performance: In case you were apt to forget the band’s name, actual apples were placed around the stage. Weston and Kvein are intriguing physical performers, and their gyrations remain a joy to watch. That said, each member’s attire was incongruous, another reflection of the group’s lack of cohesion. Though they mentioned the titles to each of their eight songs, the nominee for Best Rock Act at 2019’s Worcester Music Awards was unable to forge a meaningful connection with the sparse crowd.

Summary: Although they’re sincere and motivated, Bobbing For Apples don’t know where they’re headed. Working with such a colorful palette is delightful, yet every group needs to present a united front and form a singular statement. Here’s an example of what happens when enthusiasm trumps vision. These three need to identify their groove if they want audiences to feel the inspiration that lies deep in their souls.